Handmade Cornfield Wedding : Sophie + Peter pt. I

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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Sophie and Peter are the intentional. It was no surprise that their wedding was the same, and I don’t think they could have planned it another way. They thought about the experience they wanted to share with their guests, and how they would invite them in to their lives to share in the celebration of starting their lives together. They have a kind of love you rarely see, perhaps because of the unique challenges and experiences they have been through together. The journey that brought them to their wedding day shaped who they are and gave them many reasons to celebrate in a way that only they could. Not only was everyone present at the wedding a part of Sophie and Peter’s lives past, present or future, they were invited to join them on their journey moving forward, in to marriage. It was evident to all who attended that this wedding was an effort to continue building the community that had supported them and celebrate the part each person played in their lives.

Today I’m excited to share the hours of planning and hard work that went in to this day with part I of II from the wedding. This post focuses on the preparation, which includes the deatils of the day, getting ready and the first look. The details were so deeply rooted in Sophie and Peter’s lives and stem from the very things they love. They represent the investment of many family members and friends, and once again reinforce the idea of community Sophie and Peter built their wedding around. As Sophie said: Luckily, I have a family that was very willing to jump on board with our visions, and two parents who match me in creativity and energy. But I guess the story starts before me, to the fact that I was born into a family of hardworking farmers, dedicated carpenters, and traveling missionaries. The details of my heritage—maps, travel, wood, seeds and plants—gave me a taste for everything that I now appreciate so deeply. I come from a long line of people who value family, hospitality, and oneness. I knew that I wanted to make our wedding day not only a celebration of us but an invitation for our friends and family to participate in our lives more than ever, representing true community.

I have been looking forward to this wedding for a year, felt honored to document the wedding, and developed a friendship with Peter and Sophie along the way. They so intricately wove their lives into the planning of this day I hope the photographs tell the story for years to come. Enjoy the hard work they put in to their wedding (literally everything is handmade) and look for the story of the wedding day on Monday!

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When she started to plan, Sophie realized that everything they needed for the wedding they already had. They decided to have a wedding at home, on the family farm, in the middle of a cornfield. Literally, in the middle of a cornfield. They spent a year preparing the field and planting grass so that it could be the space you see in the images today.

Me, my mom and sisters collected random china for months. We borrowed a lot of it from friends, and the rest we bought really cheaply at local second hand stores. Though we were washing and packing china sets away by table for a solid day, it was an awesome, inexpensive, beautiful alternative to renting china for 200 people… or eating off plastic plates.

I am in love with doilies in general. So, I decided that I wanted to make a big paper mache lamp of doilies. This was really complicated, actually, and I credit my mom with purusing this on her own after I gave up, and making it happen.

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For favors guests were given personalized cedar coasters and homemade jelly!

For the coasters Dad got limbs of cedar from back in our woods and we worked in the shop to cut it into round pieces and sand down both sides. We only put 2 coats of varnish on one side, so that our guests could use it in their sweater drawer, if they wanted, or as a coaster. I then hand-wrote every guest’s name on the varnished side. This project took an extremely long time, though I don’t regret it at all. I loved doing those personal things. sp09sp10sp11sp12sp13

We used old milk jugs from our friend’s dairy for water on the table, and I decorated them with strips of the burlap and some lace trim that I found in my grandma’s basement (which is literally packed with material that has been collected for the past 40 years for making quilts).sp14sp15sp16sp02sp17sp18sp19sp20

I’ve always been in love with my grandma’s book collection that’s hidden away in her basement, and she has no idea how valuable it is because she just says that they’re “her old books.” She has a lot of first edition classics that I remember her reading to us. I borrowed those and put about two on each table.

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The girls got ready in the church just down a few roads from the farm. All of the dresses were handmade, by Aunt Sandy, adding another completely custom touch to their day

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The gift I gave to my bridesmaids was their shoes, which I bought from an organization called Sseko Shoes in Kampala, Uganda. It is a company that employs young women who are pursuing college educations, and it was intentional to give them a gift like this. I ended up making my own straps for them out of lace ribbon.

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Sophie and Peter got ready at separate locations and then had their first look at the farm where the reception was. They spent the morning setting up everything separately, so when they saw each other in the tent for the first time they were able to enjoy not only the start of their wedding day, but the hard work that brought it together. sp38sp39sp40sp41sp42sp43sp44sp45sp46sp47sp48sp49sp50sp51sp53sp54

For the outhouse area I knew I wanted a little seating area in this space. I asked Dad if it were possible to make a bench-like thing out of square bales. An hour later Dad came in the house and said I needed to go to the barn with him—the glamorous hay bale couch was born! The pump sink was probably my favorite. Dad and I found the old pump in the barn, and Dad stripped the paint off and gave it a coat of varnish. Then he built the wooden base, installed the trough and we had ourselves and awesome outdoor hand-washing station!

Since Peter loves nuts and Sophie loves candy, they decided to serve both as their appetizer. A table and a trough were set up with both and custom bags printed for guests to fill up and enjoy as they like. They way they displayed everything was perfect and guests couldn’t be happier having something to enjoy throughout the night.

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