This Couple Transformed a Grove of Cedar Trees Into a Breathtaking Wedding Venue

Seven years after becoming friends at UNC Chapel Hill, Joe Hollmeyer knew it was time to propose to Jenna Nash, and he had the perfect place: a beautiful hotel rooftop in New York City, where the couple was living in 2012. But how would he get her there? “He tricked me into thinking we were stopping by to get drinks with friends before dinner,” Jenna remembers. But when she walked onto the roof (which Joe had reserved just for the two of them), she was greeted with flowers, champagne, and a proposal instead. “I thought it couldn’t get any better, but Joe disappeared downstairs and returned with my parents and his mother in tow! They’d flown up from North Carolina to celebrate with us.”

A year later, on April 6th, 2013, Joe and Jenna invited 375 guests to her family’s farm in Warrenton, North Carolina. The late-19th century farmhouse and its surrounding woods and fields were the perfect location for the natural and classically Southern wedding — even some of the greenery and flowers were picked on the property!

Keep reading to see how Jenna and Joe dressed up the family farm and brought this formal bash into the fields, photographed by Patricia Lyons.

A month before the wedding, Jenna gave in to Southern lore and buried a bottle of Jack Daniels on the property. “It’s supposed to keep the rain away,” she explains, “and it worked for us!”

After getting ready with her bridesmaids upstairs at the house, Jenna slipped into her blush pink Monique Lhuillier gown. “It was so lightweight and comfortable. I loved the draping of the fabric and the subtle hint of color,” she says. Jenna paired her gown with her sister’s veil, edged with lace from her sister’s own Monique wedding gown. She carried an all-white bouquet of peonies, roses, and tulips, wrapped in her grandmother’s handkerchief.

Jenna’s 10 bridesmaids wore one-shoulder chiffon dresses by Amsale in Truffle, the perfect hue for such a natural venue. They brightened up their look with white and pink bouquets.

The ceremony took place in a grove of cedar trees behind the house. “We wanted it to feel like a chapel in the woods, so we created an arch at the entrance, lined the aisle with floral arrangements, and hung lanterns from the branches,” says Jenna. Her father built the altar, which was decorated with a wooden cross and Cypress trees, as well as the benches. Jenna’s three-year-old niece, in an heirloom lace dress and crown of greenery, led the bride down the aisle.

The altar, decorated with lilies and orchids, provided a dramatic centerpiece for the wedding’s natural setting.

Joe, in a custom Alton Lane Black Label tuxedo, and Jenna took pictures around the property as guests sipped champagne, visited the raw bar for oysters, and snacked on soft shell crabs. “Those were my favorite!” says Jenna.

White and green arrangements were displayed throughout the house and the tented reception, with branches from the farm accenting the peonies, parrot tulips, hydrangeas, roses, orchids, Lily of the Valley, and quince. “We kept the house open so that people could come in and sit by the fire if they got chilly,” says the bride.

Four tiers of buttercream-frosted pound cake were interspersed with white hydrangeas. Jenna loved how the addition of flowers made the cake look taller and gave it a lush, natural feel.

One of the wedding’s youngest guests was the star of the party. Says Jenna, “Our nephew ran onto the dance floor and never left! During a lull in the action, he put on a show for everyone while the band played.”

Having an open-sided tent left plenty of room for the nearly 400 guests to mingle and spill out into the yard.

At the end of the night, Jenna changed into her mother’s wedding gown. “My aunts wore it at their weddings, too,” she says. The bride shortened the skirt to above her knees, perfect for a firework getaway. “We were SHOCKED when we saw real fireworks. My uncle was responsible for them, and we expected sparklers or something. This was an amazing surprise!”

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Bride’s Family’s Farm || Bride’s Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Ann Taylor || Jewelry: Alexis Bittar || Hair: Lindsay of Douglass Carroll Salon || Makeup: Fiquet Swain || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale || Groom’s Attire: Alton Lane || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Guy Leeser Diamonds, Bailey’s Fine Jewelry || Floral Design: Randy McManus Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: Arzberger Sationers || Music: ceremony – Capital String Ensemble (919) 834-7000, reception – Atlanta Showstoppers || Catering: Kelly’s || Cake: Susan Joyner || Rentals: Chair and Equipment Rentals, ThemeWorks Creative || Photography: Patricia Lyons Photography

Did you look this beautiful, open-air North Carolina wedding? Then watch another couple get married outside in the video below!


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