Jamie and I started dating after we started living together. A little unconventional, yes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. From day one we were dreaming about the coming growing season. Being together was the spark that ignited our shared dream of getting back to the land.
Within a year we were mama and papa to two alpacas that we named Oliver and Abraham, a Babydoll sheep we called Bill Murray, and a starter flock of chickens. Since then we’ve moved twice, first to an alpaca farm where we lived in a one-room log cabin, and finally to 25 acres shared by a kind family with dreams of bringing back the farm they remembered from childhood. We’re so happy to live in a place that’s supportive of our goals. We have so much potential ahead of us on this land, which is why we knew it was the perfect place to celebrate our marriage.
We make very little money, so we knew our wedding would have to be planned on a budget. Even more importantly, our lifestyle doesn’t support wastefulness. My stomach churned at the thought of spending thousands of dollars on intangible things when that money could go towards hay or fencing or irrigation hoses. Our family was incredibly generous in helping us buy the things we needed to make the day memorable.
When it came to decorations, I knew that we wanted to keep things simple and draw attention to the beautiful summer landscape. With so many fun wedding ideas on the internet, the only limiting factor was time. Spring on a new farm is incredibly busy. Since Jamie’s arm was broken, most of the work fell on my shoulders and I was a little overwhelmed with planting, shearing sheep, cutting grass, and mulching. My family is extremely creative though, so before I knew it, my grandma was sending me dream catchers to hang in the trees and my aunts were spending hours on the phone scheming about centerpieces, garlands and the dinner menu (which they generously cooked all by themselves!)
Jamie’s mom offered to take care of dessert. She made a variety of delicious cakes and recruited Jamie’s aunt to make us one shaped like Bill Murray the sheep. That was the funniest surprise of the night! The leftovers are still in our fridge, but I’ve considered breaking the one-year-anniversary tradition more than twice.
My grandma made mini-garlands for the sheep and alpacas. She’s not much of a sheep-lover (in fact, she shrieked when Mini ran towards her for food), so when she called to tell me about her garlands I was shocked. It was pretty cute how she was calling Butter (our new lamb) her grandbaby. She also took over the girly aspects of our day and mailed me a beautiful Edwardian garden dress that fit like a glove. (She has an antique shop and goes to auctions all the time.) It was exactly what I was hoping to find, and is so pretty that it really should be on display. I love that someone made it by hand. The lace alone must have taken months!
A month before our wedding, the parents at the school I work at got wind of our upcoming celebration and decided to help out. One of the moms is a local florist, and she offered to make our bouquets with flowers from the children’s gardens. Some of the families donated financially so she was able to buy sunflowers, hydrangeas, and snapdragons. She made my bouquet in lieu of a traditional Edwardian arrangement with a flower from every child. I loved it. On the day of the wedding we even realized there were flowers left for the tables!
Jamie didn’t know what he was going to wear until a few days before the wedding. At the last minute he decided to wear a shirt that I’d bought him ironically a couple years ago for his birthday. A few hours before the ceremony, our neighbor brought him over some old suede boots and his dad brought him a sweet brass-buckled belt. Looking at the pictures now, we both joke about what ridiculous hipsters we look like. We’re never so put together! Even my hair ended up looking all swoopy and nice without being washed in days!
Our wedding party wore all blues and greens. For my bridesmaids, I created a favorites list on Etsy with cute dresses for inspiration. I loved how everyone wore something that they could wear again and reflected a bit of their personality. These friends of ours are so awesome. Many of them came to the farm days in advance and helped make favors, trim branches, hang “hangy-things” in trees, and provide moral support in a chaotic environment.
We invited nearly everyone who had made an impact on shaping our lives independently and together, as children and adults. It was surreal to see people we hadn’t talked to in years. Looking back it feels like the perfect culmination of who we were, who we are, and who we will become together. Because of this, our most vivid memories are from the ceremony. There was an amazing energy in the atmosphere.
So much love and hope surrounded us, and that made it all the more wonderful to share our love with everyone who came to support our marriage.
All photographs by Lydia Jane.