DIY RUSTIC COUNTRY WEDDING + PHOTOBOOTH | A bride who *gets it*. By the way, this is seriously how I’d rock my own wedding. For real. | by Jesse D. Green Photography

First of all, happy Thursday afternoon, friendsicles.  Second of all, OMFGTHISWEDDING.

Wait wait wait.  First, this:  

Ok now we can move on.

As I was saying… it’s weddings like this one that remind me that you can’t just be a wedding photographer overnight.  LOL.  I know, common knowledge, obvs.  But I just want to assert the truth of the statement right now, because the statement is the truth.  Now see, this is not the case with all things.  You can become an informed aficionado on a plethora (hey look I used plethora back there) of subjects, like take, for example, sweat lodges.  I went from knowing the littlest amount you could know about sweat lodges, which was that I didn’t even know they existed, to knowing everything about a sweat lodge short of being inside of one, after watching 20/20 on a Friday night.  … I mean, watching 20/20 on a… Sunday afternoon… because…  I… DVR’d… the show on Friday night… because… I was totally out having a cool time with all my friends who are also cool and wouldn’t stay home on a Friday night to watch television… or anything… like that.

So, what I’m trying to say here is that sweat lodge savants are a dime a dozen.  Really talented wedding photographers are not.  So if I can tell you one thing about your wedding day (aside from the major things I always tell you, like step back and take mental snapshots, and remember that it’s all about love and togetherness) it’s that you’ve really got to find a good photographer to shoot your wedding.  One who knows the angles (not the “Facebook Angles” ifyouknowwhatimean), knows the moments, and knows how to style and set up shots properly and skillfully.   Also, one with a big heart, and a love for the art.  And that’s where a photographer like Jesse of Jesse D. Green Photography and this wedding come in, because when he sent me this wedding I got really happy.  Because it’s what a wedding should look like, documented in pictures.  I think I used up my own personal ration of exclamation points when I responded to him, and probably ended the email with something like LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111

Today’s wedding is a feel good situation.  Babies, family, a fun bride who’s also TOTALLY HOT – not that it matters but I felt compelled to point it out, because I’m overwhelmed by it – and really lovely, simple decor elements that show you that you don’t need to go all out to have a great day.  Because in the end, it’s all about family, food and fun.


Ok enough out of me, here’s the rundown plus some seriously IMPORTANT AND VERY WISE ADVICE from the ridiculously gorgeous bride herself, Rachael:

Matt and I spent our entire dating relationship 500 miles apart. After he “put a ring on it” with a picturesque proposal on a perfect October night, and we chose a July wedding date, there was a light at the end of the tunnel of our often strenuous long-distance relationship. With family and friends coming to our wedding from New York, Chicago, Texas, and beyond, we knew right away that we wanted to have a small, intimate destination wedding in a beautiful setting that would be a vacation for our guests.

We had sentimental attachments to the North Carolina mountains and knew firsthand how beautiful they are in the summer. So we picked a lovely stone church and historic farm inn in the mountains, just a few hours from our new home in North Carolina. Because of the stunning scenery and sweet southern charm, we let the backdrop speak for itself. We wanted to keep things as simple as possible and focus on the big picture. Throughout the sometimes-difficult planning process, we tried to focus on the joy it would be to finally live together in the same zip code! (And it is – by the way – pure, I- now-know-what-face-you-make-when-you-shave-and-lots-of-other-things-too, wedded bliss.)

We wanted the vibe of our wedding to be super relaxed and somewhat informal. We loved our rustic country setting and picked accents that would create an atmosphere that was homey, bright, and summery, like a big family picnic. My mom and girl friends helped with a few DIY projects. Instead of a standard guestbook, guests left us colorful note cards with words of encouragement or advice. My friends (with much greener thumbs than I) made the guys’ boutonnieres with fresh herbs and made gorgeous table arrangements with buckets of fresh, organic, locally-grown flowers from the nursery up the road. Matt and I expressed our personalities by incorporating some of our favorite things into the day, like giant bowls of ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, special music, and cowgirl boots. Our guests played lawn games, sat in rocking chairs, made silly faces in the photobooth, and fed the horse and donkey in attendance. There were many other personal touches, thanks to our close team working so hard to make every detail special.

One of my favorite moments of the day was our First Look prior to the ceremony. Matt and I are both introverts, and having those intimate minutes away from the spotlight to connect early in the day kept us centered and calm the rest of the day. Another favorite part of our day was a special song in our ceremony. My dad is a musician and arranged a piece for the occasion. The wedding party (myself included) turned to face the congregation and sang the song accompanied by Matt on the violin as a sort of gift to share with our guests. Lastly, a fun end to the evening was having both of our (seriously musical) families come together to sing a rousing rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” with the bluegrass band before we made our big exit. A few bits of planning advice for soon-to-be-weds:

1. Prioritize. As planning begins, pick a few things that are most important to you and prioritize them above the rest. Remind yourself of these things when making decisions, articulating your vision, and feeling generally overwhelmed. If your heart is set on having amazing music in your ceremony, then let go of the extra stress of finding the exact off- season flowers you saw in a Martha Stewart magazine. Pick your battles.

2. Designate “wedding-free” time. Wedding planning can become all encompassing. But guess what? There’s much more to you than your desire to single-handedly pull off the event of the century. Schedule time to step away from all things wedding (put it on your calendar!) and be a whole person – exercise, try something new, go out with friends with a ban on wedding talk. Most importantly, focus on your relationship with your groom. At the end of the day, this is about a lifetime of happiness together, so make time to emotionally prepare together and remember why you’re doing this.

3. Let the experts do what the experts do. (Ahem…easier said than done for an OCD micromanager like myself.) But that caterer who has been making wedding cakes for 30 years probably knows a thing or two more about wedding cakes than you do. Trust her and let her do her thing. Spend your energy on something else. That’s why you’re paying them the big bucks!

4. When wedding weekend finally arrives, let it all go and soak it all in. You’ve done your time, you’ve over thought every decision, you’ve prepared well – so when it’s go- time, enjoy every single moment. Enjoy being with so many people who love you, eat your delicious food you’ve so deliberately selected, and don’t forget to have giddy love- filled private moments with your groom. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of day!

5. Keep the big picture in focus, always. My fiancé and I repeatedly had to stop to remind ourselves that our wedding day would be just one amazing day in the midst of a million amazing days of our new life together. We wanted the day to be a sacred occasion that honored God and a party with all of our favorite people coming together in a beautiful place, and that’s exactly what we did. Any details that fell into place above and beyond that were just icing on the proverbial wedding cake.

↑ Let it be known.

↑ Shots capturing innocently beautiful moments like this happen only when you couple loveliness with killer photographic skillz.  Jesse, seriously.  There are like seventeen million shots you sent me and each of them is utterly BREATHTAKING.  Ok, enough of that… moving right along…

And now… by special request… A Day in the Life of Bambino McPuppyPants…

Seriously.  Every time.  I’m not exaggerating.

Our lives are one never ending game of rope y’all.

Ok, my dahlings, if you don’t mind, Ich haaben zee questions for you…

1) I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say about this wedding!  Even if it’s a simple “umm… love” or a “hi there!” or a “FIRST!” or anything longer than that.  I’m just really into weddings with a lot of heart and a focus on people and the love that was bouncing around the room – or farm, or stable, or mountain top, or ballroom, or volcanic crater, or row boat, or what have you.

2) Do you think finding your wedding photographer is a top priority in planning your wedding?  Or maybe you have different priorities?  I’d love to hear what you think!

xoxo!  – Alison

Jesse D. Green Photography is a member of TKB’s Vendor Love.  You can explore more of Jesse D. Green Photography in our guide!

 Photography: Jesse D. Green Photography / Bride’s dress: White House | Black Market / Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ shoes: TOMS / Bridesmaid dresses: Anthropologie / Men’s vests and ties: Express / Ceremony: Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church / Reception venue, catering, and cake: Mast Farm Inn / Band: Creekside Grass Band / Flowers: Peggy Mendel of Pearl’s Garden and Shady Grove Gardens and Nursery

Label(s): Color, Mr. McPuppyPants, Purple, {DIY + Freebies}, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Sandy on October 27, 2011

    This. is. gorgeous. I love every bit of it!!! The colors strike me the most – each pic is so vibrant. Magnificent!!

    What you were saying about finding a photog that you LOVE really strikes a chord with me because, while we definitely “clicked” with our photogs ahead of time, and had nothing but confidence in them that day, when our photos came back, they were just kind of…meh, which was SUCH. A. SHOCK. It never even occurred to me, after spending a year and a half (really, who are we kidding, longer than that) looking at blogs like TKB which are full of nothing but spectacular shots, that they would be anything less than the most beautiful, most amazeballs, most perfect pics I’d ever seen. So disappointing!

    In terms of things that last after the actual wedding day (aside from the MARRIAGE, of course!), the pics are right up there at the top of most-importants. I loved every minute of my wedding day and would do everything the same in a heartbeat, but if I had the choice, I’d have spent more time finding, and budgeting for, a better photographer. Sooo I guess all of this long-windedness is really just to say, I AGREE WITH YOU!!! :)

    (Aaaaand I’m obsessed with Bambeens. I so want to teach my future puppy to peek around doorways like that.) xoxo!

  2. Cheryl on October 27, 2011

    Photography was #1 in our books when we got married and our photographers were worth every. single. penny. A good photographer can capture those moments that are irreplaceable.

    This wedding is gorgeous. I love her dress. The rustic, woodsy decor and the photo booth. However, I’m a little biased when it comes to photo booths. I think everyone should have one.

    Bambino=adorbs as always. You and the Honey are lucky parents to have such an awesome pup.

  3. Alison on October 27, 2011

    Sandy – Love your comment, not long-winded at all if you ask me (I mean have you noticed the length of my blog posts?? ;) It’s so true, and so important to book a great photographer, and it makes me sad to hear your story! I hope there are at least a handful of images that touch your heart from that day!

    Cheryl – omg EXACTLY. Those irreplaceable moments are sooooo key. They mean the most and it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to go back over them.

  4. jenn on October 27, 2011

    oooooh this wedding is absolutely gorgeous!

    and Jesse totally ROCKED it! SO beautifully captured! love it!

    thanks for sharing!

  5. Koru Kate on October 27, 2011

    A beautiful wedding! & just perfect to emphasize the importance of a good wedding photographer. We hired my brother-in-law Tim, who is an amazing professional wedding photographer, for our wedding. Because we wanted him to have fun, he was supposed to photograph the ceremony & photo session & he chose another talented photographer to shot the reception. But Tim never put down his camera for the party, calmly telling everyone he was happiest taking photos. & you know what? The happiness he feels & the love he has for photography shines through in every. single. photo.

    On the downside, it’s practically impossible to narrow down & choose photos for our album. We love every photo!

  6. Emily on October 27, 2011

    WOW. I loooveeeeee this wedding for so many reasons. The flower centerpieces and vintage books look so fun and seem easy/relatively cheap. Such a great idea. And I love the photobooths photos, we’re definitely having one too!! I can’t wait! Oh and I think you’re right, that baby clearly loves the photographer. :) Such a cutiepatootie. :)

    To answer your other question, photography is number one for me and my fiance. We’re planning on booking a photographer before we even choose a venue! That’s how much it matters to us!

  7. Alison on October 27, 2011

    Jenn – forreals!! :)

    Kate – your bro in law sounds like an awesome dude, I love it when people have a real passion for their work :) And what a great problem to have regarding your album choices!! That’s my wish for every couple out there!

    Emily – I super feel you on the photobooth; you are gonna LOVE IT. I always adore featuring weddings with photobooths involved; always means a few hilarious pictures!

  8. Allie on October 27, 2011

    Uhmm I LOVE this wedding. Everything bout it. It just looks like it was a relaxed, fun, love-filled day. And my photographer was the VERY first thing I decided on for my wedding. I fell in love with his work and after looking around no one else seemed to quite measure up…it was a splurge, but really, photos are the only thing you get after the wedding (besides a hubby!) so you better like em. At least that’s how I justified it…

  9. Stephanie Marie on October 27, 2011

    This is a dream wedding– barn, gorgeous couple, fun, personal little details. And while it is all about the couple and their love, we would never know it without the photographer.

    I’m a bride planning a wedding AND a wedding planner in the fantastic market of Charlottesville, Virginia. We have a dozen plus fantastic photographers, so when we started planning our own wedding, my fiance and I went with the one we have the closest friendship with and whose style works with our personalities the best. It’s so important to be comfortable with your photog– they’re the ones who will be with you all day and needs to read the little moments in order to capture them the best. We can’t all be best friends with our photographers, but knowing the style, quality, and personality of your photographer makes all the difference in the world.

  10. Alison on October 27, 2011

    Allie – Awesome, it’s funny how choosing your wedding photographer is akin to choosing your wedding dress in a lot of ways. Once you’ve found one that you love and really works with your style and personality, it’s hard to consider anyone else. :)

    Stephanie Marie – Your wedding sounds like something I would definitely want to see unfold. ;) And your remarks about the importance of finding a photographer with whom you feel you have the best rapport are dead on. So true. Gotta feel comfortable on that day, of all days. :)

  11. Casey on October 27, 2011

    Beautiful – beautiful veil, dress, bride, groom, babies…I LOVE this wedding. Might steal a bit of inspiration for my own! Her advice is especially pertinent to my wedding planning right now – thank you!

  12. Hillari on October 29, 2011

    Holy Mother, it’s everything I ever wanted in a wedding. Chalkboards and antique books, wildflower-ish centerpieces, great photography, and, you know, utter love and adoration. Sigh. Don’t mind me, I’m just over here turning a sick shade of green via all my jealousy!

  13. Angie on October 29, 2011

    Love this wedding! And the photographs are amazing!

  14. Shannon {Shannon Reeves Events} on October 29, 2011

    So pretty! LOVE the first look here! Thanks for sharing!

    And I think the right wedding photographer – one who matches your style and personality – is absolutely a first priority. A well-matched couple and photographer make for the prettiest, most natural looking photos, for sure. (:

    And Bambino=hilarious.

  15. Erin on October 29, 2011

    Venue was #1, photography was #2. Photography was so important because it’s one of the only tangible things you can really take with you from the wedding. It was so important to us to hire someone to capture all the details of our special day.

  16. Wedding Card Box on October 30, 2011

    These pictures are amazing!! This couple is darling, everything looked so naturally beautiful the space, place and people! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Lena on October 30, 2011

    HOLE. E. SHIT. Love this, love everything about this, can’t believe I had to go to Tulsa and live so long without all of this in my life.

  18. Stacey on October 31, 2011

    Sandy- I can totally relate. It’s been 2 years and 2 weeks since my wedding, and I’m still so angry and disappointed. When I got engaged, finding an amazing photographer was my #1 priority, and by far the biggest number on my budget. I did an insane amount of research, and finally found a husband and wife photography team that I thought were amazing, and worth the thousands upon thousands of pennies I would pay them. They were so nice, warm, open, easy to communicate with, and their portfolio of work was breathtaking. I felt so lucky to have them!

    My bridal portraits were our first time to actually shoot together, and I was less than pleased with the overall results and events of the day. I shrugged off my doubts, and when the big day rolled around, my husband and I had the best day of our lives. I felt so fortunate that all of our hard work had paid off, and was hoping that the ridiculous amounts of money we paid our photographers would indeed be worth it.

    Two weeks after the wedding, I was chillin’ in my best friend’s guest room because I was a bridesmaid in her wedding the next day. At midnight, my photog sent the link to my gallery. I woke up my brand new husband, we looked through the pictures, and I cried my eyes out. They were so lackluster it wasn’t even funny. So not worth the money we paid, and they did a terrible job telling the wonderful story of our day. I just boo-hooed the night away, and kept it in all weekend because I didn’t want to ruin my best friend’s big day. I’m still so upset over this whole thing, and have no idea where we went wrong.

    Um, sorry for the ridic novel.

    Yes, this wedding is so, so gorgeous. I loved these pictures!

  19. Jenny on November 16, 2011

    what a cute couple wedding. arrangement , dress everything is great i think. amazing….!!

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  21. Tim Veurink on December 7, 2011

    Wow! That Church looks Amazing!

  22. nikah şekeri on February 23, 2012

    visuals are really cute. perfect design

  23. Brooke on March 8, 2012

    I love Bambino!!! He is sooooo cute!!! Also, great pictures — they turned out so well, and the rustic theme was adorable.

    I like how you did your photo booth. We actually went with this app for the iPad called Wedding Booth and used its “rustic” theme — but I like the authenticity of how yours looked. In addition to how clear our pictures were, I loved how Wedding Booth allowed guests to write personalized messages to us — and my husband and I spent all of the afternoon after our wedding looking through the comments. It made us feel so loved and special :)

  24. here on August 1, 2012

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  25. Louise on September 9, 2012

    The bride looks stunning, i love the veil

  26. Susan Wright on November 20, 2012

    Lovely Wedding!

    Thanks so much for including us in your vendor list. Shady Grove Gardens & Nursery for the flowers.

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  29. Nikah Şekeri on November 13, 2014

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  30. Yurtdışı Kargo on July 25, 2016

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