A couple months ago I received an inquiry for day-of coordination from a friend of a friend. The bride to be outlined her “rustic, casual, heavy-DIY” farm wedding in Virginia and I nearly cried as I read the date – a date I was already attending a friend’s wedding on.
Fortunately Allie remained a fan of our blog and the minute she had her wedding pictures (and all the DIY details) in hand, she rushed to submit it to us! I cannot WAIT to share this one with you guys, between the super rad farm venue and the bright & colorful details, this wedding was a TRUE DIY wedding – and Allie & Marko have a TON of details (and tips!) to share on how our readers can do this for their own wedding!
A special thanks to Bryan Johns Photography for sharing his images!
Allie & Marko’s Colorful, DIY Farm Wedding in Charlottesville Virginia
About the couple:
We met through mutual friends, moved in together 10 months later, and adopted our dog (our love and light!) shortly after that. We were comfortable with our relationship as it was, but it wasn’t until a little after the 4-year mark that we began to openly discuss where we were going as a couple.
We’ve nurtured our communication to become really strong in the sense that we understand how important it is for us to always feel we can communicate to one another freely and openly in order to understand, grow, and love fully.
Why & how they decided to get married (I really love this story!!):
We talked hypothetically about alternatives to our relationship, one of which was breaking up. For some people, it may be unromantic or insensitive, but for us, its really helpful to understand each other deeply and respectfully by communicating this way. The mere conversation of us talking about a hypothetical break up mutually freaked us both out, something we quickly realized after the idea really sunk in and we couldn’t help but tearfully laugh at our agreeing responses.
It was then that we understood in ourselves and each other that we not only had no desire to be apart, but that we had this new-found appreciation for our union . We then wanted to cement this awesome love and friendship in an even deeper and more meaningful way than before.
^ WHAT?! I am in LOVE with Allie’s casual, short wedding dress – it was actually re-designed from her mom’s wedding dress…LOVE LOVE LOVE!
On their wedding theme, details & plans:
When we started wedding planning, we immediately knew we wanted to do things differently. This wasn’t just for the sake of being different, but for the sake of highlighting the true purpose and meaning of a wedding, something we find becomes overshadowed by the glitz, glamor, and “necessities” couples think they need in order to have a successful wedding. As the bride, I was really excited to create a lot of the decorations myself to make them more sentimental (and more budget friendly).
There were many times when making decisions throughout the wedding planning process that we reflected on our values and compared them to our gut feeling, and a lot of the time, venues/officiants/caterers/ideas just simply didn’t feel right… so we didn’t go with them.
It’s so important to understand what you two want, and not necessarily what others think you should have or do.
The best thing we did through out our whole wedding planning process was sticking to our true selves and always remembering why we were doing this is in the first place.
What’s not to love about a groom in khakis, suspenders, and a billyball boutonniere?
On their wedding venue selection:
Marko and I are both from DC but we chose the venue because it’s a rustic, casual, and appropriately priced location for the kind of wedding we’ve always envisioned having. It’s called Montfair Resort Farm and is nothing short of a DIY/Rustic/Vintage Bride’s dream location!
Its a family owned campground and was the only venue we found that allowed the flexibility a true DIY bride really needs, making the (quite scenic) drive completely worth it.
Click inside for SO MUCH MORE from this awesome, DIY Virginia farm wedding ~ including some gorgeous DIY centerpieces & decorations!
On their small budget and how they kept things in check:
We cut a lot of corners in order to spend the money on the things we really wanted for our wedding, the main thing being the financial ability to invite everyone we wanted to. Some of the corners we cut are not having a decorating/set-up staff, no bartender, no DJ, and our officiant is a friend.
On the involvement of their family & friends:
The summer we got engaged, we rallied all our family and friends to save beer bottles, tin cans, and mason jars for our centerpieces. We spray painted them on our patio for months until we collected over 100 pieces.
We played around with different color schemes, but ultimately settled on EVERY color because love is bright, loud and joyous!
When we were looking for our venue, we kept finding these great rustic-looking places that we really liked, but for a price tag of over $25k (not to mention tons of restrictions and must-haves and must-dos)! We simply could not imagine spending money we didn’t have and/or entering our marriage in debt.
On family & friend involvement in their wedding day:
Maria, Marko’s sister, and her husband, Franz, played accordions for our wedding ceremony. Because we have no religious affiliation, our good friend JD was our officiant.
We just knew in our gut there was a way to have a great ceremony and party full of love, good food, good music, and good vibes without spending a fortune. In fact, a friend of ours who had recently married said to us “the wedding isn’t about the décor or the fancy flowers or the expensive meal, it’s about the people who are there and the love and energy that they bring and feel”. We reflected on this statement a lot.
On wedding traditions:
As a feminist who sees both of us as equals, I immediately felt uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a veil and being walked down the aisle like some sort of a prize. We played around with different ideas but agreed we both liked the idea of Marko’s mother walking him down the aisle as well. It was a simple change that made the worlds difference to us.
We found it really strange when, along the way, people would say “but doesn’t it go like this?” or “but aren’t you supposed to..”. We thought maybe there was some sort of wedding rule book that if we went against and broke the rules, the wedding police would come out of the bushes and arrest us.
There is something to be said for tradition, of course, one being that it provides predictability and structure guests tend to appreciate; however, there is nothing written in stone (at least for our backgrounds and affiliations), so we found it a little ridiculous that so many people around us had seemed to be programmed to think this and that and so forth.
^ I love the bridesmaids dresses in coral, gold, teal & blue!
More on the fabulous farm wedding venue in Virginia:
We heard about Montfair Resort Farm in Crozet, Virginia through a friend, and even though it was a bit of a drive from our Northern Virginia residence (about 2.5 hour drive), we were immediately sold on checking it out when we heard guests could camp out in tents as an overnight accommodation. Not everyone can comfortably afford a $100+ a night hotel stay, so it was important to us to provide a more affordable option for our guests to alleviate the burden on them.
Montfair is a family-owned and family-run establishment that hasn’t been corrupted by the overpriced and overselling wedding industry and we liked knowing we were supporting a family’s history and heart.
LOVE the groomsmen’s mismatched bowties!
How awesome are the DIY centerpieces! They came together so beautifully:
Because we had a keg station for drinks, we knew we’d need tons of cups for beer. Marko had the idea to order custom made cups for guests to not only use for the beer but to also work as wedding favors. We worked together to design something that fit our wedding theme and came up with a design of birch trees (since our location was outdoors/rustic) with our initials and wedding date “carved” inside a heart.
Guests loved them and they helped reduce a good amount of potential trash!
On buying some of the reception details instead of renting:
It may seem ridiculous to buy 13 table clothes to use just for one night, but every rental company wanted to charge us an arm and a leg just to rent their linens. One company wanted to charge us $47 per table cloth rental. We almost threw up.
“CV linens”, however, only charged $11 a table cloth if you buy them in bulk online. *Money saving tip*: After the wedding, wash the tables clothes and resell them on eBay or Craigslist; we saved so much money doing this for all of our linen needs.
It was SO important for us to have family and friends be a part of different aspects of our wedding. Our wedding party and their significant others were crucial in executing the day-of preparations, having no outside event company involved whatsoever (and they all kicked butt!)
There was one moment in particular when I saw the finished reception room and thought “love and friendship built this” and it was really magical. It felt so good to know that all we needed was our friends and family, not dozens of random strangers slapping our vision together for a hefty price tag.
On other family & friends’ involvement:
My aunt made awesome paper seed wedding favors. Our photographer was our friend. Our buddy made a home brew for our keg station.
My bridesmaid made my hair pin. We designed and made our wedding invitations and website ourselves.
Allie ended it beautifully:
So many aspects of our wedding came from within our love story and the people that helped us get to where we are. This made our wedding feel more like a celebration of love, friendship, and community and that is something you truly can’t buy.
Congratulations Allie & Marko – I cannot thank you both enough for sharing all the details of your gorgeous DIY Virginia wedding! A special thanks to Bryan John Photography for sharing his images.