Intimate DIY Farmhouse Wedding in West Virginia

Sometimes there's nothing better than simplicity and this couple, who met during photography school embraced just that for their big day. With wildflowers in mason jars and a homemade ketubah made from ribbon, their love too center stage. Captured through the lens of I Love You Too Weddings, every detail of this intimate wedding is a cannot miss here!

From I Love You Too Weddings... I always feel an emotional connection to my clients on their wedding days. Being a wedding photographer, I'm given access to a person's most intimate life moments and entrusted to document them as they unfold. Naturally, I feel connected simply by being present. When I arrived to my cousin and best friend's wedding weekend, I was already charged with thirty plus years of emotional connection. I mean, literally, tears rolling down my cheeks just driving to her wedding location. So, when Sarah and her Groom, Eric, asked me to do a special wedding day portrait session with them, I was honored and knew it would be one of the most emotional photographic experiences I'll ever have as a wedding professional.

A little back story on the couple (because their story is an awesome one!): Sarah and Eric and I all met at photography school almost fifteen years ago. Sarah and I were roommates, Eric and Sarah were working on a class project together and was over at our apartment often. We all finished school and went on to start our careers. Obviously Sarah and I remained in close contact, because we're related and rarely go more than several days without talking, but definitely lost touch with Eric for a while, loosely keeping tabs on his whereabouts via social media.

Fast forward to a couple years ago... Sarah launched her artist representation agency, Claxton Represents, and took on Eric as a client. They found themselves reconnecting quickly through photography projects and their friendship picked up right where it had left off over a decade prior. Then, they fell in love. It was so sweet to watch friends become friends again and find this incredible romantic bond as a major bonus.

After Eric proposed, they set a date very quickly. Eric and Sarah share a love of travel and adventure, but also share a love of the simple life. They LOVE animals, Eric got a degree in Biology and Zoology long before he found his passion for photography and Sarah has a long history of working with photographers dedicated to environmental conservation at the International League of Conservation Photographers among others. When they found The Oldeststone House, a property built in 1734 and beautifully restored with environmental sustainability and animal welfare in mind, they knew it would be the perfect venue for their nuptials. Oldesstone is a working farm and houses a menagerie of animals including your typical farm animals alongside exotic birds, shetland ponies and the very charming fainting goat, Gus. The farmhouse itself accommodates twenty people so they were also able to have a giant slumber party weekend with their closest friends. As an added bonus, the English Lab farm dogs had just birthed two large litters and I can't remember a single moment where someone didn't have an adorable puppy in their arms.

As friends and family from near and far descended upon the farm for the weekend ahead, we all got to work helping to implement the many design details planned by the couple. Local wildflowers were picked and used for decor. John, the Farmhouse's owner, built a gorgeous chuppah out of fallen branches and wildflowers from the property. The bride's aunt used the same local wildflowers to assemble the bridal bouquet. The delicious gluten-free wedding cake made by the bride's step-mom was decorated with the local wildflowers. And Sarah wore local wildflowers in her hair on the wedding day.

Sarah and Eric designed and made all of their wedding details including the invitations, the ketubah and signage. They took inspiration from the peacocks that roam free around the farm.

Sarah and Eric wanted their wedding day to feel like an intimate, fun, casual dinner party where their guests could feel at home. They started the day with a cocktail hour that they attended. No big bridal entrance, just yummy drinks and snacks with everyone together around an area on the property with natural rocks for seating. Sarah's oldest brother was designated as their officiant and, with his quick announcement, the entire group followed Sarah and Eric to the chuppah for their ceremony. As their ceremony concluded, Sarah's niece and nephew led a parade with tambourines, homemade ribbon wands and noisemakers up a hill to the farmhouse where we had a delicious BBQ dinner and the bride and groom's parents delivered touching toasts to the newlyweds. Dinner was followed by dancing in the barn where an old friend played vinyl records all night. It was a beautiful warm, summer night and guests took breaks from dancing on the vintage table cloths scattered outside on the lawn under a clear sky full of stars.

It was a truly beautiful wedding and a testament to setting the stage for intimacy at an event. At the end of the day, we were just a bunch of old friends coming together. And it doesn't get much better than that.

Originally published May 26, 2015 on Style Me Pretty