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When a couple with a passion for organic farming ties the knot, you just know their wedding is going to be full of homegrown goodness. Josie and Shawn used plenty of local, seasonal foods and flowers at their wedding, but they also took the cozy feeling of home one step further–their venue was a farm where they, and many of their guests, had attended grade school functions over the years. The sentimental location was a natural choice, and the fact that it was a farm was a perfect fit for Josie and Shawn!

Thanks so much to Ashley Relvas for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes. We had a Quaker ceremony and we entered together. Since we both work outside and have been farmers for a long time, we don’t get dressed up very often. We thought it would be fun for everyone to see the whole look all at once as a surprise! We were so glad we did it–it was exciting!

We knew we wanted to be married outside on a farm. Quailhill Farm is very special, as it has always been a part of our school community. Elizabeth and Peter were extremely generous in inviting us to have our wedding there! Elizabeth is the librarian at the school we grew up attending together, and their daughters went to school with us. Fun school-related events were often held at their farm, so it was a special place for a lot of people who attended our wedding.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, and one of our favorite phrases was, “I will accept you for exactly who you are.” We have practiced this in our six years of dating and will continue to through our marriage. We will work to accept and support each other even as we change over time.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was all Maryland (yes, Maryland is technically the South)–the food and flowers were all grown, arranged, and prepared in Maryland! We were married on a working farm surrounded by mostly Marylanders, plus the occasional North Carolinian.

Our wedding flowers were gorgeous! Our friend Jackie from De La Tierra Gardens in Carroll County, Maryland grew and arranged them for us. We knew we wanted lots of texture, whites, greens, and little pops of color. She really blew us away. She used a beautiful mix of whites and greens with poppy pods, dusty miller, hydrangea, peonies, and so many other beautiful and seasonal flowers. They really made the tables special. Her dad even made the cedar boxes that the table arrangements were in!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made all the favors, place cards, signs, and other details for the day. We used hay bales that the farm already had for ceremony seating–we just had to help get them out of the barn and set them up! We decorated the ceremony with flowers in cheap metal bins from the hardware store and the caterer was able to provide cushions for the bales for a really low price per cushion. We only served beer and wine, and we were able to get a discount on both since we were working directly with the brewery and winery. Lastly, the dancing was going to go on for longer than the caterer was supposed to stay, so we had them put the beer and wine in a cooler and pack up on time so we didn’t get charged overtime for their staff! It worked out really well!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in middle school when we were 11 years old. We were good friends for all those years and went to separate colleges, but kept in touch on holidays back home in Maryland. After college, just before Shawn went into the Peace Corps (two and a half years in Morocco!), we started seeing a lot more of each other. We wrote a few letters back and forth the first year he was gone, and during the second year, we picked up the pace. I went to visit him for two weeks in May 2008 and we’ve been together ever since. Throughout our long-distance first year together, we sent a journal back and forth that we called “The Book,” where we wrote journal entries, letters, drew pictures, made collages, added photos and stickers–it was such a great way to stay close through all that time apart. When he returned, we apprenticed on a couple of organic farms together (spending as much time together as possible!) and we’ve both been in agriculture and farm education since then.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had recently moved and had been hoping for months to go on a camping trip. We finally got a date on the calendar to go for a hike in the mountains a few hours north. As we approached the peak, Shawn kept checking the map to make sure we were in the right place–which should have been a clue, since we usually just go with the flow! I kept saying, “I’m sure we’ll find it, we’ll just keep going up!” When we made it to the view he had in mind, we stood close to each other, side by side, just taking it in. He put his arm around me, held out the ring, and said, “What do you say we get married?” I saw the ring and my mind started racing–it was my grandmother’s engagement ring! How did he have it? When did he get it? That meant my parents knew! With my hands over my mouth, I looked up at him and said “WHAT??” He chuckled and went on to say so many nice things about me and us and how amazing it would be to get married after five years of dating and almost 20 years of friendship. We hugged, cried a little, jumped up and down, and I eventually remembered to actually SAY yes. After we bounced down the mountain on our way to celebrate, we signed out of the log book with the time and “We’re engaged!!”
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew the neckline and waistline I was looking for and found something affordable on Etsy! I had it fitted shortly after receiving it and I loved it!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? During a Quaker ceremony, there is a period of silence after the couple says their promises where guests can share messages. We asked our mothers to end the ceremony with a reading or message that they wanted to share. They were both so special and meaningful, and they both quoted Wendell Berry (one of our favorite authors)!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” Not only does this song speak to the part of our promises I mentioned before, but we also passed this song back and forth while Shawn was in Morocco, so it is a little bit nostalgic for us.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had pies made with seasonal fruits, strawberry rhubarb and blueberry crumb. There was also a chocolate pie for folks who don’t love fruit pies. They were delicious!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky and a cool breeze. The most memorable moment of this perfect day was sitting down after we finished exchanging promises and rings during the ceremony, and we looked around to see all our friends and family surrounding us. It was so exciting and comforting to have everyone there.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently moved to Brooklyn and both have jobs working with urban farms and gardens. We are looking forward to settling into our new lives here, but we miss our family down South!

Photographer: Ashley Relvas Photography / Venue: Quailhill Farm / Florist: De La Tierra Gardens / Catering and Pies: Ridgewells / Rentals and Lighting: ABC Party and Tent Rental / DJ: Josh Rhett of My Deejay / Invitations: Paperless Post / Bride’s Shoes: Modcloth / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    LOVE their Quaker marriage certificate! We had one at our wedding and it’s my favorite!

  2. avatar Ashley Relvas reply

    Thank you ladies so much for the beautiful feature!!

  3. avatar Mandy Volpe reply

    Love the chicken as a part of the wedding pictures! Love their take on the wedding vows “as you are” is a beautiful reminder of the change that happens in a marriage!

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The importance of family in the South can’t be underscored enough, and for today’s couple, Brittany and Joel, it means everything–without the wisdom of Joel’s mother, the two of them would not have even met! The front porch of Joel’s childhood home subsequently made the perfect backdrop for this lovely couple to become husband and wife. For their backyard reception, Brittany was inspired to make guests feel as though they had stepped back in time, and achieved it in such a charming way, thanks to a “drive-in movie” slideshow, a barbershop quartet, and an impressive assortment of vintage china.

Thank you so much to Blue Ribbon Vendor Kt Crabb for sharing Brittany and Joel’s wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was working for The Cotillion Southern Cafe. When I went to the owner, Kathi Vincent, to give her my two-week notice before going home to my family in North Carolina, Kathi quickly said that she had a strong feeling I should stay to meet her son, who was coming home for the holidays from Utah. Joel came home a week early and I stayed to meet him. We hit it off so much that I went back to Utah with Joel to get all of his things, and our relationship began. A year later, we were married!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We both wrote our own vows. Joel’s were the best!! He also had his vows to me printed in a frame waiting at our private villa on our wedding night.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. I walked down the aisle to “Make You Feel My Love” and we walked back up the aisle to “Oh Happy Day.”

Our wedding flowers looked like we had just walked outside and picked them. We used roses and baby’s breath, as well as all the wonderful flowers my mother-in-law, Kathi, grows around the family home. All of the wedding party carried handmade fabric flowers that Kathi made of fabrics from her wedding dress, my mother’s dress, and Joel’s sisters’ wedding dresses.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married on the front porch of the house Joel was raised in. We also had a pie bar, a biscuit bar, fried chicken, and mason jars to drink out of. In our invitations, we asked everyone to wear bow ties and big hats.

We did not want a DJ at the wedding because we wanted people to feel like they were stepping back in time, and we did not want a party–we wanted a celebration. We played all classic oldies music that we set up on a playlist. Joel’s brother also used the playlist in a “drive-in” slide show that played throughout the wedding.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had three wedding cakes and about twelve different pie flavors. The cakes were coconut, salted caramel, and a steel magnolia cake. The pies were pecan, key lime, hoochie mama, butterscotch, peanut butter, blueberry, pumpkin and sweet potato. I made all of the cakes and pies at the family restaurant The Cotillion Southern Cafe–Kathi has been teaching me!

I adore this shot of the barbershop quartet–what a perfect addition to a vintage-inspired wedding!

Tell us all about the proposal! He popped the question on the top floor of our first apartment together, so we could always go back to where our engagement started.
When were y’all married? November 23 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look because we wanted to keep our wedding very traditional.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Honestly, finding a dress was the most simple part of the wedding (other then marrying the man of my dreams)–the first and only dress I tried on was the one!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was pearl jewelry that my father gave to my mother, which I wore with my dress. My something old was all of the fabric in my bouquet, and my something new was a spoon bracelet I wore. I gave matching bracelets to my bridesmaids as well.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Timing, because we planned our wedding in six months!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We would have to say working with our photographer, Kt Crabb, because she was really one of our only vendors. We did all of our own foods and desserts, as well as decorations and set up.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are both looking forward to a future with many children. We are expecting our first child September 20, 2014!

Photographer: Kt Crabb / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Mother of the Groom / Catering and Desserts: The Cotillion Southern Cafe / Bride’s Gown: Style MS251001 by David’s Bridal / Veil and Shoes: David’s Bridal / Bridesmaid Dresses: Their own / Hair and Makeup: Ashyln Showley

Kt Crabb is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
13 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    This wedding looks like so much fun! Love that they created an experience for their guests that was true to them, even if it was different from the standard dinner + dancing!

  2. avatar Katie Crabb reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely wedding! I hope it truly inspires other couples to embrace the sweet southern environment Brittany and Joel created for their wedding day. After all those pictures of pie, I think I might just have to go make some!

  3. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    There are so many home-y details I love – the “drive in,” signing the quilt, even just having the silverware for dessert in a silver chest – just like it would be at home!

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] and Graham filled their wedding with family heirlooms and foods that celebrated their home city. Brittany and Joel held a front porch ceremony (y’all know we love that!) and a sweet backyard reception. Have […]

  5. avatar Kat reply

    There is just so much I adore about this wedding!!! Her big pink bow, the vintage details, those chairs… and a “Drive In” section?! The best!!!

  6. avatar Ashlyn Showley reply

    I had the incredible honor of doing the beautiful bride’s hair and makeup for this wedding. Everything about this wedding was magical, and you could truly feel the intense love between the two. Thank you, Brittany for allowing me to be apart of that day!

  7. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

    What an amazing dress!

  8. avatar Top Five Southern Pies in Honor of National Pi Day | Your Hub for Southern Culture reply

    […] Brittany and Joel served up twelve different pie flavors at their wedding, including pecan, Key lime, butterscotch, peanut butter, blueberry, pumpkin, and sweet potato. Even more impressive? The bride made them all herself at the family cafe! (Photos by Kt Crabb) […]

  9. avatar February Pin-spiration » Marry and Bright reply

    […] porch wedding vows, a lovely old farm house, and lots of PIE made this wedding day one of our […]

  10. avatar Brittany & Joel • Backyard Southern Wedding reply

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  11. avatar {Themed Party} グランピング | ベンジャミンズパーティー reply

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  12. avatar Darien reply

    Does anyone know what dress this is? I’ve been dreaming of it! I have to have it it’s so beautiful! Such a beautiful wedding.

  13. avatar pale pink and gold wedding colors,pink and gold wedding colour scheme reply

    […] : Bouquet – flickr | Wedding dress – southernweddings | Table setting – elizabethannedesigns | Valentino Shoes – nordstrom | Cake […]

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We loved Erin + Michael’s lakeside wedding from V5 as soon as we saw it. But we had no idea until we saw the full disc of images from Melissa Schollaert, how much work and how many details went into creating their big day. For two designers who own their own company called hi note, the wedding was a way for them to showcase their lives together as well as their talents and passions.

Aside from the many details, I’m in love with the venue E + M chose for their big day: Erin’s family’s lakeside home. “We both have fond memories of weekends spent on the water and wanted to share that experience with all of our friends and family,” said the groom. “The home was designed and built by Erin’s parents so that they have a panoramic view of the sunset. We knew it would be the perfect setting for our ceremony. All of the guests sat on hay bales covered with heirloom quilts and blankets overlooking the water. One of Erin’s close family friends, Tricia, played ceremony music that the three of us chose together. It was a very personal and intimate ceremony, but relaxed at the same time.”

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The laser-cut wood veneer invitations were definitely my favorite part of the whole experience. Erin and I put a ton of time into making each guest feel like they were getting a personalized, custom invite that reflected on the experience to come.

Finding my wedding dress was the first and quickest decision I made while planning the wedding. I knew I wanted something very organic and natural to suit the overall aesthetic of our day but I also wanted to feel elegant and beautiful. I tried on dresses at several salons but ultimately found the perfect designer, Claire la Faye, on Etsy. My mom and I sketched out some ideas and sent them to Claire. She created a custom gown for me by combining two of her existing dress designs and then added the strap and train detail that my mother and I came up with. It turned out even more beautiful than I ever dreamed, and it was really comfortable too!

Both my bouquet and my maid of honor’s bouquets were created by my mom and made up of brooches that my closest friends and family members contributed, as well as some thrift store finds. My creative mother, who is also a talented jewelry designer, made the boutonnieres out of old fishing lures, bird feathers, ribbon and burlap twine.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? (From the groom) Since our wedding was late in the evening, our photographer scheduled our portraits before the ceremony. Melissa arranged it so we could have a “first-look” moment with one another in the field where she shot our engagement photos. It was extremely special for the two of us to be able to see each other for the first time on our wedding day, privately, and really embrace the moment.

Of course Erin + Michael’s dear pup Otis had to be involved in the festivities! We like that he cleaned up with a snappy bow tie for the event.

How delicious (and convenient) is this refreshments station? Like Michael, I love that the laser-cut wooden signage gives every detail a personalized touch.

The venue was our initial inspiration for the wedding. As an interior designer and now stationery designer for weddings and events, I always try to honor the natural aesthetic of a venue. When we decided to have the wedding at my parent’s home, we knew it needed to be casual, fun and relaxed — just like lake life. We also wanted to reflect on the fact that it was the place I grew up and now a place we visit as adults, which is why we chose to make the decor at every table different, serve family recipes and have our favorite childhood candy as a midnight snack to evoke that feeling of “home.” (From the groom) The other inspiration was just ‘us’: our story, who we are and where we are from. Every single detail, from colors, graphics, decor and food, was a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a couple.

The family tree display in front of the ceremony area was a lovely (and a tad punny) idea.

Who participated in your ceremony? One of our close friends officiated the ceremony, my maid of honor was my cousin Dana and the best man was Scott, Michael’s brother. We wanted our family to be a direct part of our ceremony, so we had our parents and grandparents seated next to us as part of the wedding party.
Did you write your own vows? Yes, we did write our own vows. Michael stole the show with his opener, “When I met you, your nickname was Bob and you lived in a trailer…” Yup, he really said it, and it’s totally true! I lived in a trailer in college and had a boy’s nickname. Even the guests who didn’t know the backstory still got a really good laugh. It even took me a moment to regain composure!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at Auburn University and were friends throughout college. We both got jobs in Atlanta and reconnected seven years after we met. The rest is history.
What is a date you will always remember? September 15, 2010 – the day we got engaged!
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) Our first big step as a couple came when we adopted a rescue dog together. Otis is such a huge part of both of our lives, and one of our favorite places to take him is a park near our house with a huge field for him to play. I thought this would be the perfect place to propose to Erin, but I also wanted be sure we could capture the moment. I asked our friend and wedding photographer Melissa to call Erin and ask if she wanted photos taken of Otis. Erin had wanted to have portraits taken for some time, so Melissa and I thought this was the perfect way to surprise her. We were taking some candid shots of us walking Otis, and I mentioned that he was really looking forward to our trip. Erin, not knowing what trip I was referring to, was obviously confused. I then explained that we were flying to Denver the next day to see one of our favorite bands play live, and that it would be the perfect way to celebrate our engagement. I then got down on one knee and proposed! Denver was a place we both wanted to visit, so were able to enjoy a long weekend celebrating our engagement. Erin was definitely caught off guard, but said yes, and it was all caught on camera.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring. The two things I knew I wanted in my engagement ring were a yellow diamond and a vintage aesthetic to the setting. We browsed at rings, but I must admit, I got a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Michael ended up finding the diamond in New York (where he is from) and the setting in Alabama (where I am from). He did a great job — it suits me to a T.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, nostalgic, graphic
How many guests attended your wedding? 100

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
11 Comments
  1. avatar Kate Collison reply

    I think this is gorgeous! Sweet and romantic, but “poppy” and fun. How beautiful! Congrats to the couple!

  2. avatar Melissa Schollaert reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring this lovely wedding! Hope that your readers love it. I’m so happy that I was a part of Erin & Michael’s wedding and captured it for them. They are so talented and I just loved everything that they came up with. If you LOVE this wedding, you must checkout Hi Note, they are more than just stationery designers and really come up with some cool concepts.

  3. avatar Erin reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring our wedding! It was such a labor of love and are so glad you think so as well!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Gorgeous! I love the colors in this wedding, and I adore their literal family tree! :)

  5. avatar Dee Shore reply

    The day I get married, I’m going to be a big ole copy cat, because this… this is just my dream in photos.

  6. avatar David reply

    Great job capturing the Mike and Bob wedding experience. I had the pleasure of attending this grand event, the pictures are great but don’t do it justice. The attention to deatil was astounding, after some of Nila’s margaritas and more then a couple Coor’s Light I couldn’t help myself from telling everyone around us that we were, in fact, attending a wedding that you read about in a magazine, sure enough – here it is. Mike and Bob are increditably talented, passionate and dedicated to what they do. Again, great article – this couple will go far in both life and love. My only unbiased complaint is that hi note (yourhinote.com) wasn’t around 8 years ago when I married my wife.

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  8. avatar Rachel reply

    I know this is a weird question but I am having an outdoor wedding at my family’s cabin. We have accommodated 60 people for Thanksgiving in the past. With around 75 guests and only 1 bathroom, any suggestions on what to do? Did you have this concern? Thanks!

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