They began the day with an extra special first look held at the stunning pastoral and peaceful grounds of Mepkin Abbey monastery. The couple sought out the abbey's coordinator in advance, and granted rare allowance to have their first look and the photography on the monastery property. Lush green gardens, calm secluded surroundings, and shimmering still waters, gave these two a tranquil and perfect spot to see one another for the first time on their wedding day! That personal and unique time together at Mepkin Abbey is what the couple favored most about their wedding with Rachel saying, "We both loved having a first look before the wedding. I am an emotional person and I did not want to cry at the alter seeing him. I am very thankful for that moment with him and it helped calm both of our nerves and have time before the craziness to enjoy having a moment to ourselves."
A few minutes up the road, at the delightfully rustic Oakley Farms, everything was ready for Rachel and Blake's outdoor wedding. Their ceremony took place beside a wooded forest in a green clearing on the Oakley Farms property. There, in the meadowy spot, worn but timeless country doors made up a free-standing archway. That enchanting entrance lead to the nuptial site that held natural raw cut timber seating for guests and a folksy unvarnished arbor where the Bride and Groom would exchange their vows. Once pronounced man and wife, all were welcomed to join Rachel and Blake's reception!
Across from the green, the wedding party and guests gathered in the charming old barn at the Oakley Farms to start the celebration. The inviting space was decorated in warm glowing string lights, delicate chandeliers, pretty antique furniture pieces, classic farm tables, and topped off with soft pink, periwinkle blue, mint green, and crisp white floral arrangements. Everyone enjoyed the various and heartwarming traditional wedding dances, a classic southern pulled pork dinner, fun party music, and delicately sweet wedding cake. After sentimental toasts, the Bride's bouquet toss, and a good time letting loose on the dance floor, the lovely night ended with a festive glow stick send off for the couple. The newlywed's then went on to a well suited Alaskan honeymoon cruise where they could go exploring and enjoy nature's beauty together!
Their big day was wonderful and everyone could easily see Blake and Rachel's love for the rustic, the simpler things, the outdoors, and each other! Our engagement session with them has that same sweet tone, and you can see those images here as well. :-) All of us at Valerie & Co. Photographers are so happy and honored for our part in Rachel and Blake's love story!