TNWC Real Brides: introducing Stephanie and Justin’s homepsun vintage fiesta wedding by the sea


Izzy Burton illustration

It’s that time again to introduce to you another lovely TNWC Real Bride – and today’s couple are all the way over in the USA!  It’s really lovely to bring you a couple planing a wedding in a different part of the world, and I hope you enjoy following their wedding plans as the year goes on.

If you’ve missed any of the other introduction, you can find them all by clicking TNWC Real Brides. Now, over to Stephanie to tell you all about how her and Justin met and their plans for their wedding…

Stephanie + Justin: 21st September 2013, Rhode Island, USA

Justin and I crossed paths our freshman year of college.  One afternoon, we happened to be in the same dorm for a meeting, but neither one of us could muster the courage to say hello.  After that year Justin transferred to another University, so it’s no wonder I never saw the mysterious handsome guy around campus again.  Nearly five years later, we ended up meeting through our mutual friend Billy and the rest, as they say, is history.  I really love telling people we had been attracted to one another from a distance so many years ago; it’s as if the universe somehow conspired to bring us together…it’s the hopeless romantic in me, I think.

Anyhow, our relationship initially moved really quickly and, much to the horror of my parents, we were living together in no time.  Since then, our relationship has taken us backpacking throughout South East Asia, on surf trips throughout Central America, and living in three different states.  We have built a strong bond founded on unconditional support and have shepherded one another through some really difficult times.

Stephanie and Justin

The Proposal

Justin and I have very busy work schedules that require a lot of travel, but he was able to take some time to come away with me on a quick trip I was taking to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  You see, Justin and I both grew up vacationing during the summer months on this island off the coast of Massachusetts, so going back is always nostalgic for the both of us.

The ferry ride over is always fun and Justin seemed particularly excited about the dinner he had planned for us.  Since the trip was technically work related, I wasn’t suspicious of anything at all.  Once we got settled at our inn we headed to dinner.  A friend of ours is the chef at one of the nicer restaurants on the island and when we arrived, he gave us a little tour of the attached inn.  It was only then that I realized that the dining room was not yet open for the season; he and the other chef had opened specifically for us.

Apart from being a really kind gesture, I didn’t think much of it.  We were enjoying the fish that our friend had caught himself earlier that day when I had mentioned how I was really enjoying the time Justin and I had been able to spend together recently given our busy schedules.  I guess I gave him a nice little transition, because before I knew it he was on his knee and I pretty much blacked out after that.  I just remember being happier than I have probably ever been in my whole life.  He proposed with a beautiful rough rose-cut diamond ring from New York based designer Digby and Iona.  I’d be happy with just about anything, but it’s beyond perfect.  It has a delicate, vintage, under stated look about it.

Stephanie and Justin

Our Wedding

A small, intimate affair seems lovely; however, with large families and so many wonderful friends from different chapters of our lives, it’s too hard to imagine getting married without everyone by our side.  So, we’re having a fairly large one.  Well, large for me anyway with around 200 people.

We really want to incorporate the people who are important to us into the wedding in meaningful ways.  For example, our friend Billy will be marrying us and Justin’s friend, Sweet Tooth Nelson, who is a singer/songwriter, will be playing during out ceremony and our first dance.

Mount Hope Farm in Rhode Island
Mount Hope Farm

As we began planning our wedding we knew it would have to be by the ocean.  We live at the beach and really center our whole lives around it, so it was a no brainer when it came to the location.  The wedding will take place on September 21, 2013 at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA.  With its on-the-water location we were also sold on the overall natural setting, and because of the resident pygmy goats, sheep, and chickens!

A tented wedding, we really want to make use of the outdoor space available to us.  The overall vibe we’re trying to invoke is sort of a marriage of homespun, vintage, and fiesta.  Our love of Mexican folk art will inspire a bright color palette and we’l definitely be making use of some of the bric-a-brac we’ve collected over the years for décor throughout the venue.  We also want to add some more natural elements and have been collecting driftwood and other interesting found objects to use if we can.

Colourful fiesta inspiration
colourful bunting photobooth

We intend on allowing our floral designer to take care of the arrangements using flowers that are available locally for the season… Justin and I will be collecting cacti and air plants and potting them ourselves to add to the table arrangements.  Other DIY projects will include building a “living wall” of succulents utilizing a pallet or reclaimed wood, in addition to making some dream catchers to string in the trees for the ceremony!  My father, who is a beekeeper, provided honey for the favors at my sisters wedding this past summer and we may choose to incorporate honey from his hives in favors for ours, too.

I am elated by the opportunity to write about planning my wedding for The Natural Wedding Company!  I would love to be a helpful resource to other bride-to-be’s planning their natural wedding.  Although I live across the pond in the United States, I love to see what brides are doing everywhere.  Though I am early in the process, I can already see that it can be easy to become overwhelmed, particularly when trying to make choices that are sustainable, responsible, and support the local economy.  I have found a great deal of help through blogs geared towards the “natural bride” and it would be wonderful if I could inspire, offer guidance (of what to do and perhaps NOT to do!) when planning a wedding.

I am so excited by the sound of Stephanie and Justin’s homespun, vintage fiesta wedding and all the lovely details they are planning.  What a lovely story of how they first met, and all those years later they found each other again.  I feel properly loved-up for the day ahead!

Images: (1) Illustration by Izzy Burton; (2+3) Brides own pictures; (4) Joshua Behan Photography via Style Me Pretty; (5) welovepictures via 100 Layer Cake


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