Izzy Burton illustration

Here we are with our final blog post from our 2013 TNWC Real Brides. Today we are back with Stephanie, our lovely bride in the USA, to share all about her wonderful wedding day. 

It has been such a lovely journey with last years ‘real brides’ it is somewhat sad to say goodbye to them with this final post. But, we are about to embark on a whole load of new wedding planning adventures with our 2014 TNWC Real Brides! So excited!

So it’s over to Stephanie to tell you all about her wedding – it’s more like a real wedding feature with all the stunning photos she’s sent me from her photographer Red Anchor Photo…(and don’t miss the skateboarding groom!)

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Okay, maybe I’m slightly biased, but I’d have to say my wedding weekend goes down in history as the greatest weekend ever. About four months later and I am still buzzing with the love and beautiful energy my (now) husband and I felt that weekend surrounded by family and friends.  The day of our wedding also happened to be the windiest day in history, but more about that later.

Bridal bouquet of succulents, dahlias and lavender by and photography

Cupcake wedding cake with 'day of the dead' cake topper - photography

Eclectic vintage wedding tables - photography

Right Before The Weekend

I truthfully did not have many jitters or nerves until the morning of. Throughout the entire planning process my only real concern was the weather, which I obviously couldn’t control any way, so my mantra was to just “go with the flow.” This was helpful when a few of my plans did not work out, and also when we nearly ran out of time to put the finishing touches on some projects.

My first “disaster” of sorts occurred with the “living” picture frame I intended make and use as part of my décor. I envisioned a beautiful frame filled with succulents sitting atop the fireplace mantle in the little log cabin where we’d have our cocktail hour.

I was happy to have gotten to work on this well before the wedding, as I wanted to give the little succulent plants plenty of time to root in the soil so that the frame in which they were held could be displayed properly. I made a really beautiful arrangement and gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Homemade succulent living picture
Brides own photo

A week or so went by and it was time to move them outside to get some direct sunlight. Well, leave it to me to “forget” about them during one of the driest, can’t-even-exist-because-it’s-too-hot heat waves we’ve had in a while. The poor things were all nearly scorched to death.

I felt like a terrible plant mom and knew that most of the little ones could not be brought back to life. Nor was I willing to empty out my pocket again for that many clippings (we’re on a budget, people!). Although I didn’t end up using them during my wedding I will say that I have since rehabilitated many of them and although the frame is not as full as it should be, it looks like they’re doing well!

Homemade succulent living picture
Brides own photo

The only other additional stress inducing moments was in the few days leading up to the wedding. We spent several hours a couple of days before the wedding right up until the night of the rehearsal dinner tying tiny little pieces of burlap onto tiny jars of honey, which came from my bee-keeping fathers’ hives.The jars were part of the wedding gifts for our guests, so we really did want them to look nice.

Tiny honey wedding favours - photography

We also made tiny little “flower bombs” [similar here] as gifts to go along with the honey. We selected a seed variety native to the Northeastern part of the United States (where I live) that included many wild flowers that attract honeybees! Then we hand-stamped flowers on little linen pouches to hold the bombs. The first batch of bombs did not turn out quite nicely, so we had to scramble and make enough for about 200 people!

'Flower bomb' wedding favours - photography

I also did not finish a dream catcher I wanted to hang in the trees by the ceremony. I had gathered sticks and twigs at a beach I frequent and built the frame. I was actually nearly finished, but I wasn’t happy with the outcome. Everything ended up working out, but we could have done with better time management planning in that regard!

Homemade dreamcatcher
Brides own photo

My original plan for the place cards also did not work out, so I ended up buying a giant Mum plant and recruited my gal pals to tie the flowers onto the place cards the night before the wedding. They did end up looking really pretty, and many of our male guests tucked the flower into their suit pocket, which I thought was so nice!

Luggage tag escort cards - photography

The Morning Of My Wedding

Waking up that morning was so surreal. I had a dream that night that no one at my wedding danced (!More like a nightmare!). I actually woke up for a brief moment thinking the wedding had already happened. But, my sister, who slept in my bed with me, rolled over and proclaimed, “Today you will be wed!”

Mount Hope Farm, Rhode Island - photography

One of my dearest friends and bridesmaids, Jill, then literally crawled into the room and we all squealed and giggled like little schoolgirls. It was such a tender moment and a memory I’ll cherish forever.

Bridesmaids is shades of pink - photography

Later that morning my closest girlfriends came over to do some yoga led by my beautiful yoga-instructor sister and Matron-of-Honor, Dayna. It was a great way to set the tone for the day and remind myself to be present and savor each little moment. However, it was then that I started to get a bit concerned, because it looked as though storm clouds were rolling in. We live on an island, so this is not uncommon, but I started to get a little uneasy.

Mismatched pink bridesmaids dresses - photography

After yoga my immediate family and some girl friends went to get breakfast at our local farm and my personal happy place, Sweet Berry Farm.  We sat together outside overlooking the apple orchards with distant views of the Pell Bridge, which connects the Island to the main land, and just enjoyed each other’s company. A group of women sitting beside us were surprised to learn that it was the day of my wedding because to them I seemed to calm and collected!

Getting Ready

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

My bridesmaids and I all had a relaxing morning getting made up at The Apothecary, which is a lovely little make up studio down the street from where I live. Justin had some green juice, flowers, and a sweet card delivered by his brother. He assumed that I wouldn’t be eating much that morning and he wanted to be sure I had something good in my belly! I tend to get grumpy if I don’t eat. We call it getting “hangry.”

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

The boys went cliff jumping (really smart thing to do the morning of the wedding, boys) and then went back to our apartment to get ready. Apparently the boys were divas, because it took the photographer a while to corral them all together to get them to the venue on time.

Skateboarding groom - photography

We decided to share one limo to cut costs (limos are expensive!), so the driver had to take the boys to the venue, which was about 25 minutes away, drop them off, and them come back to get the girls. Since the boys were late, we were a bit late, and so the slightly crazy part of the day ensued.

The Ceremony

It was as if the sun chose the exact moment we arrived at Mount Hope Farm to come out from behind the clouds and shine. It was such a relief as the storm clouds began rolling away, but it was SO WINDY!!!  The wind actually foiled some of our plans, but hey, this is also where my “go with the flow” mantra really, really, really helped me stay sane and allow small problems to roll of my back.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Some of our decorations had to be nixed because it was so windy. For example, we had beautiful photos framed of our parents and grand parents on the days of their weddings displayed on a table. They would not stay upright, so we had to lay them flat.

Lavender bouquet - photography

We also had some papel picado (Mexican party flags) that were to be strung throughout the venue, but the wind ripped right through them… We were only able to hang them in a protected area by the ceremony.

Papel picado bunting - photography

Also, it was too windy to take photos on the water where we had originally planned. This was a bit of a bummer, because I obviously wanted our photos to be perfect. But, we found a protected spot that was still picturesque.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

After snapping some shots with my bridesmaids it was time for my “first look” with Justin. I was so jittery and excited. Justin came up behind me and when I turned around we had such a beautiful moment together knowing that we were about to take a very important step together.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Due to our lateness, photos were a bit rushed. Again, this was the only really stressful moment for me so I’d recommend planning for things to take a lot longer than you anticipate. It’s better to be early!

Outdoor wedding ceremony at Mount Hope Farm, Rhode Island - photography

The ceremony was my favorite part of the day: every part of it had meaning and significance to us as a couple and individually. Our incredible dance party was obviously buckets of fun, but the ceremony takes the cake. We stood overlooking the Atlantic Ocean beneath a beautiful archway built out of birch by Polly at Robin Hollow Farm.

Seasonal floral wedding arch by and photography

Our dear friend, Billy, who introduced the two of us officiated the ceremony and he could not have done a better job. It was light, funny, but also very personal and touching. I choked up a bit while reading my vows and couldn’t see what I had written because I had begun to tear up, so that invited some chuckles from the crowd, but other than that is was perfect.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Our dear friend Jesse read the “Apache Wedding Blessing.” Finally, we incorporated the Jewish tradition of stepping on glass as the final part of our ceremony, as my mothers side of the family is Jewish, and after that a kiss sealed the deal! We exited to a really fun Arcade Fire song and I skipped/dance the whole way.

The Setting

Mount Hope Farm is set on the bay overlooking the Mount Hope Bridge and is surrounded by beautiful fields, rocky coves, and flowering meadows. It is such a special place, so we really did not want to compete by using any decorations that would detract from the natural beauty.

Mount Hope Farm, Rhode Island - photography

I planted cacti (and managed not to kill them) in several terracotta pots that I painted, which were set on tables dispersed throughout the venue, and in the cabin where the cocktail hour took place.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Mason jars filled with wild flowers were also set on tables and tucked into corners to add some pops of color. We placed several bales of hay along the waters edge for additional seating and for guests who just wanted to lounge about.

Peach coloured dahlia in blue glass bottle and succulents by and photography

Polly of Robin Hollow Farm did such a wonderful job with flowers. The archway we stood beneath during the ceremony was adorned with a variety of flowers and greenery from her local farm, which included plenty of my favorite flower, Dahlia.

Locally grown wedding flowers by and photography

Justin and I visited her farm before the wedding and seeing rows and rows of Dahlia’s and a greenhouse full of succulents was such a delight. It was especially nice knowing that those would be the flowers used on the day of my wedding, and they were not being imported from some far off place.

Bridal bouquet of locally grown flowers by and photography

I fell in love with my bouquet as soon as she handed it to me. I dried it and it is still hanging in the window in my bedroom. The bouquet included Dahlias, Succulents, Lavender, and Dusty Miller. It was tied off with some twine and lace, to which I added lace from my mothers wedding gown.

Bridal bouquet of locally grown flowers by and photography

Lavender is one of my favorite scents and I will now forever associate the smell with the day of my wedding.

Lavender bridesmaid bouquet by and photography

The bridesmaid’s bouquets were also beautiful and included Lavender, Dusty Miller, Lambs Ear, Celosia, and Scabiosa Pods tied simply with twin and lace.

Lavender bridesmaid bouquet by and photography

Guest tables were draped in peach table cloths with lace over lays. The head table and bridal party sat at beautiful farm tables built by our caterer, Pranzi Catering.

Rustic wedding table with locally grown flowers from and photography

Each table was decorated with an assortment of jars and vessels collected by Justin and myself over the years, all of which contained a variety of flowers and plants: Dahlia, Celosia, Dusty Miller and Veronica were in the mix.

Colourful wedding flowers from and photography

Tables also included various bric-a-brac including deer antlers and mini cacti. Each guest received a jar of honey at their setting as well.

Vintage wedding details - photography

During cocktail hour trays of our custom drinks were passed and included my lavender champagne cocktail and Justin’s salt-rimmed Michelada.

Wedding cocktails - photography


Before the wedding Justin and I made a pact that we would stay together throughout the whole wedding. It was “our” day after all and we would be sure to enjoy it together. Although we did not want to be apart at all, cocktail hour was the only time Justin and I were inevitably separated throughout the entire day.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

It was actually ideal to divide and conquer during cocktail hour, as we were able to utilize the time to greet our guests individually and make sure they felt welcomed and were enjoying themselves.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Once we made our entrance to the reception we did not spend a moment apart. This is another recommendation I’d make to every couple about to get married; it’s easy to be pulled in one million different directions, but really put your foot down and spend the day how YOU want to. It’s your wedding and you should spend and enjoy it WITH your new spouse, not stealing glances of one another across the room!

Wedding cocktails with lemon and lavender - photography

Right after our entrance we had our first dance, followed by father-daughter and mother-son dances. Then the speeches followed, which inevitably brought some tears, particularly when my dad gave his speech. After that we ate.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

All of my married friends told me that I wouldn’t end up eating, so I made a conscious effort to eat. After all, food was one of the most important aspects of our day so you better believe I was going to enjoy some food!

Day of the Dead wedding cake topper - photography

The food was all fresh, local and delicious! The cupcakes were a huge hit and I’m sad to have missed out on all of the delicious pies!

Wedding pies - photography

After we ate the music was turned up and we pretty much danced the entire night away until the caterers were breaking the tables down around us in an effort to inspire us to leave! The highlight of the night (and maybe my life?) was the last song, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as our guests spontaneously surrounded Justin and myself and burst into the most amazing sing along / interpretive dance fest of all time.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

When the song ended, we reluctantly left and invited everyone back to our house where we all drank plenty of beer and ate pizza. The skies opened and poured rain in the wee hours of the morning as we all called it a night. Truly the best night of my life.

Stephanie and Justin's homespun vintage fiesta wedding - photography

Images: All Red Anchor Photo (except where noted)


Emma on 19. March, 2014

What I love most about this wedding is that some things didn’t go as planned, but the bride is awesome and still had a fantastic day ~ plus the fact that the party continued with pizza and beer! Like Stephanie, I am determined to enjoy the food at my wedding! Congratulations to Stephanie and Justin x

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