A Rustic, DIY Wedding at The Red Pheasant in Dennis, Massachusetts

Meredith Atwood (27 and a PhD student) and Justin Holgerson (30 and a forest ecologist) met in Syracuse, NY while they were both pursuing Masters degr

Meredith Atwood (27 and a PhD student) and Justin Holgerson (30 and a forest ecologist) met in Syracuse, NY while they were both pursuing Masters degrees. After being introduced by a mutual friend at a game night, the two bumped into each other again at a graduate student trivia night. It wasn’t long before the two found themselves on their first date and three years later, after moving to Oregon, Justin proposed to Meredith while mountain biking.Meredith and Justin decided to head to Meredith’s home state of Massachusetts for their wedding, opting to host the affair at The Red Pheasant restaurant, which is owned and operated by her parents. The couple kicked off the day with an intimate ceremony in her neighbor’s backyard, overlooking the lake, before heading to the restaurant for a night of celebrating. Drawing inspiration from the restaurant’s barn setting, with exposed beams, wooden floors and lots of character, the couple decided to go with a rustic, natural theme. Where possible, Meredith and Justin tried to use things they already owned or could borrow from friends. All of the flowers — fresh hydrangeas and dahlias — were hand-picked from Meredith’s mother’s or the neighbor’s garden. The food was an easy choice for the couple. Meredith and Justin picked their favorite items from The Red Pheasant's menu, putting together a mouth-watering selection of bacon-wrapped scallops, Gruyere cheese puffs, sole meuniere, steak and risotto. A naked funfetti wedding cake satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth, while The Becky Chace Band got guests up and dancing all night long.

During the ceremony, Meredith and Justin exchanged classic gold wedding bands. Justin's was a traditional, polished yellow gold band, while Meredith's was a dainty twisted style, also in yellow gold.
The couple's custom-designed wedding invitations featured a playful illustrated map to help guests navigate to the waterfront wedding.
Casual Tweed and Khaki Groomsmen Attire
Traditional, Strapless, A-Line Wedding Dress
Wanting the wedding to feel laid-back, Meredith had her bridesmaids choose their own dresses, asking only that they be a light blush color.
Justin accentuated his tweed vest with a rustic boutonniere made from dainty daisies and local greenery.
Meredith's bouquet was filled with bright pink and coral dahlias and pale purple fox glove, which were gathered from her neighbor's and mother's gardens.
Fresh-Picked Pink Dahlia Bouquet
Playing up the rustic, natural theme, the restaurant's tables were topped with lengths of burlap and bright floral arrangements atop moss-covered tree slices.
Reception at the Red Pheasant Restaurant
The Red Pheasant Restaurant, not only offered the perfect setting for Meredith and Justin's rustic affair, but it also had sentimental value — the restaurant is owned and operated by Meredith's parents.
DIY Escort Card Bunting
Naked Funfetti Wedding Cake
Naked funfetti cake captured the essence of the laid-back affair, while infusing it with a fun and delicious twist.
Chalkboard Welcome Sign
Ivory, Green and Pink Hydrangea Ceremony Arrangements
Live Jazz Ceremony Music
Meredith's Traditional Ceremony Processional
The ceremony was held in Dennis, MA in Meredith's neighbor's backyard. The outdoor space offered beautiful views of the lake, as well as acres of lush greenery.
Meredith and Justin Exchange Vows
Meredith and Justin's First Kiss
DIY Wine Cork Place Cards
Fresh-Picked Wildflower Centerpieces
Meredith handmade the escort cards for the reception, hand-writing the names of each guest on small triangles and pinning them to strands of twine to create the appearance of bunting.
Meredith and Justin's Cake Cutting
Meredith and Justin's First Dance