An Intimate Rustic Wedding at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky

Artists Erin Wiser (30 and a production manager) and Chris Bivens (30 and a carpenter) left their home in New York for a wedding near Erin’s hometown

Artists Erin Wiser (30 and a production manager) and Chris Bivens (30 and a carpenter) left their home in New York for a wedding near Erin’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. “We wanted to get married in Louisville so my grandparents could attend,” Erin says. “We put a lot of thought into our ceremony and really just wanted to be surrounded by our family and friends for an intimate and special day.” At Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky, the couple said their “I dos” in the venue’s rustic barn, where Erin’s uncle officiated and Chris’s uncle did the readings. The cozy ceremony was followed by dinner and dancing in an open-air pavilion. “Since most of our guests came from out of state, we didn't want them to have to travel between ceremony and reception,” Erin says of their destination wedding. “It was easy for everyone, and they could further enjoy Yew Dell's grounds for the night.” During cocktail hour, guests sipped on Dark and Stormy mixers and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel beer while snacking on egg rolls and panini. Since the newlyweds are both Southerners, the menu included Southern staples such as shrimp and grits, fried chicken and green beans. For their fall nuptials, Erin and Chris blended fall colors of deep red, lilac and peach with classic wedding colors: white, black and gold. “We chose dahlias, roses and thistle to keep within the season of our wedding,” Erin says. “We really liked that color scheme, and we wanted a lot of flowers.” Friends and family celebrated with dancing and captured their feelings at the photo booth. “We love our family and friends and are so happy to be family together,” Erin says. —Marissa Hermanson

Groomsmen sported boutonnieres made with textured greenery and petite pink and red blooms.
“We wanted it to be easy and individual for our groomsmen and bridesmaids, so we let the girls pick their dresses and just gave them inspiration and color scheme,” Erin says. Bridesmaids looked chic in a mix of black knee-length dresses.
Chris sported a classic navy suit that he embellished with a handkerchief and a red and pink  boutonniere.
After knowing each other for more than 10 years, Erin and Chris made their relationship official. “We are both artists and share and support each other's passions,” Erin says. “We help each other keep things in perspective and are there for each other through thick and thin.”
“The Gheen's Barn at Yew Dell was small and felt intimate, and we liked it because it was beautiful on its own and didn't need a lot of additional decorations,” Erin says. Throughout the venue, rustic chalkboard directional signs let guests know where the ceremony and reception were taking place.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on Dark and Stormy mixers and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel beer while snacking on egg rolls and panini.
The couple’s alfresco reception took place under the pavilion at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky. “Like the ceremony, the pavilion was naturally pretty, so we didn't have to dress it up too much,” Erin says. The outdoor space was decorated with romantic bistro lights, and tables were dressed in white linens with bridesmaid bouquets doubling as centerpiece arrangements. Photos of the newlyweds were used in lieu of table numbers.
Erin and Chris’s menu included traditional Southern staples like shrimp and grits, fried chicken and green beans, along with a salad bar of grab-and-go lettuce cups.
“We love cake, so we couldn't settle on one flavor,” Erin says, so they chose vanilla, lemon, almond, chocolate bourbon and a German chocolate cake. Artist Gina Dawson, Erin and Chris's good friend, created their cake topper—a paper version of their wedding flowers. “We will save it as a keepsake,” she says. The three-tier cake was also embellished with icing rosettes.
The newlyweds had their first dance to "That's How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. “It has been our song since we started dating and is really emotional and special for us both,” Erin says. “We were really thoughtful about our first dance and father-daughter and mother-son dances, because we knew we really wanted to have memorable moments.” Chris and his mother danced to “Hold on I’m Comin’” by Sam & Dave, which she danced with her family. During the anniversary dance, the newlyweds shared the dance floor with Erin’s grandparents, who at the end of the dance gave them the marital advice to "never go to bed angry.”
At the photo booth, friends and family captured memories by dressing in goofy hats and glasses.