A Wedding in the Woods: Stacy + Joel

Today’s wedding is so super sweet and I love how Stacy + Joel really incorporated all their friends + family into the day. And the location? Genius. While on the hunt for their ceremony venue, they were having no luck – nothing resonated with them and they were all too expensive! The place that was the most meaningful to them was the woods. :) During a short hike one day in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, they stumbled upon the perfect spot: a natural amphitheater where guests could stand where the bridge that led to the ceremony site had a vaulted underbelly, which reminded them of a cathedral – and was free to use! Thanks to Love Me Do Photography for the lovely photos.

pastel bridesmaids dresses

From Stacy + Joel, “The bridesmaids dresses were all from different places, including thrift stores, vintage stores, Etsy, designed with seamstresses, hand-me-down dresses and department stores. We wanted the ladies to wear something that they felt great in, would wear again, and that was within their individual budgets. They did have some guidelines for choosing a dress: tea length, pastel, vintage or vintage inspired. Most of the girls paid $10 to $20 for their dress and no more.”
bridesmaids vintage pastel dresses

wedding ceremony in the woods

wedding in the woods

wedding ceremony in the woods

The most memorable part of the day was standing in a particularly beautiful spot in the woods with individuals who represented every facet and corner of our lives. At one point during the ceremony, the sun came through the trees and created sort of spotlight on the bridal party – it was serendipitous.

wedding ceremony in the woods

married under a tunnel

wedding in the woods

married under a tunnel

white food table

We really, really love food so it was important that the meal be inventive but simple – something fitting for a Sunday afternoon in spring – and that the meal represent a collective effort. So, we determined to have an organized potluck. This is the only way we could imagine a meal representing “us.” Caterer Allison Person was perfect for the job because she embraced our vision and infused it with the highest of class and character.

white food table

wedding first dance

wedding cake

black and white wedding photo

We know from our friends how stressful planning a wedding can be, even for the most relaxed-at-heart, so we were determined to keep it as simple, drama-free and fun as possible. We wanted fun and creativity to dominate the entire process of planning and the event itself. Two of the ways we did this by choosing to have a potluck (some friends even grew produce special for the wedding!), and by having the bridesmaids and groomsmen choose their own attire for the day. Our friends are also our family, so we wanted their hands to be part of bringing it together as they, our community, have brought us together and nurtured us as a couple. We wanted the symbolism of the union to be represented in the process as much as in the day. We could not have done anything without the support, wisdom and creativity of our family and friends!

Stacy: I know that its easier said than done, but have fun! Focus on bringing the things that give you and your partner joy together for that day, and the rest will follow. Also, follow your gut and be brave; if the vision for your wedding is somewhat 'out of the box' or involves risk, you'll likely be met with discouragement, but the reward is usually worth any potential costs.

Joel: With the amount of wedding-related preparative work to do, it can be easy to become overwhelmed or discouraged by the feeling that you'll fall short of embodying the image of the “blissfully engaged couple” that you might feel you “should” be. Some of our best times of feeling connected as a couple were when we planned times together where we specifically didn’t talk about wedding planning. This helped alleviate a lot of those feelings and I’d recommend doing this weekly to any engaged couple.

I think our ability to enjoy the wedding day (and the couple of days preceding it) was helped by deciding that we had done all we could and, as best as possible, we were done worrying. This especially related to things beyond our control. Not that it was always easy, but it helped us both soak in what was happening in the present to its fullest, which was really awesome.

Thanks so much to Stacy + Joel and congrats on your lovely wedding!

Photography: Love Me Do Photography // Venue: Ceremony in the woods of Fairmount Park, reception at friend’s photo studio in an old warehouse in North Philadelphia // Wedding Dress: J.Crew // Hairpieces: freshly picked silk blossoms from a dogwood tree near the ceremony site // Groom Suit: slacks & coat from H&M; shirt, belt & tie from J. Crew // Rings: Bario-Neal // Cinematography: Hi-Society Productions // Event Planner: Lindsey Parsons // Floral Design: Our friend Heather Anderson // Invitations/Paper Goods: Our friend and designer Hannah Robinett made our invitations as a wedding present. The main decorative element for the reception space were Mexican wedding banners from Casa Bonampak // Cake: Our friend Marylin Crowley made our cake for us (she’d never made one before!) // Salad greens: Grown by our farmer-friends Matt & Amanda at the Germantown Kitchen Garden // Catering: Allison Person // Music: Our DJ was Holly Sue Allen seamusisfun@gmail.com

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  1. beautiful and simple!

  2. There really is something romantic about a wedding in the woods. And love the contrast with the white reception room. Very well styled but totally natural and effortless looking.

  3. This wedding is amazing…

    I am in LOVE with the paper decorations strung across the reception room. Does anyone have a website showing how to make these paper snowflake-like cutouts?

    I would love to make some for my wedding!

  4. Hi Paula! They bought theirs here: http://www.casabonampak.com/

    For a less complicated version to make yourself, check out this DIY: http://greenweddingshoes.com/diy-papel-picado-flags/

    xoxo Jen

  5. AH papel picado!!! I love the all white scheme at the reception; it’s so fresh!

    I love their ceremony setting and their maids dresses. That is terrific.

  6. Thanks so much for posting this! We’re so flattered to see our pictures on your blog!

  7. what beautiful images! loving the bridesmaids dresses

  8. What a lovely wedding and the bridesmaids dresses are so beautiful and different. Awesome photos!

  9. Hi GWS:
    I cant tell you the countless hours I have spent looking through your site, as I am sure others do as well. It inspires and reminds me why I got into this business :)
    Not sure if this is the best forum, if not please feel free to delete this post, but the link to the caterer, myself, is broken in this post and I would appreciate so much if you would take a minute to up date it. Please find me at http://www.sweetandsavorybrooklyn.blogspot.com

    Thank you so much!!
    Allison Person

  10. Thanks for the updated link Allison – I just updated it. :)

  11. I love this wedding. We are seeing so many rustic weddings but this is the first I have seen that was actually in the woods! Love Me Do is terrific and we always love seeing their work. Great Feature! More Philadelphia please!!

  12. Loving this SO much! I’m looking to do something very similar in the Philadelphia area – but I love out of town! Any idea where they entered the park to find such a place for the ceremony?! Would love to know – thank you!!!


  1. […] In light of that, my posts this week are going to be a lot shorter, and I’m going to let others creative juices be featured! Today’s “snapshot” is from [Green Wedding Shoes] of a Wedding in the Woods. I LOVE this photo. Find the rest of this inspiring outdoor wedding [here]. […]

  2. […] Image from Love Me Do Photography via Green Wedding Shoes […]


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