We know wedding planning can be associated with high-stakes decisions and stressful moments putting details together, so it’s always refreshing to hear a bride say she wants her wedding day to feel like “hosting a dinner in our own garden followed by an incredibly energetic dance party.” The perfect team to bring this to reality was Lev Kuperman behind the camera and Sebesta Design in control of floral design, who both knocked it far out of the park for Joann and Chris’ wedding day.
From the bride, Joann: Chris and I met on September 13, 2009 while waiting in line to get into a bar in NYC. We were complete strangers with no common friends and no common ties, who happened to be at the right place at the right time. Thinking back to how we met always brings a smile to our faces, so we were ecstatic when our first choice venue called to say they had September 13th open. What better way to celebrate 5 years of meeting than to get married? We appreciated that our wedding was one of the rare moments in our lives where we could have the majority of people we love under one roof. Since my family lives all the way in the Philippines, we asked our immediate families and closest friends to stay at the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. It was a lot of fun to call the Inn our home for the weekend along with the special people in our lives. Our vision was to celebrate our weekend entirely outdoors starting with a BBQ rehearsal dinner on the Inn’s patio and culminating with a morning after brunch. We wanted our wedding day to feel relaxed, as if we were hosting a dinner in our own garden followed by an incredibly energetic dance party.
We wanted our celebration to be simple, yet intimate and romantic. We used a lot of light colors and earthy tones to create a clean look that was both pretty and rustic. We also loved the idea of maximizing the 80+ acre property as much as we could by having separate locations for the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and after-party. Unfortunately, it rained for a few hours in the afternoon, relocating our outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour to the barn. The barn, with its wooden beams and hanging chandelier thankfully lent an even more intimate feel to our exchange of vows. We were inspired by sunset and dusk colors, string lights, greenery and wood. We used blush, peach, ivory and butter with small pops of color and gold accents for our decor and chose french blue for our bridesmaids/groomsmen attire because it’s a flattering color and one of our favorites. We did not have any DIY projects, but we sourced many items on our own. These included custom burlap runners, chalk boards, candles, jelly jars, lace ribbons for our cocktail tables and various other design items from independent sources on Etsy.
We mixed round and rectangular tables for our reception with every table having a unique composition of flowers. Our florist achieved this look by using autumn clematis vine, cafe au lait dahlias, chamomile, cabbage spray roses, raspberry scabiosa, and white ranunculus as a base for both table shapes, but using different vases and adding pops of color. Round tables included rose astrantia and fresh lavender in the mix, which were arranged in gold mercury glass vases. Rectangular tables added butter stock, butter yellow freesia, queen anne’s lace and pink and purple cosmos to the base and were styled in mason jars and bottle bud vases.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? 1) Have fun while tackling the various aspects of wedding planning! We were fortunate in that we were able to provide our own alcohol to the venue, so Chris and I planned personal wine tastings for two weeks in our apartment. We opened a bottle each night to taste which wines we wanted to serve at our wedding. This allowed us to add another personal touch and gave us a chance to unwind together. 2) Have a solid rain plan. Assuming it rains all day at your wedding, how will it affect every aspect of your day? Discuss it in detail with all of your vendors and use their knowledge to help create a plan you will be comfortable with. It was very important to us that we have a beautiful indoor ceremony location if things didn’t pan out and we didn’t get the sunny fall day every couple hopes for. We passed on numerous venues for this reason, and we are so glad we did. It rained for a few hours the afternoon of our wedding and plan B kicked into effect seamlessly. 3) The best part of our wedding was the unbelievable high we felt from being surrounded by family and friends under one roof with one goal in mind: to celebrate us as a couple. What better way to thank them for the impact they made in our lives than to make our wedding fun, comfortable, and easy for them? By that I mean, splurge on reliable transportation to take guests to and from your venue, ensure you have plenty of good food (people will get hungry after all that dancing and everyone appreciates a few sliders at the end of the night, trust me), have a wide selection of drinks and abundance of coffee, and try to say hi to every table during dinner. 4) Last and most importantly, know that the day will go by quickly. This is something every bride hears… but really, it’s hard to take it seriously until the day comes. Take a few minutes during your ceremony and your reception to block out everything but how you are feeling that exact moment and just take it all in. Allow yourself to be aware of and truly feel surrounded by all the love of family and friends. When I look back on our wedding, I try to relive that moment and it still gives me butterflies.
Prelude: “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley and “Wonderful Tonight,” Eric Clapton
Bride’s Processional: “A Thousand Years,” Christina Perri
Recessional: “Home,” Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Newlywed Entrance: “Where the Party At,” Nelly and Jagged Edge
First Dance: “The Way I Am,” Ingrid Michaelson
During the cocktail hour, we wanted the string quartet to play a combination of classic wedding songs, oldies, and more recent hits. Chris and I wanted everyone to be on their feet most of the evening and DJ Taiga delivered by mixing upbeat classics (Elvis, The Beatles) with our version of old school hip hop (Notorious BIG, Nelly, Yung Joc). Given that so many of our guests are close friends from high school and college, we requested songs from 1998-2007, throwbacks we knew they would love. As people were eating, romantic, folksy tunes by artists such as Jose Gonzalez and Iron and Wine played in the background.
Wedding Location: Bucks County, PA / Photographer: Lev Kuperman / Florist: Sebesta Design / Venue and Caterer: The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm / Wedding Dress: Ines Di Santo / Wedding Veil: Bridal Reflections / Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Earrings and Bracelet: designed by the bride’s mother / Hair and Makeup: Aleksandra and Jackie from Makeup by Aleksandra Ambrozy / Bridal Party Attire: Amsale and DKNY / Groom’s Suit: Mr. Ned / Bow Tie and Pocket Square: The Tie Bar / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Wedding Cake: The Caketeria / Favors: Bouchon Bakery chocolate chip cookies / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musician: Elegance String Quartet / DJ: DJ Taiga of Remixologists / Wedding Invitations: Momental Designs / Officiant: James O’Brien of Journeys of the Heart / Videographer: Tree of Life Films / Transportation: Sterling Limousine