A Quirky DIY Wedding at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Emily Warren (31 and a scientist) and Mike Deceglie (31 and a scientist) met in graduate school while they were working on solar panel research, so ch

Emily Warren (31 and a scientist) and Mike Deceglie (31 and a scientist) met in graduate school while they were working on solar panel research, so choosing Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, made perfect sense for their wedding. They loved being able to personalize the one-of-a-kind space, and the field of solar panels was icing on the cake. The day started in a quirky science-oriented ceremony and ended in a beer-filled dance party. “Our mantra for the wedding during the planning process was good people, good food, good beer,” Emily says. Although the weather called for rain, and it even ended up flooding, they didn’t let it stop them. “Even though there was rain, mud and flooding, we wanted to have a good tome with our friends and family, so we made sure that we did,” Emily says. “We were especially touched by how guests were such great sports in spite of the cool weather. Our awesome friends and family were even out there shoveling wet gravel and laying out straw to dry out the ground under the tent!” We love how Emily and Mike incorporated ultra-local details into their day, such as wildflowers from Spring Forth Farm, a childhood friend’s nearby flower farm that specializes in locally grown flowers; all the beer was from FullSteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina; and the ice cream dessert was from Maple View Farms in Hillsborough, North Carolina. In addition, catering was by Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Emily’s family was part of the community who invested in helping Vimala, a single mom from Mumbai, India, start her own restaurant after hosting community meals for several years.) There are so many details we love about this wedding—see them all, beautifully captured by Rob and Kristen Photography, below.

Emily's colorful wildflower bouquet included scabiosas and daisies. The flowers came from Spring Forth Farm, a childhood friend’s nearby flower farm that specialized in locally grown flowers. Emily and Mike bought flowers in bulk and made the arrangements themselves.
Mike wore a casual taupe suit and the groomsmen wore black slacks with white button-downs and teal suspenders. They all completed their look with turquoise and yellow checkered bow ties for a pop of color and plenty of personality. The umbrellas and rain boots were a last-minute purchase, since the weather called for rain.
The bridesmaids wore their own dresses in whatever shade of blue they wanted. They completed their look with wildflower bouquets to match Emily’s look.
“Our ceremony was conducted by a close family friend and was probably the nerdiest ceremony of all time, with many references to the Big Bang theory and quotes from Einstein,” Emily says. “We were sure to include some jokes, because we wanted laughter instead of tears.”
Emily and Mike exchanged vows in a wooden pavilion at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They used shades of blue, green and yellow throughout the decor and mostly relied on the stunning setting to provide the decoration.
“We got married at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina,” Emily says. “After looking at a few all-inclusive venues, we decided to put together our own day at this one-of-a-kind venue. Since we both research solar energy for a living, we were also excited to get married next to a field of solar panels."
The tables at the reception included photos from important years in Emily and Mike’s lives, along with the date framed in black. For a simple way to figure out the seating chart, guests were seated at the table that represented the year each one of them came into the newlyweds’ lives.
Emily chose an A-line wedding dress from David’s Bridal for her nuptials. She loved the lace overlay and beading detailing. She completed her look with a simple half-up hairstyle and a gray beaded necklace.