A Family-Focused Fall Wedding in New Jersey
Alanna Janes and Keith Lyons met the way many couples do: in passing at a party. It was June 2007, and the pair crossed paths at a gathering in Long Beach Island, New Jersey, a popular vacation spot along the Atlantic Ocean. They hit off and, as the saying goes, the rest was history. The pair became engaged on December 16, 2017, and got to work planning their wedding, which would take place a little over a year later.
The first step in their planning process was choosing a venue, and both Alanna and Keith quickly realized the Inn at Fernbrook Farms in Chesterfield, New Jersey, was "the one." Both cite the scenery and the property's wide open spaces as major draws, and Alanna loved that there were so many opportunities to put their own personal stamp on the day—in short, the venue was far from cookie-cutter. They were so sure about their decision that they didn't even tour other spaces. "It was the first and only venue we saw and we fell in love right away," the bride adds.
They set the date for November 2, 2019, and began organizing what the bride calls a vintage, bohemian-inspired celebration. With two small kids at home, Alanna says her goal was not to get bogged down or stressed out during the process—even without the help of a professional. "I designed and planned the entire wedding by myself. It was actually not stressful at all," she says. "I let everything fall into place. If it worked out, it worked. If not, then it wasn't meant to happen."
Fall into place it absolutely did. Alanna and Keith were married on a beautiful, crisp fall day, surrounded by 100 of their closest family members and friends, including their son and daughter, Brody and Hayden. "We wanted them to be very involved in everything," Keith says. "Having a family-oriented wedding was important to us."
Taking a Risk
Alanna actually bought her wedding dress without trying it on. She had always loved Elle Zeitoune, an Australia-based bridal designer, and had her eye on one gown in particular, but when she learned it was being discontinued, she knew she had to act fast. Her only option was to purchase it several sizes larger than what she normally wears, but took a chance on what she thought was "the one" and hoped a great tailor could help her make it work. The end result? A beautiful long-sleeved lace gown that her seamstress ensured fit her like a glove. "I couldn't be happier that I trusted my gut," Alanna says.
That same seamstress created a tulle overskirt that she wore for the ceremony, along with a simple cathedral-length veil. "I felt like that was my statement piece," she adds. "It was such a fun and romantic addition."
Bigger Is Better
Alanna sums up her bouquet in one word: big. "It was amazing," she says. "My florist went above and beyond by making it stand out how I wanted and incorporating the vintage flare I had hoped for." The vibrant, oversized mix, created by Wild & Free Floral Design, included amaranthus, dahlias, blue bells, eucalyptus, pampas grass, protea, Quicksand roses, and ruscus.
To complete his navy blue suit from Men's Wearhouse, Keith accessorized with a burgundy bow tie and brown shoes. His boutonnière, a simple arrangement made entirely of greenery, featured two types of eucalyptus and gypsolphili.
Just Like Dad
"I wanted Brody and Keith to match, but not be matchy-matchy," Alanna says of her son's attire. To that end, he wore a vintage-inspired blue-and-gray plaid suit, but accessorized with a mini version of the burgundy bow tie his dad donned.
Hayden, the couple's adorable daughter, wore a custom dress designed by the bride's seamstress using leftover fabric from Alanna's wedding dress. "She was my mini me," the bride adds.
The couple felt strongly about planning a family-focused celebration, so posing for portraits with their two young kids was a given. Keith also entered the ceremony with both Brody and Hayden, and the two children later joined the newlyweds during their first dance.
A Warm Welcome
As guests arrived at the ceremony, they helped themselves to fruit-infused water displayed on the property's vintage truck. To help everyone keep warm, the couple also set out cozy blankets.
A Natural Ceremony
With a November wedding date, both Alanna and Keith wanted to embrace the fall aesthetic at their venue. They asked the staff to leave the fallen leaves on the ground as they set up for the ceremony, which was held in the Inn at Fernbrook Farms' sundial garden. Along with a vintage rug on the aisle, the space was decorated with pampas grass, eucalyptus, and greenery arranged by Wild & Free Designs.
A family friend served as the couple's officiant, personalizing the "simple, short, and sweet" ceremony by interviewing family and friends about the bride and groom. The duo exchanged classic vows before recessing to "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies. "We wanted something old but upbeat to get everyone excited to get the party going," the couple explains.
Alanna fell in love with a vintage mirror she found and instantly knew she had to use it in some way at her wedding. Ultimately, it served as an ornate seating chart guests stopped by before heading into the tented reception.
"I wanted everything to look very vintage and warm and cozy," Alanna says of the décor. The bar for cocktail hour, where guests could order whiskey sours (Keith's drink of choice), the "Blushing Bride" (Alanna's preferred blend of Champagne, grenadine, and peach Schnapps), beer, or wine, fit the bill.
Table for Two
Inside the reception tent, guests were seated at a mix of long and round tables. The newlyweds sat in the center of the room at a sweetheart table decorated with trailing eucalyptus and flanked by arrangements of pampas grass.
Dinner by Candlelight
"The décor we chose was very representative of our style and the style in our home," Keith says of the reception. Tables were topped with arrangements of greenery and taper candles, which dripped beautifully as the night progressed.
Time to Eat
Guests found the evening's family-style dinner menu at their seats, and the offerings—which were created by the catering team at the Inn at Fernbrook Farms—left everyone impressed. "It was so fresh and delicious," Alanna says. "I can't brag enough about the food. It was all farm-to-table." One particular highlight for the bride and groom? A penne pasta dish with fresh butternut squash and spinach, using veggies grown on-site.
A Green Backdrop
Guests were encouraged to pose for snapshots in a photo booth during the reception. A faux-greenery wall, which was adorned with the couple's new last name, served as the backdrop.
At the end of the night, the couple cut into a two-tiered semi-naked chocolate mousse wedding cake, which was created by the Inn at Fernbrook Farms' pastry chef.
Photography, Courtney Simpson Photography
Venue, Day-Of Coordination, and Catering, The Inn at Fernbrook Farms
Event Planning and Design, Chandler Vogel
Flowers, Wild and Free Floral Design
Bride's Gown, Elle Zeitoune via White Runway
Hair and Makeup, Alanna Janes Lyons (makeup), Michelle Renee Beauty (makeup), Anna Muend (hair)
Groom's Attire, Men's Wearhouse
Officiant, Cara Canfield
Music, Be the Good Inc.
Transportation, A1 Limousine
Videography, Saltwater Studios