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  • Writer's pictureElena Bespoke

Elegant Iowa Backyard Wedding: A Summer Solstice Celebration

A bride and groom walk hand in hand at their backyard wedding in Iowa
Silk & Thorn Photo

Kelsey describes Al as a combat veteran who enjoys "weight lifting, martial arts, metal work, knife making, and eating large quantities of meat". She also describes him as the embodiment of safety, respect, patience, and love- her literal hero, full of contradictions.

Kelsey herself is the badass feminist and doctor who is quite capable of taking care of herself (thank you very much), but turns to Al with vulnerability, trust, and reverence.

These two wear their hearts on their sleeves, and it was also important to make space for their LGBTQ family, vegan loved ones, and quirky creatives a space to bask in soul-filling celebration.

Their union was one of perfectly complementary opposites. Of course, their celebration was as well.

Natural but hospitable.

Informal but elegant.

Spiritual but not religious.

Fun for all with plenty of time for just the two of them.

We got started creating a moody yet elegant, summer solstice wedding in the family's orchard. Some favorite moments:

The first look

Al was all smiles the day of the wedding. He had an unshakeable peace and confidence as he got ready at home. When Kelsey arrived, she was nervous but knew seeing him would calm her. At the first look, he anchored them for a moment before they got started with it all. It was a moment of symbolism that represents why first looks are always a major plus in my book.

The ceremony

The ceremony was performed by one of Kelsey's mothers, and she walked down the aisle not only alone but barefoot and without a bouquet. It was an empowering moment for her, one she got to step into her marriage on her own terms. If you find a sword in their photos, it pays homage to them meeting during fencing. It also helped them perform a blood oath, followed by a handfasting in which their families wrote affirmations on ribbon to bind their hands.

The private dinner

After their ceremony, Al and Kelsey opted for a private dinner at another spot on the property while guests enjoyed the cocktail hour. This allowed them to take a moment for the two of them, uninterrupted and without a spotlight (great for introverts). They let me surprise them with the table scape featuring some of their items from home.

The first dance

After guests had stopped at different food stations (including a carving station for the meat lovers and a vegan station for those who preferred plants), they were invited into the grove and handed a candle (another surprise!). Al and Kelsey had described one another as the light of one anothers lives, and taking place on the solstice (a spiritual opportunity for warmth & abundance) was another opportunity to bring light into the day. It made for amazing photos and pulled in a cool motif for the reception.

It's hard to put everything magical about these two and their celebration into words. Good thing a picture is worth a thousand, and their photographer (David with Silk & Thorn is one of my favorites to work with!) captured it beautifully.

Creative Team:

Planning & Design: Bespoke Socials

Flowers: Bohemian Blossoms Floral (Terran Wilford)

Photography: Silk & Thorn

DJ/Lighting: Clife DJ Co

Catering: Bread Garden Market

Dessert: Sugar Flower Cake Design

Rentals: Borrow My Vintage and Unique Events

Restroom Trailer: Outhouse Portable Sanitation

Makeup: Bella Vita

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