An Apple-Inspired Fall Wedding at Historic John P. Furber Farm in Cottage Grove, Minnesota

Sarah Nelson (26 and a teacher) and Matthew Nelson (26 and a customer operations specialist) met in high school while working at a movie theater. (The

Sarah Nelson (26 and a teacher) and Matthew Nelson (26 and a customer operations specialist) met in high school while working at a movie theater. (Their first date, to see "Transformers," was at the theater where they worked.) They dated for five and a half years, got engaged, broke up, kept in touch, then started dating again in 2015. The first time Sarah and Matt got engaged, it was an elaborate proposal in front of the theater where they met. “The second time we got engaged, we really just looked at each other and decided we weren’t fooling anyone—we were going to get married,” Sarah says. “So we just started planning.” To signify a fresh start, Sarah traded in her first engagement ring and the couple chose a new one together. For a color scheme, they went with maroon and bold teal accents, candy apple red and hints of green. A huge fan of apples, Sarah originally had wanted to get married at an orchard, but “you can’t have an indoor reception at an apple orchard in the fall because the space is used to store apples,” she says. A friend recommended the Historic John P. Furber Farm in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and “I fell in love with the space,” Sarah says. It wasn’t an orchard, but it was the next best thing—a heated rustic barn and one that was capable of taking on an orchard-esque feel with a little creative magic (and a lot of apple decor). The entire wedding directly reflected the couple. “We didn’t want to do an over-the-top Cinderella wedding,” Sarah says. “We wanted people to stay and have a good time.” And that’s exactly what happened. —Chrissy Sorenson

Real apple escort cards with calligraphy-inscribed leaves directed guests to their seats. The escort card display declared Sarah and Matt "appley" married and instructed guests to "pick" their seats.  Later in the evening, partygoers indulged in apple doughnut snacks and a caramel-apple-dipping bar.
Sarah wanted the vintage feel of her wedding incorporated in her gown as well. She found an A-line, lace-over-matte side-satin gown with sparkling beading, an illusion back with covered buttons and cap sleeves. A grosgrain ribbon matching the cafe underlay of her dress accentuated her waist.
For a meaningful touch, Sarah added her grandma’s locket around her bouquet. “I just wanted a piece of her with me on my wedding day,” she says.
Sarah's shoes were practical maroon-colored Toms, not only because they were comfortable but also because Sarah is the same height as Matt and didn’t want to tower over him. To complete her look, she borrowed a pearl bracelet from her mom.
Sarah, a “food-motivated person,” wanted a plated dinner. The caterer, knowing the couple had a vintage fall theme, asked if they could switch up the salad to include sliced apples. “Of course, I said yes,” Sarah says. “I love apples.”
The wedding party was seated at the head table, a more than 20-foot harvest table made out of the barn's original silo wood. Swaths of maroon fabric marked the wedding party's spots at the head table, while Matt and Sarah's chairs were decorated with white chiffon.
When you live in Minnesota (and your wedding has a vintage apple theme), it's only fitting to name your guests' tables after apple varieties. (The SweeTango was developed by the University of Minnesota.)
An eight-foot-tall arbor draped in ivory fabric, a chandelier and a garland with maroon accents was lovingly built by Sarah’s dad. Signs lining the aisle displayed verses from 1 Corinthians (“Love is patient, love is kind”).
The guest book featured Sarah and Matt's thumbprints, blown up in the shape of a heart.
The couple had five desserts (Matt likes cake, and Sarah likes pie). Their cake was almond cake with raspberry filling and white cake with lemon filling. The pies were fall varieties: apple, pumpkin and pecan.
After the couple booked the site, Sarah—a “crafty person” who at one point thought about planning every detail herself—listened to her photographer about trusting her vendors to work their creative magic in bringing her vision to life, so she could enjoy the time leading up to her wedding day. “They shared their ideas with me, and I got to pull them apart, saying what I liked and what I wanted to change, if anything at all,” Sarah says. “All I really wanted was the power of veto.”
A verdant garland and custom chandelier installation framed the head table, creating a stunning overhead display.
Sarah knew she wanted maroon bridesmaid dresses and planned the color scheme around that, using Pinterest to search “Design Seeds.” From there, she was drawn to a feathered spectrum palette. “We wanted to embrace all autumn colors,” Sarah says.
The first dance was to take place under a new lighting installation on the second-floor mezzanine; the backdrop was Sarah and Matt's first song inscribed on sheets of butcher paper—when the rain started, that became the ceremony site. All able guests joined the couple upstairs at overflow seating, while other guests sat on the main floor.
The bridesmaids wore Bill Levkoff gowns in maroon (aka wine). Sarah’s gift to them was handmade dark teal clutch purses and rose gold earrings from Ava Hope Designs on Etsy.
Instead of a veil that would have covered the back of her dress, obstructing the details she loved so much, Sarah chose a simple teal hair comb. (Also going with the vintage look.)
The nearly 70-year-old barn  at Historic John P. Furber Farm in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, was remodeled for weddings to accommodate up to 500 guests.