One of our epic photography vendors got married! You're going to dig this gorgeous rustic wedding…
The Offbeat Bride: Leslie, Photographer
Her offbeat partner: Park, Woodworker + Designer
Date and location of wedding: Prince William Forest Park Camp in Triangle, Virginia — September 3, 2016
Our handmade forest wedding at a glance:
We just wanted our handmade forest wedding to be authentic to us. Our location was a gathering place for all of our friends and family, we had enough room for any one who wanted to stay in cabins. Our families and friends live all over the country and world, so it truly was a unique moment for us all to gather together.
We stayed there starting on Friday night and had a big barbecue dinner. Then on Saturday morning we started the day with Kundalini Yoga. The flowers were an assortment of ones I grew, from the shop, and wild flowers collected. After yoga, a bunch of us went into the kitchen and made arrangements for the tables. It was so wonderful being surrounded by women being creative.
We are both artists and wanted to wear what we felt good in. Our aesthetic ended up being Western without even trying. My dress was a vintage black Mexican wedding dress, my jewelry was turquoise, Park made a skull bolo to wear, and our main decoration was our papel picado flags in the hall. I'm a photographer, and so our day ended up being very documented. We had two photographers, and lots of other film cameras hanging around. Our digital photographer is an awesome photography student who lives in Utah, and our amazing film photographer is a dear friend from California.
Tell us about the ceremony:
I entered the ceremony through the woods with both of my parents. We were led by my friend, who is actress and musician Sarah Olmsted Thomas, who played the accordion. The song she played was the famous Amelie theme by Yann Tiersen.
Our ceremony was guided by a dear friend and mentor Ladan who is a yoga teacher and runs the charity, Moms Against Poverty. Park and I felt she had the right spirit of openness and love to include all faiths and non-faiths into our ceremony. Together we lit a unity candle. We did not exchange rings because we opted to get wedding symbol tattoos on our honeymoon. Then we left the ceremony and met our guests at the hall while Sarah played the accordion again.
Tell us about your reception:
To get the hall ready, friends and family all helped put up lights, papel picado, flowers, etc. I could not believe how many people were there. A good friend of ours is an amazing caterer and made lots of delicious Greek food.
It was my brother's birthday, so we sang and had a cake for him, then we did a pie cutting. I come from a dancing background and just love to move, so that was my highlight. I believe I danced for three hours or more. I actually changed into a jean jumpsuit during the dancing because I was too hot to wear my dress! Afterward there was a bonfire where people hung out for the rest of the night.
What was your most important lesson learned?
I did my best in preparing to just enjoy the event and not sweat the details. Since our wedding celebration was three days long, there were moments when I definitely got frustrated. I took my time, and after working the emotion out, was able to let things go. On the day of the event everything went by so quickly, but we went with the flow and soaked it up. I think the best advice is to not get too hung up on the details. As a wedding photographer, I have seen the happiest couples are the ones who let details go, and openly embrace whatever moment they are in.