A Rustic-Chic Fall Wedding at the Barn at Flanagan Farm in Buxton, Maine

Jill Harkness (30 and a business owner) and Donal Dignan (30 and a business owner) planned a rustic-chic celebration with a subtle autumnal twist for

Jill Harkness (30 and a business owner) and Donal Dignan (30 and a business owner) planned a rustic-chic celebration with a subtle autumnal twist for their late-November wedding, complete with quaint vintage-inspired touches and whimsical details that gave the day an air of down-home charm. Tucked away in the quaint rural town of Buxton, Maine, the Barn at Flanagan Farm provided a picturesque backdrop for the affair with its intimate wooded setting and historic barn. “We wanted some rustic elements to fit the venue, but we didn’t want it to feel too casual or like a barnyard, so we complemented the rustic theme with a neutral palette with pops of navy and rose pink, carefully placed metallics and chic place settings,” Jill says. 

The festivities unfolded with an outdoor ceremony at sunset. The aisles were lined with birch logs topped with brightly lit lanterns, tufts of moss and pinecones, tying seamlessly into the setting and adding a touch of whimsy to the decor. Jill and Donal exchanged vows under a lush green arbor framed by vases filled with cotton, and guests cozied up with blankets and glasses of hot apple cider. “We are lovers of the outdoors, so this setting seemed perfect,” Jill says. Following their “I dos,” the newlyweds ushered their guests into Flanagan Farm’s lofty wooden barn, where they enjoyed a family-style dinner and lots of dancing. Farmhouse tables filled the spacious barn and were topped with hemstitch linen runners, vintage-inspired floral dinner plates, and ivory inlay flatware, playing off the evening’s rustic-chic vibe. Wooden planter boxes filled with ivory hydrangeas, lamb’s ears, thistles and garden roses added a touch of romance to the tablescapes, while silver lanterns and votive candles cast a warm glow around the room. “We kept the decorations pretty minimal because the barn was beautiful on its own,” Jill says. “We opted to emphasize the lighting throughout the space by surrounding the barn walls with votive candles and adding trailing lights down the main barn door.” Music was a top priority for Jill and Donal, and they compiled a top-notch playlist for their DJ to spin throughout the night, which kept the dance floor packed until the last song. —Libby MacCarthy

Though a ball gown was the last thing Jill envisioned for her walk down the aisle, a classic full-skirted dress with elegant lace appliques and a sweetheart neckline eventually won her over. “The dress seemed like it would fit in with the wedding venue, whereas a more fitted gown could end up feeling too formal and out of place,” Jill says. To keep warm during their outdoor “I dos,” Jill completed her look with a soft ivory cover-up.
To complement the textured, autumnal bridesmaid bouquets, the florists at Flora Fauna Designs created cotton, garden rose, scabiosa pod and lamb’s ear boutonnieres for Donal and his groomsmen to pair with their stylish navy suits. The boutonnieres were finished with blue velvet ribbons to match the one adorning Jill’s bridal bouquet.
For her bridesmaids, Jill went for a romantic ladylike look to balance the day's more rustic elements. The girls donned floor-length Donna Morgan gowns in Chantilly chiffon, a soft shade of blush pink, each choosing a style that best suited their own personalities and sartorial tastes. To keep warm during the outdoor ceremony, Jill gave them navy pashmina scarves to drape over their shoulders.
Flora Fauna Designs brought the drama when it came to the bridesmaid bouquets, creating textured arrangements of hydrangeas, ranunculus, dahlias, thistles, cotton and a variety of roses in shades of vibrant plum, steel blue, silver, blush, pink, white and green. The autumnal tones of the arrangements popped against the blush bridesmaid gowns, while complementing their navy pashmina shawls.
The day unfolded with a quaint outdoor ceremony at sunset in quaint clearing on the Flanagan Farm property. “We are lovers of the outdoors, so this setting seemed perfect,” Jill says. White benches lined the aisle, with birch logs bearing lace doilies, candlelit lanterns and moss giving the decor a touch of woodland romance. “To brave the weather, we had blankets in different materials and shades of ivory available in baskets for our guests. We also provided a table with programs and hot apple cider,” Jill says.
Highlighting their love of the outdoors, as well as the charming farm venue, Jill and Donal struck the perfect balance of woodland whimsy and romance, lining their ceremony aisle with birch logs topped with candlelit lanterns, tufts of green moss and pinecones. At the end of the aisle stood a classic wedding arbor draped in a garland of pine and fir branches, under which Jill and Donal exchanged vows.
Jill and Donal struck the perfect balance of the personal and traditional for their ceremony. Standing under an arbor draped in lush seasonal greenery, they exchanged their own vows, and friends and family recited readings and verses from the Bible. “Our processional and recessional songs were not traditional, but they were fun and came from different milestones in our relationship,” Jill says.
After the “I dos,” Jill and Donal whisked guests off to Flanagan Farm’s wooden barn for a night of dinner and dancing. While the barn’s lofty cathedral ceilings were downright awe inspiring, the use of wooden farm tables, vintage dinnerware, linen table runners and votive candles gave the space a warm, inviting ambiance.
Setting a relaxed, elegant tone for the reception was key for Jill and Donal and was easily achieved by mixing rustic furnishings, like wooden farm tables and French country chairs, with vintage-inspired dinnerware and romantic ivory blooms. “We kept decorations pretty minimal because the barn was beautiful on its own,” Jill says. “We opted to emphasize lighting throughout the space by surrounding the barn walls with votive candles and adding trailing lights down the main barn doors.”
To bring the tablescapes an element of texture and visual intrigue, Flora Fauna Designs created a series of varying ivory floral arrangements, boasting flowers like hydrangeas, garden roses and anemones. Each bundle was displayed in a distressed wooden planter box or gilded vase, achieving the perfect balance of rustic and understated glamour.
To achieve the warm, inviting atmosphere they were after, Jill and Donal chose decor with a down-home charm, including vintage dishware and kraft paper menus, and ditched the traditional plated dinner. “We are big on family and wanted the dinner to feel cozy and intimate,” Jill says. “We decided to do a big family-style dinner, and all the tables received marinated tenderloin, Atlantic salmon and butternut squash ravioli, as well as big bowls of seasonal vegetables for sharing.”
Hosting their wedding in Maine, Jill and Donal could think of no favor more appropriate for their families and friends than jars of Stonewall Kitchen’s wild Maine blueberry jam. The pair personalized the labels with their names and wedding dates and added lengths of blue ribbon to each jar for a flourish.
With a venue that exuded country charm, Jill and Donal opted for decor that followed suit. Wooden farm tables were lined with hemstitch linen runners, chinoiserie-inspired dinner plates, ivory inlay flatware, birch accents and pops of gold woven throughout for a hint of understated glamour.
“We both love music, so leading up to the wedding we sent a spreadsheet with hundreds of songs that we wanted played during the cocktail hour and reception,” Jill says. DJ Joe Farren didn’t disappoint, mixing the couple’s requests with acoustic sets and lounge-style electro during cocktail hour. “He did an amazing job balancing out all our songs during the reception. At the end of the night, we had three songs picked out as our final songs, but he also picked a fourth song to end our night: ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ by Coldplay,” Jill says. “The melody fit in so well with the end of the night and the lyrics just made sense. It has since become a very special song to us.”