On December 9th, 2017 I got married! If you’ve been following along with our blog, you know it’s been a long time coming. I’d been planning for over a year, and now I want to share it all with you! So if you’re interested in some nerdy barn wedding ideas or just love wedding stuff like I do, you are in for a treat!
Nate and I have been together for 8 years. We met the summer after I graduated high school and have since cultivated an amazing life together. We share an intense love of the Dave Matthews Band, traveling, and our beagle boy named Mash. We got engaged on the beach on Sanibel Island about a year and a half before the wedding on a family vacation. Living in the Tampa Bay area, we knew we wanted an outdoor winter wedding. So we immediately started the search for the perfect outdoor barn venue and eventually decided on The Barn at Crescent Lake.
I highly recommend using The Knot Wedding Planning App. I initially bought The Knot Planner but the app is so much more helpful. I was able to check on my time-sensitive to-do-list at all times. My favorite part was that I was able to upload our guest list and have people RSVP on our website (powered by The Knot). It was just super easy and user-friendly.
Save the Dates & Invitations
One of my long-time best friends Curtis Melvin is a graphic designer and he was very eager to design and make our Save the Dates and Invitations! He lives in Washington, D.C. and so it was nice to have him involved in the wedding process even though he doesn’t live nearby. Did I mention Curtis was also one of my bridesmaids? I called him a bridesman. So it was extra special to have him involved. Not to mention, he did absolutely amazing. Everything matched the setting as well as Nate and I perfectly.
Nate and I have a lot of friends; we actually pride ourselves on the amazing people we surround ourselves with. We ended up having quite the large wedding party, 8 on each side. My sisters were the co-Maids of Honor and Nate’s little brother was the ring bearer. It was really special knowing how many people were more than willing to be a part of our big day. We had people travel from all over the country and even Australia to be at our wedding.
Dress and Accessories
My dress was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. It was kind of magical how it worked out. Initially, I found the dress online and I called all my local bridal boutiques but no one had it. So I went for the traditional wedding dress shopping day and I was fortunate enough to try on a dress by the same designer in the exact same cut, just a different color, design, and material as the dress I wanted. I was hesitant to order because it was only the second dress I’d tried on. After trying on some other dresses and even considering one, I still couldn’t get the Sherri Hill dress out of my head. The next day I called CC’s boutique and ordered it. It was definitely one of the biggest risks I took, but it had the biggest payout. The dress was amazing, fit almost perfectly, and was exactly what I wanted.
Dress – Sherri Hill – CC’s Boutique
Bridesmaids dress – CC’s boutique
Flower Girl Dress – Amazon
Shoes – Target and Amazon
Earrings – Etsy
Bow Ties – Etsy (all custom designs)
Groom’s suit – Men’s Warehouse
Boutonnieres – Etsy
Groomsman pants – Men’s Warehouse
Groom’s shoes – Target
Flowers – 2 Birds Events – In terms of florals, we went with very little. Even the bouquets were filled with more greenery than flowers. They had lots of silver dollar eucalyptus, ferns, and Italian ruscus and just a few white peonies and roses. The tables had some babies breath and there were some other greenery accents that were fake from Hobby Lobby.
We really wanted to make our ceremony special and unique. We had an officiant that was a good friend of ours perform the ceremony so we got to write everything. This really made it very personal. If you’re interested in making your ceremony unique or reading more details about ours read about in this post – How to Make Your Wedding Ceremony Unique.
Instead of a traditional paper program, we opted for a chalkboard program. We got lucky because it was a cool day and no one needed a fan. We also wanted to cut down on waste and honestly, it was less work for me.
From the very beginning, I wanted some sort of unity ceremony and I wanted it to reflect us as a couple. So I wrote a Harry Potter themed sand ceremony, which you can read here – Harry Potter Wedding Sand Ceremony.
We had a bridesmaid and groomsman each do readings of their choosing at the ceremony. It was a complete surprise to us what they said. My bridesmaid, Arielle, did a special reading of (God Must Have Spent) a Little More Time on You by N’sync, ending with girls singing the chorus. Nate’s groomsman Will did a reading mashup of Dave Matthews Band lyrics. They were both so special and absolutely perfect.
The ceremony music was provided by our dear friends Joe and Austin. Joe was also a groomsman and he played guitar while I walked down the aisle to John Denver’s Sunshine on My Shoulders. Austin played the keys for all other musical proceedings before and after the ceremony.
The lavender toss was a great idea in theory but you have to designate someone to hand out the lavender and tell people what to do with it. We liked it because it was a great alternative to sparklers and a little more eco-friendly as the lavender is biodegradable and the bags were made from pages out of a Harry Potter book.
We opted for mason jar glasses for seating assignments, favors, and encouraged guests to use them as their drinking glass for the night. This was to discourage the use of plastic cups for drinks.
The cake and cupcakes were another one of my favorite parts of the wedding. My dad hand-made the cupcake stand out of an oak tree for us. I also made the cake topper in a subtle reference to Harry Potter as well as matching our rustic barn wedding. Read about how I made the cake topper here – DIY Harry Potter Wedding Cake Topper
We wanted to make every table a different nerd theme but I didn’t have enough nerd baubles! So we stuck to the major fandoms – Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Starwars, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Supernatural. Each table had a quote from a nerd fandom and a corresponding bauble.
Related: I Got Married!
DJ Handz from Classic Events Entertainment was amazing. He knew exactly how to read the room and just kept people dancing all night long. He’s actually a friend that Nate used to coach so it was nice to have someone we knew.
Related: Nerdy Wedding Ceremony Ideas
As much as our friends love to dance they also love a good selfie. We had a ton of Harry Potter photo props from a Harry Potter birthday party I had a few years ago so we used those as well as wedding themed props. We just threw in a couple of selfie sticks and some lights and guests were very happy.
*Quick Tip* One thing I recommend that we didn’t do was to have a hashtag. I couldn’t come up with a good one but if you can, do it and encourage guests to tag photos with it. Luckily I was able to find all the wedding photos people took but you don’t want to be searching everywhere if you don’t have to.
Catering, Photography, & Videography
Catering was provided by Affordable Catering and they were amazing. I still dream about their blackberry key lime sauce.
Photography – Amy and Tebow from Life Long Photography Studios
I loved working with them and they took amazing photos. They are exactly what we wanted and really matched the theme of the wedding as well as our personalities.
Videographer – Brett Rohlfing
We found Brett through a wedding group on Facebook and the video came out amazing.
*I would always recommend a videography because you never know what kind of shenanigans will ensue.
Wedding Planner – Exquisite Events
I worked with the planner Casey and she was amazing. She was always on the ball and extremely receptive to everything I envisioned. She made our wedding day so unbelievably stress-free.
I wish I could relive our wedding. It was just the best experience of my life. The entire weekend was filled with memorable moments and it just couldn’t have been better. We really tried to make everything reflect us as a couple as much as possible. One thing everyone told me was to just enjoy it in the moment and don’t stress about all the little things and that’s what I did. Something will probably go wrong, people who RSVP’d won’t show up, and someone who didn’t RSVP might even show up. Hopefully, you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself to notice.
*Quick Tip* If your wedding ends early like ours did at 9 pm, I recommend coordinating some sort of after party. We ended up going to a local bar with a bunch of friends so we could have a little more time to hang out since everyone was dancing their butts off at the wedding.
Please feel free to ask any questions! I had so much fun making everything and planning, I actually really miss it. Let me know what were some of your favorite parts of your wedding or what are some things you’d like to use for your future wedding!
**Big thank you to Lifelong Photography for all the photos in this post!
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Christina is a twenty-something living with her beagle, Mash, and husband, Nate in their van. She loves traveling, shopping, art, and photography. She’s also a vegetarian, pop-culture enthusiast, book-lover, and Dave Matthews Band fanatic. Catch her somewhere around the country in a converted camper van or at home in Florida for a visit.