Today brings us Part 2 of Sarah + Ryan’s homegrown wedding, and we have lots of beautiful images of the ceremony, followed by some lovely images of the couple, to share with you!!
In my opinion, a ceremony is one of the most important, and sometimes overlooked, parts of a wedding day. I look at a ceremony as the time to express yourselves as a couple…to make it your own. A marriage ceremony is sacred and should be something you’ll not only remember, but feel, for the rest of your lives. It’s the beginning of marriage. I love marriage ceremonies that are full of symbolism, community and love…..and this is exactly what I felt Sarah + Ryan’s marriage ceremony encompassed. The day was so beautiful- blue skies, lovely harp music floating through the air, blooming, vibrant flowers, and happy people joining Sarah + Ryan on top of a grassy hill to witness and be part of their commitment to one another. Sarah + Ryan’s family stood by their sides and each took turns reading beautiful passages, including some lovely prose by Robert Frost. In the middle of the ceremony, everyone’s voices joined and filled the air with the beautiful lyrics of the folk song Wild Mountain Thyme by Francis McPeake.
After Sarah + Ryan were married, we took at few minutes to capture some important family photos and one awesome giant group photo of everyone that was present! As guests made their way by wagon ride to the big barn celebration, Paul + I stole the newlyweds away for some alone time to frolic in their bliss. Ryan loves kale and at the bottom of the hill was a field of kale, which I can imagine is heaven on earth to Ryan! So after capturing them with the beauty of the ceremony garden that they worked so hard on, we had to take them down there to play. Then we took our time and meandered through dirt paths bathed in golden sunshine, fotographing the couple and their radiant love along the way.
Farmer Sarah shares with us about their ceremony:
“On our farm there’s this field we call the Faraway Little Hill field, down a bumpy farm road, over a stream, bordering on the old beaver pond and a neighbor’s woodland. We grow vegetables on two slightly sloping portions of the field, and leave the little hill in the center open, growing grasses.
The natural world, the land, living ecosystems and outdoor beauty, have always been the strongest source of spirituality for me. When I asked myself what place I wanted to create a marriage, I saw it had to be outside. We both care so much about the land and have such connections to it that it was an easy choice and agreement. We wanted to have the wedding on our farm in the farming landscape. The Faraway Little Hill Field fit the bill just right, though it was something of a scruffy hilltop a ways away.
In the spring, we planned and planted a garden there, in a semi-circle, to be the backdrop of the ceremony. We used plants that would be in bloom for our wedding date in September, and every week of the summer went up to weed and water and fix things together. Of course, you never know what will happen with the weather, and an early frost warning came for the night before our wedding, so Ryan went out there and covered the whole garden with floating row cover to protect it from the frost.
We created an aisle with hanging baskets of flowering plants on metal stakes with curved hooks, and we waited until the day-of to put out the baskets so they could be well-cared-for.
This field is indeed far away, so we had to figure out how to get everyone out there. One of our neighbors has a hay wagon, so we hooked that up to the tractor, and planned timed rides down to the field leaving from the barn, which everyone got details about in the invitation. There’s also a path, and walking outside is a beautiful thing, so we made a hand-drawn map as part of the program, mowed the trail and hung notes and little origami cranes and hearts made of wax paper in the trees and bushes along the way. We gave people an estimated amount of time it would take to walk to get there in the invitation too.
When they arrived to the hill, there was a little table with watermelon slices, husk cherries, and iced herbal tea. It was pretty sunny and hot, so in retrospect, I think I’d put a pop-up tent or two out there for shade, and make sure there were a couple backup containers of water if drinks run out. We did have about 30 chairs set up for the older guests, though we mainly wanted to just have people stand with us there.
I love the idea of having rice thrown at weddings! We adopted that and made little paper bags full of cover-crop seed for guests to throw at us after the ceremony. It was so fun walking through a rain of seeds. And hopefully some of those seeds actually have grown on the hill to enrich the soil!
We took a big group picture of everyone on the hillside once the ceremony was done, and I treasure this, because some people had to leave soon after and from this we can remember they were there with us. That whole force of people we love all together! And then we took pictures with our family and starting sending people back on the wagon ride, until it was just Ryan and me and our photographers playing around in the vegetable fields and on the walk back out.”
Enjoy this lovely ceremony!
Sarah shares with us about the details that made their day so uniquely their own:
The Planner : DIY by Sarah and Ryan
The Dress : A gorgeous scoop back dress with a little bit of a train, made and designed by my mum. Veil had little fake pearls hand sewn all around the edge by my mum and my mother’s friends (who were extra moms to me growing up).
The Shoes : Cream-colored dance slippers, dyed and decorated by my mum.
The Hair Stylist : Shannon McCarthy, my Maid of Honor (though technically we didn’t have a set wedding party), we did a practice run at her house a little bit before the wedding.
The Makeup Artist : my friends Shannon and Nile, definitely needed a little help there, as I don’t wear makeup often!
The Jewelry : Cascading pearly earrings with shiny bits, bought by my grandmother online somewhere, they were perfect.
The Rings : Deirdre Cunningham, a jeweler friend I know from Stafford, CT made us simple silver bands. We got them a little loose, so it would be easy to put them on, as I had a totally irrational fear that I wouldn’t be able to get the ring on during the ceremony J. Now they are too loose!
The Groom’s Attire : rented tux from Men’s Wearhouse, came with socks, hehehe.
The Stationary : For the invitations, I found a border drawing online and designed the text inside of it in Photoshop, then printed the invitations at Collective Copies in Amherst on a light brown textured paper. That was a rush job! It was when the post office had those Love stamps that looked like playing cards, with man and woman stamps – those were my favorite part.
The Officiant : Bob Paquette, who’s the local host of WFCR Morning Edition on NPR, and also recommended to us by our DJ. Ryan listens to the radio pretty much all the time, so we thought Bob would be great, and he was very calm and wonderful! Now every time I hear him introduce Morning Edition, I smile.
The Reception Venue : We cleared out the back of our big old barn and decorated it with Christmas lights and origami ornaments.
The Floral Design : We grow all kinds of organic flowers in season, so we had our flower grower harvest buckets for us, and then Joanne Norris and Carol Norris, the aunt and mother of one of my best friends growing up, spent hours making bouquets for the tables and little boutonnières and all that the day before the wedding.
The Food : This was our favorite part! We did a local, seasonal meal with lots of our organic produce (Red Fire Farm), also featuring ingredients from some of our favorite farmer friends in the area. The main dish was a baked crepe with shiitake mushrooms from Wendell, MA, spinach, onions and a hard cheese from Hillman Farm. Hard Cider from West County Cider. Wine from a few places that we picked up on the Wine Trail in the Finger Lakes near Ithaca, NY during the summer – really fun! Our chefs were Isis Masoud, Devon Johnson, and Brendon Fitzgerald. They were wonderful!
The Cake : Cupcakes and cookies made by Devon Johnson
The Favors: Handmade chocolate truffles in a heart shape, with fillings made from our raspberries and mint. They came in individual boxes. Made by Heavenly Chocolates in Northampton, MA.
The Ceremony Music : Harpist at the ceremony, Sharon Rondeau, playing Pachelbel Canon (love it, looked for something unique for ever, and then gave in)
The Reception Music : Our favorite DJ from WMUA, Fern Spierer, also does DJing for events, and she was Awesome. She played music for the reception and also setup a microphone and speakers out in the field where we had our wedding (which is really important if you have an outdoor ceremony, so everyone can hear).
The Cinematographer : My brother’s friend offered to film, though we didn’t seek out to have a cinematographer. Arin Crumley, he did an amazing job.