Brity and Aaron sittin in a tree………
I guess you could say our luv (smoochies smoochies) story began way back in 1998 when we entered the same middle school as young and naïve 12 year olds, but it is safe to say we didn’t know each other existed until a bit later, 2002ish. At this point we had home room together for several years and our pictures appeared on top of each other in every yearbook. Here we are appearing in all of our junior yearbook glory!
Aaron doing his best “zoolander with a fro” and I in my oh-so-awkward “not a girl not yet a woman” stage. At this point crushes may have existed, note the B.C initials over his head when a friend and I went through marking everyone we thought was cute (yeah, that happened) but alas, nervous friendship is all that ever occurred. The love connection came by way of a surprise Facebook message 6 years later. Both of us found ourselves fresh out of college and living back in Gettysburg. An innocent Facebook message and 5 years later we are coming up on our 1 year wedding anniversary!! So when it came time to choose a wedding locale it seemed like the decision was obvious. We went back to where it all began, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Papa John (a.k.a. father of the groom) was kind enough to let us use his beautiful yard for both the ceremony and the reception. We had originally planned on having the reception down in a wooded area and had rented a tent as our just-in-case. Well, our just-in-case plan went to hell in a hand basket when the evening it was installed the skies opened up and it down poured. There we were with a swamp under a tent, i.e. no sunlight was drying out that bad boy. We rented industrial dryers but with only a day left there just wasn’t much we could do to turn wet ground dry. What’s that law that says what can go wrong will go wrong? Oh yeah, it’s called the “Brit Carlson this is your wedding” law. This was not the only problem. Papa John wanted to make sure his house was in tip top shape for the blessed event. The backyard was where the ceremony was to be held and the wedding party would be walking down the deck onto the patio so he decided to do a beautiful stamped concrete patio. The problem was the same rain that has flooded the tent had swamped the concrete truck that was now stuck right where we were planning on the having the ceremony. Luckily there was another spot in the backyard to move the ceremony to but with about 28 hours before my wedding I have a flooded tent and am trying to come up with convincing ways to hide the giant elephant in the room that was this stupid cement truck, the patio looked beautiful in case you were wondering…
The truck thankfully was eventually removed only leaving giant tread marks right where we would be walking. We threw down a little hay and moved on! The tent was a lost cause so with good weather on the horizon our amazing family and friends came together and in the dark we strung all of the lights, set all of the tables and brought all of the décor from the backyard to the front yard. I must mention at this point that I was literally delirious from an overwhelming combination of lack of sleep, nerves and a crushing to-do list.
If it wasn’t for my amazing friends and family this wedding would have never come together the way it did. They all know who they are and they know how much I owe them!!!!
For décor we wanted to bring some architectural features to our outdoor wedding. I made our backdrop by drawing a large iron gate on sheer drapery fabric to create a strong graphic in a delicate way.
To cover up a large shed that we would be walking in front of we dyed paper in different hues in purples, tore them in circles, and then hung them. This also did double duty as a great photo opportunity for our guests.
We went to our trusty local architectural salvage yard Community Forklift and picked up lots of old windows, shutters and copper and tin ceiling panels, originally to be hung from trees around the tent, but eventually had to make a home behind the head table in the new reception spot. They weren’t amazing in the daylight, but once the sun went down small tea lights strewn about made them come alive.
We strung café lights and Christmas lights anywhere we could reach, using way more than originally planned since there wasn't any thought out lighting scheme for the front yard.
For table décor we used the brown craft paper (super affordable) with individual placemat outlines painted on them over plain cream table clothes.
The flowers, a collection of light green hydrangeas, baby’s breath and lavender lilies were purchased very cheaply at Sams club in bulk. I combined them with tons of wild flowers I picked the day before. Cue my friend and wedding photographer, Elena and I driving around like creepers pulling over anywhere we saw something worthwhile.
I arranged them in a mishmash of galvanized buckets from IKEA and mason jars with metallic gold paint drips running down them. I ransacked my local thrift stores for small plates, wine and champagne glasses and clear mugs to make stacked candle holders. I glued them all together, painted different types of ampersands on each one and filled them with dried split peas to add a little color and hold the candles better.
For table number stands we got old staircase spindles, cut them to different heights, sawed a slit at the top to hold the number card and screwed them each to a 1x4. We made all of the paper goods including the escort and place cards by just printing them out on the same recycled craft paper we used for our invitations and stamped them with a stamp I carved of two hydrangeas like the ones on my engagement rings. We had to shove them in the forks on account of the breeze, but at that point whatever worked was happening since we only had a few hours before go time! The silver plasticware was shoved into the twine wrapped around our favors, shortbread cookies from a local bakery. My amazing mother, with the help of my equally amazing grandmother, hand sewed all of my napkins. Since we were using plastic plates and cutlery cloth napkins were really important to me in order to keep if from feeling too piciniky and she very kindly obliged.
The food came from our favorite Italian restaurant in town. With about two months left before the wedding and no decision about food made we realized every time we came to Gettysburg to work on the yard we would always go get La Bella Italia sub sandwiches. So we said “screw it, who says you can’t have subs at your wedding?” And so we did, and they were delicious! Along with bread dripping with olive oil, caprese salad, and several pastas, it was exactly what I wanted to eat while in my wedding dress! Instead of cakes, we opted for several different kinds of pies from a local bakery that were also truly scrumptious!
For all of the bouquets and boutonnieres, I used freeze dried flowers so I could make them well in advance. This was the smartest decision I could have possibly made since I didn’t have any spare time. I glued lavender to a hair comb to make a wonderful smelling hairpiece and wore very simple studs from Anthropologie that looked like hydrangeas.
My dress was from BHLDN, whenever you go wedding dress shopping they ask you what you envision looking like on your wedding day. I wanted to look “wood nymph-like” without looking like an extra at a renaissance fair (no bell sleeves!). Something light and airy on the bottom and nothing all that structured or shiny. I didn’t even like the dress I got looking at it online, but when I went to the store it jumped out at me immediately! That was the only store I went to, I knew it once I put it on.
All of my bridesmaids have wonderful taste and it was important for me that they weren’t forced into buying a dress they didn’t want and that they felt like them so I entrusted them to pick their own dresses. I gave them a range of colors to pick from, but they all went with blushy pinks. I loved how each of their dresses represented them perfectly and was so happy with the outcome!
For the boys Aaron new he wanted to wear a vest and have a vintagy feel. He got a herringbone vest from j.Crew and vintage shoes and watch from Etsy. He and his boys all had different color paisley print ties and bow ties making their look cohesive without that carbon copy feel.
My father pulled double duty as father of the bride: shown here walking me down the aisle, and pastor: shown here giving our sermon using a field hockey stick and a drum stick as representations of our different but similar personalities….props are kind of his signature.
It’s almost been a year since our wedding and I think I’m just now getting over the stress. Everything they say about your wedding being a blur is completely true. All I know is after all of the problems and sna-foos none of that really mattered. Once I was standing in front of Aaron it didn’t matter what had gone wrong, all that mattered was here I was saying I do to a wonderful man who I love and who loves me back….maybe all of that bad luck before my wedding was just the universe balancing out the score card since I got so lucky in love!
Photography: Elena Rosemond-Hoerr |www.pressedmagnoliastudio.com
Location: Gettysburg, PA