Rustic Vintage Weddings
An Earthy Yet Elegant Rustic Wedding at Rigmor House
REBEKAH SENTER PHOTOGRAPHY
Envisioning a wildly romantic wedding, inspired by nature, Jenn & Teague set about planning a woodland celebration in the grounds of their venue Rigmor House, with strong greenery elements and little touches of Celtic tradition throughout as a nod to the couples ancestral roots. Of course almost 2 years of planning couldn’t stop mother nature from having other ideas! So when the heavens opened the outside was brought in with a greenery filled ceremony, before the space was transformed for an elegant afternoon tea reception (complete with willow pattern china)…..
“We wanted our wedding to feel earthy, but also elegant. Inspired by our engagement walk along the Eno River, we picked colors and feelings that, for us, evoked taking a woodland walk along the river at dusk. So we picked a palette of greens, blue-lavenders, and greys, with accents of coppery rose gold. These colors felt even more appropriate, as green is Jenn’s favorite color and blue is Teague’s favorite color—so it felt like the two colors were representing us both.
We picked coppery rose gold as our accent color, as it is warm and felt appropriate given that we were getting married close to midsummer / Summer Solstice. Ironically, rose gold became very popular as we were planning the wedding—so its rising popularity made it much easier to find items in that metal. We used copper and rose gold in things like our rose gold & mercury cake stand from BHLDN, copper lights to decorate the venue foyer, favor labels, rose gold jewelry and copper tie clip gifts, copper food label holders for the buffet table, rose gold pennants which we hung in some of the windows, a copper tray that our invitation suite was displayed on, copper ginko leaf metal tray that our wedding bands were displayed on, etc.
Located on private land, with fields and woodlands surrounding it, we chose Rigmor House primarily because it offered the perfect space for us to have the wedding outside (even though that didn’t end up happening) — we loved how quiet and secluded the venue is. The Rigmor House was also an ideal choice because of all the additional guest bedrooms on the second floor that we were able to offer for free to our out-of-town guests. As Teague is from Seattle and many of his close friends still live there, it was really important to us that we provide out-of-town guests with a place to stay.”
“I wanted to wear the wedding gown that my mother and maternal grandmother wore for their weddings. However, the gown did not survive the test of time very well, so I decided to look for a dress that was as close to their dress as possible. I knew I wanted something formal and traditional—with lace neck and sleeves, a long train, and lots of bead work. I looked all over for the right dress—tried out several boutiques in my area, as well as Seattle and DC, BHLDN, local wedding thrift stores, etc. It was actually quite challenging to find my dress and took me about 14 months of regular hunting. On my second try at David’s Bridal I found the dress I was looking for! It was an Oleg Cassini off-the-shoulder lace A-line wedding dress, which was a close match to my mother and grandmother’s dress. Plus, my dress had pockets (can’t get better than that)!”
“Given our “wild romantic” nature theme, one of our top priorities, besides a photographer and wedding coordinator, was to focus on finding a fantastic florist. We were blown away by Caroline, of Caroline Ruth Design, design proposal—she nailed exactly what we had envisioned! She designed and put together so many essential features of the wedding décor: our bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres, the flower crown for the flower girl, greenery for the wedding cake decorations, trailing greenery with clustered florals for our wedding ceremony arbor, ceremony aisle arrangements, floral-greenery swags over the doors, a special installment of greenery wreaths that were hung behind the cake display, table centerpieces as well as a head table centerpiece, and hanging greenery wreaths above each reception table (and because we ended up having the ceremony inside due to rain, the hanging greenery wreaths also hung over the pews).
For the florals, we were inspired by the romantic, slightly unruly vibes of English country gardens: greenery heavy with lots of hand-picked wild flowers – in hues of whites, lavender blues, and sage green. For the main focal flowers, our florist Caroline and I chose garden roses, anemone, ranunculus, sweet pea, thistle, foxglove, and clematis to give that wild garden feel. Garden roses, anemone, ranunculus, and clematis provide gorgeous big blooms—I love their soft look. Sweet peas and foxglove—I love growing them in my own garden—and Caroline included them because they’re two of my favorite flowers. Thistle was a perfect addition to include also because of the thistle flower’s soft grey-blue color and also its association with Celtic moorlands. These florals were used in my bouquet but also in the bridesmaid bouquets and reception table centerpieces.”
“Along the nature theme, we originally envisioned the ceremony outside against a woodland treeline at Rigmor House, but it rained on our wedding day, so we did our best to bring some of the outdoors in.”
“We chose to do the reception in a British afternoon tea style, as we love having afternoon tea and wanted to share it with our family and friends! Jenn used to live in the UK when she studied modern and medieval Welsh (Celtic) literature and language at Bangor University in North Wales. Because of Jenn’s love of Celtic history (she’s a redhead after all!), we also integrated little touches of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish traditions into our wedding day and décor.
For the afternoon tea dishes and cutlery, we were very lucky to have Southern Vintage Table in the Chapel Hill area. Shelly, the owner, provided us with a gorgeous array of blue-and-white plates and porcelain tea sets, silver-plated cutlery, and other key serviceware items we needed for our afternoon tea reception. She even helped with dressing the tables and wow, the end result was more stunning than I imagined!”
“We gave out several favors. As the reception was a formal British afternoon tea, we gave out bags of the wedding tea blend we made ourselves and served at the tea as mementos so that guests could enjoy the wedding tea again later. It was an earl grey tea as the base, with lemon peel and lavender mixed in to present a delicate citrus-floral flavor. Jenn purchased the loose tea from Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC and Teague’s mother embroidered little gift bags to hold the tea bags. Each gift bag had a uniquely embroidered floral pattern, including beadwork, ribbon, and metal embroidery, with a copper Celtic heart pendant added to each bag.”
“Our wedding cake was a lemon cake with layers separated with lemon curd and cream cheese frosting, and a white buttercream on the outside in a ripple pattern, decorated with greenery that our florist provided. It was SO delicious and the lemon was the perfect flavor to counterbalance the midsummer heat. We served the cake with fresh local blueberries tossed in sugar.”
“Succulent plants. In keeping with the natural/earthy theme, we also gave out succulent plants. We wanted guests to have something that would last long after the wedding day itself and that represented the way love can be nurtured and grown. Teague’s mother also made little plant labels to go in each one – a wooden heart with Celtic knotwork on the front and our names and wedding date woodburned into the back, hanging from a copper stake.”
Pearls of wedding wisdom from the bride….
- Come up with your wedding day must-haves in a rank order list and plan your budget accordingly. Knowing what your priorities are really can help with planning and money. Looking back, we are really glad we prioritized the things we did. In terms of vendors, the photographer and wedding planner or coordinator are essential and can make all the difference in your wedding day. Also seek out vendors early based on your priority. For example, as we knew a good photographer was at the top of our list, one of the first things we did was reach out to Boots.
- If you are dreaming up and planning some, most, or all of the wedding yourself, start early. The more you are DIYing, the earlier you should start. We had about 20 months for planning between engagement to wedding, and I think more time would have been ideal. But we are both early career scientists and have intense work weeks, plus work most weekends, so we really had to carve out time to plan.
- Even if you are planning most or all of your wedding yourself, we believe a wedding coordinator should be at the top of every couple’s list of wedding priorities. Erica was beyond crucial. She helped with additional planning and vendor identification, helped us figure out the best ways to materialize some of the more difficult parts of our wedding decorations and vision, thought of details we had overlooked, and oversaw the nitty-gritty organization of the day itself. Her professional insight was invaluable and I recommend that everyone should get the professional assistance of a wedding planner or coordinator like Erica, even if you are on a budget or DIY much of your wedding like we did. And perhaps most importantly—it was one of the best feelings in the world to be able to just focus on each other and our special day, knowing that Erica had everything well-organized and in hand.
- Be sure you have rainy day alternate plans you love. It rained a lot throughout our wedding and although it was disappointing not to have our outdoor wedding amongst the trees like we had originally planned, we were really happy we had a good alternate indoor venue plan. This was also something that we wouldn’t have pulled off well without Erica’s help. She completely took charge of updating the last-minute plans with vendors, came up with an indoor ceremony décor plan, and ensured the indoor ceremony space was “flipped” into the afternoon tea reception set-up, without it delaying our schedule. Without her at the helm, the rain would have caused major stress. We are so glad we had Erica there!
- Catering or wait staff are worth it. We did mostly self-catering ourselves for the afternoon tea reception. Besides the afternoon tea scones and wedding cake, everything else we got in bulk from Costco or prepared ourselves. The spread of food was delicious and dainty—exactly like a proper afternoon tea. But we completely underestimated how much work it would be to prepare all the food. We chose foods that could be served cold, since we didn’t want to struggle with keeping food hot or having someone prepare food in the oven during the ceremony itself—plus in the summer, cold food for an afternoon tea is more appropriate! However, buying food in bulk from Costco meant someone had to chop up all the vegetables for the vegetable platter, arrange all the cheese and fruit and salamis into a beautiful charcuterie spread, someone to assemble the mixed green salad, make the cucumber sandwiches, etc. etc. We did some food preparation the day before, but in the end, several close friends staying at the wedding venue ended up working the morning before our wedding (that afternoon) chopping, assembling, and arranging. We are incredibly grateful for how hard our friends worked, but we also hadn’t meant for the food to be as much work as it was. In future, even for relatively simple food spreads, we recommend couples find a local caterer or someone they can hire who will be in charge of food preparation and display.
Tell us a little about your photographer….
“When we first sat down to plan our wedding, we started by making a list of what we wanted most for the wedding. We both immediately agreed that our wedding photos, as a way of preserving memories of the day, was one of our top priorities. One of Teague’s colleagues was friends with Rebekah, of Rebekah Senter Photography and recommended her to us—and wow! We were so impressed by her particular eye for details, her organic, earthy approach which fit with our wedding “feeling”—and also the softness of her portraits. She is incredibly talented and we both knew right away we wanted to work with her! We cherish the photographs that she took, both for our engagement and for the wedding—it means so much to have a tangible way (i.e., photos) to help us relive and remember this special time in our lives.”
How gorgeous is all of that greenery? Huge congratulations to the happy couple Jenn & Teague, and a big thankyou to them as well as their wonderful photographer Rebekah Senter for allowing me to share their beautiful day with you. If you love Rebekah’s photography and would like to see more of her work head over to her website rebekahsenter.com and be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Or if you love the timeless romance of this wedding, and are looking for more inspiration for your own big day, then you might want to see Alex & Ian’s wedding at Salisbury House, or Alex & Amanda’s romantic celebration in the mountains of North Carolina! And you’ll love Matt & Kelly’s greenery filled affair at the Chandelier Ballroom!
Contributors & Credits
Photography – Rebekah Senter Photography // Ceremony & Reception Venue – The Rigmor House // Event Planning – Folie à Deux Events // Floral Design – Caroline Ruth Design // Stationery – Minted // Wax Seal – Venus Envy Paper // Ceremony Harpist – Marilyn Wienand // Hair & Makeup – WINK Hair & Makeup // Wedding Dress – Oleg Cassini from David’s Bridal // Bride’s Shoes – BHLDN // Veil & Headpiece – Anna Marguerite // Earrings – BHLDN // Groom’s Suit – Black Lapel // Groom’s Tie – BHLDN // Groom’s Shoes – Joseph A. Bank // Bridesmaids Dresses – David’s Bridal // Wedding Cake – Sugarland, Chapel Hill, NC // Catering – Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, NC // Furniture Rentals – Old South Vintage Rentals // Pew Rentals – Carolina Rustic Rentals // Linens & Tableware – Southern Vintage Table // Reception Music – Elegant Ensembles // Lighting – K2 Productions // Tea – Southern Season // Succulents – The Succulent Source // Marriage Certificate – eDanea // Silk Ribbons & Papers – Silk & Willow // Drape Fabric – Fabric Wholesale Direct // Additional Décor Items – BHLDN, Anthropologie & Etsy.