Having known each other since the tender age of four, Kelsi Darby and Colin Patten were destined from the start. “Colin was very shy, but for some reason he chose me to follow around like a shadow – so much so that our mothers became friends and later ended up working together,” shares Kelsi. As the pair got older, lived in different towns, and went to different schools, it wasn’t until about 18 years later that they reconnected, rekindling their friendship and soon realizing they were meant to be together. After a sweet proposal during a late-night ice skating date in Pittsburgh, the couple spent the next seven months organizing their nuptials.
“As a lover of the outdoors and of animals, ever since I was a young girl I dreamed of being married in the country on an actual farm,” shares the bride. With one of their main decision-making factors based on finding a venue, it was important to the couple to find a site that could match their needs and fulfill their romantic vision. As they narrowed down their options, Kelsi and Colin knew almost immediately that they found the perfect location when they entered the Shady Elms Farm in Hickory, Pennsylvania.
Desiring a wedding that reflected rustic elegance, the couple worked with Joe Mineo Creative to design the florals and décor of the day. The ceremony, which was lush with beautiful greenery, showcased colors that appear naturally in nature. “My vision was to achieve the perfect mix of a ‘formal’ event surrounded by the peaceful beauty and the enchanting atmosphere of nature,” illustrates Kelsi. On the beautiful July evening, 225 loved ones joined to witness the bride and groom exchange vows.
In addition to elegant décor, the traditional ceremony also showcased a special sentiment: the bride’s maternal grandfather officiated the ceremony. Having officiated weddings for his own daughters and married grandchildren, it was special for Kelsi to be the 11th bride in the family to carry over such a sweet tradition.
Opting not to do a “first look,” Colin did not see his beautiful bride in her ivory beaded gown showcasing a whimsical chapel train until she walked down the aisle with her father. “When I turned the corner and saw Colin for the first time that day, waiting for me to walk down the aisle, all of my nervousness completely disappeared in an instant,” confirms the bride. “My nerves were put at ease and replaced with a sense of love and contentment that just washed over me.”
Following the loving vows, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour before finding their seats in tent decorated with a “Secret Garden” theme for a delicious sit-down dinner service. Influenced by the bride’s favorite movie growing up and carrying over the same elegance of the ceremony décor, the tented reception displayed lovely arrangements at each table featuring a variety of textures. Tables were cloaked with soft sage-colored linens and adorned with alternating high and low arrangements of white blooms. “It was an absolutely breathtaking sight – beyond anything I could have imagined or hoped for,” explains the bride. “Knowing all of the hard work, creative energy, and teamwork that went into the end result, I felt extremely special that it was done all for Colin and me.”
Enjoying the beauty of their surroundings, the love from their family and friends, and a night of revelry, the couple admit they wouldn’t change a thing. Kelsi confirms, “There was so much love shared by everyone that day, and we felt embraced and blessed.”