A Garden Wedding in the Garden State Laden With Personal Touches

We love when a couple really throw themselves into planning their wedding, and when it comes to putting a stamp on their day, Becky and Tyler were all over it.

From guest book porch chairs, they’ll sit on ’til their old and grey, to cake toppers and cow bells to show how far they’ve come, this couple’s beautiful garden wedding in the Garden State, is just brimming with sweet personal touches.

With gorgeous photographs by Brae Howard Photography, Becky describes their day as “Happy, relaxed and personal”, and the smile on her face throughout, we’re incline to agree!

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Our Wedding

I grew up in New Jersey, my husband in Minnesota. We met at college – a small liberal arts school – in Massachusetts. 

We now live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and we knew we wanted our many “homes” as well as the friends and family that make them home, be the biggest influences of the wedding.

It was definitely challenging planning a New Jersey wedding while living in Minnesota, but it allowed us to bring lots of personal touches to make it a fun, relaxing, party!

The most important thing to us was to have our friends and family there – we were so lucky to have people fly in from all over to be there to celebrate.

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The Photography

I actually found Brae Howard Photography through our venue’s blog.  She had photographed a wedding the previous summer, and I loved her style as well as the fun, natural moments she captured.

I figured that if she was able to capture such beautiful but easy-going moments that she would be someone I’d want around me on our wedding day. If you haven’t gathered this already, I’m pretty casual!

She was so flexible to work with during the planning (we actually Skyped for our meeting- I only met her for the first time at our wedding), and even more wonderful to work with the day of the wedding.

Our videographer, Black Box Films had recently done a friend’s wedding and I loved her video.  Watching the trailer gave me such a great feel for how the day went and what it was like – the fact that we went to high school with the videographer too was great.

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The Theme

I think the biggest theme of our wedding, which probably applies to everyone out there was “us”.  

We wanted our personalities, lives, friends, family, and homes to be portrayed throughout the event.  We like to think of ourselves as fun, energetic people, and we wanted to throw a big party for all our close friends.  

Our colors were navy, orange, peach, and yellow. Most of the decor as well as attire was chosen with the venue in mind – a rustic 18th century farmhouse with beautiful gardens.  

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The Dresses

Both my dress as well as the bridesmaid dresses were from Minnesota.  My Mom flew out for a weekend, and we spent one day shopping. We went out for lunch and made a couple stops- I ended up buying my dress from the Wedding Shoppe in Saint Paul.  

I wore fun coral Lilly Pulitzer wedges (for a fun kind of secret pop of color), and my grandmother’s pearls (she gave them to me right before she passed away- I’ve been waiting to wear them for the first time at our wedding).  Tyler also gave me the beautiful earrings I wore.

For my bridesmaids, I went local as well. I have become friendly with the family that own a local boutique here in Saint Paul called Primp. I knew I wanted an affordable but fashionable option for my bridesmaids dresses, so I asked if they might be able to help.  

My best friend and one of my maids of honor flew out for a weekend, and we spent a few hours trying on different dress styles and colors.  The girls at Primp took notes on what we liked, and what vision we were going for to know how to direct their next buying trip.  They came back with a handful of options, and we chose a simple navy blue dress.  We paired it with nude wedges (since we’d be outside on grass), and gold jewelry.  

My friends know that when they compliment me on an outfit or article of clothing it’s typically from Primp, so I was happy to include them in our wedding.  It also brought a few pieces of Saint Paul to our day.

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The Ceremony

I am a huge Yankee fan and baseball fan in general- which came straight from my Dad.  I knew I didn’t want a “traditional” walk down the aisle song, so I asked our guitarist to learn the Bernie Williams (old Yankee player and musician) version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” so my Dad and I walked down the aisle to that.

It was funny during the reception and after the wedding, we had a few family friends (big Italian macho men) stopped me to say “I can’t believe you made me cry to ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’”- so funny! I also gave my Dad a pair of cufflinks as a gift for our wedding day made from game-used Major League baseballs.   

Our ceremony started with everyone offering each other a sign of peace – we thought this would be a fun way to have people meet and get people excited from the beginning.

We asked a few family members to take part in our ceremony, and it made it so special!

Tyler’s family is very musical, so we asked his Aunts to sing.  His Mom’s three sisters chose a song and sang it during our ceremony- it was beautiful.  

We asked my Aunt if she might do a reading, and asked her to surprise us.  She wrote us a poem about “Tyler and Becky” that we heard for the first time during the ceremony!

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The Personal Touches

Our programs were a long fan (the wedding was on August 31st and it was pretty toasty).  The back of the program was a jumble we made about us with questions like- what’s our cats name, where are we going on our honeymoon, the college we attended, and the class we met in during college.

We knew we wanted a guest book that we could display and look at every day, and we wanted it to be personal. Tyler’s brother (one of his best men) built us a pair of adirondack chairs as our wedding gift.

His parents drove them out to NJ from Minnesota (along with my wedding dress, corn hole sets, and other wedding projects) for us to use as our guest book.  They sit on our front porch and look fabulous!

Our cake topper was two purple cows holding hands- a purple cow (called an Eph) is the mascot of our college, Williams College in Mass.  We found a custom Williams cake topper on Etsy, but we asked the artist to add a few Tyler/Becky touches (can you sense a theme here!)- she gave the bride a softball glove (I played softball at Williams), and the groom wore a speedo with towel instead of a tux (Tyler was a swimmer at Williams).

Rather than having people clink their glasses to have the groom/bride kiss, we put cowbells on each table with a note that read “Ring for a Kiss”- the bulk of the cowbells were antique cowbells we collected over the past year as we traveled.  They were cowbells from Wisconsin (Tyler’s family cabin location), Maine (my family cabin location), MN (our home), NJ, Massachusetts (college), and Georgia (where I lived for a year after college)- it was also a play on the cow mascot.

Tyler made two corn hole sets that we set up for people to play during the reception.  He painted the outline of the state of NJ on the on and MN on the other. We gave them to our parents as thank yous for all their help and support with the wedding.

Our wedding favors were teddy bears from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I have been involved with Make-A-Wish since I was a freshman in high-school, so rather than favors we made a donation in everyone’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The bears had little Make-A-Wish ribbons tied around their necks with a thank you note from us.

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The Refreshments

We had a few signature cocktails, made with our favorite beverages, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, New Jersey Sour (my favorite drink is a whiskey sour), Napa Margarita (Tyler loves tequila), and Raspberry Tea.  

It’s funny though, the drink of the night was Fireball Whiskey- I think just about everyone was taking shots of it throughout the night.  

We had a seated dinner with delicious food, and LOTS of appetizers.  Our cake was a simple vanilla cake with a custom cake topper

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The Decor

In many ways we let the venue speak for itself.  The gardens were in full bloom during our wedding and they were stunning and the old architecture of the barn and farm house were a beautiful backdrop.  

We added flowers (mason jars on the aisle, and centerpieces), and we used the colorful lanterns in the big tent.  

Event Designs by Katherine made us beautiful signs and hung wedding photos of our parents and grandparents where people walked in.  

The tables were simple, white tablecloths with a burlap runner covered in lace.

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The Flowers

With the simple navy dresses, we wanted some pops of color from our flowers.  We chose orange, peach, and yellow and loved the happiness they brought to the decor.  

Our centerpieces were three smaller holders that spread along each table.  We had a mixture of milk jars, mason jars, and galvanized pots.  

We wanted the flowers to bring some color and fun to the tables without being overpowering.

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The Music

For our recessional, the acoustic guitarist played “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates- one of our favorite songs, and we thought it would set the tone for the dance party we intended for the rest of the night!

Tyler and I danced to Garth Brooks “Wrapped Up in You”- a kind of faster paced, light hearted song. We love country music and Garth Brooks, so this one was easy to choose.

On our invitation, specifically the portion we asked them to return (RSVP) we asked our guests to include a song that would “get them on the dance floor.”  

The requests were SO FUN! They gave us a great mix of songs to give to the DJ, and had everybody on the dance floor throughout the night (our goal).  You would hear people in the middle of a conversation shout “this is my song!” and run to dance.  

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Advice for Other Couples

My favorite website for shopping during our wedding was Etsy.  We bought our bridesmaid gifts, (embroidered robes), groomsmen socks, cufflinks for Tyler, our flower girl gifts (monogrammed necklaces), the bracelet I wore, our cake topper, a custom rubber stamp for our return address, and the cufflinks for my Dad.  

Tyler bought his groomsmen gifts (flannel shirts) from a local Minnesota company. We loved having the ability to customize these products, and had things that were one of a kind!

One of the best things we did during the wedding planning process was lean on our venue for recommendations- they were more than helpful when asked to supply recommendations for vendors.  They’d worked with them before, and we knew they’d be comfortable at our venue – it definitely made it easy.  

We were so lucky with the Crossed Keys Inn, as they handled many of the moving parts and acted as pseudo wedding planners throughout the process.  They helped us with the planning- making suggestions for things they knew worked, and we couldn’t have done without them on our wedding day.  

The day went off without a hitch, and they were there with us throughout the process.  Allowing them to do what they do best made it fun to personalize lots of the details.  

It was fun looking at our pictures just now and remembering how much we really thought about all the details!

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Such a fun day.

Thanks so much to Becky and Tyler for sharing their personalised garden wedding with us. Here’s to many years sitting on porch in those guestbook chairs of yours.

( I can’t believe Tyler’s brother made them, what an incredible gift!)

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