REAL STORIES: Carrie & Dom’s Tented Farmhouse Wedding in Historic Villanova

Set on some of the most STUNNING landscape found in suburban Philadelphia, a renovated 18th Century horse stable was the idyllic location for Carrie and Dominick’s ecclectic farm house-style wedding.  The event design was supposed to seem as if we walked into the house, grabbed whatever china, glasses, chairs and tables we could get our hands on, and then dragged them out onto the lawn.  Almost as if we raided Grandma’s cupboards for all the good stuff as well as anything else that was needed from the kitchen!  Of course, a little tenting was needed to tie up the loose ends…

With acres and acres of gardens beautifully designed by Chuck Gale of Gale Nurseries, the wedding ceremony was scheduled to take place overlooking the pond and rolling hills.  However, dueling thunderstorms repeatedly hammered the countryside for the entire week leading up to the wedding.  Although we had plenty of tents, marquees, floored walkways and coverage in place [thank you EventQuip], much sleep was lost as we wondered when to activate the ceremony rain plan.  It seemed as if the wedding day itself would be dry, and for most of the morning, as the ladies had their hair and makeup done in an upstairs bedroom, the misty gray skies remained still.  But, sure enough, just as the family photographs were finishing on the front lawn, the clouds opened up and the rains began again in earnest.

The bridal bouquet of hydrangea, roses, chamomile, blooming sage, sweet pea and lily of the valley sits on the edge of the Pennsylvania fieldstone koi pond.

A simple, unadorned white frame tent was already in place  on the pool terrace “just in case” we needed it for “something” on the weekend, if only craft service.  We did.  The ceremony!  A large circle of rose petals provided the spiritual setting for the ceremony.  The bride and groom entered the circle simultaneously from opposite sides of the circle – symbolizing their individuality as well as their equality in the marriage-to-be.

Cocktails were enjoyed throughout the house, using the Great Room, living room, family room and covered back terraces.  Of course, we couldn’t keep the little ones from using the remaining ceremony petals for playtime!

The rain started and stopped just enough to allow us to pull back some of the 10 foot sides on the main tent as guests enjoyed their organic dinner menu designed by Peter Callahan.  Every ingredient was locally-grown or organically sourced, including the wines paired with the meal.  Waiters dressed in khaki slacks and long white French aprons offered guests their choice of grilled chicken, fish or strip steak from custom-made wooden boxes.

We brought our collection of antique and rustic tables to be used with other fabric-covered dinner tables.  Mismatched tins, weathered leather boxes, ecclectic iron, tarnished silver and depression glass vases were filled with colorful summer flowers, herbs and whole fruit.  A variety of wooden chairs in different finishes supplemented our existing collection of ladder back, windsor and farm chairs.  Party Rental Ltd. offered additional vintage-inspired plates, glasses, silverware and serviceware.

Bolts of old cotton fabric was made into napkins and tablecloths; flea markets were combed for table runners and linen doilies; and vintage tin plates were used throughout.

Peter Callahan’s food styling is always impeccable – from the wooden bushels filled with rustic country breads to the heirloom tomato salad.

Guests were welcome to stroll the property, poking their heads into spring houses, cottages and renovated out-buildings.  No matter where they wandered, we had little surprises waiting, such as our “sweet” country table.  Pink depression glasses, silver plates and hobnail dishes held snacks aplenty.

A salvaged country door was laid across bales of hay to create a romantic seating area at the end of a long wisteria-covered pergola.  The view over the rolling fields was absolutely spectacular!  Leather chairs, flea-market floor lamps and antique coffee tables surrounded the dance floor for easy comfy viewing.  Cappuccinos, homemade limoncello and fruit cobblers were served from our mahogany counter.

From the fiddle music for the ceremony to the orchestra during dinner and the banjo player during dessert – the music and spirit of this at home wedding was charmingly cosy and sentimental.

Photos courtesy of Rachel McGinn www.rachelmcginnphotography.com

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