Of the most popular matrimonial trends right now, barn weddings and all things vintage seem to be topping the list. Rest assured, however, because with all the possibilities out there, no two weddings are alike.

Chelsea and Michael Bernier, who recently moved to Hypoluxo, Florida from Lisbon, Maine went with a theme of rustic elegance. Once they made that decision, it was time to find a venue for their Nov. 8, 2014 wedding. Nothing says rustic quite as well as posts and beams, so it was definitely a barn wedding for this couple.

“Barn weddings are huge right now, not only in Maine, but all over the country,” said Bernier, formerly of Lisbon. “When we found our venue, Granite Ridge Estate and Barn, we were blown away. It definitely inspired us to do the rustic components of our wedding.”

It was important to the couple to have the ceremony and reception in one place. After seeing the view of the White Mountains that Granite Ridge Estate and Barn in Norway boasted, Bernier said they had found their majestic wedding spot.

“We decided on an outdoor ceremony, complete with fleece throws and hand warmers, since it was to be a cold November day,” shared Bernier.

Laura and Chad Schrepper, of Turner, also chose a rustic-themed wedding. They decided on The Maine Wedding Barn and Event Center at Farview Farm in Minot for their venue, as it complemented the vision they had for their Sept. 20, 2014 ceremony.


“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted something that people would walk away from thinking ‘Wow, that was amazing’,” Schrepper said.

She also said their choice of a barn wedding stemmed from wanting to reflect their personality as a couple, as well as honor both of their families. Of course, Schrepper said she was able to give things her personal touch by incorporating gold and glitter.

Ashley Stevens and her wife, Angie, of Auburn, were married Oct. 4, 2014. They chose The Great Outdoors as their venue, because it complemented their country-themed, fall wedding.

“We knew we wanted to get married in the fall in a lodge-type setting and had dreams of pumpkins, mason jars, burlap and beautiful fall colors,” said Stevens.

And Pinterest has it!

Even if four out of the last five weddings you went to took place in a barn, the odds are they were as unique as the couple tieing the knot. One of the best ways to find ideas is to search the web. In the interest of bringing out their couple personalities, these ladies immediately took to none other than Pinterest for inspiration and ideas.


The Berniers did the same. With the help of her friend, Bernier said they handcrafted all the boutonnieres, bouquets, and centerpieces. They also used lots of crates, Mason jars, and burlap tied with the navy blue and yellow wedding colors.

“Pinterest is an amazing tool for anyone who is planning a wedding,” Bernier explained. “You can find every theme, color scheme, and small detail of a wedding there.”

The Schreppers also used Pinterest. Creating a unique theme that was modern yet still traditional, and not having it look “like a DIY nightmare” was something Schrepper said was her biggest challenge.

“I don’t know what bride doesn’t use Pinterest,” said Schrepper. “It was a love-hate relationship, but my wedding party, and our mothers were so helpful.”

Pinterest had some fall-themed ideas, Stevens said, and a lot of other ideas that she made to fit the wedding theme. In the weeks before their big day, Stevens said she, her wife, and some of the wedding party got together for “wedding party craft days,” making everything rather than buying it.

“The price of wedding decorations can be outrageous, and we were very lucky to have had crafty people in our wedding party,” said Stevens. “Some of my favorites ended up being our homemade burlap signs that read things like ‘just hitched’ and ‘falling in love’.”


Families, photos, and all the best things

The Schreppers and the Stevens both chose to write their own wedding vows, for something personal and from their heart. By including pieces of treasured poetry, family and friends in the ceremony, each couple was able to focus on the aspects of their relationship that they wanted to show through on their special day, making it a day they could treasure forever.

Bernier recited a reading of her own words, along with some of her favorite Garth Brooks’ lyrics, but her husband went about his reading a different way.

“My husband asked my students to tell him what he should say to me on our wedding day,” Bernier, who worked at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls, explained, adding that he had done this without her knowledge, adding poetry by E.E. Cummings to create a memory Bernier said she will cherish forever.

Displays of photos to emphasize the love and unity in their lives, was another thing each of these couples had in common. Of course like the other similarities, they tailored them to express their own, unique union.

“We honored our parents’ marriages with their wedding day photos,” said Schrepper.


For a vintage touch, the Stevens had two old windows displayed on their gift table. One window was decorated with pictures of Stevens growing up, and the other had pictures of her wife, Angie, throughout childhood. A piece of twine was strung between the two windows boasting photos of the two of them, secured with old fashion clothespins.

The Berniers’ repurposed, vintage window frames held photos of their parents and grandparents, a symbol, she said of the longevity, love and commitment in their lives.

“We wanted to display that special aspect of our family and celebrate that love,” Bernier explained.

Every part of the Stevens’ ceremony and reception was a unique reflection of the couple, right down to the “go big or go home wedding party of 16” attendants, said Stevens.

“We didn’t use traditional wedding music,” said Stevens.

Instead, the couple chose songs with lyrics that meant something to them, and represented the love they share. For her walk down the aisle, Stevens chose “Who I Am with You” by Chris Young.


“I will never forget walking down the aisle, seeing Angie waiting for me at the end with tears rolling down her face, while the song played.”

Bernier and her husband asked her eldest brother, Benjamin Martin, to officiate because he is known to be well spoken. He became a notary just for the occasion. And her middle brother who was on deployment in Afghanistan, sent a touching video to the couple. They included their families in as much of the ceremony as they could.

“Our wedding ceremony was very personal,” Bernier shared. “We had our families each light a candle, that in turn my husband and I used to light a larger candle.”

A good friend, who was just four weeks away from having a liver transplant, wed the Stevens.

“It was such a heartwarming touch to have him there with us, and able to marry us.”

Every so often, the flower girl is the most important part of the entire day, particularly if she is the daughter of the bride and groom. Schrepper’s 15-month-old daughter, Klaire, walked down the aisle, and ran straight into her father’s arms, sealing the commitment of love for this family.


“It was the cutest thing,” said Schrepper.

As well as having her sister read The Blessing of the Hands, Schrepper also decided to include long-held traditions like toasts, a dollar dance, and of course, a dance with her father.

“You will never have a dance with your father on your wedding day again — enjoy the traditions.”

Words of advice from the newlyweds

“My biggest piece of advice would be to remember that it’s your special day,” shared Bernier. “Friends and family will overwhelm with thoughts, advice and ideas, but stick true to your desires.”

“Don’t stress; it’s not worth it,” Stevens advised. “No matter where you get married, how it’s decorated, or who shows up, you are marrying your best friend, and love of your life. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.”

“Take opinions with a grain of salt. There will definitely be moments when your head is spinning,” said Schrepper. “At the end of it all you are going to wake up, and hopefully think, ‘What a blast’ and ‘We’re married!’”

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