A pair of newlyweds recess up a flower-lined aisle at their rustic outdoor wedding in Virginia.
BEHIND THE SCENES

The Making of a Rustic Outdoor Wedding for Kylie and Rich

Fredericksburg, Virginia
BY SHIRA SAVADA / 11 23 22
Photo by Laura Murray Photography

Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.

Rich had been carrying an engagement ring around for nearly a month—having considered multiple proposal plans—before ultimately popping the question to Kylie while on a hike outside of Middleburg, Virginia, on their first anniversary. The year prior, in 2020, they had visited and intended on staying for a week or two, but ended up spending three months there and repeating the hike often.

Soon after their engagement, they set the wedding plans in motion. Wedding venues had been discussed before the proposal, and an ideal wedding date was set within a couple of weeks. Kylie had a vision for the celebration: rustic and natural, but still luxurious and romantic—but with the couple living in Chicago at the start of their engagement and later moving to Houston, planning from afar called for reinforcement. Plus, it was important to the couple that the event was special and that any unexpected changes (and there definitely were some, due to the pandemic and wedding-day weather) were handled smoothly.

DECISION 1

Wedding Planner & Designer

Kylie first heard about Evoke Design & Creative through her mother, who was familiar with the group's work after collaborating with them on the Children Hospital's annual gala. While Kylie and Rich’s friends also made recommendations, when they interviewed with Jeannette Tavares of Evoke, they were immediately impressed by her energy, creativity, and the company’s emphasis on the guest experience. Once Evoke was secured, discussions about the wedding weekend, guest experience, and venues took place so a foundation could be laid.

A pair of newlyweds recess up a flower-lined aisle at their rustic outdoor wedding in Virginia.
The reception tables at a rustic outdoor wedding were set with an elegant mix of rented tabletop items, like handmade plates and modern, clear-handled flatware.

“We both wanted a comfortable feel to the wedding where guests would have a great time. We cared about the venue and the band from the beginning, but in working with Jeannette, we got to figure out what we wanted visually and experientially as well.” —Kylie, bride

Drink stirrers with an illustration of a bride and groom's dog were used in the cocktails at their rustic outdoor wedding.
Guests enjoy dinner at a rustic outdoor wedding in rural Virginia.
DECISION 2

Wedding Venue

An avid horseback rider since she was little, Kylie loved the idea of getting married at a horse farm. She and Rich had actually toured The Lodge at Moss Neck before they got engaged on their way to the Outer Banks for New Year’s Eve. They loved that the wedding party could stay there, that it was an easy drive for guests based in Washington D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, and that it also wasn’t too far from the airport or train station. And with a rural setting and a luxurious feel to the venue, the atmosphere fell in line perfectly with the couple's vision for a rustic outdoor wedding weekend, which began with a sunflower-accented welcome party in honor of Rich's Kansas roots. Plus, it meant that Kylie could go horseback riding the morning of her wedding.

Horses weren’t the only animal present on their big day though. The couple made sure their wedding venue was pet-friendly before they booked, as they knew they wanted their 10-month-old golden retriever, Franklin, to be in attendance. He not only enjoyed roaming around and greeting guests at all of the events, but he served as the ring bearer during the ceremony, which was officiated by a Presbyterian reverend and incorporated personalized vows.

“We were able to transform the existing tent and use truly every nook and cranny on property starting with Friday night’s celebration! Having the entire property made it feel like it was like our own oasis! The vast views were a favorite!” —Jeannette Tavares, planner/designer

The Lodge at Moss Neck was the perfect setting for a rustic outdoor wedding.
A couple and their dog pose for a portrait on the day of their rustic outdoor wedding, which took place at a lodge in Virginia.
DECISION 3

Wedding Band

With the venue in place, it was time to find an awesome wedding band. The couple chose On The Move Entertainment. The band rocked it and even learned some country classics for the couple, who performed a choreographed first dance to “Forever After All” by Luke Combs. The newlyweds also shared a private last dance to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran while guests were en route to the after-party, with a lot of Motown hits and disco songs in between.

Newlyweds and their guests dance at the reception of a rustic outdoor wedding.
DECISION 4

Wedding Caterer

The menu would be more than a standard meal, as the couple and their family members wanted it to be extra-special. So finding a caterer who understood that and could pull it off was paramount. Design Cuisine was happy to step up to the plate for it—quite literally. Duck from their close family friends’ farm was a must, and family favorites were honored during cocktail hour, namely steak frites and lobster maki.

They celebrated the fall season (and mid-October wedding date) as well, with hot apple cider and bourbon cider upon guest arrival and an autumnal panzanella to begin the seated dinner.

Kylie’s sister, an incredible baker, took on the task of making the wedding cake. For late-night provisions, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream was served (the bride loves ice cream and used to frequent the store in Chicago) in tandem with another Windy City staple, Garrett Popcorn, and some additional offerings from Chick-fil-A.

Drinks were passed with monogrammed napkins at a rustic outdoor wedding.
A menu card outlines the multi-course dinner for a rustic outdoor wedding, which included duck from a nearby farm.
DECISION 5

Wedding Florist

Jeannette knew Sophie Felts of Sophie Felts Floral Design was the perfect florist for Kylie and Rich’s wedding. Together, they mapped out a Plan A, Plan B, and even a Plan C for all the floral arrangements, and Sophie was there to see it all through. Even when a massive storm came out of nowhere less than an hour before the ceremony, Sophie worked to make the rustic outdoor wedding beautiful.

​​The ceremony's original location—and accompanying rain-plan tent—unfortunately fell through at the last minute due to the inclement weather. Without the option to tent, additional creativity was required to find a new ceremony location that was less exposed to the elements. Jeannette and Sophie walked the property together and found a beautiful nook in the woods near the pickleball courts that would provide some cover from the rain. Plus, the lush floral backdrop for the initial plan could easily be repositioned there. Due to the flow of guests in the new spot, the aisle curved dramatically, which turned out to be visually interesting and a fun experience for all.

A curved aisle leading to the ceremony of a rustic outdoor wedding in the woods was decorated with flowers in soft pink, muted green, and neutrals like brown and white.
A floral installation anchored the ceremony space of a rustic outdoor wedding in the woods of Virginia.

“For this wedding, we really wanted the flowers to reflect the season in an understated way that tied the space to its surroundings. We used mostly muted, neutral toned blooms and a variety of potted, textural grasses in deep burgundy and beige to subtly capture the spirit of late October. We also brought in live willow oak trees to dress up the tent. For the bouquet, Kylie wanted something light pink, white, and green, with seasonal touches, a slightly loose/organic look, not too wild. She was super trusting of us and our process, which always makes creating a bridal bouquet fun! ” —Sophie Felts, floral designer

At her rustic outdoor wedding, a bride holds her white and pink bouquet, which included a mix of orchids, astilbe, dahlias, ranunculus, and roses.
A floral arch decorates the entryway of a tent for the reception of a rustic outdoor wedding.
DECISION 6

Wedding Hair & Makeup

Jeannette proposed a hair and makeup duo who had worked on countless Evoke brides and their families: Nikki Fraser of Beauty ‘N The Bride and Skyler Fordjour. They were suggested not only for their talent, but for their kind nature, calmness, and ability to adapt to what each client wants, whether that be a more bold or completely natural style.

“I asked Nikki for a polished natural look that still let my freckles show and that wasn't super full coverage. I showed her a few inspo pictures, but really I let her do her thing. She's super talented and after our trial, I knew whatever she thought would look best would be great. I was super happy with the look! I generally prefer my hair down, but felt that putting my hair up was more bridal/appropriate. Skyler helped me test out a few different styles, but we landed on soft curls with some pieces pinned back, which felt way more natural to me.” —Kylie, bride

A bride gets her hair and makeup done on the morning of her rustic outdoor wedding.
A bride and her bridesmaids—wearing mismatched pastel dresses—share a laugh during pre-ceremony portraits at her rustic outdoor wedding.
DECISION 7

Wedding Photographer

Then it was time to select a wedding photographer. A few options were given, but Kylie was drawn to Laura Murray’s work most. Even when 30-mile-per-hour winds and sideways rain came barreling through, she rolled with it to capture a set of remarkable images.

“I love that Kylie requested photographs of her riding horses with her best friend the morning of the wedding. Normally I begin photography in the bride's room once everyone is mostly ready and the vibe can be rather hectic at that time. It was lovely to begin photography during a peaceful moment as the sun rose. Later on, the weather presented a challenge, but it was incredible to see the couple, their family, and the vendor team come together to find an alternative solution. The ceremony was supposed to be in an open area with vistas, but we moved it to a location in the trees. The tall trees provided a canopy that protected guests against light rain and wind, and provided a cozy feel.” —Laura Murray, photographer

The morning of her rustic outdoor wedding, the bride and her friend went horseback riding at the wedding venue.
A groom and bride (wearing her hair half up and adorned with fresh flowers and pearl hair pins) kiss on the day of their rustic outdoor wedding.
DECISION 8

Wedding Stationer

Stationery came next. Kylie’s family friend painted a stunning watercolor of the venue for the save-the-date, which set the tone for the wedding weekend. Come time for the invitations, Jeannette considered many of the issues stationers faced during the height of the pandemic: who could meet deadlines as weddings were postponed and rescheduled, who could source paper as shortages grew, and ultimately, who would be the right fit for this rustic outdoor wedding in particular. Cheree Berry Paper & Design was the answer. From the stunning invitation to the fun day-of items, it was all a cohesive collection of curated components.

A few other visual elements came into play. First, a classic monogram joining the couple’s first initials—which graced welcome bags and was also constructed in moss on an escort card table—added a bit of formality. And second, a subtle nod to the bride’s love of horses (and the setting), with the escort cards displayed on moss with horseshoes collected, cleaned, and polished by the mother of the bride.

A neutral-colored invitation suite befitting a rustic outdoor wedding, with hand-torn edges and an illustration of the wedding venue.
To honor the bride's love of horses, calligraphed escort cards were tied to horseshoes and set out during the reception of her rustic outdoor wedding.
A monogram made of moss decorated a table holding escort cards at a rustic outdoor wedding.
DECISION 9

Wedding Lighting, DJ, & Dance Floor

The importance of hiring experienced vendor partners proved itself when it came to Atmosphere, Inc.’s impressive work on the wedding day. From faulty circuits due to water damage to navigating lighting trusses that weren’t conducive to the heavy winds, their team made sure the property was safe but also beautifully lit. They also brought drama—the good kind—at the after-party in the rec room and indoor basketball court.

The tents glowed as the sun set during a wedding in Virginia.

DJ Ryan Kersey also made the after-party extra memorable, keeping the nearly 200 guests entertained on the dance floor (which was courtesy of Washington Talent) until well past midnight.

“DJ Ryan dominated the after-party, We can always count on him to work up something amazing while he scratches his vinyls! I remember him going from old-school rap to country seamlessly!” —Jeannette Tavares, planner/designer

The after-party space at a rustic outdoor wedding, was a converted basketball court, transformed with rentals and lighting.
To dance the night away at their rustic outdoor wedding, the bride changed into sneakers and a sparkly mini-dress.
DECISION 10

Wedding Specialty Items, Production, & Rentals

Social Supply Design & Decor came on board to provide production for the event, as well as rental pieces to create lounge groupings, a custom head table, and bars. Kylie’s eye for design came in handy when she worked with Evoke to select some of the final details. The tabletop came together with items from BBJ La Tavola Specialty Linen, DC Rental, and Something Vintage (who hand-made the plates for the first course). However, one element of the table wasn’t rented: Every single monogrammed hemstitch dinner napkin came from Kylie’s mom’s hosting closet.

An entryway led the way to the rustic outdoor wedding ceremony in the woods.
Custom bars were brought in to elevate the cocktail hour of a rustic outdoor wedding.
A tented reception space was aglow with uplighting and softened with real trees following a rustic outdoor wedding ceremony.
An elegant reception table at a rustic outdoor wedding was set with monogrammed dinner napkins, upholstered chairs, and soft pink gauzy table runners.
DECISION 11

Wedding Videographer

The bride and groom’s final move was hiring their wedding videographer. They chose Elysium Productions, who documents weddings all over the world, for their country fête. Like the rest of the vendors, they rolled with the punches and not only made the most of the day, but captured it elegantly for the happy couple.

A rustic outdoor wedding ceremony in the woods included a floral backdrop behind the bride and groom.
A Country Wedding for Kylie and Rich
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Laura Murray Photography