Alex + Rachel [Rustic, DIY Wedding]

No matter how many weddings I photograph, my heart beats out of my chest when the bride glides down the aisle towards the eager groom. That is a powerful moment, and it never gets old. For the past six years, Rachel has been my dear friend, and I’ve prayed for her husband for years, before he was in the picture. Needless to say, I wiped back tears when she walked towards Alex—whose face was beaming with tenderness. The couple’s joy was contagious, and it was evident that they savored each moment. Homemade touches were sprinkled throughout Rachel + Alex’s rustic, outdoor wedding. Rachel has a reputation. People (including myself!) are in awe of Rachel’s creative DIY abilities. For starters, she MADE snazzy bow-ties for each of her nephews. The bouquets were also DIY: mostly handpicked flowers from Rachel’s garden. To hold the rings in the ceremony, she made a wooden box that said “Mr. and Mrs.” And don’t miss her hand-painted donut sign below (just wait!)

The wedding day was just so personal, and so many people contributed. Esther (Rachel’s sister and MOH) made the bridesmaid dresses! Leah (friend and bridesmaid) did an impeccable job on the bride + bridesmaids’ hair. Artistic friends helped construct the burlap arbor and various reception details. I also had a blast with this particular bridal party, and I love that a lot of family members were included: the bride’s sister and niece and the groom’s brothers and father.

Ok, enough gabbing—here are the photos from a marvelous wedding at the Old Summer House in Lancaster, PA.

Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding1 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding2 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding3 For the millionth time, I LOVE first looks! You can't fake this emotion.Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding4 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding5 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding6 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding7 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding8 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding9 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding10 Alex must have been practicing his GQ face in the mirror. He's a natural!Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding11 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding12 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding13 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding14 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding15 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding16 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding17 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding18 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding19 The bride made a unique bow-tie for each of her nephews. I'm still smiling about this special detail!Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding20Such a sweet moment before the ceremony: her youngest nephew ran to her with delight.Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding21 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding22 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding23 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding24 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding25 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding26 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding27 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding28 Stop it, guys! You're stunning!Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding29 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding30 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding31 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding32 "Uncle Alex, here comes your girl!"Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding33An emotional walk down the aisle: each of Rachel's nephews walked her part-way, and her father completed it Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding34 Kicking off the ceremony with some praise + worship Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding35 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding36 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding37 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding38 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding39 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding40 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding41 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding42 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding43 Guess who made these pretty things for the sweet-heart table?! Yep, the bride and her sister! I mean SERIOUSLY. Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding44 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding45 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding46 Guests snapped and signed polaroids as the guestbook...such a neat way to remember the dayLancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding47 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding48 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding49 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding50 Thank you to the groom for finding these delectable donuts (in lieu of a wedding cake). AND an ice-cream sundae bar. My sweet tooth was happy!Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding51 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding52 Lancaster_Rustic_DIY_Wedding53