Rustic Wedding Inspiration

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

Happy Monday, y'all! Today I have so much goodness to share with you from Shana and Ian's beautiful rustic wedding last summer. Shana has shared so many great tips and some wonderful advice for you throughout the wedding planning process! Read on to get inspired for your beautiful wedding celebration.

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

The Basics

Wedding Date: August 2, 2014

Wedding Location: Smithville Inn

All the Fun Details

How did you and your significant other meet?

Well, it all started back in 2004… It was my first year of college and Ian’s second but we were both new to Florida Atlantic University. Living in the same dorm building, we crossed paths several times during the first few weeks of school. In passing, Ian whispered to a friend that he thought I was beautiful. I remember walking out of the dorm while Ian was walking in and he politely held the door for me…we shared a smile and both went our separate ways. Not long after that, Ian worked up the nerve to sit next to me outside on campus and we began talking. Ultimately, from that day on, we were inseparable!

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

How did your proposal happen?

During the summer of 2012 (going on eight years of being together), we embarked on an adventurous trip that included flying from Maryland to Colorado where we hiked the Indian Peaks Wilderness…a beautiful mountain with a lake at the top, Lake Isabel Glacier! The next day, we began our road trip from Colorado to California. During the five days on the road, we drove through Arches National Park and the Petrified Forest, camped at Canyonlands in Utah where we woke up to a beautiful sunrise with multiple rainbows, slid down the cold and slippery rocks at Slide Rock in Arizona, hiked halfway down the Grand Canyon and camped overnight (we had never seen SO many shooting stars), hiked back up and out of the Grand Canyon (one of the hardest and scariest things we had ever done), and then drove to California…where the engagement happened!

After being on the road and enduring some intense sightseeing, we relaxed at a B&B in La Jolla, California. Our first day there, we got all dressed up to go out to dinner. After dinner, we walked down to the ocean to see the sunset. As we sat and watched the sun go down,  Ian began talking about our relationship and how it has evolved over the last eight years, and before I knew it, Ian got down on one knee and proposed...I said YES, of course!

What tradition(s) were important for you to include in your wedding ceremony? Why?

As guests arrived and were being seated, we had various Beatles and Van Morrison love songs playing…We wanted to create a fun/loving atmosphere from the very beginning.

We did not allow guests to take because we wanted everyone to be present in the moment.

We had a family processional with “In My Life” by the Beatles playing…Ian’s mom was escorted by his two brothers who were also groomsmen, then my mom was escorted by my one brother.

My dad walking me down the aisle was really special for me. It was amoment I had dreamed about since I knew I wanted to marry Ian because I knew my dad fully supported our love and, although it was still an emotional moment for my dad, I knew he was content with “giving me away.”

Our officiant was a dear friend of ours and I have known him since we were babies. He had never officiated a wedding before so together, we wrote our ceremony. It meant so much to us to have someone who knows and loves us to officiate our wedding versus a stranger.

We had two very special people share readings during our ceremony. The first was titled, “A Lifetime of Love”, read by Ian’s uncle who helped raise him during his teenage years and the second was titled, “These Hands”, read by a woman I look to as my second mom who I nannied for all throughout college and has known Ian and I since we first started dating over 10 years ago.

For our vows, we each read the same poem titled, “I Promise” and then read our vows which we each wrote on our own.

The girls I nannied for and who have known Ian and I since we started dating over 10 years ago walked ahead of us with a sign that said, “Finally”…then myself, our wedding party, parents, family and guests all walked back up the aisle to, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

Did you include any family heirlooms or heritage in your wedding celebration?

My engagement ring was my mom's. My mom and dad had given it to me when I was 16 and I wore it on my middle/left finger. Ian then asked for it a little over a year before proposing and had the diamond reset in a new setting.

My grandmother, Mary, who passed away years ago, gave me a set of charms when I first got my license and told me to always keep them in my glove compartment to keep me safe…I asked our florist to incorporate the St. Mary charm into my bouquet.

In addition to our first song, “Thank You”, we also asked the DJ to play our parents wedding songs at any point during the reception as a surprise for them. My mom and dad danced to “Family” by Joe Walsh. Ian’s mom and stepfather danced to, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis.

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

What were the top 3 most important aspects of your wedding?

Our vows, which we wrote ourselves, the celebration with family and friends and bringing everyone together; and meaningful selections such as wording for our ceremony, those who participated, and music.

What was your favorite part of the planning process?

In addition to the excitement Ian and I shared leading up to our wedding day, I am so grateful for the time I spent with my mom. We lived almost 4 hours away during the planning process but saw each other more in the year leading up to our wedding than we had in previous years…and we had so much fun! My mom never had a big wedding so she really enjoyed planning mine with me.

What is the best memory you have from your wedding day?

Ian’s favorite time was after our “First Look” pictures, but before the ceremony. We had time to just walk around the village where our wedding was going to take place…although we broke tradition be seeing and spending time together before the actual ceremony, we are so thankful we had that time together to embrace our special day.

I loved standing in the doorway with my dad, waiting for it to be our turn to walk down the aisle…I was SO excited knowing my dad was so happy for us, for his love and support, and knowing in the next few seconds, I was going to be walking toward the love of my life and marrying him.

Dancing….we danced all night long! It was such an overwhelming feeling to know everyone we loved and adored was in the same room, together, with us.

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

What was your favorite piece of advice you received about marriage?

Enjoy the moment…whichever moment it is…just enjoy it. This goes for the planning process, the wedding day itself, and life in general.

Anything else you'd like to share?

We were non-traditional in the fact that we spent the night before together. Ian dropped me off at my parents’ house to get ready, and we saw each other before the ceremony…we are both SO thankful for all of that time together, because once the ceremony and reception got started, we didn’t really have time just to ourselves…and the thing is, your wedding day is truly about the two of you. We are thankful we had time for just the two of us at different parts throughout the day.

Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons
Meet the Swensons

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Shana and Ian!

 Photography: Mary and Roy

Florals:Michelle at Primrose and Company