A DIY Fall Wedding at a Private Residence in State College, Pennsylvania

Every detail of Carolyn King (28 and a registered nurse) and Vincent Festa’s (30 and a state employee) fall wedding was personalized, including the ve

Every detail of Carolyn King (28 and a registered nurse) and Vincent Festa’s (30 and a state employee) fall wedding was personalized, including the venue. Surrounded by mums, pumpkins and hay bales, they held the entire celebration at their home in State College, Pennsylvania. The couple even said “I do” on their bridge and had an intimate tented reception in their backyard. “The most important part of our wedding was being able to celebrate with our friends and family on our terms,” Carolyn says. The majority of their decor, including the linens and signage, were DIY. With some help from friends, Carolyn and Vincent got creative and made every colorful tablescape from moss, dahlias and anemones. Their menu also showed off some personal style with New Orleans-inspired cuisine. After getting engaged there and sharing a love for the city, it was a natural choice for the couple. Joanna Fisher Photography caught everything on camera, from their self-serve New Orleans hurricane drinks to their sweet first dance. Catch all our favorite details from their fall-filled day, below.

Like Carolyn’s bouquet, her maid of honor's arrangement had an abundance of color. Magenta coxcombs, burgundy dahlias, sunflowers and purple wildflowers were all part of the bouquet. A burlap wrap collected every stem, adding some rustic flair to the fall-inspired mix.
Their ceremony lasted just 15 minutes and Carolyn made sure it ended with a grand exit. “I surprised Vincent with the recessional. I asked the musicians to learn a rendition of the theme song to one of our favorite TV shows, 'Game of Thrones,' ” she says. “It was quickly recognized by quite a few guests.”
Since Carolyn and Vincent wanted to keep the wedding party small, her sister had a special role as the maid of honor and only bridesmaid. She was ready for the fall celebration in a chic updo and purple knee-length dress from J.Crew. Criss-cross ruching accented the strapless bodice while the pleated skirt flowed from an empire waist.
“We wanted to get married at home so our sweet dogs could be a part of the big day,” Carolyn says. “Sadly our older dog passed away before the wedding, but our spirited little English bulldog was quite the party animal.” They even dressed up their wedding dog with a fabric neutral-colored flower on his leather collar.
“A private bartender was essential to keep the party going,” Carolyn says. “But some self-serve stations were set up with batches of spiked peach tea and a classic New Orleans hurricane.” To match the rest of the decor, they had each drink placed in its chic white dispenser on a wooden post. For guests who wanted a nonalcoholic beverage, they also served milk to go with their cookie wedding favors.
The couple and their friends made almost all the decorations for their DIY reception. They covered each long reception table with hand-cut burlap runners and white linens for some rustic fall flair. Their tablescapes also brought the natural setting in with moss, bright anemones and dahlias.
All their bright centerpieces at the reception helped to personalize the day. Made by the couple and their friends, each one was different with just a mason jar vase as the cohesive element. This particular accent was filled with red orange anemones, sunflowers and magenta dahlias. We love this!
Even the tablescapes were DIY. Every table at the reception had a different design of mason jar centerpieces separated by bunches of moss. The couple and their friends filled each one with sunflowers, magenta dahlias, red orange anemones and more. The contrasting flowers provided a bright pop of color against the otherwise neutral space.
This no ordinary guest book. Instead of giving friends and family members a few pages to leave names and well wishes, Carolyn and Vincent gave them a whole dresser. Every guest was welcome to leave a message on its wooden doors.
With such an extravagant guest book, they decided on a simpler display for the nearby card box. Guests were asked to place any cards in a vintage-style neutral lantern, which matched the other lanterns that decorated their wedding.
Since Carolyn and Vincent met as teenagers, it was only fitting that the couple send everyone home with a childhood favorite: milk and cookies. They set up monogrammed thank-you bags next to glass jars of sugar, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies. This way guests could easily make their selections and take home the treats.
Carolyn and Vincent loved adding personal touches to their celebration in State College, Pennsylvania. On top of decorating the space with photos and DIY decor, they also added a custom element to their dessert display. Each single-tier cake or pie was placed on a matching white, antique stand.
With multiple pies and desserts on display at the reception, Carolyn and Vincent wanted to make sure their wedding cake stood out. They set it apart from the other confections with a sweet gold topper that spelled out their names in between a heart.
After they said “I do,” Carolyn switched out her veil for a purple ranunculus. She also grabbed a black sweater for their outdoor reception in State College, Pennsylvania. She and Vincent matched in all black and white as they swayed on the dance floor. “Our first-dance song was ‘The Air That I Breathe’ by the Hollies,” Carolyn says. “It was from one of our favorite movies.”