A Casual Purple-and-Orange Rustic Wedding in Virginia
Carrie Anne and Barton
Hal, a friend and client of Carrie Anne's, saw a profile of Barton in the food section of the newspaper and recognized him as the little boy who had lived across the street from him 22 years earlier. He insisted on taking Carrie Anne to the restaurant where the chef was working to introduce them. After dinner, Carrie Anne mistakenly ate a dessert that contained a nut she had a severe allergy to, and Barton stepped in and took her to the pharmacy. A little over two years later, they wed at Double Dog Farm -- owned by matchmaker Hal and his partner, Tim.
The wedding's casual theme began with the invitations, which were screen-printed on beechwood veneer by the bride, who runs Anemone, a design boutique in Washington, D.C. The back of the invitation was anchored by two antique buttons holding a ribbon, enabling recipients to hang the card for display. Each invitation was packed into a customized fabric-lined box featuring the guest's name on the front.
Guests arrived to grilled oysters from Rappahannock River Oyster Company and Champagne served at 12:30 p.m. The ceremony started an hour later.
To set the tone of the fun, untraditional wedding, the bride and her bridesmaids were driven to the "altar" -- a rock overlooking a ravine -- by Carrie Anne's father in a cart hitched to the back of a 1951 Farmall tractor. The tractor weaved through a field and slowly approached the ceremony site, while the groom waited at the rock with the officiant and groomsmen. On its arrival, the boys helped the girls from the tractor, and Carrie Anne's father walked her to Barton.
Barton's mentor (president and CEO of DC Central Kitchen), Robert Egger, married the couple. As a gift, he gave them two scarves blessed by the Dalai Lama.
Some extra planning went into the couple's wedding rings. The bride's platinum band fits flush under the setting of her engagement ring, which features the center diamond from Barton's maternal grandmother's ring. She saw the redesigned ring for the first time at the wedding (and loved it).
Barton's band is brushed palladium -- a metal suggested by the jeweler as a stronger, more durable metal for the working hands of a chef.
At the end of the ceremony, following the kiss, the guests tossed cracked corn at the couple. It was quickly gobbled up by the goats and chickens in attendance.
Bridesmaid Rachna and maid of honor and sister to the bride Amy flank the bride in their dark-purple dresses from H&M. The dresses were picked up for a steal at only $25.
The bride created her pendant from one of Barton's mother's earrings. The bridesmaids wore pendants made by the bride from Scrabble tiles featuring the first initial of the couple's new last name; on the reverse side she screen-printed the wedding motif and date. The groomsmen and officiant wore cufflinks in the same fashion.
Groomsman Will, Barton, and Barton's brother and best man, Burleigh, pose for a photo on the ceremony rock. The Blue Ridge Mountains provided a natural background for the portraits with photographer Katie Stoops.
An antique cabinet Victrola record player was Carrie Anne's Christmas gift to Barton the previous year, and the record inside was Sam Cooke's "Forever." Since that particular Victrola was the size and weight of a refrigerator, the couple borrowed Hal's tabletop version for the wedding to represent this beloved symbol in their relationship. "Forever" was also played at the end of the ceremony, during the couple's first kiss as husband and wife.
During the reception, the couple's favorite iPod picks sounded through the speakers, including songs from the Jayhawks, Okkervil River, The Band, Pavement, Wilco, M. Ward, Aretha Franklin, and the best man's band, Shortstack.
The farm owners dressed their yellow Labs for the occasion. Hal had written a book of poetry about old dogs, and its pages were designed by the bride -- this is how they originally met. If it weren't for the dogs, the farm wedding might not have been.
Barton donned a custom Ermenegildo Zegna suit and his favorite everyday boots.
Through a stroke of luck, Carrie Anne wore a one-of-a-kind dress, which had been designed by Max Azria for the presidential inauguration. The dress arrived to the store after the inaugural balls were over and was never purchased. The bride saw it and knew immediately it was the right dress. The warm-ivory gown was embellished with satin-ribbon detail; she topped it off with a feather and sequin hairpiece that matched the mood of the dress.
Not just any menu would do, seeing as the groom is a fellow at the Blue Ocean Institute, an organization that works to support sustainable seafood. The fully seasonal menu by Oliver Friendly included a buffet of green beans, local tomatoes, mixed greens with cheese and apples, and more grilled oysters throughout the day.
Carrie Anne made signs for each dish by taking small panels of wood bought from a crafts store and gluing them to wooden blocks so they would stand upright. After painting them with black tempera paint, to resemble chalkboards, she painted the name of each dish.
When a giant smoker rolled into the reception site, the meal and its preparation became part of the entertainment. Hams from Eco Friendly Foods had been on the grill since 6 a.m.
Here, Barton "hams" it up by the hams.
A variety of Capt'n Eli's sodas were a gift from Ken, a family friend, who drove them down from the brewery in Portland, Maine. His artwork appears on each bottle label.
Instead of the typical rental tables, the couple opted for hay bales covered in carpets and quilts. Side tables and other furniture were used to create a feeling of an outdoor living room.
The groomsman's mother made all of the boutonnieres (and the bridal bouquet) from flowers and vegetables bought at the local farmer's market. Made from peppers and rosemary, the edible ingredients were perfect for a chef to wear on his wedding day. They are fastened with antique buttons, similar to those used on the invitations.
The bridal bouquet included aubergine calla lilies and purple lisianthus mixed with blue hydrangea. Callas were chosen to honor the memory of Barton's mother, who had carried white callas in her bouquet.
The reception arrangements were all created by Hal, and were a mix of vegetables, grasses, fresh flowers, and wildflowers arranged in found vessels.
Sisters Addie and Rowan dance in the field.
Out of respect for where the bride and groom came from, after cutting the cake, they gave the first pieces to their grandparents.
The wood invitation is embedded into the cover of the guestbook, which was hand-bound by the bride. Markers were left out for guests to draw and write in the book.
Guests left the celebration with jars of pickled green beans, canned over an afternoon by the bride and groom. The stickers on the lids and hang tags were also made by the bride. The jars were placed in fruit crates from a local orchard and set out for guests to pick up on their way out.