I Married My Travel Partner: Our Terrain Wedding in Photos
[Photos from our Terrain at Styers wedding are by Alex Medvick Photography.]
Alex and I took our first trip together within four months of knowing each other. Crazy, right? It was a two-week road trip to visit his friend in North Carolina and go white water rafting. I would’ve never done any of the above usually, but our connection was undeniably special.
Five years and 25+ countries later, we’ve traveled the world and embraced life together, and now: traveled to Glen Mills, PA for a rustic Terrain wedding. (Terrain at Styers is 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia, PA.)
The day of our summer wedding started with finishing up last minute floral touches, and getting hair and make up done. I bought flowers in bulk through Flower Moxie earlier that week, and arranged the personals and table arrangements the night before.
After hair and make up was ready, the bridal party and I then crossed the street from our hotel, the Staybridge Inn and Suites Brandywine Valley to Terrain at Styers. There, we got officially dressed at the Mushroom Hut bridal suite and took professional photos (Terrain Garden Cafe, the Terrain store, and the Terrain wedding venue are all spread across the grounds).
The Mushroom hut was a charming cottage with a love seat, floor mirror, and farm table. It was just the right size for me and my girls, though got overwhelmingly crowded when everyone else started poking in!
Luckily my Philadelphia wedding coordinator, Merida (from Events by Merida) was able to spot my discomfort from a mile away and manage the crowds around me. She was like an eagle throughout the whole event; keeping her eye on 20 things at once.
Though it is the trend for a bridal party to wear different, yet coordinating dresses, my MOH and I found this flattering blush bridesmaid dress à la Sisterhood of the Traveling Gowns (also from BHLDN) and knew it was a keeper.
Look at how beautifully the BHLDN’s Jones Dress fits each one of them! And it perfectly complemented the rustic event space. The Dream Girls have arrived.
We took most of our garden wedding photos before the guests arrived. First, our Philadelphia wedding photographer captured Alex’s and my first look. Though we did it to maximize our time with the guests (and cocktail hour), it felt more special to share the moment alone.
What we loved about having a Terrain wedding was the ability to take advantage of all the greenery around us. Having previously worked in the wedding floral industry, I knew that florals and decor could take up our entire budget — and we weren’t willing to sacrifice our travel money for flowers. Terrain’s lush garden event space provided the perfect backdrop.
Our interfaith outdoor ceremony
For our ceremony, we gathered outside surrounded by tall green hedges, a fire pit, and our farmhouse background. Wooden chairs lined a stone aisle and a handcrafted Indian temple awaited our procession.
Parents: John Lennon - “Imagine” (String Quartet)
Bridal Party: H.E.R. and Daniel Cesar - “Best Part”
Bride: Maxwell - “This Woman’s Work”
I must say, our processional song choices were one of my favorite parts of the whole ceremony. Such a MOOD! Our peers agreed.
Since Alex and his parents identify as Quaker, he wanted to have a silent meeting for worship as the ceremony. Our compromise was to split the 30 minute ceremony among the two traditions: non-denominational Christian ceremony and a Quaker ceremony (which is also rooted in Christianity).
Here are the qualities we pulled from each for an interfaith ceremony:
We had a pastor preside over the ceremony and lead the order of events.
We had a wedding party.
We sat down for 10 minutes of silence, in which people could speak if they felt moved to do so. (Quaker influence)
We recited the same vows to each other to end the silence. These vows were also written on a separate, non-official marriage certificate that the bride, groom, and all witnesses of the wedding sign. (Quaker influence)
Our pastor then continued the ceremony with prayer, declaration of intent, exchanging of the rings, and the whole “you may kiss the bride” stuff.
After our bride+groom kiss, and words of wisdom from Pastor Sharon Lester, she presented us as husband and wife to our loved ones. We then signed our official state marriage certificate and Quaker marriage certificate, escaped the crowd for a breather and privacy, took family photos, and the real fun began.
Lauryn Hill - “You’re Just too Good to be True”
Cocktail hour with farm to table hors d’oeuvres
After cocktail hour, we enjoyed another great highlight of the wedding: the reception. I am still stunned at how my day-of wedding coordinator was able to take my simple table arrangements, Dollar Store taper candles and candle holders, and escort signage (printed at FedEx Kinkos) — and turn it into a summer solstice haven.
The boho, rustic chic, ethereal vibes (and every other Pinterest word out there) were beyond my wildest vision and I am so glad I hired Merida and her team to take over and help. I think the photos speak for themselves!
Terrain at Styers offers farm to table dining, in support of a number of local farms in the region. That is another reason why we chose them. The venue is BYO so we purchased all the booze in bulk ourselves and had their certified servers manage the open bar and table wine service.
Our cocktail hour food included:
Harvest cheese display
Chicken and donuts (a twist on chicken and waffles)
Avocado toast with a touch of tomatoes
Ham toast with whipped brie and quail egg
Jambalaya Arancini (fried shrimp balls)
Buffalo tots (tater tots with buffalo sauce and blue cheese)
Our farmhouse reception
We did away with assigned seats and place settings, and opted for family style dinner. We chose family style dinner for two reasons:
The long farm-style tables are gorgeous but can become isolating. Family style dining keeps people engaged.
Family style dining doesn’t require food selections. Everyone gets to try everything!
For dinner we ate fresh baked flower pot bread and heirloom tomato salad (frisee, summer stone fruit, and burrata) for the starter, with farm fresh chicken, risotto, halibut, sautéed mushrooms, roasted vegetables, and red pepper bolognese for the main dishes and sides.
It was all so absolutely delicious and I am bummed that I didn’t get to eat as much as I would’ve liked (stage fright nerves, some guest mishaps, and anxiety got the best of my appetite).
For dessert, Terrain let us choose 3 sweets. We selected:
Key Lime tart
Carrot cake cupcake (omg heaven)
Terrain’s signature chocolate chip and black lava sea salt cookie
Plus: s’mores by the fire pit
A wedding cake alternative
Because we aren’t big on cake, we opted out of a wedding cake and instead brought in Rita’s Water Ice for everyone. Water ice is a staple in the Pennsylvania / Delaware region, and was a nostalgic treat for many of our old classmates. Alex and I love Italian Ices — and as a Nuyorican, I love Delicioso Coco Helado — so Rita’s was close enough!
“Cutting the cake” was nixed in exchange for feeding each other scoops of water ice under a canopy of sparklers. Cherry and mango were the winning flavors.
Last but definitely not least — the music and dancing. We were SO lucky to be blessed with DJ Kirsh, who was recommended by a close friend. Not only did we have a crew that loves to dance, we also had a DJ who could read the room perfectly and keep us moving.
Some of our favorite music moments:
Alex’s friend, whose anniversary was the same day as our wedding, really got down on the dance floor singing all the words to Outkast’s “Hey Ya”
Two of my bridesmaids went off on a random praise dance version of “His Eye on the Sparrow” by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount
We ended the night with an acapella snippet of “Joyful, Joyful” Sister Act 2 style
After doing the wobble, Alex’s 90+ year old grandmother, who enjoyed line dancing in her younger years, was intrigued. She said, “I like that dance you did, with the hands! I’m going to look that one up!”
Many of our music choices transcended generations and made for continuous dancing together
It took over a year to plan this rustic garden wedding — 1.5 years since our engagement, but who’s counting? We needed to save more money, all while still traveling to new places (so I could be a happy woman and continue my work) and all while moving into a new home (so Alex could be a happy man).
It was a lot. And I’m still exhausted. We hardly left our house for nearly two weeks after that.
The best part was seeing how easily our friends from different phases of our lives so easily clicked. It was confirmation that these people are our chosen extended family. Though we weren’t able to have everyone we wanted at our humble shindig, we celebrated with everyone in spirit.
We are so grateful to our friends, parents, loved ones, and hired teams for making this such a joyous occasion. On to another adventure.
WEDDING VENDORS FOR YOUR REFERENCE:
Music: DJ Kirsh
Venue: Terrain by Styers
Wedding Dress: BHLDN Lilac Gown by Whispers & Echoes
Bridal Shoes: Sam Edelman Omar, DSW
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN Jones Dress
Groomsmen suits and ties: Kenneth Cole, Macys
Bulk Flowers: Flower Moxie (Dusty Rose and Cream bulk package)
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