Rustic Meets Elegant DIY Barn Wedding

I’m an absolute lover of barn weddings.  But a barn wedding completely DIYed by the beautiful bride? That’s an entirely new level of obsession.  Imagine fresh from the garden-esque florals from Savannah’s Garden, vibrant pink, yellow and aqua hues and a whole lot of barn-inspired pretty. See it all captured by Char Co. in the full gallery and the sweet film from Matthew J. Boyle below.




From the Bride… On a campus filled with over 21,000 students I spotted him freshman year, and couldn’t keep my eyes off him. And it might have remained a harmless crush if it weren’t for some courageous friends who were able to approach Dan and arrange a “per chance” meeting between us on the soccer field. A friendship and flame sparked on that field and four and a half years later (two of them long-distance) I accepted a tearful proposal on the very same field.

As I sit here and write this, with my husband asleep on the couch next to me, I truly realize what a journey it has been. We both wanted a relaxed but romantic setting where all of our friends and family would feel welcome and loved. I love rustic elegance, and was craving a barn wedding. We decided on Lancaster after walking into the Yellow Barn at the Landis Valley Museum. They flicked on the twinkling lights and that was it. I was in love. We were in love. It was absolutely enchanting.

We booked the venue for a Memorial Day weekend wedding and dove into planning. I started pinning and dreaming, sketching and stitching. With the exception of the twinkle lights, every decoration was brought in, most of them handmade by myself or my mother. The centerpieces were old books that my grandfather had gotten when he worked at Doubleday, binding books. The slabs of wood on other tables were from a down tree in my parents’ backyard that Dan cut, piece by piece. On top of these books and wood pieces were mason jars from my grandparents’ basement, which we use each year to can our family’s homemade sauce. Along the back of the barn hung twine with pictures of all the married couples in our families, over the word “love” which was made from cardboard letters and silk flowers. I made place cards on craft paper and hung them on old shutters outside the barn. My grandmother, 92 years young, painted a tree for our guests to “leaf” their thumbprint and sign their name, in lieu of a traditional guestbook. My mother baked our “naked” wedding cake, topped with fresh berries. She also made the whoopie pie favors for the guests; a signature dessert in the Lancaster area. My father and I made signs, pointing the guests toward the barn, out of old wooden pallets.

With every old and rustic touch, we matched it with something soft, simple, and elegant. I chose an A-line ivory dress with full skirt and lace details. I truly wanted the soft touch of sleeves or straps, so my mother created straps with alencon lace she bought on fabric row in Philadelphia. I paired this with some simple crocheted TOMS and a hairpin from BHLDN. My something old for the day hung around my neck, and close to my heart. The necklace is a lavalier with one simple diamond at the center. This necklace was made for my grandmother’s wedding day. When she was to be wed, her mother was too ill to attend the wedding, and as a special gift to her daughter had this necklace made with the diamond from her engagement ring. This way a part of her could be there with my grandmother. This necklace has been worn by every woman in my family on her wedding day, and will continue to be passed down through the generations.

Dan wore a fitted gray suit with simple black tie and boutonniere of berries and rosemary. My Bridesmaids wore simple, light dresses of pale blue from Anthropologie, contrasted by peach and coral bouquets. The ladies also wore white and peach floral robes for the morning preparations, which were sewn by my mother.

The day itself was like a dream. The chance of showers never came to be and we enjoyed a sunny 72 degree spring day! We were married in St. Anthony of Padua church, with its Old World feel of vaulted ceilings, fresco paintings, and marble. After an amazing (and tearful) Mass, we shared a short, tear-filled moment in solitude, before exiting the church into a sea of our family and friends and onto the trolley that awaited us.

We spent the rest of the evening eating, drinking, and dancing under the twinkle lights of the barn. The food from Rettew’s was incredible; the pulled pork and mushroom ravioli perfectly matched our “rustic but elegant” theme. The evening was magical, and perfectly captured by the ever-artistic and awe-inspiring Char Newswanger, who photographed our wedding. She joked that she and her team knew it was a good wedding because they both laughed and cried while editing the pictures.

The night was started by a surprise performance from my brother and friends who played and sang a compilation of my favorite songs, followed by a soft, sweet serenade from the groom himself…as if I hadn’t cried enough that day! With that as a start, we didn’t leave the dance floor for the rest of the night, thanks for Soundinmind Productions. The dance floor was packed and the guests spilled out of the barn onto the grass and the cool night air.

The day was truly magical, personal, and memory-filled. From taking pictures in the sheep pen, to crying my way down the aisle, and finally being able to look into the eyes of the one I love and call him husband; it was the most amazing day, and one that I so enjoyed watching come to fruition.

Photography: Char Co. | Videography: Matthew J. Boyle | Floral Design: Savannah’s Garden | Ceremony Venue: Saint Anthony Of Padua | Reception Venue: Landis Valley Museum, The Yellow Barn | Catering: Rettew’s Catering | Makeup: Mirtaghavi Makeup | Hair: Blush Style Studio | DJ: Soundinmind Productions | Transportation: Elite Coach

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