WELCOME BACK! The last time we met, our beautiful bride and groom (Rachel and Jared) had just said their vows and been pronounced husband and wife on a hilltop in the middle of an enchanting meadow (see i carry your heart Part I). It was a happy, happy time.
The next section of the day was an additional challenge: translating Rachel's aesthetic of 'natural, whimsical and untamed' into the cocktail hour and reception setting. Thankfully, the gardens and containers on the property itself were in peak bloom, so I used those components wherever I could to bring the garden into the design.
There is an herb garden on the patio that we turned into a focal point by planting this sign right in the middle of the parsley and thyme.
For the cocktail hour, we placed the bar next to a vintage trough of flowers and used it as a centerpiece of sorts. NOTE: I want to point out the importance of detail here. This chalkboard (artwork by the amazingly talented www.kellythorn.com) is an integral part of the entire concept. It is functional, elegant and in keeping with the whimsy of the day. Why not make every aspect beautiful? (the Farmhouse Lemonade was delicious, by the way!)
The Reception. Where to begin? It was so magical, I could write parts III, IV and V, but I will exercise a little self control and condense it into Part II.
Let's begin by setting the stage: The Barn.
The Barn is located on Rachel's parents' property and was built in the 1830s. For over 150 years, it was a working barn but gradually fell into disrepair. Several years ago, the Sandneses began painstakingly repairing, restoring and renovating it. The result? Amazingness! Decorating was daunting because of the scale of the space, but it was a job I attacked with glee!
The head table was the most important design piece of the evening. This gorgeous (and massive) stone fireplace became the the backdrop for the table that was center-stage. I draped it in smilax and eucalyptus vines, and garnished it with wildflowers. The steel marquis letters were the perfect addition to balance out all the softness of the live elements.
As you can see, I made a runner out of several different types of eucalyptus and dotted it with flowers and tangerines.
The meal was served buffet style in a tent attached to the barn. Again, I knew it called for a menu that would be artistic and memorable. So I scrounged around and found this adorable old door which we made into a chalkboard. Details.
Seven months later, I am still in love with this door!
Then there was the food...
The tables were so much fun to do! Again, the theme was gardens and nature and effervescence so I wanted to give them a very unaffected and ethereal feel.
Barns are marvelous spaces for parties and receptions, but with all the wood beams and wood walls and wood floors, they can be a bit...woody...and heavy. I attempted to brighten all this denseness with the lightness of the flowers. Additionally we strung vintage Edison carnival lights, and more smilax vines. The vines were delicate and green and lush.I think the overall effect was clean and delightful.
So much joy and so much love...and it isn't over yet. When the meal was finished, the guests were asked to assemble on the front lawn for a stretch and surprise.
"here is the deepest secret nobody knows...
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart..."
"i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)"