Niamh & Jonathan's rustic victorian fall fest wedding

Updated Mar 15 2021

You got a sneak peek of this wedding in the post last Friday about the fantabulous Midwest photographer, Kate Sommers. Then you got another sneak peek in the Monday Montage. Aaaand my parents got married in Rochester, MN in autumn too! Awwww …. Ok, clearly, this was meant to be. Here's Niamh and Jonathan's Pride and Prejudice themed fall wedding. – Becca

Photos by KNG Sommers Photography

The offbeat bride: Niamh, Art Director, Illustrator and Evil Genius of Urban Threads (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Jonathan – Game designer, UX Designer and Professional Nerd

Location & date of wedding: Mayowood Stone Barn, Rochester, MN — October 2, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: I wanted my wedding to incorporate our love of fall. I wanted it to have good food, good fun, a dance, and, after watching Pride and Prejudice too many times, my own Mr. Darcy. I wanted it to be how all the movies make weddings feel, magical and romantic, without really looking anything like the movies look.

Carved pumpkins as table numbers? Genius!

I managed to incorporate my Celtic heritage (I was born in Ireland) with a live Irish band (who dappered up for the occasion!) and a Ceilidh, a large group folk dance.

We added our love of food with an autumn inspired menu with things like venison and cornish hen.

We added a love of autumn by getting married under a splendid oak tree outside in the fall leaves, and running around in the woods on the grounds of an old local mansion.

I designed my hubs and my custom victorian outfits (Mr. Darcy!), which I had made locally.

Tell us about the ceremony: A friend of Jonathan's wed us. Jonathan and I got to know each other through martial arts, and our officiant was not only a good friend of Jonathan's, but also a former ninja!

To make our ceremony personal to us, I wrote most of our ceremony, and borrowed other pieces, like the hand blessing, from resources I found online. I wanted to somehow include some participation from our guests, so we had a ceremony we called a "stone ceremony." Each guest was given a stone they were asked to give their hopes, wishes, and blessings to. The stone was then returned to a box we get to keep to remind us of each unique person who was there to support us on our big day!

We also wrote our own vows which we kept secret from each other. Both of us ended up talking about the promise to dance with each other even when we are old and wrinkled. Apparently we had everyone crying but I couldn't hear it over our own sniffles. Also, the day had been cloudy all afternoon, but as we started our vows, the sun suddenly shone out through the tree branches! We hardly even noticed but all our guests couldn't stop telling us about it afterwards!

Our biggest challenge: Trying to have a fairytale wedding in my head without going with what everyone told me a fairytale was. My fella and I were in a jewlery store, trying to find a wedding ring to match the beautiful engagement ring he picked out for me. Everything we saw was too big, too shiny, or too expensive. We finally found one I thought was ok, but it was $400! I finally looked up at him and said, "Look, this is silly! I love my ring. Can't this just be my wedding ring and we spend $400 on something we really want on our day?" He just smiled. After that the spell was broken.

My dashing groomMy favorite moment: The one wedding tradition we did keep, which turned out to be one it seems most people don't do much these days, is that we didn't see each other at all before the ceremony. The day had mostly been a moody, cloudy one, but walking up the aisle towards my groom, the sun suddenly shone out and I saw his face when he first spotted me.

The look on his face was the way I always hoped it would be, and it made me feel like all those stupid romantic movies always make you wish you felt. I'll always remember that feeling, because I'm grinning like a total idiot in all the pictures on the way up the aisle.

Purple monster cake toppers!
My funniest moment: My bouquet toss. My fella and I had decided we didn't really care to do the bouquet toss/garter thing. My family had other plans. Around midnight or so, everyone left at the wedding gathered and told me to throw the bouquet. When the first one who caught it was already married (my aunt), it was deemed that she would toss it again until someone available caught it. Since we had a low ceiling and a somewhat inebriated crowd, this resulted in my bouquet being tossed around by everyone in a flurry of petals and laughter until my maid of honor finally landed it. It was so hilarious and would have made my florist faint! I thought it was a much better send off to a bouquet that would have just dried up in a few days anyway.

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was a little worried about the Ceilidh — that no one would try dancing or be able to figure out the steps and that it would just be a huge mess.

The Ceilidh
As it turned out, that was partially the truth. The first few dances were utter chaos, but it was so hilarious! Everyone was rubbish but we were all laughing and joking and I ended up dancing with a new cousin at one point I had never even spoken to before! It was a great way for everyone to mingle.

Plus, for our very last dance it just gelled and we had one of those amazing moments when you have everyone on the dance floor stomping and hollering and spinning in unison to the live band. It was such a rush of energy! I couldn't feel my feet afterwards but it was so worth it.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? For all the drama, aggravation, and frustration you may face during your wedding planning, you should still cherish it. Being a bride is not something that happens to you often! Relax, remember that the important part is you're marrying the one you love, and relish in the fun of planning the best party you'll ever throw.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. OMG! Love everything here. Three cheers for folk dancing!! Also, that umbrella, or parasol, or whatever, stun ning. And that fur wrap, and the colors, and and and, oh it's just too fantabulous for words.

  2. Absolutely elegant and beautiful. Truly. The first photo (the bride and groom in the carriage) totally got me and reeled me in.

  3. LOVE this wedding. I think the goal of being lik ea movie without looking hollywood in a bad way was pulled off perfectly

  4. I loved you're wedding features. I was thinking of having a fall wedding myself and yours was beautiful. Also I plan on not seeing my groom all day as well. I didn't know that tradition had died out. I want us to want to RUN to each other!

  5. Oh wow. Everything about your wedding is so gorgeous. The clothing seemed perfect and beautifully designed! I especially love the parasol. The ceremony pictures were beautiful. Having it by the oak tree really was a wonderful touch!

  6. Oh gosh, I never should have looked at this. I fell in love with your wedding dress! I need to remove it from my mind, though, I already have a lovely dress. But really, it's all so beautiful I can't stand it.

  7. I love ceilidhs! What a great idea. You dress is absolutely lovely and I don't think I could dream up a more perfect site for a ceremony. Fabulous, all around 😀

  8. I love the pictures! Everything is so pretty and delicate-looking without being froofy. The fancypants bride and groom gear is the cherry on top *swoon*

    However, Pride and Prejudice was during the Regency rather than the Victorian era 😉

  9. Wow. Incredible. EXACTLY what we are planning for next fall. Breath-taking for sure.
    I've been very stressed during these first few weeks of planning… but seeing this has really made me so excited!
    PERFECT.

  10. You guys both look amazing, what a thoughtful and beautiful wedding.

    Can the English major in me now plead that you change 'Victorian' to 'Georgian', though? 😉

  11. so seriously- your dress is almost EXACTLY what i've had envisioned in my mind for months. i've tried explaining this look to people and i've gotten nothing but funny looks (i'm not good at explaining anything), and i can't draw so i haven't been able to make the idea real.
    i'm so in love right now <3

  12. The dress is amazing. You say you had it custom made, did you design the way the sleeves fall from your shoulders like a fairytale? I want that exact same dress so badly but I am a little larger than you, it looks like. I live in Alabama so I am looking at http://www.gatheringguide.com/event_dir/al_alabama/evl_bridal_shops_dresses.html for my dress. There are too many choices for me to call them all. Do you see anyone on here you would ask to make your dress? I guess it's a weird question but after seeing yours I am looking for advice.

  13. We're looking at the Mayowood Stone Barn for our ceremony and reception next year. Would you mind me asking what your budget was? We're on a bit of a budget, but we might be able to cut other places.

    Was your experience working with the venue was positive? Which caterer did you end up going with?

    Thanks for your time! Looking at your wedding there has only made me fall in love with the place more!

    • The thing was when we got married at the barn they were *just* starting to use it as a wedding venue, and many of the things they have now (like the chapel upstairs) were not ready yet, so I think we got it at a discount. I still imagine it would be a good deal compared to other venues.

      The owners of the place were lovely. Other than renting the venue, we didn't interact with them much, but they were very helpful when we did. Our caterer was Catering By Design. They were pricey, but we got what we paid for and they were delicious. I hope that helps! Congrats on your upcoming wedding 🙂 I had such a blast at mine.

      • Thanks for your response! The venue itself seems on the pricier side, but we are trying to weigh the convenience of the tables and chairs being included, and just the fact that I think it is gorgeous.

        In your search, did you find anything in the area similar to it?

        • When we booked it it was just literally the barn itself. No tables, chairs, bathrooms, or even heat. So it's probably worth the new price!

          Unfortunately I looked all around Roch and the twin cities area for rustic venues like this, and they're kind of rare. The closest we found was the Round Barn Farm in Red Wing, and it was all booked up when I was looking for my date.

          http://www.roundbarnfarm.com/weddings.htm

          You can also try local wineries. They sometimes host events and have a similar vibe. Hope that helps!

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