Man I LOVE me a good Sarah Gormley Photography submission! I was so pumped to get to work with her this past weekend (and already can’t wait to see the images) and am super pumped to share her real Virginia wedding today. Jenny & Joe are just SO awesome, laid-back, and cool – and from their wedding write-up (titled “more than anyone ever wanted to know about Jenny and Joe’s Wedding”), I feel like we should be friends! Bright springtime colors, bike-themed details, a custom wedding ceremony, and the perfect little farm venue – what more could I ask for for a real wedding blog feature? Oh yeah, the couple also decided to bartend their rehearsal dinner (to talk to guests), and setup a pre-wedding RACE (since they met during a triathalon). The one that lost the race, had to say their vows first. There’s SO much to love in the wedding.

Jenny & Joe’s Personalized, DIY Virginia Wedding at the Inn at Westwood Farm

Photographer: Sarah Gormley Photography | Venue: The Inn at Westwood Farm, Orange VA | Officiant: Family friend | Dessert: Ice Cream Sundae bar by Moo Thru | Catering: Beggar’s Banquet  | Florist: Sugar Magnolia | Programs: DIYed by Bride | Decorations & bunting: DIYed by Bride | Table numbers: DIYed by Groom | Signage: DIYed by Couple

wedding race bib

Technically, our first meeting was on the run course of a triathlon, when I passed Joe and beat him. Since then, we pretend to be very competitive with each other during all of our races… so we knew we had to incorporate racing into our wedding weekend somehow. We planned a Wedding Morning Race with 5k and 5 mile run options. Joe and Craig marked the course with sidewalk chalk and cones, and Elizabeth set up coffee and water for all of the runners. We couldn’t believe how many guests showed up (especially given the number of margaritas consumed at our welcome party the night before)! We announced to the guests that we would be stopping at a line a couple hundred yards from the finish, and from there, we would sprint to the finish line. The loser would have to read their vows first at the ceremony. The run turned out to be the perfect way to spend time with our guests, chatting with friends and family we hadn’t seen in ages, while taking the edge off of any pre-wedding nerves that might have been there otherwise. Joe won (rare!), but I ended up being glad to go first as Joe’s vows made me cry!


rustic farm wedding ceremony

In the early stages of planning, we were set on finding a venue in the District. The closer to our NE DC neighborhood, the better. But then, when I was doing some research trying to figure out whether a particular bluegrass band we’d seen play at Sova did weddings or not, I discovered the Inn at Westwood Farm. It looked perfect in all of the photos: it had the outdoor space we couldn’t find in DC, it was “rustic” but in an elegant way that we knew wouldn’t trigger any questions like “WHY do you want to get married on a goat farm?” from our moms, the innkeepers sounded flexible and willing to work with couples to make the weekend personal and perfect. Then we drove out to Orange to see the Inn in person and we met Elizabeth and Jay, the innkeepers. We were sold! It was lovely in the winter, and even lovelier on our warm, sunny spring wedding weekend.

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Our color palette was inspired by the colors you see in nature early April in Virginia. I love yellow for its cheerful vibe, and while biking with Joe last April near Orange, we noticed how beautiful the yellow forsythia and pale pink cherry blossoms looked together all over the countryside. The spring weather cooperated with us fully and our wedding weekend coincided with the peak bloom for both of those flowers! Our whole drive out to Orange was pink and yellow, with pops of green and white, just like our wedding.

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Click inside for the rest of Jenny & Joe’s personalized, DIY Virginia wedding at Westwood Farm

Our officiant, Craig, was my dad’s best friend and college roommate: they’ve known each other for 40 years! He was the best man at my parents’ wedding and he and his wife Rosemary have been like stand-in DC parents for me since I moved from Arizona to DC for college. Now that Craig is a judge, he has officiated at quite a few weddings of friends and family so he was so helpful during the ceremony planning process. With his guidance and suggestions, we were able to write our ceremony while cooped up inside on one of this winter’s many snow days.

rustic DIY farm wedding details

We loved our flower girls and ring bearer! Joe’s niece and nephew (twins!) carried a “Here Comes the Bride” sign that I made with the help of an awesome post from Green Wedding Shoes and they helped “control” (their words- not ours!) our mini flower girl, Joe’s cousin’s not-quite-two-year-old daughter.

rustic DIY farm wedding details

Our shared love of biking (and triathlons in particular) played a big role in why we ended up meeting in the first place so we were looking for a wedding reading that compared love to a bicycle ride… like that adorable “Love is like owning a dog” reading that we have heard at a couple of our friends’ weddings. We had no luck finding one, so we enlisted our friend Sarah, who actually met Joe before I did… on a 200 mile bike ride, to help us. She found a really cute poem, that she adapted to fit us perfectly, and she read it during our ceremony. My sister Kelly, the maid of honor, read an Irish blessing to honor our families’ shared Irish Catholic heritage.

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Part of our ceremony was sealing a time capsule that we filled with a nice bottle of wine and predictions for our future written by our guests the night before. This is pretty common- we saw it at a friend’s wedding and knew we wanted to include it in our own, with a special twist. Joe is very handy and did almost all of the renovations on our house himself (our basement is completely full of power tools) and he loves his cordless nail gun the most out of all of his tools. We used it, dressed up with a burlap ribbon, to seal the box shut until our fifth anniversary.

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We had a small wedding party: just my sister Kelly and Joe’s brother Tom. We wanted to keep our wedding simple and there were still so many fun ways to involve our friends throughout the planning process (example: we had a blind wine-tasting party where friends helped us pick our wedding wines) and during the weekend.

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We had a welcome party in the Inn’s adorable barn the night before the wedding, with delicious wood-fired pizza cooked on-site by the Blue Ridge Mountain Pizza Company. Joe and I bartended for the first hour or so, which turned out to be a really fun to make sure we had a chance to talk one-on-one with everyone! Our almost brother-in-law made a great playlist, our moms made lots of cute flower arrangements, and Joe’s family brought tons of our favorite Italian cookies down from New York for dessert.

rustic virginia wedding portraits in barn

I am a preschool teacher (so naturally I love arts and craft projects), Joe is really handy, AND we had long, harsh winter with plenty of snow days. Perfect conditions for doing a lot of DIY projects for our wedding. I was responsible for everything paper/ribbon/painting related: I made our programs with some design help from my sister, ribbon streamers that guests used to help celebrate when we were pronounced husband and wife, lots of bunting, the “here comes the bride” sign, strings of photos we used to decorate fences and trees around our cocktail hour, etc.

whimsical spring DIY farm decorations

Several of my girlfriends (and one of their fiances!) from college saved the day in terms of setting up all of the flowers and DIY decorations! After the wedding morning race, they drove to our fabulous florist, Sugar Magnolias, and picked up all of the arrangements, and spent hours working Elizabeth and Jay and their staff, following my crazy spreadsheet and putting everything in its place. I have no idea how I thought I would do all this by myself: without my friends there would have been boxes of unused crafts laying around when the guests began arriving!

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Joe did a lot of sawing, cutting, and sanding, turning an old cutting board into our table numbers and repurposing some old shelves into signs. We also spraypainted some old bike wheels and used them as decorations outside the barn for our welcome party and during the cocktail hour.

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We did not have a cake: instead we had an ice cream sundae bar with ice cream from a local dairy farm / creamery called the Moo Thru. We are both ice cream addicts. The last part of our vows was “I love you more than blank, blank, and blank, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you” and BOTH of us, without consulting each other filled in one of the blanks with ice cream. Our caterer, Beggar’s Banquet, set up the most beautiful dessert table ever.

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Gahhhh I loved SO MUCH about this wedding, it’s really hard to pick my favorite part. I think I’d have to go with the pre-wedding race though. That is just the coolest. Thank you to Jenny & Joe for sharing all the AMAZING, personalized details from their wedding day and thank you again to Sarah Gormley Photography for sharing her images of this beautiful Virginia wedding.

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