A Fun-Filled Farm Wedding in Tennessee
Larkin and Eric
Ever wondered what happens when two geneticists fall in love? You're about to find out. In December 2008, California native Larkin Mohn joined OkCupid, a dating website developed by a team of Harvard mathematicians. "I had heard about their amazing matching algorithm, and I was intrigued," says Larkin, who is pursuing a master's degree in statistical genetics. The website sent her three potential matches; only one, Eric Bryant, caught her eye. She wrote him a note, and the rest, as they say, is history. "A week later, we took a long walk on the beach and talked for four hours straight. I was so struck by his intelligence and calm demeanor that I totally forgot I was with a complete stranger," she says.
Fast-forward to August 20, 2013. Eric, an avid hiker who is completing his Ph.D. in molecular genetics, had planned a backpacking trip to one of his favorite spots: Elba Lake, in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. That night, as the couple were cooking dinner under the stars, "I wished aloud that we could come back in 20 years and be as blissfully happy and in love as we were in that exact moment," says Larkin. "All of a sudden, Eric got down on one knee and said, 'Almost five years ago I came to this exact place and couldn't stop thinking about how I wanted to end the rest my life with you. Will you come back here with me 20 years from now? Will you marry me?'" One "Yes!" later, they had a wedding to plan.
Though the couple met in California and are currently attending school in New York City, they split the difference by choosing Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, as the site of their nuptials. "We went there for my mom's birthday—her side of the family is from Kentucky—before we got engaged and totally fell in love with it," says Larkin. Nearly two years later, their 114 guests did, too.
Friday night brought a welcome party with a post-dinner drive-in-movie–theater setup, including hay-bale seating and a concession stand. Saturday morning was set aside for exploring the farm before a picnic lunch. And then, at six in the evening on May 9, 2015, Larkin and Eric exchanged vows on a hilltop overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains. Afterward, as guests headed to the barn for cocktails, dinner, and dancing, the newlyweds turned to each other and expressed a sentiment that summed up what they called their "fancy-but-goofy" affair: "Holy crap, we're married!" And that, dear reader, is love—geneticist style.
The Stationery Suite
"I tied a locket necklace around my bouquet that held my grandmother's and great-grandmother's wedding rings and my grandfather's class ring," says Larkin. "The wedding rings have about 100 years of happy marriage mojo in them, and my grandfather's ring is so special—he hid it in his mouth during World War II, when he was captured by Nazis and inspected for valuables."
A Beautiful Archway
The ceremony arch and the bride's larger-than-life bouquet were designed by Amy Osaba to complement the venue's idyllic setting.
For the outdoor ceremony, floral designer Amy Osaba lined the church pews with 15 foot-long flower boxes overflowing with delphinium, lisianthus, foxglove in white and green and varying shades of lilac, violet, and lavender. "We didn't want the florals to compete with the beautiful view, so Amy and her team used foraged greenery from the farm."
The Bridal Party
A Wild Bouquet
The Flower Grannies
Larkin and Eric's beloved grandmothers—the "flower grannies"—shared a laugh before their walk down the aisle.
A Flower Basket
The flower grannies tossed petals from handmade grapevine baskets.
Larkin's mom and dad walked her to her waiting groom, whose own parents had escorted him down the aisle just moments earlier.
"Eric and I are not religious, so what made the wedding special to us was the joining of our lives and the gathering of our community," says Larkin. To that end, the couple exchanged vows not only with each other but also with their friends and families.
Toss With Joy
Guests were given envelopes of eco-friendly confetti to toss as the couple entered cocktail hour. "That was a total surprise, and it ended up being one of my favorite memories," says Eric. "Everyone was lined up and cheering and just so happy for us."
The couple recessed to "Another One Bites the Dust," by Queen, played by a string quartet—just as Larkin's parents had at their own wedding.
A Friendly Local
One of the farm's many East Friesian dairy sheep settled in to watch the festivities unfold.
A Champagne Sabering
To kick off the celebration, Larkin sabered a bottle of Champagne—and poured bubbly directly into Eric's and their guests' mouths. She slashed open three others during cocktail hour.
Sparkling wine was also served in flutes.
A Natural Setting
Dinner tables inside the barn were set with flowers and hundreds of flickering candles as chandeliers draped with greenery cast a glow overhead. "We wanted everyone to feel like they were dining in an enchanted forest," says Larkin.
The Place Settings
Monogrammed menus—tied to grey linen napkins with hand-dyed silk ribbon and topped with a single wildflower—sat atop ivory chargers each place setting.
An Embellished Cake
A Sweet Kiss
The newlyweds shared a kiss and some cake.
A Traditional Cake
As a heartfelt homage to the bride's southern roots, guests were served apple stack cake, a traditional Appalachian dessert that involves layers and layers of spiced cake with apple filling. "My great-grandmother used to make it, but the recipe is so labor-intensive that the tradition pretty much stopped with her," says Larkin. "It was so nice to be able to bring it back."
Up in the Air
The couple danced the hora beneath a dramatic hanging floral installation.
Photography, Natalie Watson Photography & Company
Location, Blackberry Farm
Event planning, design, and creative direction, Jennifer Laraia Designs
Flowers, Amy Osaba Design
Cinematography, Anchor Heart Films
Officiant, Jonathan Harrell
Stationery, Ceci New York
Calligraphy, The Left Handed Calligrapher
Cake, Magpies Bakery
Bride's gown, Pnina Tornai
Hair, Bangs and Blush
Makeup, Claire Balest
Bridesmaids' dresses, Bhldn
Groom's suit and shirt, Suitsupply
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Bandit Lites
Confetti bags, Details on Demand
Second photographer, Ashley Hoskins