This woodsy organic wedding is just another example of when a gorgeous day stops me dead in my tracks. Every now and again, I’ll receive a submission just like this. The kind that is so stunningly beautiful that I can’t wait to get my hands on all the photos and craft a (novel-length) post. That is exactly what happened when I first caught a glimpse of Alyssa and Chris’s wedding day. This is one for the books, folks.
After an unconventional proposal (she asked him!) and a long engagement, Alyssa and Chris planned a day inspired by nature. The couple loves the outdoors so the grounds of the Hyeholde provided the perfect backdrop for the affair. Understated, chic, and with muted tones, this wedding included some really soft and beautiful details, like:
- The bride’s dress. The Justin Alexander tea length number, with its tulle, Venetian lace and beading applications, and silk dupioni sash gave off vintage vibes. Alyssa is a classic, demure beauty.
- The venue. Tucked into a seemingly enchanted forest in Moon Township, the Hyeholde is a hidden gem. The main building looks like a cottage you’d find in a fairytale with its wooden beams, stained glass, and inviting fireplaces. The grounds feature winding stone paths and acres of gardens and lush greens. It’s charm is unparalleled. Just being there for a few moments and you’re instantly transported to another place and time.
- A hand fasting ceremony. Instead of lighting a unity candle, Alyssa and Chris participated in this tradition that stems from the Celts. Just in case you don’t know about it, here’s how it works…After the bride and groom both declare their intent to enter into a union, the hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord or ribbon. The knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other.
- A pie bar. Since Chris isn’t a big cake or cookie fan, the couple opted for a pie bar for dessert. With a plethora of flavors, Alyssa says that her guests still talk about it!
- A build-your-own-bouquet bar. In lieu of favors, the couple set up a make shift flower stand. Guests were free to create their own blooming bouquets to take home. I am 100000% in love with this idea!!!
Warning: This post will take you like 20 minutes to read. You can blame Hot Metal Studio for that. The images from this day are so incredible that there was no way I could only include a few dozen. So I may have gone a bit overboard. Oh well; it will be time well spent. Get to the end and tell me I was wrong. I dare you. (Spoiler alert: It won’t happen.)
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Chris and I met in August 2008 at Penn State University; I was a freshman and he was a junior. The student group that we met through has given us our closest friends and some incredibly cherished memories over the years. Neither of us attended the first meeting that year thinking that we’d meet our “person”, but it was simply a matter of time before we grew sweet on one another and began seeing each other exclusively. Throughout Chris’s graduation and subsequent acceptance to graduate school in Massachusetts, we continued to date and travel to see one another. We became engaged in November of 2010.
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
The details actually aren’t that juicy! But, I actually proposed to Chris, so there is a story there. In November of 2010, we were planning on having Thanksgiving in State College at my apartment, just the two of us. I was a junior at the time and we had been dating for two years. I knew that Chris was the one that I wanted to be with long term pretty much as soon as I met him. And I thought that it might be fun and exciting to propose when it was just the two of us that Thanksgiving. I actually bought his ring only 3 or 4 days ahead of time and didn’t tell anyone about my plans, in case I backed out. I felt really nervous about it, but wanted to go for asking him anyway. After all, how wonderful must it feel to have someone ask you to spend the rest of your life with them? I wanted Chris to feel that. I honestly don’t remember what I said, but thankfully, he accepted the proposal!
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
We wanted to have a fun gathering of our favorite people, where we just happened to also get married. By the time the wedding came around, we had been engaged for about four years and together as a couple for six. We wanted the wedding to be representative of us as a couple, but also to take care of our guests. Chris’s biggest requirement was that we get married outside, and we both fell in love with the Hyeholde as our venue. It was the only location that we visited, and after our walk-through with the venue coordinator, Matthew, we knew that we simply couldn’t find anything more wonderful.
I wanted the flowers to just be lush and beautiful, with an infusion of herbs. We had tons and tons of roses, mixed with mountain mint, lavender, and rosemary. Wheat was the main piece of Chris’s boutonniere as a nod to this birth state, Kansas. It was also included in my bouquet. A dear friend from college officiated our ceremony, and we wrote our own vows to one another. Only our siblings served as attendants, and we included a Native American reading (as Chris has Algonquin heritage) and a reading from the children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit.” We also served six different pies along with our small wedding cake, since Chris isn’t huge on cake or cookies. People still talk about the pie! There are so many details that I could continue discussing, but perhaps we can let the photos speak to the intricacies!
What inspired your vision?
Being in the woods with people we love. We love nature and we love hospitality, and as long as the wedding and reception (and after party!) spoke to that notion, that was all we cared about.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
One of our favorite parts of the day was after the reception, and all of our friends and family went back to the hotel, and hung out in the lobby together. People in fancy clothes and jeans, ordering pizzas and drinking Coke and wine, my uncle talking with Chris’s brother, our college friends meeting my high school friends, and everyone just enjoying each other’s company. There will likely never be a time where all of those people will be in the same room together ever again. It was harmonious even in its opposites. It was perfectly, casually fabulous.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Stay true to yourselves. Discuss all of the decisions together and determine what is most important to you. Don’t just go along with a trend because it is pretty. Decide if it is really, truly what you want to remember in photos or in your mind ten years later. Planning things out intentionally will give you a strong basis for making your decisions, and for feeling comfortable making bigger decisions later on. Communication with anyone is key, whether it is your spouse or your vendors or family!
Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
A few things come to mind. Initially, our long engagement was annoying to me, since I just wanted to marry my man! But, having a long engagement made the process of planning our wedding together much easier. There was more time to make decisions, and we had a great time being leisurely and stress-free with planning. Be flexible with what you think you need. A kind and appreciative attitude with your vendors will be reciprocated tenfold. And don’t wait to book a videographer! The only thing I would change would be hiring a videographer. We didn’t, and by the time I realized that I would have loved a film of our day, it was too late.
And enjoy the day with your new husband or wife! Savor the small moments. Take it all in, and enjoy. The adventure has just begun.
Bride’s Dress: Justin Alexander at Bijou Bridal | Bride’s Accessories: Earrings: BHLDN; Garter: Florrie Mitton via Etsy | Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung | Cake: Bethel Bakery | Ceremony Location, Caterer, Linens, & Reception Venue: The Hyeholde | Flowers: Cuttings | Hair: Van Salon | Makeup: Jae Lee Paredes | Menswear: Jos. A. Banks | Photographer: Hot Metal Studio | Stationery: Minted | Table Numbers: BHLDN | Wedding Planner: The bride