Katie and Ryan wanted their winter wedding to feel like “dining in the woods on a magical moonlit night.” Are you in love yet? We were as soon as we saw the beautiful result from their team of vendors including Justin Johnson Photography, Arielle Fera Events, and Chicory Florals, who captured and created a truly majestic celebration. Who says you can’t bring the forest indoors?
From the event designer, Arielle Fera Events: When I met Katie and Ryan they had a clear vision for their wedding. “Refined & natural but not necessarily rustic. Dining in the woods on a magical moonlit night. Under a tree canopy with the moon flickering through the leaves.” Glam meets winter cabin in the woods. What an amazing vision it was! However, their reality was a bit different. Finding a venue was extremely challenging for Katie and Ryan. They wanted a venue that aligned with their vision – lots of character, charm and ample outdoor space so they could celebrate outside. They settled on a country club ballroom. Although lovely, it was as a far cry from their ideal location + vision. The venue was a compromise between Katie and her mom and their best option for their 300+ guest list. Plus, an outside wedding in January in the Northeast… not possible. Katie and Ryan were dismayed. They knew exactly what they wanted, but felt trapped in a space that was not them.
It was my goal to take their reality and transform the space so that it exceeded their vision and their hopes. And so the design plans began. We were determined to bring the outside, inside and create an environment where Katie and Ryan would be dining in a forest under the stars with the feel of a winter cabin. We created this look with the help of our friends from Bromm’s Nursery and Chicory Farm + Flowers. We rented evergreen trees from a Bromm’s nursery to create a mini forest that surrounded Katie and Ryan’s sweetheart table. Up lighting was hidden behind the trees to create the effect of the moon flickering through the trees. We created a starry night, by hanging market lights behind pipe and sheer drape which was used as the backdrop for their sweetheart table. Vintage crates were stacked among the trees and filled with pine cones, deer antlers, greenery, lanterns, wood slabs and candles to create a winter cabin feel. Katie’s dad handmade their wood sweetheart table which was dressed with a plaid runner that Katie handmade, taper candles and lots of trailing greenery. Their chairs were flea market finds. Katie + Ryan reupholstered them with plaid fabric and handmade the wood Mr. and Mrs. Signs. For the reception tables, we worked with Chicory to create “tree centerpieces.” Chicory created the most amazing centerpiece arrangements that looked like trees, using a mix of evergreens, eucalyptus and magnolia branches. The “trees” were set on wood slabs that had been cut from oak trees only a few days prior. The tables were also dressed with plaid fabric and lots of candles to add more “stars” in the sky.
Katie and Ryan both come from creative backgrounds. Katie is a fashion designer and Ryan a graphic designer. They handmade literally every element of their décor. Their signage, table numbers, sweet heart table, escort cards and favors were handmade by them. Wood oak slabs were stenciled with the initials of each guest and were used as escort cards and doubled as favors. Katie’s bridesmaids wore gold sparkle gowns and fur jackets to create a juxtaposed look of winter cabin in the woods meets glam. Katie and the girls carried bouquets comprised of a mix of winter greenery designed by Chicory. Katie’s bouquet was hand-tied with the same plaid fabric that was used throughout the reception décor. The groom and groomsmen were outfitted with the perfect plaid ties.
Justin Johnson of Justin Johnson Photography surprised Katie and Ryan with a stop at the local tree farm before the reception and captured the most magical winter wonderland photos. The entire wedding day was captured artfully under the creative eye of Justin Johnson. Katie + Ryan’s wedding was labor of love by everyone who was involved. Katie told me that she had every intention of renewing their vows one day in the way that they had envisioned their wedding to be. After the wedding, she said that is not even a consideration anymore because their day, the atmosphere and the environment that we created was more perfect then they ever imagined. My hope is that their wedding and their experience brings encouragement and inspiration to other couples out there that might find themselves in a similar situation. With a little creativity and a lot of heart there are tangible ways to achieve your dream wedding vision even if other circumstances seem to be working against you. It was made possible for Katie and Ryan and it is possible for you.