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A Restored Barn Wedding in Maine With Sustainable Florals – Brides

8 minutes, 16 seconds Read

Sophia and Alex have an anonymous do-gooder to thank for their first meeting at Bleecker Street Bar in Manhattan: When the mystery man noticed Alex looking at Sophia across the room, he took matters into his own hands. “He literally went up to Alex and brought him over to me to talk to me, not realizing he just introduced a future husband and wife,” says Sophia. “We still think of this cupid stranger with gratitude, wondering who he is!”

After getting engaged in December 2021 in Washington Square Park, Sophia and Alex began looking for a wedding venue that would mix their love for both big cities and pastoral landscapes. Luckily, one of Sophia’s closest friends, Kate Moncada of Golden Hour Planning, had just the place: The Barn on Walnut Hill in North Yarmouth, Maine. Along with the distinctive location—a nod to Alex’s family, who live in Maine—the property offered a restored barn that fit the couple’s “airy, bright, and minimalistic” aesthetic and room for guests to stay on-site. “Part of our goal for the weekend was to spend as much time as possible with friends and family, and getting that time with loved ones between all of the weekend’s events was precious,” says Sophia.

When the couple’s 95 guests joined them for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception on May 21, 2022, they were treated to a day stacked with personal elements: florals that emphasized a commitment to sustainability, a multi-course meal highlighting favorite foods and local specialities, customized vows, and artisan donuts displayed on a board handmade by the groom’s family. “Logistics-wise, the biggest challenge was planning the wedding while simultaneously helping to launch a skincare brand,” says Sophia, who works with Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty; at the time, Alex was CEO of a startup he co-founded. Finding time to balance it all meant a lot of late nights and weekend planning sessions. It was challenging, yet really helpful at times to ground ourselves by remembering that the marriage is what counts—the wedding is a party. The up and down emotions you have surrounding the wedding are 100% valid, it’s a big life event, but our partnership and love for each other always took priority.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


The couple focused on spending quality time with their loved ones throughout the weekend. For the bride, that mentality began before the big day: Sophia and her bridesmaids opted for a spa day before the wedding instead of a traditional bachelorette party.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


The bride planned two bridal boutique shopping trips: “One with my mom and sister so that I could share that moment with them, and the other was a solo shopping trip. I planned the latter because I generally shop solo, I find it relaxing and easier to make decisions that way,” she says. After trying a variety of wedding dresses with her mother and sister, she says, “I had a good idea of what I wanted and was able to make a quick decision.” 

Her long-sleeved lace column dress from Liz Martinez was a clear winner. “In the back of my mind, I hoped to find a long-sleeve wedding gown and had my eye on Liz Martinez’s designs—I love her use of unexpected materials, unconventional cuts, and the incredible level of detail on each dress,” says Sophia. “When I put on the Lavender gown, I felt it was the perfect balance of dreamy, sultry, and elegant.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Sophia asked Sarah and Co. Designs for an elegant twist on a low bun—her go-to style for everyday wear—which showed off two pairs of meaningful earrings: gold hoops that were a gift from Alex in the couple’s early days of dating, and a pair of earrings Sophia’s parents gave her when the family lived in Hong Kong. “I appreciate my expat upbringing, and wanted to wear something on my wedding day from my childhood home,” says Sophia.

The bride’s natural makeup look was anchored by a carefully curated skincare routine with products from Dr. Whitney Bow Beauty, SkinCeuticals, EltaMD, Moon Juice, and Tula. “I wanted to feel and look like myself, on a really great day,” says Sophia. “I knew that using great skincare and having healthy skin would be a great foundation for the whole look.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


The bride’s jeweled Jimmy Choo sandals offered a subtle dose of sparkle under the lace of her wedding gown. Her other critical accessory—fashion tape required to secure the deep v-neck of her gown—presented more of a challenge. “There was this moment before the ceremony where we were running super late, I was standing topless in a room, and I had both my sisters, who are my best friends, frantically circling and taping me up,” says Sophia. “Each time I pulled up my dress the tape was showing everywhere—we could not figure out how to do it. At the end we just all looked at each other and burst out laughing. My amazing photographer, Jennifer Darling, had to step in at the end to save the day.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Field Floral Studio created Sophia’s oversized, asymmetrical bouquet from sustainable local blooms in shades of white, ivory, and pale purple. 

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Sophia and Alex asked their bridesmaids and groomsmen to choose their own attire based on broad color and fabric requests: They requested the women don green dresses in silk or satin and that the men arrive in any black suit they liked. “This helped to ensure everyone had an outfit they felt great in, that also suited their budget,” says Sophia.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Alex wore a custom gray jacket and pants from Suit Supply with a pair of Orvis wing-tip shoes he found at a yard sale a decade earlier—and a black bow-tie secured with assistance from his father. “My dad helped me out—we drank a beer together and joked the whole time,” says Alex. “I learned how to tie a bow-tie 15 minutes before the ceremony.”

That left him just enough time to meet Sophia for their first look. “It was a moment we both felt incredibly peaceful and grateful,” she says. “There’s a lot of pressure building up to the wedding weekend—as soon as we saw each other, we both felt so comfortable and relaxed.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Photo by Jennifer Darling


The wooded ceremony site, reached via a low wooden boardwalk, shaded the couple as they exchanged vows under a white pergola. “The most spectacular décor was the tree grove itself. It created this explosion of green trees around us,” says Sophia. “We added two stands of greenery and flowers at the base of the arbor, which matched floral arrangements we placed down the aisle. We got really lucky that lilacs and tulips also happened to be in-bloom on both sides of the boardwalk aisle. We leaned into the beauty of the site itself, then really only added embellishments.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Photo by Jennifer Darling


Photo by Jennifer Darling


The Vitamin String Quartet version of the theme song from Miami Vice played as Alex and his groomsmen made their way to the altar, followed by Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” as Sophia’s father escorted her down the aisle. 

Sophia’s younger sister officiated the ceremony. “The ceremony felt really intimate. Both of us wrote personal vows that honored each other and our families; there were a lot of laughs,” says Sophia. “Alex is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so there were many references to that.”

Photo by Jennifer Darling


The bride’s diamond engagement ring and wedding band, both from Under the Crown, sparkled during the cocktail hour. The couple served two signature cocktails: Sophia chose a Paloma, and Alex opted for a whiskey sour.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


The place cards, handwritten by the couple’s wedding planner, were just one of the personal touches contributed by Sophia and Alex’s friends and family. “Our wedding desserts were local, artisan donuts and the donut board display was DIY. We can’t take credit—Alex’s parents built that,” says Sophia. She designed the digital wedding invitations herself, and Alex’s mother provided the rehearsal dinner flowers fresh from her garden. “These little personal touches added to the overall intimacy of the weekend,” says Sophia.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Photo by Jennifer Darling


Photo by Jennifer Darling


In the reception area, traditional tables and chairs coordinated with the rustic wooden building, while white textiles and minimalist glassware brightened the room. “We also leaned into the natural space, the beautifully restored barn, and let that do a lot of work for us,” says Sophia. “Pops of color came from the florals and mismatched vintage salad plates. Our amazing florist attached eight 10-foot trees, [one on] each barn pole, creating a light canopy overhead, with candle-filled glass baubles hanging from each.” Acrylic signs displayed table names—each matching a country, city, or town with personal meaning to the bride and groom.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Sophia and Alex chose the acoustic version of “Holy,” by Justin Beiber and Chance the Rapper, for their first dance—but followed it up with plenty of dance music from DJ Jason Tubbs.

Photo by Jennifer Darling


Sophia credits a pre-wedding mindfulness practice with helping her stay present and focused in each of the day’s magical moments. “Take some time to envision how you want to react when things during the weekend don’t go as planned, and how you want to feel during the moments that are most special to you,” she says. “Things will go ary on the weekend, and they will also go fast. This exercise helped me stay calm even during the hiccups, since I had already mentally practiced overcoming them.”

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