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Images: Cynthia Shipp Photography

Practical weddings full of family, simple decor, and wedding planning decisions that make sense – just fill my heart with joy. SO much of a wedding day is excess – unneeded “details” that wedding blogs & magazines attempt to convince us we NEED in order to have a happy wedding day. Well, weddings like Jamilyah & Brad’s prove that notion oh so wrong and it’s why I love sharing weddings like these on my blog, over the super pricey, overly detailed ones. Happy (rainy) Thursday Romancers.

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From the bride:

We decided early on that we didn’t want a lavish wedding and challenged ourselves to keep the budget as modest as possible. Even still, with our big families, keeping costs down would be a challenge. Smokey Glen Farm was a big red barn with multiple playgrounds to accommodate our rustic style and the 20+ babies/children we were inviting. We wanted to throw a big, all day party! It was the perfect place to do just that.

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We had recently purchased our first home and were settling in as we planned our wedding. As we selected decor for the wedding, we envisioned how we’d use the item in our house for the “everafter” part. Most of the decor was hand-made using recycled materials.

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We chose to start our lives together in the middle of the day so that we could celebrate until the sun went down. And then celebrate some more. My grandmother told me not to worry about the weather, and we had the most amazingly beautiful (albeit a bit warm) day. For the outdoor ceremony, the chairs were arranged in a circle around us so we were surrounded by family and no one had to sit in the back.

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Our grandmothers were our flower girls and took their jobs very seriously. Bradley and I were escorted down the aisle by both of our parents. We got married under a chuppah that was shared by a family friend. We wrote our own vows, performed three circles (Polish), broke the glass (Jewish) and jumped the broom (African American). We also sent our guests home with a succulent to plant in their gardens as a memory of the special day we shared. People were the focal point of our wedding and thanks to all our “family’s” hard work, we were able to pull off the perfect wedding without a hitch!

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Our officiant had the right laid-back, personable vibe and we got to know her well through premarital counseling sessions. She helped us incorporate traditions from our African American, Jewish and Polish backgrounds.

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CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF JAMILYAH & BRAD’S PERSONALIZED, FAMILY FOCUSED MARYLAND BARN WEDDING

When it came time for vendor selection, we knew we wanted everyone to feel like family. Bradley’s aunt helped us design our save the date cards and wedding invitations and my college friend did all the calligraphy. I enlisted two of my oldest girlfriends to do my make-up. It was the perfect downtime during the big day. On a suggestion from a cousin, we ordered our flowers online and enlisted a very talented friend to arrange them.

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The centerpieces were thin slices Bradley cut from a tree that had fallen in his mother’s backyard. We topped them with wine and liquor bottles that had been personally consumed and then hand painted bright gold or white. The strands of lights in the barn turned into our Christmas lights, the flower pots are now on our patio and the crates were turned into shelves for our living room. Desserts flowed out of an antique window frame turned shelf and a drawer from my parent’s kitchen. The dinner menu and seating chart were written on an old wooden door that will soon be a coffee table.

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We settled on cake first. My cousin still owns the bakery that she and I started together so there was no question about who would make our sweets.

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Catering was provided by the venue and the BBQ menu was perfect for our laid-back wedding. We got to know the staff during multiple visits to “Our Barn” during the year of planning. We could just envision our well-dressed guests chowing down on ribs and chicken! Everyone loved the food and no one went home hungry! We interviewed a few photographers before finding someone we were confident could corral our families when it was time. Our day-of coordinator had a very real “get it done” attitude.

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Vendors ~> Photography: Cynthia Shipp Photography | Venue: Smokey Glen Farm | Day-of Coordinator: Simply Breathe Events | Desserts: Grassroots Gourmet | Officiant: Lindsey Hoskins , PHD | DJ: Entertainment with Class DJ’s | Ceremony Music: Forseti Duo | Flowers: Lyric Thompson, Friend

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