Step inside our intimate, weekend wedding on our 5th-generation Tennessee farm

I can’t believe I’m finally sitting down to write this post. A lot has happened since we got married on the farm back in early October. We prepped the farm for winter, planted a ton of garlic and shallots, spent a month in Europe on our honeymoon, and as I write this are enjoying the holidays with Chris’ family in Pennsylvania.


To say 2023 was a full year would be an understatement, but this post is dedicated to our weekend wedding. I could never summarize the whole weekend into one post so this will be the first of many. Here I plan to give you a high-level, 30,000-foot view with ample beautiful photos courtesy of Natalie Nicole Photography.


In subsequent posts, I’ll dive into some of our favorite details as well as vendor highlights because this incredible weekend wouldn’t be possible without the best vendors in the industry (although we may be biased!).

In case you're new here

Get to Know the Couple

To understand why one might take on planning a weekend wedding without a wedding planner, you need to understand a few things about me first:

I have an insatiable appetite for being creative. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating. Houses made from cardboard boxes lying around, theatre in school, teaching myself how to cook, cake decorating lessons that turned into a side hustle, endless amounts of Food Network and HGTV, and trying nearly every craft imaginable. Creativity is my favorite gift and I’m not sure exactly when my love of hosting began, but it started young and has yet to leave.


Outside of being creative, I’ve always loved weddings. During college, I worked at the local florist working under the helm of two incredible women who taught me the ins and outs of the events industry. I loved the industry, every last detail of it but even then was on the verge of burnout from the endless hustle.


I took one major thing away from my time in events: gatherings move people, details and thoughtfulness move people and we only have so many chances in our lives to do that. My goal is to take all of them.


It came as no surprise to anyone in my life that when it came to planning our wedding, I was going to have my hands on every last detail. I’m fortunate that Chris is just as passionate about hosting intentional, meaningful events as I am. So I wasn’t alone on this venture, Chris was by my side, and together, each detail and experience was unmistakenly ours.


In 2022, after learning about regenerative agriculture, we decided to start investing some time and money into my parent’s farm. At the same time, we were in the early stages of planning our wedding. Chris had the bold idea that we could also get married there. To be honest, at first I was skeptical. It’s rural, the farm was ragged, and our guests were all traveling in. 


But as I’ve done so many times since meeting Chris, I said yes on blind faith knowing we were capable of bringing our vision to life on a blank slate. As a designer, it’s been one of the greatest creative challenges I’ve ever undertaken. As many friends told me, “This is my Olympics” and they were so right. 


In many ways, the wedding was an introduction for us, a soft-launch if you will, and a chance to say, “This is who we are and how we do things at Mable and Jack”. 


What follows in this post is a high-level view of our wedding and some of the ways we chose to create an intentional, intimate wedding weekend. However, these posts will never be exhaustive. Our goal is that they serve as a page in our digital scrapbook and inspiration for those choosing a different path for their wedding celebrations. Before we dive in, there’s one book that guided our planning and process: The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. If, like us, you aim to gather differently, we cannot recommend this book enough.

Planning a low-waste, 35-guest, farm wedding

Together, Chris and I live our lives guided by several values. Among those are putting our health as a top priority, committing to living sustainably, supporting local purveyors and makers, and generously sharing our abilities with others.


It’s from this lens that we planned our wedding weekend.


We decided a few things off the bat:

  • Weekend wedding
  • Guest count under 50
  • Venue: our farm
  • Farm-to-table food
  • Aesthetic: English countryside meets Anthropologie
  • No wedding planner
  • No wedding party
  • Include as many small businesses as possible
  • Source as locally as possible
  • Low waste and avoid plastic
  • Small vendor list

These were the easiest and most natural decisions of the process. Planning an intentional, guest-focused wedding is no small feat. It required us to double down on our values and during this process, I largely went offline. Outside of the initial inspiration, I stayed away from Pinterest after the first few months because it began to muddy the waters.


If we were going to pull off a wedding focused less on aesthetics than intentionality, I needed to keep my eyes on that. If you want to hear more about the preparation for our wedding and how I began the planning process, head here.


Each of our vendors was chosen because they aligned with our values. We hired the first three vendors within a few weeks of each other: Natalie Keeton for photography, The Farmer’s Florist for florals and Rambler as our chef.


Once we had those key vendors in place, we put our focus back on the planning.


When your land is the venue and its current aesthetic is scraggly, ragged land…you’ve got your work cut out for you. Most of the year was spent planting, tending, and shaping the landscape to achieve a magical blend of grassy fields and a garden bursting with blooms.


Chris and I spent over a year sourcing our entire tablescape, glassware, folding chairs for the table, beer garden tables for the garden party, and several other pieces of furniture for the wedding from antique stores, thrift shops, and flea markets. We now have the most beautiful, eclectic collection of tableware to use for future gatherings.


All the while, we were in the middle of our first major growing season on the farm, building a high tunnel, and I was working full-time on Honeycomb. The spring and summer were intense and filled with a million details. Wedding planning became my side hustle and Chris was my partner bringing it all to life.


Non-Traditional Save the Dates and Invitations

Chris and I spend our days off the farm running my brand and web design business, so it only makes sense that we blend the digital with the physical for our wedding. We sent an email save the date along with a link to a landing page where guests could save a Google calendar invite to their calendar. I live by my calendar and hadn’t seen this detail at a wedding before. The calendar invite included some details about the location. 


Save the Date Email

Save the Date Landing Page

Instead of a traditional paper invitation that would be thrown away, we created welcome boxes sent to all our guests in January. We used recycled wine bottles to create candle vessels. I sourced an essential oils blend to use as our signature scent and poured beeswax candles. We had a custom stamp made and used lemon juice to stamp cards with a secret message. Each candle included a custom dust cover with instructions that I designed and then had printed by a wonderful Etsy shop, Kindle and Flame.


When the box arrived, guests were instructed to light the candle to reveal a secret message and then head to a website link which guided guests to our digital invitation designed by me and developed by Chris. You can find that here and make sure you have your volume up. 


In her book, “The Art of Gathering”, Priya Parker talks about priming guests for what’s to come.  

Our boxes and digital invitation were
themselves a representation of the weekend


Live-Fire Cooking

Mystery message

Wonder and thrill from the surprises of the weekend 

the content

Creating expectations about the ethos of the weekend


I sourced an essential oil blend that reminded me of fall on the farm as our wedding was the first weekend in October

Sustainable Packaging and materials

Reflected our goal to have as little waste and plastic as possible

Additional Guest Touchpoints

To continue the priming, we sent all of our guests a letter and seed card to plant in the spring. When you plan a wedding so far in advance, it can be difficult to keep the excitement up. We wanted our guests to feel like they were part of what was happening at the farm.  


We also started a WhatsApp group to connect our guests and answer questions. We included this on our details page of the wedding website.

The Details Page

Since we were having a multi-day event, I wanted to ensure guests had the proper information well ahead of time. We created a details page that includes a breakdown of events, where they would be happening, the weather, what to wear (including a Pinterest board of inspiration), and our Whats App link. We also included a page of travel details with the room block link. I firmly believe this relieved mountains of stress as we received very few questions about details from our guests. If we did, we referred them back to the link. You can see that page here.

Pre-Wedding Email

Our final priming exercise was the pre-wedding email sent to guests one week prior. We reminded guests of the ethos surrounding our weekend, weather, dress code, transportation, what to expect, and a fun playlist to get guests excited. This was crucial for passing along the most critical information of the weekend in an easy-to-digest way.

Our 3-Day Wedding Weekend

Finally, after over a year of planning and preparation, we made it to the weekend. I have to say special thanks to two people with whom this weekend wouldn’t have been possible. My incredible assistant, Elizabeth, and her husband Justin, took a week out of their lives to ensure our weekend went off without a hitch. We opted to not hire a wedding planner or coordinator and instead entrusted the execution of the events to Elizabeth and Justin. They were there every step of the way and everything went flawlessly because of their tireless work. We are endlessly grateful for their love, friendship, and loyalty. It was so special to have one of my dearest friends and right-hand gal right there with me for each step of this weekend, particularly right before I walked down the aisle.

Friday, October 06 2023

Rehearsal + Guest Welcome

One thing you can never plan for is the weather. Friday was setup and rehearsal day and the morning brought steady drizzling rain along with one or two hiccups. As I told my assistant and right-hand gal, if it’s going to happen, I want it to happen today. Luckily, the rest of the weekend was a perfect fall scene. Highs in the mid-60s, lows in the 40s-50s, and bright, beautiful sunshine. It truly couldn’t have been any better.


We hosted an early afternoon lunch in the garden for anyone who was on the farm that day. It was such a pleasure to set a table and cook for everyone before being hands-off the rest of the weekend. Our photographer, Natalie, arrived and I got the chance to walk the farm with her and Christie. 

The Welcome Bags

Friday, our guests arrived into town. In their hotel rooms was a welcome bag. This was one of the most fun elements to design. We wanted to bring in things that represented us but also gave our guests something to take home. I designed this market bag that folds up into a tiny pocket-sized bag and in it, we included an accordion welcome guide, dried pepper flakes from our garden, a mini Pannetonne to represent Chris’ Italian heritage, some of our favorite recipes designed into take-home recipe cards and two bottles of water. Each bag was waiting for guests when they arrived at the hotel. The welcome guide may be one of my favorite items I’ve ever designed. We included some farm history, local history, a full schedule, GoogleMaps link to our favorite Huntsville spots and link to our GooglePhotos folder. We considered all the questions a guest may have when staying in a new place and did our best to answer those in this guide. 

A Low-Key Welcome

That night we all went out to spots around downtown Huntsville and met up throughout the night. It was such a fun way for guests to mingle and get to know each other and for us to see as many people as possible in a laid-back setting.

Saturday, October 07 2023

Italian Garden Party

One of our favorite things to do on the farm is what we call a field lunch. We haul a yummy spread out into the field with spritzes and sit in the sun listening to music. 


That perfect day informed our garden party. Lucky for us, the weather was perfect. When our shuttle arrived at the farm, we kicked things off with a farm tour — sharing what we’ve learned over the past year, how we are using different conservation practices to regenerate the land, and share the history of the farm. 


Guests were then welcomed into the garden where a full Italian spread was waiting — an homage to Chris’ heritage. Chris’ mom is from Parma and his dad is from Sicily. They brought up a leg of prosciutto which his dad sliced fresh and a wheel of parmesan along with helping us execute the most amazing spread. From the paninis to his mom’s homemade Italian cookies, it was the most incredible brunch. 

For drinks, we had a spritz bar set up with our favorite appertifs and also provided a selection of local beers and sparkling water for guests to enjoy.


The garden was beautifully decked out in beer garden tables, blankets, and bistro chairs. We spent the day basking in the sun, catching up, and playing lawn games. Our cat even joined the fun mingling with the guests!


Then in the afternoon, we took everyone to Jack Daniel’s for a tour of the distillery. Most of our guests had never visited Tennessee and this was a fun way to give them a taste of Tennessee history.


That evening, we were able to have dinner and mingle with our guests back in Huntsville. Given our small guest list, we were grateful for the ample time we were able to spend with everyone genuinely catching up and enjoying everyone’s company. 

Sunday, october 08 2023

Wedding Day

Breakfast with the Bride

I wanted a chill morning on my wedding day. A week before, I sent out Paperless Post invites to some girlfriends to hang out in my suite while I got ready. That morning I did my normal routine of yoga, and tea and then relaxed to an episode of Friends on TV. Mandie, a dear friend and professional HMUA arrived to do my hair, room service arrived and my girlfriends trickled in. All in our jammies just gabbing and enjoying each other’s company. It was peaceful, relaxing, and low-key, my ideal morning.

Getting Ready + Outfit Details

We both got ready at an Airbnb in New Market, AL which has the most stunning English gardens. My mother-in-law, a mom of two boys, helped me get into my dress which was a really special moment for both of us.

I found my dress online thanks to extensive searching and a late-night Instagram ad. For weeks after making bridal appointments, something didn’t quite feel right about a traditional gown. Chris lovingly urged me to expand my view. When I saw this dress from Milla, I knew I’d found the one. When it arrived, I only made two small changes: exchanging the corset ribbon and a hem to the skirt. 


The dress is from Milla, a dressmaker out of the Ukraine. The dresses are made by hand in a small factory and I can confirm that the quality is exceptional. 

I’ve always been drawn to vintage so I knew I wanted my accessories to be a combination of heirlooms and vintage. Outside of my heirloom engagement ring, which you can read about here, I also wore my mother-in-law’s diamond earrings, tennis bracelet, and a pearl Tiffany & Co. necklace she gifted me, now my heirloom to always remember that beautiful day. I also found a beaded clutch at an antique store in Nashville to carry throughout the evening. These pieces, collected and cherished over the years, are so precious and are now a part of this new chapter in our story. I think about the women who wore and carried them before and how these pieces now have new stories to tell. 


A fun note about my shoes. They were $16 from Asos and a last-minute change when we moved our ceremony location on the farm. Originally, the aisle was just about 40 feet. When we changed the location, the aisle was then downhill and significantly longer. I opted for these low-block heels with the bow in a stunning magenta. They turned out to be one of my favorite details of the day and contrasted beautifully with my dress.  

Image via Google

Chris’ wedding look was inspired by Ryan Gosling’s look at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. His white tuxedo jacket is J.Crew and his shirt and tuxedo pants are Indochino. He also wore a navy diamond-point bow tie from Lovestones Australia on Etsy. 


Two personal touches completed Chris’ look. For Chris’ birthday (also our engagement anniversary), I had my Gramps’ Seiko watch refurbished and he wore it on our wedding day. My Gramps was my very best friend and he passed when I was 18. He was a farmer and would LOVE what we’re doing with the farm. I’m not one for overly sentimental details, but I loved the fact that his watch has a new life now and we included it on our wedding day. 


The other detail are Chris’ cufflinks that I made from some vintage French enamel buttons, also used on my second look. A small, but beautiful design moment. 


We opted to forego a formal first look and instead let Natalie have creative reign over our portraits. That decision paid off because these photos are some of my favorite from the day. 


We felt like we were in a Jane Austen film sauntering around the garden and just soaking up the day. It was quiet, peaceful, and so much fun! 

🚨 Unsolicited wedding advice 🚨

A note on choosing the right photographer

In case it’s not already obvious, we are huge fans of Natalie. It’s so, so important to find a photographer that aligns with what you care about on your wedding day. We didn’t really care about staged photos or random details and that shows in the photos Natalie captured. We wanted photos that were creative and captured the feeling of the day. That’s Natalie’s superpower and why we connected instantly from our first call. Do yourself a favor before you inquire with a photographer and think intentionally about what you want your photos to say. Take time to understand what you like about certain wedding photos and then filter photographers based on that. I guarantee you’ll be more satisfied with your wedding photos when you are selective and clear about what you want out of them and then choose a photographer that can deliver on that (who is also within your budget). 

On the Farm

We finished up portraits at the farm and I roamed around doing my final checks (couldn’t help myself). I’m so grateful to my past self for creating a spacious day. No part of the day felt rushed. By the time we made it to the farm, we had ample time for all our photos before the ceremony and the chance to relax and check in with our vendors before guests arrived.

The Ceremony

Chris met everyone at the driveway to walk our guests down to the field. One of my oldest and best friends officiated our ceremony. As guests arrived and were seated Jami opened with a welcome. Then my life coach and dear friend, Lauren Johnston, opened with a guided meditation. I walked alone down the aisle to “Maestro” from my favorite movie, The Holiday. Chris was waiting just at the opening to the ceremony space, where we continued to walk the remainder of the aisle together. 


I can’t describe how special it was walking together and seeing all of our friends surrounding us. I couldn’t hold back tears from the moment I started walking to our final kiss, it was all so incredibly special. 

Chris and I wrote our ceremony together. We chose to trade off sections based on themes from our lives and then each says a shared vow. It was deeply meaningful to us and after the wedding, I framed our vows with pressed flowers from my bouquet.

Holtz Leather Journals with our monograms held our vows and we recessed to Good Plates by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. I found this song when we first began wedding planning and felt it so poignantly represented what we wanted for our wedding and life together. 

Champagne Hour

After we recessed, we stopped at the top of the hill for a receiving line which led immediately into our Champagne Hour. 


I had a vision for a social hour that was relaxed and allowed guests to interact with the space. Rambler was live-fire cooking and Meredith of Palmer Designs was live-painting the dinner space.


Guests were able to enjoy several delicious bites, drink champagne, and socialize. We had such a delightful time moving around the room, enjoying everyone’s company, and the beautiful weather. 

A note on spacial design

It can be difficult to create intimate settings in an open field, but you can use natural barriers to your advantage. In our case, this was the tall grass so to create a “flow” to our open field area, Chris cut out “rooms” within the field which created natural boundaries around the spaces. Each area flowed into the other using “hallways” also cut from the grass. Rooms encourage a natural sense of presence and purpose. By designing the spaces this way, it allowed each space to own its purpose and not distract from what was coming next. 

The Field Dinner

Set with all collected tableware, lined with taper candles, and simple arrangements, it was a DREAM dinner setting. We served a 3-course farm-to-table meal prepared by Rambler. Chris and I love slow, relaxed dinners so we set aside nearly 2-hours for this portion of the evening.

Our Second Looks

Before dessert, we snuck away to do a quick change. I changed into a vintage two-piece set redesigned by Rudy Lou. I got connected with Sarah Jameson through a friend and she turned a vintage gown I found while dress shopping into the most stunning two-piece set. Sarah is an expert in heirloom re-works and she is pure joy. Her eye for detail is unmatched and I felt so beautiful in this look. I sourced vintage French enamel buttons from Etsy which were used on the back of the top and as Chris’ cufflinks. Chris also changed into a Bonobos velvet dinner jacket. I was obsessed with his look!


We rejoined the dinner party in time for dessert and toasts, a highlight of the evening. But that wasn’t the end of the evening.

Chez M&J: After-Dinner Cocktail Bar

The biggest undertaking of the entire weekend was transforming our high tunnel into our own cocktail bar. Awaiting our guests was a custom bar made by Chris, a meticulously developed menu of 4 signature cocktails by our incredible mixologist Shannon (Various Bar Services), an immaculately decorated space thanks to rentals from Be Gathered and florals from the Farmer’s Florist, and fire pits out front.


The chandelier is one of my favorite auction finds, coming in at just $5. I had it turned into a plug-in for the wedding. I can’t wait to hang it in our future home one day.


I told Christie, our florist, that I wanted it to feel like an “outside-in” space. She nailed the vision with southern smilax hanging from the trusses and re-purposed florals from the ceremony.


Like any good bar, it needed branding. I designed a custom menu hanging from a vintage bird cage stand we found at Three French Hens and coasters in place of cocktail napkins.

When we envisioned what came after dinner, it wasn’t filled with a wild party, it was everything we love in a night out — good cocktails, music, and conversation. Our first dance wasn’t planned, our guests were free to mingle wherever they pleased, and music was queued on a playlist I curated for weeks prior.

The temp dropped to around 40 degrees that night so the fire pits were a MUST. We’d planned for this all along not knowing how the weather would turn out and it turned out to be the favorite space. We all piled onto the beer garden benches with our cocktails, soft music playing in the background, exchanging stories and toasts under the stars.

After countless hours spent on the farm preparing the space, designing and sourcing each detail, and meticulously planning our ideal weekend, it was everything we wanted and better than we ever imagined. By 10 pm, we were all loading the shuttle and headed back to the hotel on a cloud from the beauty of the day. For weeks we relished in the joy with our guests and even now as we look back through the beautiful photos, we’re brought back to what the weekend was all about: joy, love, and the celebration of this new chapter.


We are endlessly grateful to our team who made this weekend happen. Follow their work and hire them, they are best in class!

Vendor + Detail Links

Photography: Natalie Nicole Photography

Venue: Mable and Jack Farmstead

Florals: The Farmer’s Florist 

Chef: Rambler Events 

Bar: Various Bar Services

Live Painting: Palmer Designs

Rentals: Be Gathered Rentals 

Coordination and Right-Hand Gal: Elizabeth Mason

Consulting: Woven By Whit

Charter: Capital Trailways

Restrooms: Mobile Thrones

Wedding dress: Milla

White gown: Rudy Lou

Bride’s Shoes: Asos

Engagement Ring: Heirloom Re-Work by L.Prior Jewelry

Hair: Mandie Murphree

White Dinner Jacket: J.Crew

Velvet Dinner Jacket: Bonobos 

Tuxedo Pants: Indochino