A Rustic Wedding at Old River Farms in Burgaw, North Carolina

Laid-back couple Ashley Kesler (30 and a statistical programmer) and Brad Mitchell (30 and a home builder) hosted a rustic farm wedding featuring vint

Laid-back couple Ashley Kesler (30 and a statistical programmer) and Brad Mitchell (30 and a home builder) hosted a rustic farm wedding featuring vintage grain silos and an weathered barn as the ceremony and reception sites. Guests sat on quilt-covered hay bales during the ceremony and were greeted in the nearby barn by lantern lit tables covered in lace and fresh flowers. Family and friends stayed overnight at cozy campsite accommodations and spent the evening dancing and playing  games like corn hole, checkers and even Jenga with a gianat set that Brad made himself. “The whole wedding truly reflected us: outdoorsy, laid-back and fun-loving people,” Ashley says. The couple worked together with their families to make most of the decor and flower arrangements. Ashley and Brad used pallets to create custom flower boxes and crafted a lighted backdrop for the bar and cake table. Brad's mother gathered roses, hydrangeas and gerbera daisies from a local nursery, and the wedding party came together to make all the bouquets the morning of. Brad and his groomsman even collected and decorated the arbor with fresh wisteria vines for a simple ceremony backdrop. The pair offered their guests five of their favorite local brews served from kegs to create a casual atmosphere. “We made our own favors by adding chalkboard stickers to mason jars, which doubled as drinking glasses for the event,” Ashley says. —Juliette Cheatham

Ashley and her daughter, Marlowe, dressed in a pink dress with lace detail and matching headpiece, share a sweet moment before the wedding begins. It was important to Ashley to keep things family oriented, so her “something blue” was a topaz ring that had belonged to her late mother.
Ashley and Brad purchased roses, hydrangeas and gerbera daisies from a local nursery and created their own bouquets before the wedding to save money. Each bouquet was different, some with bright pops of blue or pink, and each was made with love and care by a member of the wedding party.
Brad takes a moment to explain to the boys how to greet guests as they walk into the ceremony and give each one a fresh flower. The flower boys were dressed in jeans and boots paired with a gray vest and blue tie over a white long-sleeve button-down.
Following the same guidelines as the groomsmen, bridesmaids were allowed to pick their own dress as long as it followed the basic rosy color scheme. In remembrance of her mother, Ashley and her sisters had lockets around their bouquets with a photo to make sure she could still be part of the big day.
Brad dressed casually in boots and jeans but paired it with a tie and brown blazer to add sophistication. Groomsmen were dressed similarly in jeans and boots but were given the freedom to decide exactly what would be worn on top, ranging from suspenders and vests to jackets.
Ashley used feathers and natural grains to craft the eye-catching boutonnieres for the men. Their rustic look and neutral color scheme looked flawless with the groom and groomsmen’s boots and jeans and was a perfect addition to the farm wedding.
Ashley wore a romantic strapless ivory dress with a peach ribbon around the waist and lace detailing on the bodice. Her ring is a vintage estate ring from the 1940s, which fit the venue, Old River Farms in Burgaw, North Carolina.
The ceremony took place nestled between two old grain silos not far from the reception  barn. Ashley and Brad set out hay bales and covered them with old quilts to create a cozy stop for the guests to enjoy the exchanging of vows.
Ashley wore her hair half-up, half-down with soft white flowers braided into the back. Her romantic look was completed with a flowing white wedding gown and a floor-length veil.
The reception took place in a recently refurbished barn with exposed beams on the farm property. Ashley and Brad used string lights, white linens, and white seating to transform the rustic space into a romantic dining and dancing experience.
Hanging from the rustic exposed beams of the old barn was a beautiful handmade chandelier of fresh flowers wrapped around a halo of twigs and string lights. This creative use of greenery softened the ambience of the rustic venue and provided overhead lighting.
Ashley spent a lot of time and energy creating homemade decorations for the wedding that would accent the rustic farmland while still making it a little bit softer. Their wedding monogram, made of used corks, was placed on a table with small paper cutout horses that the guests used to sign in and send their best wishes.
“We created a lot of our own decorations, using pallets for flower boxes and a lighted backdrop for the bar and cake table,” Ashley says. The centerpieces at the reception were a simple assortment of flowers from the farm, lace, candlelit lanterns and natural twigs to add a sense of rustic ambience.