A DIY Rustic Wedding on a Farm in New York
Crystal and Ben
After years of missed meetings, Ben Sloane and Crystal Hanehan were finally brought together by fate at the start of Crystal’s final semester of college. “He walked into a bar with one of our mutual female friends, and right away I hoped that he wasn’t her date,” said Crystal. “He was so handsome!” Luckily he wasn’t spoken for, and the two finally got the introduction they’d been waiting for.
“We both knew within the first month of dating that we would get married,” said Crystal. Even so, the pair waited almost seven years for the right timing to tie the knot—Ben needed to finish graduate school in Boston before they could head back to Crystal’s hometown of Saratoga Springs. On August 6, 2011, they made it official in a rustic soiree suited for city slickers and cowboys alike.
A Wedding at Home
There was never a question that the pair would marry at the bride’s parent’s farm rich with childhood memories.
Rustic Wedding Theme
Crystal and Ben designed a big day they described as "country hoedown meets ethereal dream" that was full of glittering DIY details, bluegrass music, and great food—for wedding guests and cows alike! "Near the reception tables there was a row of head slots that the cows stuck their heads through, eating alongside everyone else," recalled Crystal. “They just watched the festivities getting a pat or two from guests.”
Not one to obsess over fashion, Crystal stayed true to her thrifty ways and found her dress at a local shop. To emulate the look of a classic vintage gown, she added beaded shoulder straps to the white gown.
Ben wore a modern light grey suit with a charcoal vest from Macy's.
The bride spruced up a three-dollar veil she found at The Salvation Army with a handcrafted hairpiece made from paper, wire, silver glass glitter, glue, and a bobby pin. She also made a pair of earrings out of paper, glue, and glitter to match the shooting stars in her hair.
DIY Bridal Bouquet
Crystal's up-cycled bouquet was crafted with an array of all-white petals plucked from vintage flowered hats and attached to wire stems. A few hanging flowers near the bottom created a cascade effect, and the bundle trimmed with vintage ribbon.
Bridesmaids in Green
Members of the wedding party picked out their own attire given a few guidelines from the bride and groom. The ‘maids were asked to choose dresses an olive tone. They carried bouquets of white hydrangea and foliage picked from the surrounding pastures.
Groomsmen in Suspenders
Ben’s asked his groomsmen to stick with shades of gray and accessorize with suspenders and an old-timey hat. "They looked like The Newsies in the best way possible and fit right in with the vintage vibe we had going," said the bride.
Crystal handmade the boutonnieres, all distinctly different, using vintage millinery flowers and antique glass baubles.
Scenic Wedding Portraits
Sarah of Sarah Smith Photography took photos of the couple before the ceremony at different spots around the property—the barn where the reception was held, under the iconic maple tree near the house, and in the home’s back pasture surrounded by natural wildflowers, apple trees, and rolling hills.
The DIY Altar
The father-of-the-bride surprised his daughter with a ceremony arch he crafted by cutting down a few young saplings and stringing layers of vintage ribbon between them.
The Secret Ceremony Spot
Crystal's dream ceremony spot was a hidden room carved out of the cornfields on her family’s land. Despite looming clouds and a dark sky, Crystal walked ecstatically with her dad to the outdoor area hoping for the best. As fate would have it, the weather held up for the entire ceremony, from the minute Ben kissed his bride, to the minute guests arrived to the indoor reception—literally. "The rest of the night while everyone was warm and cozy in the barn it rained buckets!" said Crystal.
The Barn Reception
Guests were transported from the cornfield to a barn built in the 1800s via hay wagon for the reception. To complement the rustic venue, Ben and Crystal chose a nature-inspired palette of green, white, and brown, and strung tiny white lights that looked like stars overhead. Queen Anne’s Lace, apple branches, and wildflowers were arranged with white and green hydrangeas for the centerpieces. With help from her aunt, Crystal placed the blooms in milk glass vessels and pedestal dishes and positioned them down the tables along with dozens small candles.
A Family Photo Wall
To add a personal touch to the atmosphere, Crystal hung a collection of family photographs in old frames she has collected from thrift stores and yard sales to create a photo wall for her guests to peruse. Below the display sat an old tub that stashed bottles of Champagne.
Farm Animal Escort Cards
A variety of farm animals came together to create a fun escort card display. Crystal crafted each by scanning the pages of an antique children’s book and printing them on cardstock.
The menu for the evening, however, was animal-free. Guests dined on an entirely vegetarian buffet filled with salad, pastas, and everything in between.
Paper Ceiling Decor
Handmade pom pom garlands and pennant flags made out of old packing paper where hung from the ceiling of the barn.
Glittering Stars and Table Numbers
The bride recruited her sister to help her craft hundreds of silver stars from cardboard boxes and glitter. These hung above the rows of tables at the reception. The table numbers were made to match using leftover matte board and white glitter, and were mounted on sumac saplings plucked from the yard.
Made by Mom
A pencil drawing of Ben and Crystal, a gift from the mother-of-the-bride, would serve as the wedding guest book. "She used a wide mat so guests could sign it and we could hang it on the wall to look at all our lives," said Crystal. Above it hung a fitting quote for the special day: "Today's beautiful moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories."
Handmade Favor Boxes
Guests received one of four handmade favor boxes filled with German chocolate. It was a labor of love, said Crystal, but one that certainly didn’t go unappreciated: There were many reports of people swapping favors throughout the evening in hopes to collect all four.
Top Hats Favor Boxes
Another favor in the collection was a mini black top hat box decorated with vintage ribbon and millinery flowers with chocolate treats inside.
Silver Glittered Egg Box
A Vintage Cake Topper
Bride and groom figurines from Crystal’s large collection of vintage toppers crowned the wedding cake.
The Bride-and-Groom Dance
The couple’s song of the night was Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. "Ben played it for me years and years before and said it reminded him of us," Crystal said. A bluegrass band later got everyone out on the dance floor with a slew of foot-tapping tunes.