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A Whimsical Backyard Garden Wedding in Pittsboro, North Carolina

While planning their fall wedding in Pittsboro, Erin Crawford (29 and a fitness director) and Jessica Fines (33 and a social worker) immediately looke

While planning their fall wedding in Pittsboro, Erin Crawford (29 and a fitness director) and Jessica Fines (33 and a social worker) immediately looked to Jessica's childhood home for their flower-filled nuptials. In fact, the couple spent the year leading up to the wedding landscaping and planting a garden full of flowers that would eventually provide the perfect backdrop for their day. "We love gardening and knew we wanted to incorporate a lot of color," Erin says of their displays of vibrant dahlias, zinnias and gerbera daisies. DIY touches included handmade arrangements and orange table runners, along with a bamboo ceremony arch created by a close friend. "It was truly a labor of love," Erin says.—Juliette Cheatham

Instead of a traditional wedding party, Erin and Jessica had a ribbon ceremony. Each person presented a blessing and ribbon to bind the couple together to illustrate the blessing's importance to the marriage. “Adventure, passion, honesty, health, friendship and kindness were our principles of a healthy commitment, so we chose friends and family who symbolized that,” Erin and Jessica say.
“Jess is untraditionally traditional,” Erin says. She surprised Jessica with a custom-made ring set with several separate small diamonds branching off the center diamond. Erin’s low-maintenance style was more suitable for the engagement watch Jessica surprised her with instead of a ring.
Jessica put together the bridal bouquets by herself on the wedding day. Gerbera daisies, celosia, zinnias, dahlias, bachelor buttons, and pampas plumes were all added, resulting in a vibrant bunch. “All the flowers were from our garden, and a few were donated from our residents at the local retirement community where we work,” Jessica says.
From a young age, Jessica knew exactly the kind of gown she wanted to walk down the aisle in. With an organic flow and feel, her fitted lace dress with dramatic open back for a twist on a the classic look.
"We wanted a natural setting filled with lots of candles and natural light," Jessica says of outfitting their clear reception tent with string lights, fresh florals and balloons.
Jessica and Erin spent a year planting and cultivating the magical garden they dreamed of being married in. Dozens of varieties of flowers in countless colors were in full bloom on Jessica’s family property to set the festive tone and to help celebrate their partnership.
To offer a little shelter after the outside ceremony and cocktail hour, the reception was held under a sheer white canopied tent covered in romantic string lights. The subtle candlelight on the tables and on surrounding tree trunks created a dreamy romantic atmosphere.
Keeping the decor simple to focus on the homegrown flowers, Erin and Jessica strung pictures of close family and friends and wrapped them around the trunks of trees at the reception in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
There reception decor had no style or theme, other than vibrant colors to play off the surrounding flowers and lush garden. Tables were draped with white linen and orange table runners made by the brides' mothers. Each place was set with cobalt blue napkins and clear glass plates, so the colorful Mediterranean food would pop.
Beers from local breweries were placed in the garden in old bathtubs for the guests during cocktail hour. This unassuming presentation softly blended in instead of detracting from the natural garden aesthetic. Guests had a Moscow Mule or Tom Collins, Erin and Jessica's signature drinks.
To create a magical yet natural look, candles in repurposed mason jars were lit and hung from trees surrounding the reception in Pittsboro, North Carolina. String lights were strung on the grapevines, and candles were placed on tree stumps.
The newlyweds ended the night by running through a canopy made from sparklers held by friends and family members.