A Whimsical, Rustic Farm Wedding at a Private Residence in Leduc, Alberta

For their early-October wedding in Leduc, Alberta, Julia Scheffelmaier (22 and a secretary) and Matthew McKellar (28 and a firefighter and a commercia

For their early-October wedding in Leduc, Alberta, Julia Scheffelmaier (22 and a secretary) and Matthew McKellar (28 and a firefighter and a commercial driver)—with the help of the pros at Today's Sweet Weddings—pulled off a relaxed, fun-filled bash with a rustic twist. Julia’s family farm hosted the fete, offering a sentimental and laid-back setting for the affair. Taking the lush, natural landscape into account, the pair opted for an elegantly understated palette of white and gold, which they punctuated with natural wood and fresh greenery. An outdoor ceremony allowed the couple and their guests to benefit from the autumnal foliage and expansive green fields, while setting the tone for their rustic, bohemian theme. Hay bales and wooden stumps topped with petite bouquets of fresh blooms lined the aisle, leading to a quaint wooden arbor built by Julia’s father that was adorned with a floral garland and deer antlers to achieve a whimsical woodland look. In lieu of lighting a candle to symbolize their unity, the couple tied two ropes into a fisherman’s knot, which was then placed in a shadow box that all the guests signed during the reception. The newlyweds then kicked the festivities into high gear, ushering their family and friends to an expansive white tent for dinner and dancing. “From the beginning, I had envisioned long rows of rectangular tables for our guests to create an intimate vibe, like sitting at one long family dinner table,” Julia says. To enhance the cozy feel, deer antlers and logs overflowing with fluffy white hydrangeas, eucalyptus, fern and wax flowers were the focal point for each table. But the reception’s piece de resistance was the head table, which was designed by Matthew. “Complete with a garland, antlers and wooden frames, it was the focus of the room,” Julia says. After dinner, Julia and Matthew surprised their family and friends with a performance of “In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine and Iris DeMent (Julia played the mandolin and Matthew played guitar) as a show of their gratitude for all their love and support. A tip from Julia: “Patience and compromise are the keys to a loving relationship. When in doubt, say ‘Yes, dear.' " —Libby MacCarthy

When it came to popping the question, a classic proposal simply wouldn’t do for Matthew. For Christmas Eve he planned his own version of the “The Amazing Race,” with Julia completing challenges like archery, skeet shooting, horseback riding and a skating race on the creek, which led to dancing, fireworks, champagne and ultimately the proposal.
Julia designed all the wedding stationery herself. To give guests a taste of the affair to come, she incorporated elements like antlers, woodland florals and playful typefaces that spoke to the wedding's whimsical, rustic theme.
Traditional wasn’t going to cut it as far as Julia’s bridesmaid dresses were concerned. From day one she had envisioned her attendants walking down the aisle in flowy floral frocks, but finding the right dress proved to be a challenge. “We initially purchased ivory floor-length dresses from H&M because we didn’t want to panic as time went on,” Julia says. “On a trip to Banff National Park, I spotted two floral dresses in a boutique, then found the remaining two online.” They paired the gowns with cozy cardigans, brown flats and flower crowns for a romantic, bohemian feel.
“Matthew so badly wanted to wear a Scottish kilt with his formal firefighting jacket, and we even priced out a few kilts,” Julia says. “But in the end, we decided on a khaki jacket and vest with Western jeans and cowboy boots.” To infuse his look with a Scottish flair, Matthew rounded out his ensemble with Scottish McKellar tartan ties. “I wasn’t sure how the plaid would look with the floral dresses, but it turned out perfect,” she says.
While heading to the bridal salon is the first instinct for most brides-to-be, Julia tapped into her savviness and scored a stunning gown online. “I found my dress on a used wedding dress website after seeing it in a store. I saved a lot of money buying it online, which allowed me to make alterations to lower the back of the dress,” she says. The Theia gown featured a strapless bodice that flowed into an ethereal skirt that swished with every step. She completed her look with a flower crown and gold flats to match the bridesmaid attire.
To help their guests find their way around the expansive property, Julia and Matthew handcrafted wooden directional signs that pointed to the Leduc, Alberta, site of the ceremony, reception and after-party activities.
The couple hosted the ceremony on a small piece of land adjacent to the farm that is surrounded by a creek. “In order to access it, a substantial bridge had to be constructed,” Julia says. “My father bought some unusable oil rigs, then Matt spent days welding them together. Covered in lighting, it was a pretty special detail for our day, since the night ended with fireworks on the bridge.” Once on the small island, guests were immersed in a whimsical, woodland scene. Hay bales and tree trunks topped with fresh flowers lined the aisle, leading to a beautifully decorated wedding arbor under which Julia and Matthew exchanged vows.
Julia and Matthew left no detail overlooked, from the wooden centerpieces to the handmade head table and antler accents. The tent ceiling was no different—strands of bistro lights glowed warmly as the sun began to set, and playful paper lanterns added a hint of visual drama to the room.
To weave in a hint of rustic, woodland flair, Julia and Matt displayed the centerpieces—bountiful bouquets of white hydrangeas, ferns, purple wax flowers and eucalyptus—in fallen logs sourced from the nearby woods. “Matt is a hunter, and I really liked the idea of incorporating deer antlers into our decor by having them wrap around the sparkling juice bottles on the table,” Julia says.
Salvaged vintage pieces were woven throughout the decor, playing off the setting’s farmhouse-chic feel. Wooden ladders and cable-spool tables brought a homey feel to the expansive space, while details like crisp white linens, gilded charger plates and twinkling bistro lights exuded elegance.
After dinner, the newlyweds treated their guests to an entire assortment of perfectly frosted wedding cakes. Flavors like lemon poppy seed and raspberry cheesecake put a sweet finish on the family-style meal.