Wellies on – it’s time for a good, old-fashioned farm wedding. Sophie and Henry’s rustic big day was everything you’d want and more – rustic, natural and simply gorgeous.
New York couple Sophia, a social worker, and Henry, a non-profit professional at a human rights NGO, met at college, on Sophia’s birthday, ten years ago. As it turned out that a boyfriend is for life, not just for birthdays, and, a decade on, the pair made it official!
The couple tied the knot at Shady Lane Farm, a childhood haunt of bride, Sophia. The wedding was adorned with beautiful, laid-back wildflower bouquets, the most woven stunning birch sapling chuppah, with a lovely story behind it and bridesmaids in blush. In fact, the entire wedding was handmade, with friends and family pitching in, in an all-hands-on-deck effort to make everything as beautiful as it turned out to be.
The love and personal details were perfectly reflected in the pictures by A.Fogarty Photography
Stunning Sophia wore a divine lace Nicole Miller dress, with beautifully braided hair – a vision of boho chic.
Over to Sophia for the full story behind her and Henry’s perfect Jewish farm wedding!
How we met
Sophia, the bride: We met in college, when we were introduced by two of our closest friends, on Sophia’s birthday! This was ten years ago in March.
A family friend’s farm
Henry and I were married at Shady Lane Farm, in New Gloucester, Maine. The farm is owned by the aunt and uncle of two of my dearest longtime friends, and it is a place where I spent a lot of time growing up.
We totally lucked out that they began using the property as a wedding venue a few years before our wedding, so really, it was an easy decision given my fantasy of being married in a barn in my home state of Maine.
We were married in an open field on the property, and held our reception inside the barn.
Tearing up the rule book
We did not have a wedding planner, or an on-the-day coordinator. We survived through sheer luck and an outpouring of support from our friends and family. We made it a priority to have our wedding be, well, all about us. We had witnessed far too many moments of friends whose plans were derailed or distracted by their well intentioned, but overly needy, families.
Henry and I are not a ‘by the book’ type of couple, so it was important that we made it clear to all from the moment we were engaged that we would not do things how others would typically do them. We made our wedding about us by pursuing our vision, and being clear with our families about what we wanted – a simple, beautiful wedding with a great dance party and amazing food – and we were incredibly lucky that everyone agreed with our top priority that, wedding aside, we be together.
We refer to our wedding as the ‘all hands on deck’ wedding. The week prior, our families began to gather in Maine and everyone contributed to something – making table numbers (I used photographs of me and Henry at different ages throughout our childhoods for these), decorating for a lobster bake we hosted at my parents’ home the day before our wedding, preparing desserts, decorating and filling gift bags for guests, arranging flowers for centerpieces, setting up tents – and so much more!
It was a beautiful thing to have an event where everyone could contribute something because Henry and I were doing it all ourselves. Also, it helped me learn how to give up some of that control I love to have!
Wildflower invitations bound with twine
I found our invitation’s designer on Instagram. I had spent hours debating whether I should design and create each invitation (I love to be creative, but have been known to get in over my head), or find a layout that I liked and print them myself.
The bottom line was, stick to the budget! I did go so far as to buy some sample paper and some stamps that I liked, but when I found Love Prints, I was sold.
Funnily enough, Love Prints is based in Poland, which took me perhaps too long to figure out, given that their website isn’t in English. I tracked down their email address and sent a design and production inquiry. After a few email exchanges, it was clear that I had found what I wanted.
The invitation itself was two pages: a cover page with a simple, green design of wildflowers, and the invitation page that had simpler aspects of the same design. The two pages were tied together with twine. Henry and I were both drawn to the simplicity, originality and artistic talent that went into the invitations and I would highly recommend Love Prints to anyone looking for something stunning and different than anything else you’ll find.
Braided hair and romantic makeup
Kimberly Savage, a did my hair and makeup.
We did a trial run a few months prior which was really helpful to get a sense of what would work on the day. The top of my dress was lace with cap sleeves, so I knew that I wanted an up ‘do so that my hair wouldn’t take away from my dress.
While I tend to feel ‘sexier’ with my hair down, I made the decision that putting it up was just more practical. I wanted something that was out of my face, but still gave me the look of having volume. Kimberly did some really fun braiding on the sides, which added a unique element as well.
My makeup was, heavy, for me, but probably an ‘everyday’ look for some people. Given our venue, I wanted my makeup to be romantic and heavy enough that I stood out, but not so much that I looked like a different person. Kimberly did an amazing job and I couldn’t recommend her enough!
A lace, cap-sleeved Nicole Miller gown
My wedding dress was designed by Nicole Miller, and was probably the fourth or fifth dress that I tried on. It was one of those classic moments where I would never have picked the dress out myself. The consultant I was working with in the store looked at the dress, and, seeing how tall I am, told me that I had to try it. So I did.
It fit like a glove, was comfortable and I could move in it, which was a priority. The best part: I didn’t have to wear Spanx or a bra!
Accessories with sentimental value
My veil was made by my matron of honour, who can literally do anything. I told her what I wanted and she produced the most beautiful veil I could have dreamed of.
The diamond in my engagement ring and the pearls that I wore belonged to Henry’s maternal grandmother. While the pearls were borrowed, the diamond was gifted to us for the engagement and holds a lot of sentimental value. It was important to me that my jewelry be simple so that it didn’t overwhelm the dress.
T-strap gold sandals with a hint of sparkle
I have to admit, finding shoes was the worst! I knew that I didn’t want to wear heels, because I’m all about comfort. I am also 5’11” and didn’t want to be the tallest person in the room.
I wanted something that would allow me to dance the night away, something that would be comfortable, cute and appropriate for the evening. Of course, I waited until the last minute to begin looking. That’s my style, what can I say? I ended up with some cute T-strap gold sandals with lots of jewels and a little bit of sparkle that were perfect for the evening.
The handsome groom
Henry wore the most beautiful bright blue suit, which I had custom make for him in India when I was travelling there with my mum in the spring of 2016.
That was really fun, because I got to go to a tailor that Henry had gone to personally when we were both in India together in 2015. The tailor updated Henry’s measurements and produced his wedding suit!
The swooning part when I saw him for the first time was easy. Henry is very handsome (not that I’m biased or anything) and put him in a suit, swooooooon. More than the suit though, it’s his smile that gets me every time.
Bridesmaids in blush
I have five sisters, so when we got engaged I realised that there was no way I was going to have a small wedding party. My bridesmaids consisted of my five sisters and two of my closest friends, who were both my maid, and matron of honour.
While I had an idea of the look I wanted to achieve, it was important to me that I didn’t choose a dress that would be difficult for them to afford, and that they may never wear again.
I gave my bridesmaids guidelines – that the dress be floor length, within the blush range of color, and no lace (that element was going to be unique to me). They did an amazing job of choosing their own dresses within their own budgets and I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone looked stunning!
A woven birch sapling chuppah strung with wildflowers
Our chuppah was made from four sets of birch sapling that had been cut from a forest when they were still alive and woven together at the top so that an archway was created (each two saplings created one arch).
These were special, because the saplings came from one of my mother’s dear friends (and was a significant part of my life growing up). She had cut them originally for her own daughter’s wedding 13 years earlier!
A piece of lace was placed at the top to create the top of the chuppah and wildflowers were strung throughout the branches. Another of my mother’s dear friends offered a piece of her wedding sari to be strung throughout the branches as well. This was incredibly special for me because I spent time living in India and completely fell in love with the culture and the people.
A simple, Jewish ceremony
What was really special about the ceremony was the rabbi that was able to perform it for us. She is a dear friend of our family and has known me and Henry throughout our ten years together. She has been an amazing support and friend.
We had a simple, Jewish ceremony with some traditional elements. We did ask family and a few dear friends to come up to the chuppah to give the seven blessings, and it was so beautiful to be surrounded by all that love. Henry and I did choose to write our own vows, but decided to read them at a time when we were alone (we wanted to save that part just for ourselves).
A cut-out style ketubah
Our ketubah is stunning – we decided on a cut-out style and loved that we could pick the language that was included in it. That made it much more personal for us.
Our music choice
The childhood friend whose family owns Shady Lane Farm is also an amazing musician and played during our wedding ceremony.
For our recessional, we chose to play My Girl, by the Temptations. It’s my mother’s favourite song. By printing the lyrics on the back of the wedding program, we had everyone singing along, which was what I had hoped would happen.
We did our first dance to a duet of Can’t Help Falling In Love that our band performed. Other than that, we focused on dance music (pop) and oldies!
Local, seasonal flowers
I am a big fan of using local vendors and not importing things that I don’t necessarily need (environmental reasons yada yada yada), so ended up choosing a colour scheme and using the flowers were available that month.
We partnered with a local farm (Broadturn Farm), who delivered buckets of fresh flowers to us the day before the wedding. My bridesmaids and I spent hours creating the most beautiful floral centerpieces for the tables.
It was important to us that the arrangements have a lot of texture, and were not too high so that people sitting across from one another could have a conversation. I couldn’t have been happier with what we produced!
Our fabulous photographer
Amanda Fogarty was our wedding photographer and I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing photographs she produced.
As soon as I saw her work, I knew that I found my photographer! She made everything seamless and I couldn’t be more grateful. I still find myself ogling our wedding photos!
A lemon and lavender cake
My matron of honour and her mother made our wedding cake. It. Was. Amazing. The cake itself was a lemon cake with a lavender cream frosting that was simple, and totally perfect. We chose the flavours after being inspired by another wedding cake we had eaten at a friend’s wedding.
Doc’s Cafe & Catering did our catering and we couldn’t have asked for more variety or better service. Doc’s did an amazing job of offering us a huge variety of options within our budget, and were happy to make any accommodations we requested. Our friends and family raved about the food afterwards, so we know it was the right choice!
A memorable live band
We had a live band, The Loving Cup, who came down from Boston to play at our wedding. Having a live band was important to us, since we wanted there to be as much dancing as possible.
We chose Loving Cup based on their sound and, like the food, this was another aspect of our wedding friends and family continue to comment on. They were incredible!
Henry’s dad and stepmother made goody bags for all of our ‘out of town’ guests. Henry and I had no requirements for this, and were happy to have someone else take it on! They definitely stuck with the ‘Maine’ theme as well as including some homemade goodies.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
My advice is, don’t sweat the small stuff! While that might sound clichéd, this was something I really tried to take to heart. Our wedding wasn’t perfect, and some things did not go as planned, but in the end, that wasn’t what mattered.
No one noticed that a string of lights didn’t light up (or whatever it was). As a bride, you have a million and one details running around your brain, and the hardest thing can be to turn it off and just enjoy the day. If you can take a moment to just stop and realize what is happening, you will be so grateful you did!
Sophia & Henry’s little white book
Photographer – A.Fogarty Photography
Venue – Shady Lane Farm
Dress – Nicole Miller
Hair + Makeup – Kimberly Savage
Flowers – Broadturn Farm
Catering – Doc’s Cafe & Catering
Band – Loving Cup
Dessert – Pies from Two Fat Cats