A Chic Summer Wedding at Buena Vista Conference Center in New Castle, Delaware

Megan Whalen (26 and a store manager) and Noah Olson (26 and a project coordinator) tied the knot in a rustic summer soiree at Buena Vista Conference

Megan Whalen (26 and a store manager) and Noah Olson (26 and a project coordinator) tied the knot in a rustic summer soiree at Buena Vista Conference Center in New Castle, Delaware. “The historic feel of the location was significant to us because Noah is a history buff, and we are both very proud of our little state of Delaware,” Megan says. “The house and grounds are also beautiful and made for an excellent outdoor setting on a very hot September day.” The day kicked off with an outdoor ceremony in Buena Vista’s south garden, where Megan and Noah exchanged vows before a tranquil koi pond and a backdrop of fresh greenery. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (the state's former governor) made a special appearance for the proceedings, since he had previously worked with Noah. “Carper is a well-respected public servant, and his presence at our wedding, in a very Delaware location, was extra special,” Megan says. After the “I dos,” the festivities continued in an expansive open-air tent overlooking the expansive Buena Vista property. Playing up the evening’s refined, rustic vibe, vintage-inspired brown glass bottles filled with eucalyptus, blush dahlias, scabiosas and dusty miller lined the tables, while sprigs of fresh greenery adorned every place setting. “I love the look of fresh-picked flowers, so I knew early on that I wanted to do bottle centerpieces, and our friend helped me pick out flowers that would be aesthetically pleasing in that setting,” Megan says. “Collecting enough brown bottles was a process, but through antique shopping, strategic craft beer purchases and help from our families and friends, we were able to curate a perfect collection.” Cupcakes from Middletown, Delaware (Megan’s hometown) provided a sweet finish to dinner, and Wired Up Entertainment ensured that an energy-packed dance party dominated the after-dinner festivities. A tip from Megan: “Don’t let the small stuff distract you from the big picture. Your marriage is not measured by the value of your centerpieces.” —Libby MacCarthy

“We splurged on invitations we found on Minted.com and then found a vendor on Etsy.com that sold PDFs similar to the font style of our invitations,” Megan says. “We were able to create our programs, seating chart boards, menu cards and tags for our hotel welcome bags for a really affordable price.” The ivory card stock invitations featured a decorated border, a whimsical font and olive-leaf-inspired flourishes for a playfully rustic look.
Wanting to jazz up her elegantly understated Kate McDonald A-line gown, Megan accessorized with a bright pair of mosaic heels and burgundy statement earrings that infused her “I do” ensemble with a punch of dramatic color.
To complement her dramatic burgundy accessories, Megan’s bridal bouquet featured a vibrant mix of pink garden roses, ivory mums and dramatic wine-colored dahlias. For a hint of rustic flair, the arrangement was gathered together with a piece of white linen cloth.
As a gift to her bridesmaids, Megan had chambray shirts monogrammed with each one’s initials, which they wore while they sipped champagne and got ready for the day’s festivities.
The bridesmaids mirrored Megan’s look, donning pale pink Jim Hjelm gowns in an effortless A-line silhouette. “Noah and I each have one younger sibling, so we thought it would be easy to just have them standing with us. Thinking I just had to dress my sister, we went to a boutique in Philly that caters to bridesmaids and I let her have her pick,” Megan says. “Long story short, five months before the wedding, we decided to have our friends join us. Luckiest bride ever—Nordstrom just happened to have a Jim Hjelm gown online that complemented my sister’s.”
In lieu of traditional flowers, Noah accessorized his lapel with a hops, wheat and a Dogfish Head (Delaware’s original microbrewery) bottle-cap boutonniere that popped against the pale blue fabric of his suit.
Following Noah’s lead, the groomsmen suited up in Harbor Blue Italian worsted-wool suits by J.Crew, which they teamed with brown dress shoes and printed bow ties.
The day kicked off with an outdoor ceremony in Buena Vista’s south garden, where Megan and Noah said their “I dos” in front of a handcrafted wooden arch trimmed in bows and beads. U.S. Senator Tom Carper made an appearance for the proceedings, since he had worked with Noah. “Carper is a well-respected public servant, and his presence at our wedding, in a very Delaware location, was extra special,” Megan says.
Megan’s down-the-aisle style was a 180-degree departure from the form-fitting gown she had always imagined herself in, with its classic A-line silhouette, skinny straps and elegant, fuss-free feel. “Just a reminder for any bride-to-be to keep an open mind and trust your consultant–they know what they’re doing,” Megan says. For his own “I do” ensemble, Noah sported a J.Crew Ludlow suit in Harbor Blue Italian worsted wool, caramel-colored oxford shoes and a pink Liberty print bow tie.
To achieve the rustic reception look they were after, Megan and Noah spent months curating a collection of brown bottles that would serve as the vessels for their romantic pastel centerpieces. Fair Hill Creative worked their magic on the understated accessories, transforming them into striking floral displays with full pink dahlias, textured eucalyptus and soft dusty miller. “A friend of ours had just recently started doing floral work for weddings, so we took a leap of faith and let her plan our flowers,” Megan says. “It was a win-win because we were able to save some money and she was able to build her portfolio.”
Before inviting guests to join them on the dance floor, Megan and Noah shared their first dance as newlyweds to Loggins and Messina’s “Danny’s Song.” “At the time, it felt like the song was really speaking to where we were and where we were heading, referencing marriage and starting a family,” Megan says.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests headed to an open-air tent set up on Buena Vista’s expansive lawn for dinner and dancing. As the sun began to set over the mansion, strands of bistro lights came to life, casting a warm, ambient glow over the space.
Megan took the opportunity later in the evening to spin a few tunes, joining Wired Up Entertainment in the DJ booth. “We found a DJ who went above and beyond our expectations. They had the dance floor packed, playing songs for every generation," Megan says. "Our only regret is not having a bigger dance floor!”