A Rustic Garden Party: Chelsea & Chris
Chelsea and Chris married at their ‘family’ barn in Vermont. Despite living thousands of miles away (the couple actually live in sunny California) they were able to plan their perfect wedding in just 6 months surrounded by close family friends whilst enjoying good food and excellent wine. Now this sounds like my type of wedding!
I asked Chelsea to tell me more…
“We started planning our wedding just 6 months before our big day. From the beginning we both agreed on a few key elements that were most important to us. We wanted our wedding to feel personal and unique to us as a couple, we wanted it centered around things we love — music, food, wine and our friends and family — not tradition, or how things are “supposed to be” done and we wanted it be intimate, so that our guests felt like participants not observers. We actually noted that all down in a vision statement/planning strategy. Boy did that come in handy down the road when we were making decisions about what to prioritize. I highly recommend couples take this extra step!
The setting was something we had agreed to long before we even got engaged — the family “farm” in Vermont where I grew up. It’s a beautiful location with lots of sentimental appeal to me, but it did bring its own challenges. Mainly that we live in California (over 3000 miles away) and everything had to be brought in (which requires lots of extra coordination between vendors). The theme — I guess I’d call it rustic garden party — evolved from there. We started with a few key design elements that fit with the barn and outdoor setting: vintage mason jars filled with baby’s breath as the key floral feature; mis-matched chairs set around cedar farm tables (my father is an antique dealer so he gets the credit for sourcing both the mason jars and the chairs); painted board signage; and a big beautiful sailcloth tent from VT Tent Company for dinner (and as backup in case weather didn’t cooperate for the ceremony). Other than that we didn’t do too much more in terms of decoration since we figured nature would help us out in that area. The colors were chosen by me (coral and dusty teal are two of my favorites) and Chris designed the branding, invites, place cards and a fantastical website.
When it came to choosing our vendors, we were pretty picky. We love food, and so do our family and friends, but we couldn’t be there for a tasting. So we spent a lot of time talking to caterers and reading reviews before deciding on Let’s Pretend Catering. We had my parents stand in for our tasting with some very specific things to look (and taste) for. The wine we had shipped in from the vineyard where we are wine club members in Napa (Elher’s Estate) both because they’ve become part of our story of moving west, and because the bottles feature a heart-shaped design. In lieu of a cake (we’ve seen too many couples forget to even cut into their very expensive cakes when they get caught up in the moment!) we had desserts shipped in from Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, which is located around the corner from the first apartment we shared, so also a part of our story. Music was provided first by Eugene Uman’s jazz trio after Chris listened to a number of musician’s sample tracks; and the DJ, Steven Sonoda was chosen mainly because he could offer both music for dancing and a karaoke machine for the end of the night (which was a Huge hit with our guests, especially because we kicked things off with a well-rehearsed duet!). Perhaps the most important vendor was our photographer Brian Friedman of BFreed Photography, a friend who I’ve worked with professionally and also seen grow as an artist over the years. Chris and I didn’t really care too much about staged photos (a couple obligatory family shots was really all we posed for). On the other hand photography was still an important element for us, and we knew Brian was the perfect person to capture candid moments and intimate details to help us remember the day (and he did!).
Asking friends and family to travel in to a small town in Vermont over labor day weekend was a lot, and we wanted to make a weekend out of it for everyone. In the end we had just shy of 50 people join us for the special day and it really was a weekend to remember. All were invited to the rehearsal dinner at Glimmerstone Mansion, and we used that night for speeches and toasts so that we could keep the fun, easy-going spirit flowing from day into night at the wedding. Probably most memorable of the whole experience for me was how everyone chipped in during those couple days before our wedding. People just kept showing up at the farm and asking how they could help, and we took them up on the offer because there were so many details to finish!! The giant baby’s breath wreath you see hung on the barn is thanks to all those helping hands. We took a Christmas wreath and filled it with baby’s breath, lemon leaves and a lot of love to achieve that look! In the end what was already one of the most memorable days of my life was made that much more special knowing everyone had a hand in bringing our vision to life. And while we may have felt pangs of guilt putting people to work in the moment, after all was said and done we were showered with thank you’s for letting everyone truly be a part of it.”
Super Suppliers – Photographer: B-Freed Weddings// Marquee: VT Tent Company // Catering: Let’s Pretend Catering// Wine: Elher’s Estate// Desserts: Momofuku Milk Bar// Entertainment: Eugene Uman’s jazz trio & Steven Sonoda // Submitted via Two Bright Lights//
Gosh that wreath has to be one of the most epic floral arrangements I have seen at a wedding so far, isn’t it beautiful!! Have you had to plan your wedding long distance? We would love to hear how you tackled the challenge, maybe you have some helpful tips for our other brides and grooms?
Much Bespoke Love