A Laid-Back Farm Wedding in Michigan
It was love at first swipe for Gillian Gorge and Daniel Carr when the pair matched on Hinge in July 2014. After dating for nearly two years, the couple got engaged in December 2016 while vacating in Mendoza, Argentina. To do so, Daniel organized a horseback ride through the vineyards at Casa de Uco in the Uco Valley and proposed when they arrived at romantic set-up, which was complete with a professional photographer on stand-by for an engagement photo session.
For their wedding, Gillian and Dan knew they wanted to say "I do" on a farm in either New York or Michigan, ultimately selecting the latter after falling in love with Zingermanâ€™s Cornman Farms in Dexter, Michigan. "We were drawn to all of the indoor and outdoor spaces it offered for our wedding day," says the bride. "We were able to get married outside, which was important to us, have cocktails and hors dâ€™oeurves on the lawn, dinner in the tent, and dancing in a beautiful red barn. It was the perfect setting and felt very us." To complement the farm venue, Gillian and Daniel aimed for an overall relaxed vibe, relying on white, soft pink, and green decor to play off the beautiful natural setting on September 16, 2017. Keep reading to see how they pulled off their laid-back outdoor farm wedding, captured by Heather Jowett.
Gillian wanted a minimal and structured wedding dress to avoid overpowering her petite frame. She immediately knew her Carolina Hererra strapless gown was "The One" when she spotted it while dress shopping in New York City. She accessorized with Giuseppe Zanotti heeled sandals and "something blue" earrings.
Daniel kept his attire on the more informal side, sporting a custom navy suit with his name and wedding date embroidered on the inner pocket. Gillian gave him a pair of cufflinks, and he added a pair of brown lace-up Oxfords to complete his look.
Gillian's bridal bouquet was a luscious mix of anemones, dahlias, and garden roses. Daniel donned a ranunculus boutonniere.
The couple opted against a traditional bridal party, but still encouraged their closest friends to get ready with them the day of. "Since we didnâ€™t have bridesmaids, there was no set attire, but somehow all of the girls matched quite nicely in florals and autumn colors," says Gillian.
To avoid making the venue feel too manicured, Gillian and Dan stuck with mostly natural decor elements. Both the chuppah and a gorgeous arch at the start of the aisle were covered in flowers, greenery, and twigs. Plants in ceramic pots lined the aisle itself.
The crowd went wild as the flower girl and ring bearer, Gillian and Daniel's niece and nephew, made their way down the aisle. One-year-old Delilah, who had just learned how to walk, accompanied her parents in a white cotton dress. Seven-month-old Ben, however, was pulled in a vintage wooden wagon adorned with flowers.
A keyboardist and violinist played "A Thousand Years," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and "Cannon" by Pachelbel during the processional. Gillian walked halfway down the aisle alone, then her father escorted her the rest of the way.
"It was important for us to write our own vows, and to bring Danâ€™s mother, who had passed away just a few days before our wedding, into the ceremony," says the bride. And, despite the loss of his mother, Daniel made sure their friends and family entered the wedding weekend on a positive note. "At our rehearsal dinner, when Dan welcomed everyone, he gave permission for everyone to celebrate our marriage and celebrate life; he did not want our special weekend to be a sad moment in lieu of the weeks' events," says Gillian.
After the ceremony, the couple served appetizers (including pigs in a blanket!) and their signature drink, a spicy tequila cocktail, on the venue's lawn.
For the tented reception, the couple used farm tables (naturally!) with varying centerpieces to add an extra design dimension. "Some tables had flowers running down the center, and others had ceramic pots with arrangements down the table with candles in hurricanes mixed in," says the bride.
Each place setting included white china, custom napkins embroidered with the couple's initials in gold, and custom calligraphed menus personalized with guests' names. At dinner, everyone munched on a family-style spread of salads, tenderloin, sea bass, vegetables, Israeli couscous, and truffle fries.
Gillian admits that they went back and forth on their cake design, but ultimately agreed on a simple confection decorated with delicate flowers. The bride's mother, an experienced baker, also made cookiesâ€”packaged in brown bags with custom stickersâ€”for guests to take home at the end of the night.
Dancing kicked off inside a picturesque red barn with tunes courtesy of the Chicago Groove Collective. As the night rolled on, the bride's cousin, a vocalist and guitarist based in New Orleans, hopped on stage and jammed out with the band for a few songs. "It was such a treat!" Gillian recalls. To commemorate their first dance, Gillian and Daniel chose "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Vallie. "We had taken dance lessons to learn a few moves, but did not practice nearly enough," the bride says with a laugh.
Looking back on their big day, Gillian has a few words of wisdom for couples planning their own weddings: "Roll with the punches, and donâ€™t get bogged down by the little thingsâ€”everything ends up working out."