A Laid-Back Late Summer Wedding on a Virginia Farm

groom kissing happy bride on head
Photo: Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

A gorgeous garden settings and low-key vibe turned this event at a working farm into an unforgettable weekend.

01 of 20
groom kissing happy bride on head
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Sasha and Eli had been together for almost two years when he proposed during a private sunset cruise on vacation in Mykonos. "We went swimming and snorkeling and then as the sun went down, the captain brought up some watermelon to the deck where we were laying out," says Sasha. "In the watermelon was a ring!"

Back home in Washington, D.C., the couple began planning a wedding weekend—including a welcome pool party and a day-after brunch—for 170 guests who traveled from Boston, St. Louis, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia to celebrate at the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg, Virginia. "It was super fun to have the feeling of being on a farm, with Goodstone's relaxed vibe and animals," says Sasha. "It had everything we wanted."

The couple's big day—September 2, 2018—served up perfect weather: Sunny, clear skies and hot, late-summer temperatures made the cocktail hour's frozen drinks and poolside location a hit with guests. An ivy-covered wall separated the ceremony space from the lawn where the couple set up their tented reception, which offered views of the rolling fields and pastel sunset. And for Sasha and Eli, two passionate music fans who booked three bands for their celebration, which included a late-night Grateful Dead cover group to keep the party going after the reception, the consitently full dance floor was a sign of success. "We focused on what was important to us," says Sasha, "which was ensuring our friends and family were taken care of."

Watch Sasha and Eli's wedding video by Shaking Hands Productions.

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Elegant Invites

wedding invite stationary save the dates torn edges
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Before choosing her invitations, Sasha and a friend designed the couple's save-the-date: A torn-edge card with pressed flowers in a copper-rimmed glass frame. The style and color palette inspired the rest of the stationery suite from Amber Moon, which included handmade wildflower paper as an envelope liner, copper-painted edges on the invitation, and a custom wax seal with the couple's initials. Blue envelopes created a rich background for white calligraphy; a thoughtful selection of stamps coordinated with the color palette.

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Her Dress

bride looking out window in gown holding white floral bouquet
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Sasha enlisted her mother and two maids of honor to help her search for her dream wedding dress during a marathon shopping day in New York City. "I went to so many stores, I lost count!" she says. Her final choice: A strapless Lihi Hod gown with a lace corset bodice and sheer tulle skirt, paired with a Vera Wang veil and custom jewelry.

To accent the garden-party feel of the day, Sasha chose a loose bouquet of white and cream blooms—including garden roses, ranunculus, and scabiosa—with rich green foliage accents. The arrangement was tied with hand-dyed gray silk ribbons from Beehive Events.

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The Shoes

blue floral high heel wedding shoes
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Floral Prada wedges with metallic straps let the bride dance comfortably all night.

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Their First Look

bride groom wedding kiss happy dog
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Sasha and Eli took advantage of the beautiful fall day to pose for portraits before the ceremony. "On the way to see him I had a nervous sensation and butterflies in my stomach," she says. "It was one of the best feelings I have ever had."

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Family Portrait

happy dog with custom floral collar
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

The couple's dog, Sadie, wore a custom floral collar as she posed for photos with her parents; she also walked down the aisle during the ceremony.

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Beauties in Blue

bride and bridesmaids pose outdoors in blue dresses
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Sasha asked her bridesmaids to choose their own gowns from Jenny Yoo in "Denmark Blue." "They were all able to pick their own style," she says. "We all have different bodies and I wanted my girls to feel comfortable in their dresses."

08 of 20

Perfectly Suited

groom and groomsman in dark blue suits
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Eli and his groomsmen wore dark blue suits from Suit Supply, chosen to work with the low-key vibe of the event. "We didn't want to do tuxes—our style is more casual than that," says Sasha. "We wanted everyone to have their jackets off and get on the dance floor!" The couple also chose a fun—and sentimental—accessory for each man: a pair of Grateful Dead socks, in honor of Sasha and Eli's favorite band.

09 of 20

An Inspired Keepsake

wedding vow his hers books on rustic platter
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

"We wrote our own vows to one another and had Amber Moon create special vow books that had them calligraphed inside," says Sasha. "They're a very special keepsake we will have and look back on at each upcoming anniversary."

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The Ceremony

creeping ivy wall backdrop wedding ceremony
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

A wall of creeping ivy at the Goodstone Inn provided a lush backdrop for the couple's ceremony, while a large-scale chuppah and oversized floral arrangements created a surprisingly intimate space for their vow exchange.

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Sealed with a Kiss

outdoor wedding recessional couple kiss
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

After the ceremony, the newlyweds walked back up the aisle to the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." As their guests continued to the cocktail hour, Sasha and Eli snuck away to the property's nearby carriage house. "It was so special to have a few minutes just to spend together to celebrate," says Sasha. "I'll never forget that, because the rest of it went by so fast!"

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Gone Fishing

wedding escort card lily pads
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

While searching for "an interactive element" to include in the escort card display, Sasha came up with the idea to use floating lily pads with each couple's seating assignment. Guests were encouraged to "fish for their escort card" from a faux pond setting designed by Beehive Events.

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Coming Up Rosé

frozen rose pops in ice
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

The cocktail hour included colors and materials inspired by the bride's recent trip to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Pink and green accents alongside palm tree prints added a touch of the West Coast to the property's pool area, where guests sipped a signature cocktail—vodka, Chamboard, and Champagne, named for Sadie the dog—and ate frozen rosé pops kept cold by floral ice cubes.

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The Reception Tent

wedding reception party tent long wooden tables
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Under a large tent, the couple set up an assortment of long wooden tables—left without tablecloths—and round seating dressed with neutral linens. Hanging greenery and light fixtures with wicker shades defined the dance floor.

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Fruit and Florals

roses ranunculous dahlias amaryllis pears persimmons figs herbs
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Beehive Events used seasonal blooms—including spray roses, ranunculus, dahlias, and amaryllis—alongside burnished pears, persimmons, figs, and fresh herbs for garden-inspired centerpieces in tones of green, cream, taupe, red, and burgundy.

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Into the Future

wedding reception table numbers next to floral arrangement
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Amber Moon's pressed flower paper-backed table numbers did double duty. In addition to helping guests find their seats, they left space for friends and family at that table to leave a note for the bride and groom to read on a future anniversary.

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Drink Up

metallic accent place settings pale blue plates taupe linen napkins
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Copper chargers and flatware added flashy metallic accents to place settings with pale blue plates and taupe linen napkins. Each setting also included Eli's favorite Pickleback shot—a duo of whisky and pickle juice—that Sasha's mother incorporated into her welcome speech.

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Horned In

outdoor wedding band walk
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Music was one of the most important parts of the day for Sasha and Eli, so they ended up booking three different bands: one for the ceremony, one for the reception, and one for late-night partying. "Once guests transitioned into the tent for dinner, Eli, myself, and our bridal party were welcomed in by the horns—New Orleans Second Line style," says Sasha. "That really helped kick off the night!"

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On the Dance Floor

wedding couple reception first dance
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

The newlyweds chose "Waste" by Phish for their first dance. "We hired a dance coach who created a choreographed dance for us," says Sasha. "We both are huge Phish fans and it was so special to us."

The couple then kicked off the reception with an up-tempo dance set; they also performed a version of the Horah that was so high-energy, Eli had to change into a dry shirt.

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loving couple pose outdoors in sunlight
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Photography, Lisa Ziesing, Abby Jiu Photography

Location and Catering, Goodstone Inn

Coordination, Taz Greer Events

Event design and Flowers, Beehive Events

Videography, Shaking Hands Productions

Stationery, Amber Moon Design; Rock Paper Scissors

Calligraphy, Nicole Miyuki; Meant to Be Calligraphy

Cake, Buttercream Bake Shop

Music, The Source

Rentals, BD3 Design; Beehive Events; Festive Fare Charlottesville

Bride's gown, Lihi Hod

Bride's accessories, Vera Wang veil; Prada shoes

Hair, Bridal Hair by Remona

Makeup, One80 Salon

Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo

Groom's and groomsmen's suits, Suit Supply

Lighting and Tent, Sugarplum Tents

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