Earthy vintage tones made a natural backdrop to Whitney and Mike's celebration
Sharing their first date on Valentine’s Day, Mike took Whitney out for dinner and gave her a single red rose, which she still has, dried and framed in a shadow box. “We ended up staying at the restaurant for hours. We were the last to leave before they closed! We’ve been inseparable ever since,” he adds.
Photography by: Simply Bloom (simplybloomphotography.com)
Words by Stephanie Stafford
Two and a half years later, Mike proposed on a crisp October evening. “We pulled into a beautiful park and Mike led me around the corner to a river bank where he had a blanket set out and a picnic basket from our favourite sushi restaurant,” says Whitney. “That’s when he got down on one knee and proposed. It was simple and romantic, just the way we wanted it.”
When it came to choosing a venue, the couple knew exactly what they were looking for – a beautiful farmhouse in the countryside of Madison, Georgia, with a large oak tree to frame the ceremony. “I came across the Farmhouse Inn (thefarmhouseinn.com) on a blog shortly after becoming engaged and just knew that it would be perfect,” says Whitney.
With a 350-year-old oak tree (pictured) nestled in the grounds of the Inn, the farm was exactly what they’d been looking for. The couple hung antique birdcages and lanterns from its branches for a romantic, rustic touch.
“We were thrilled when we discovered we could use outside suppliers, which gave us freedom to choose who we wanted to work with,” explains Whitney. “They also allowed us to bring our own alcohol, which helped us save money.” The venue’s flexibility meant guests were able to enjoy a pre-reception cocktail hour, where they were presented with the signature drink of pink lemonade served in mason jars, along with plenty of beer and wine.
The couple got a helping hand in planning their nuptials from wedding co-ordinator Jennifer Fulford (consultants-unlimited.com), who made sure that everything was pulled together for the big day, like these whimsical orders of service by DIYpaperie (etsy.com).
Mike met Whitney through college friends four years ago. “She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen,” he reminisces. That beauty shone through on the big day, for which Whitney wore a Vera Wang (verawang.com) gown teamed with a traditional mantilla veil and a beautiful pair of heirloom pearl earrings with diamond embellishments. “After trying on 50 dresses, I bought the Vera Wang dress without even trying it on! It was perfect.”
To complement the farmyard backdrop, the bridesmaids wore mustard-yellow dresses from Anthropologie (anthropologie.eu) with handmade chocolate-brown belts by Portabello (etsy.com) and their own cowboy boots.
The groomsmen wore braces to add quirky charm to their countrified ensembles.
The flower girl looked enchanting in fairytale-green tulle, a floral headband and a pair of Converse (converse.com). The groom also chose the classic American sports shoes for a dressed-down, comfortable sense of patriotic panache.
For a real down-on-the-farm feel, hay bales were scattered around – a true barnyard alternative to extra W-day seating.
Banquet tables were placed together in rows for family-style eating, creating an informal, sociable atmosphere.
The centrepieces were vintage collectables like teapots and watering cans, in keeping with the timeless order of the day. The couple filled them with a mixture of wild bouquets – think vivid orange tulips, red hypericum berries and white wax flowers – that were in keeping with the earthy colour scheme and organic feel.
The beautiful country-style flowers were by The Flower Post (theflowerpost.net).
The all-important wedding cake was made by Cake Design by Debra (cakedesignbydebra.com) and was decorated with ribbon, fresh flowers and handmade bride and groom birds. Get a similar, hand crafted cake topper from leahhalliday.co.uk.
Whitney and Mike devised a mouthwatering menu of southern comfort cuisine in the form of tasty finger foods: think tomato and basil bruschetta and bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers, whipped up by Hallie Jane’s Catering (halliejanes.com).
The finishing touch? “Along with the wedding cake we served apple pie, peach pie, cherry pie and pound cake, with fresh blueberries and strawberries,” says Whitney.
The old oak tree on the farmhouse’s land inspired a novel, personal alternative to a guestbook: attendees left thumbprints in the shape and colour of leaves on the branches of an illustrated wish tree, before signing their names. A unique way to remember their day!
As guests left the reception, a hand-painted sign asked them to help themselves to fresh peaches from a local farmers’ market, “so everyone could take home a little piece of Georgia.”
“We were dancing with all of our closest friends and family, who had come from all over the world to be there for us,” remembers Whitney. “Watching how much fun they were having, I realized just how much they really loved us.”
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