Mike + Nikki : Rustic and Elegant Barn Wedding

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

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





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They met in the city working in the same office and decided to keep their love a secret. Mike had a code name for Nikki and would refer to her as “Rhonda” in emails just in case he needed to throw someone off their trail. Meanwhile they began spending more time together and doing things they loved. Traveling was one of their main passions, and they started booking last minute flights and explored the world together. They haven’t stopped, except briefly to get married in mid October.

You saw from the first post that they invited everyone to join them for a truly unique, homegrown, rustic and yet elegant affair at Nikki’s childhood home in Culpeper, Virginia. You may want to go look at that post one more time since the details are so good, but first join me for the events of the day. In describing the wedding day, Nikki said:

“The one thing I was sure of was the I didn’t want our wedding to be by the book. Our ceremony was on the hill behind my house which overlooked the corn and cow fields that seemed to glow during the autumn sunset. My childhood minister lead the ceremony, which was short and sweet and ended with us walking back up the aisle under a shower of lavender buds while a couple of the band members sane “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. The coctail hour was in the front lawn and our guests had a chance to lounge on hay bale couches and nibble on southern treats – sweet potato biscuits with country ham and apple butter and fried green tomato skewers! Another aspect of our wedding day that made it even more special was that my parents were married on the same day, 28 years prior.”


It was sunny and warm and Nikki was walked down the aisle between the blanket covered haybales by her father. mn_59mn_60mn_61mn_62mn_63

Mike + Nikki said their vows and walked back down the aisle with lavender being tossed in celebration. Guests exited to the front of the house where they enjoyed a cocktail hour as the sun gracefully set over the hills and mountains surrounding them.mn_68mn_69mn_65mn_66mn_67

Having a small wedding party is a trend I’ve seen in 2010 and it allows for a more intimate feel to the day. The bouquets Nikki and her sister Tiffany carried were a rustic blend that included roses, hydrangea, and wheat which added gorgeous texture.mn_64mn_70

I photographed Mike + Nikki again in the gorgeous light at sunset which gave a completely different feel from the pictures we captured during the first look. I love being able to shoot with different kinds of natural light – since the quality and color changes so much throughout the day.mn_71mn_72


Nikki’s blue suede shoes and Mike’s fall colored argyle socks added a splash of color and personality. I love the toned images below and the antique feel that gives them.mn_81

Soon it was time for the reception to begin, and the barn filled up and Mike and Nikki entered.mn_84mn_85

The sun had set and the moon kept watch over the barn in a deep blue night sky. mn_86mn_87mn_88mn_89

Once again, I love those table decorations – and they look even better with the lights twinkling in the background. mn_90mn_91mn_92

the bluegrass band Jackass Flats provided music throughout the day and keep the party going on the dance floor all night. mn_93mn_94mn_96

Mike + Nikki enjoyed a first dance and everyone joined in after that. Throughout the night guests also enjoyed the photobooth they set up and the “Whiskey + Cigar Lounge” that was outside by the bonfire that blazed. mn_97mn_98

Everyone enjoyed the warmth of the fire and the party lasted well in to the night. It couldn’t have been a more complete day and I was so happy to be able to document it. Mike + Nikki, congratulations again and I hope you’ve had a good first month of marriage. Don’t forget to leave a comment here and head to the proofing gallery to see the complete set of images. mn_99

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