The inspiration for Rachel and Spencer’s wedding day at Mountain Acres Lodge in Pennsylvania was to reflect on all the things that they love as a couple. The priority was to make their wedding feel like an extension of who they are, with no mistake it could be anyone else’s! Picture this: the vision was a mix of vintage + eclectic and they found a way to do that by carefully collecting items during the year leading up to the wedding! R + S are avid thrift shoppers and wanted to decorate their wedding the way they decorate their home – colorful and full of personality! Rachel shares that the experience of planning, sourcing, and decorating was a really fun process, but a lofty task. (But SO so worth the results!)
Sparrow and Lace Photography made sure to capture every important detail in this perfectly DIY-ed wedding day and we can’t wait to show you all, and hopefully spark some inspiration of your own!!
The Finer Things & Details
The bride shares that aside from everything they had to acquire, the biggest undertaking of the day was crafting all the personal details.
“We both love making things, so we had a lot of fun with this. The week before we ended up getting engaged, I went out on a limb and bought a 1921 Chandler and Price, 1,500 lb antique letterpress from facebook marketplace. I decided to learn how to letterpress and print all our own wedding stationery by hand from our single-car garage. We taught ourselves how to operate the machine and our Save-the-Dates were our first project ever printed. The stationery quickly became the focal point of the planning and what we centered the rest of the design and colors around.”
We are SO impressed!
In the Center of it All
The couple chose to stand alone at the ceremony in the center of a circular seating arrangement!
“One of our favorite parts of our day was the ceremony. We knew we wanted it to be short and sweet (which was especially nice since it turned out to be a record high 98 degrees) but still very personal. We had the best celebrant, Shelly who was so supportive of crafting the perfect script to represent our love. Spencer recalled a special moment he shared with Shelly right before the ceremony when she was sage smudging the space and helping to sooth his nerves. She was the most calming presence that helped us really take in the moment together.
We also incorporated a handfasting ceremony, an ancient Celtic ritual in which the hands are tied together to symbolize the binding of two lives. The ceremony closed with my two nieces releasing live butterflies as we walked back the aisle with Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” playing, which is the same song that played the moment we got engaged.”
Processional: Lover- Taylor Swift
Recessional: Everywhere- Fleetwood Mac
First Dance: Cover Me Up: Jason Isbell
“Our venue is one of the things that made our wedding so unique. Mountain Acres is a private club on over 500 wooded acres located a few miles outside of State College, PA – home to Penn State University where we met as students, then lived together for several years after graduation. The wedding was entirely outside next to the 2 large ponds on the property.
The grounds also have an impressive 3-story cabin hand built by the property’s original 28-year-old owner in 1936 with wood harvested from the property. The cabin sleeps 28 people, so we were able to have our families and wedding party stay on site for the whole wedding weekend.”
“We have a very large friend group local to us, and we are among the last to get married. There were no venues in the area we hadn’t already attended another wedding at and wanted something that felt uniquely ours. We found our venue through my co-worker who is a member of the club and ultimately chose it because it was truly a blank slate. It is not traditionally used as a wedding venue, so we had to get creative during the planning process. I wanted to have the freedom to plan every detail of our day the way we envisioned, and Mountain Acres allowed us to do just that.”
Bridesmaids picked their own dresses, groomsmen picked their own bolo ties! For bridesmaids, the bride provided a mood board and limited the colors to anything except red, blue and black- florals and texture encouraged. Her besties knocked it out of the park and were able to pick something they would be comfortable in and that fit their style!
What a fantastic-looking wedding party!!
A Love Story For the Ages
Every couple has their own unique story of how they first met each other and with Rachel and Spencer, their story is one of narrowing missed connections and the universe doing everything in its power to bring two people together. Years after the fact, Rachel and Spencer discovered that while attending Penn State Altoona, they both took a very specific history class that covered the history of the Natural Parks in the Fall of 2010. Ironically, they also discovered that they happened to take the class (of less than twenty people) at the same exact time, a coincidence that has really stuck with the couple throughout their relationship.
With numerous mutual friends, there are also countless stories of the couple being at the same parties without ever officially being introduced. Luckily, fate would not take no for an answer and with the help of both of their best friends, Rachel and Spencer were finally introduced to one another in the Spring of 2013. Those same friends have remained close with the couple and will be joining them as members of their wedding party.
After meeting, Rachel and Spencer spent the next few months getting to know each other and spending time with friends and eventually each other’s families. In the summer of 2013 Spencer finally became the wiser and asked Rachel out on an “official” date, one that the couple will never forget. The date started with the restaurant where they went for lunch being closed because they had had a kitchen fire that morning. Thinking quickly on his feet, Spencer suggested they travel to a nearby restaurant, but an unfortunate road closure put an abrupt end to that idea. Somewhat defeated at this point, the couple did eventually sit down and enjoy a wonderful lunch, the only issue was that the time spent driving around had put Spencer a little behind schedule because being the poor planner he is, he had picked to go on a date the same day he had scheduled a dentist appointment. Even though this is something Rachel still likes to give him a hard time about to this day, Spencer must have done something right because despite all the trials and tribulations of that first date, Rachel stuck around and soon a budding relationship started to bloom! Adorable!
In the morning before we got ready or any guests arrived, Spencer and I rode out into the woods on a golf cart to have breakfast together. There, it was silent and peaceful when we said our own personal vows to each other privately and exchanged our gifts to one another. This moment was so special to just have the time with each other alone without the chaos or anyone pulling us away. It is something we both treasure. We chose to do this instead of a first look so we could still have an intimate moment together before the craziness of the day set in, but also have that surprised moment when I walked down the aisle. It was so perfect; it really should be the new first look tradition! You get the best of both worlds and it really helped us both to calm our nerves, too.
The venue was the first thing the couple booked, so they really tapped into it for style inspiration. Rachel and Spencer love being in nature and allowed the woods to take care of a lot of the decorating. The large pond on the property created a stunning backdrop for their reception and they lined the perimeter of the pond with tiki torches that made for the most romantic ambiance as the sun went down!
Checking in For A Good Time
DIY Queen! The bride also designed the seating chart and cigar lounge installations that groom Spencer was able to build himself! Talk about a dynamic duo!!
We love a telephone guest book!
The bride shares that after the save-the-dates were a success, she was comfortable enough to take on quite a few more DIY projects. They ended up pressing every paper detail for their day to include their 5-piece invitation suite and envelopes, programs, vow books, coasters, tri-fold thank you cards with inserts, personal charcuterie board tags, and matchbooks.
Rachel spent almost every weekend with the help of her mom and sister, sourcing all the decor from thrift stores and yard sales, including mismatched chairs, water goblets, and vintage china for all 150 of our guests. She was able to have the most personal and magical day while staying under their $25,000 budget and without the help of a planner. Something the couple was extremely proud of… (and us too!)
Each tablescape was designed by the bride and decorated completely differently, and the florals were designed and arranged by the bride’s sister.
“Other details we made for our day were custom koozies, personalized cocktail napkins, vintage hotel-style keychains we used for seating assignments, hotel welcome bags, table numbers, Wedding Daily Times newspaper, cotton dinner napkins, and all the signage.“
For cocktail hour the bride and groom served homemade Amish soft pretzels and personal wooden charcuterie boards that they made by hand for guests to take home as favors.
(1) Enjoy the planning process and being engaged as much as you can because it is a special season that is over before you know it. It gets repetitive having people ask you about your wedding during the planning stage, but it is sad when that interest is suddenly lost after the big day is over - soak it in while you can!
(2) Choose vendors that share your values and that you enjoy as people. You spend a big portion of your day with them and are a big investment, so it is important that you jive with them.
Every single song for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and reception was hand-selected. The music sets the whole vibe for the day so the two spent a lot of time curating the perfect playlist to represent their love and the type of feeling they wanted guests to have throughout the day.
Rachel shared she was so excited to submit to us as she has used GWS for years for inspiration!
“Since DIY was a huge part of our day and we dedicated so much time crafting the perfect details, I was hopeful from the beginning of our planning process that I could inspire other DIY brides/couples. Most of what we did was non-traditional, and we just wanted it to reflect us so well but stay under our strict budget. Our day was a dream come true- filled with love and fun and making memories with our favorite people. We wouldn’t change a single thing!”
Thank you Rachel and Spencer for sharing your special day with us! We wish you both endless years of happiness!
photography: Sparrow and Lace Photography // venue name: Mountain Acres Lodge, Spring Mills, PA, USA // event design: Bride // planning: Bride // florals: Brides sister, Lacy Postlethwaite // wedding dress: Allure // wedding dress boutique: Formalities by Tracina Fisher // hairpiece: A'el Este by Ashlee Lauren // bride's shoes: Amazon // bride's ring: Era Gem // getting ready robes: SHEIN // groom attire: Studio Suits // groom's shoes: Sperry // groom's ring: Lady Rose Vintage Jewels // paper goods: Bride // calligraphy: Bride // handmade details: Bride // catering: Rebelz Mobile Cuisine // cake: Grooms Sister, Madison Weaver // desserts: Penn State Berkey Creamery // furniture rentals: A to Z Rentals // music: Nittany Entertainment // officiant: Shelly Wike // cocktails: Premier Bartending // 2nd Caterer: Happy Valley Chef // Day-of Coordinator: Dana Swab of Weddings by Dana