Wedding Week :: The Ceremony

With "All You Need Is Love" crooning in the background, we departed from the altar through floating bubbles as husband and wife. The path to say "I do" was complete with a horse-drawn carriage, DIY touches, and the groom breaking the rules with a stolen kiss during the homily. Read on for the details behind it all!

First, let's talk about the flowers, because they were by far one of my favorite touches of the day. We wanted florals to be the key decor focal point of the ceremony and reception, and it was important for us to work with someone local, which is why we pinched ourselves when we found Black Dog Farms. It's run by an organic florist named Beth, who left her corporate job to work on her passion, and was absolutely wonderful to work with. Not only was she cost effective, but she personalized everything from the arbor and petal-lined aisle to the bouquets and vases. The end result was absolutely stunning - the colors popped against the greenery of the vineyard without being too loud, and the flowers themselves were full and lush.

On either side of the aisle there were wine barrels holding vases, the ceremony program, bubbles and a DIY reclaimed window sign made by yours truly. I got crafty with wording for the sign, which said "Pick a seat, any seat. With love, there's no right side. Let's unite, we're all family, once the groom kisses his bride." It ended up being such a cute opening to the ceremony area and helped to set the tone for the wedding as a whole being rustic and filled with lots of personal touches.

Our greeters {Hi Kristina and Ana!} and ushers arrived, and so did the guests, who came by school buses from the town nearby. Since the vineyard was in a rural area, we wanted to make sure that transportation was provided so that people could enjoy the evening without having to worry about driving through cornfields when the festivities were over. Plus, who doesn't love a good 'ol school bus ride?!

All the music for the ceremony was done by a string quartet, which was lovely paired with the romance of the vineyard.

For the processional, all the moms were walked down the aisle by their sons, with their husbands close by, to "Air" by Bach. Because all the sons were also a part of the wedding party, they returned to the bridesmaids who were standing nearby waiting to walk down the aisle, with the exception of Doug who stayed at the front of the aisle. Once all the parents were seated, the bridal party walked down to "Yellow" by Coldplay.

In the meantime, my dad and I were boarding a horse-drawn carriage. Let me pause there for a moment to recognize how wonderfully ridiculous that was. 

When we were planning the ceremony, the vineyard owners recommended Buggies and Things to us, noting that many brides used the carriage for their entrance in lieu of walking the long distance from the bridal cottage to the ceremony area. Run by a family from a nearby town, it was relatively affordable, so we thought, Hey why not?! I didn't really think twice about it all until the day of when I walked out of the cottage to find a Cinderella-esk carriage led by a white horse and two men in top hats. My jaw literally dropped as I stood there in awe.

Then I did a little shimmy-shimmy happy dance and hopped right in.

It ended up being one of the coolest experiences of the day. My dad and I rolled through the vineyards, entering the open ceremony area with the sound of trotting horses. Paired with "Canon in D" by Bach playing and a welcomed slight breeze, it was truly a magical entrance. 
The ceremony itself was lovely, personal and emotional. 

Doug and I visited a few churches to find the right pastor and church to represent our marriage. We're both more spiritual than religious per say, and we ended up going with an amazing pastor named Avena who perfectly channeled this notion. After taking marriage classes with her and meeting many times to prepare for our big day, the ceremony was an ideal mixture of a spirit-infused homily and commitment-driven statements of intent. 

Our readers were my Aunt Kit, who read A Blessing For Marriage, and Doug's Aunt Adrienne, who read an excerpt from The Alchemist.  In case you're looking for ceremony material, here are the readings in full! 

Blessing For A Marriage, by James Dillet Freeman

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.  May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. 

A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. 

May you need one another, but not out of weakness.  
May you want one another, but not out of lack.  
May you entice one another, but not compel one another. 
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.  
May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. 
May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults. 

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. 
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another's presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. 

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. 
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!

Excerpt from The Alchemist

It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. 

What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it's easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it's in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. 

There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one's dreams would have no meaning.

Confession: I was nervous to walk down the aisle. Not because I was nervous to get married - that was the easiest and best decision of my life. I was nervous because of how many people would be looking at us while doing so! However, once I go to the altar and the ceremony started, it was like a wave of calm came over me. Later, Doug mentioned that the same thing happened to him as well. We were in our own little world, with just us and the pastor, and our vows and rings were exchanged without a care in the world. 

Romance aside, while up there, a few funny mishaps happened. First, the breeze picked up a little and my veil kept blowing in my face. I'd be looking at Doug or the pastor, and all of a sudden it'd be a white out. I even think one time it got caught on the arbor, and we all couldn't help but laugh. 

Also, because it was so hot out, both Doug and my's fingers swelled up so that the rings were very difficult to slide on. We each had to reaaaally push on those rings, and luckily they slide on after some effort, thank goodness!

Don't worry guys, we made it. And at the end of it all, there was of course a big 'ol smooch. 

After that it was a cake walk! We waltzed back down the aisle with guests blowing bubbles and were whisked away in our "Just Married" horse and carriage for a ride around the vineyard before we joined our guests for the party.


  1. Emily, I am pretty much obsessed with your wedding week series! I love that you are sharing the sweet and tender moments of your big day and all the personal touches!

  2. Haha oh my gosh, I didn't even think about the finger swelling thing! Too funny

  3. The ceremony really looks like something out of a fairy tale! I love the readings you choose.

    1. Thank you! Honestly, the readings were some of the hardest to choose. There are so many great ones out there!

  4. I love the ceremony space! it's perfect. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

    1. Such a dream!
      PS - Hope you are loving your new place. I need to hear all about the move!

  5. My fingers swell in the slightest heat and I didn't ever think of that being a problem, ahh! The carriage is the sweetest, most romantic thing yet. :)

    1. Oh my gosh, you should have seen my face when it pulled up. I was honestly shocked! It was such a fun, wonderful addition to the day.

  6. how beautiful!!! such a dreamy setting...

    1. Thanks, Jill! It truly was such a beautiful setting. I can't believe we hadn't heard about the vineyard before searching for venues!

  7. So very pretty! Congratulations!

  8. Omgsh, you are the cutest couple ever!! I love you too!!! You're wedding was beautiful! :)

  9. I'm catching up on these posts and I'm literally smiling at my computer! You made the most beautiful bride - and you can see that there was so much JOY that day! Eeee congratulations, pretty lady! I hope to see ya soon!!

    1. Thank you, Lauren!! Yes, we must get together soon - hope you're doing well.

  10. So romantic!! The flowers are gorgeous and I loved the barrels at the end of the aisle.


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