A Rustic DIY Wedding in Texas

Real Weddings
DIY wedding ceremony aisle idea - Mason jar lanterns

Photo: Claire Eliza

Some people go to the ends of the earth to find true love. Others find it right under their noses. That was the case for Austinites Chelsea Stanley and Will Swain, who were best friends for seven years before things turned romantic. "We met through our high school sweethearts," says Will, 28. "Those relationships broke up, but Chelsea and I stayed close." The spark between the two was obvious—to everyone but Chelsea and Will. "Finally my friend Alexis said, 'You do realize you like Will, right?'" recalls Chelsea, 25. A few months later, she was still working up the nerve to tell him when Will confessed his own feelings for her. "Things clicked after that," she says. Fast-forward two years to Chelsea's 24th birthday, when Will surprised her with a rooftop breakfast and a proposal. "Talk about giving a girl a reason to get up in the morning," she says.

DIY wedding sign - DIY Texas wedding

Photo: Claire Eliza

Their wedding theme? "'Glamping'—glamorous camping!" says Chelsea. And they had just the location for it: Chelsea's family farm in Comfort, Texas, with its two open-air barns, a sky made for stargazing, and a field where guests could pitch tents and stay a while. "My great-grandparents had their reception there," she says. Getting the property into shape took a lot of elbow grease. Fortunately, they had family, friends, and creative mojo to spare—Will is a Web and graphic designer, while Chelsea owns the event-styling company Plenty Fantastic.

DIY paper flowers wedding decoration - DIY barn wedding in Texas A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

Many weekends of manual labor later, everything was ready for the 155 guests. On April 21, 2012, the festivities kicked off with a pre-vow cocktail hour in front of the farmhouse, which included horseshoes, bean-bag tossing, and two childhood-inspired signature drinks: lavender-vodka lemonade and root-beer-and-rum floats.

DIY photo backdrop with yarn - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

Then it was time for a sunset ceremony in the barnyard, where paper-flower garlands hung from trees and a shiny gold aisle runner marked Chelsea's path to the altar. The crafty couple strung spools of yarn between wooden poles to mark the ceremony site and create a colorful backdrop for photos.

The pair wrote their own vows. "Will was pumped that mine had a line from our favorite movie, Away We Go," she says.

A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

The bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets featured paper flowers created by the maid of honor, along with peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, and poppies.

DIY paper flower bouquet - Pastel bridesmaids dresses

Photo: Claire Eliza

Chelsea's 11 bridesmaids picked out their own dresses. "My only request was that they fit in with the color scheme and have a little sparkle," says the bride.

Elvis impersonator - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

Glittery handmade signs directed guests to a barn reception featuring a jumpsuit-clad Elvis impersonator and a family-style, food truck-catered dinner of schnitzel and bratwurst. "We wanted it to be like Thanksgiving, with everyone passing dishes and helping out," says the bride.

Wedding reception idea: Gourmet food truck - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

"The food truck made for a neat piece of reception decor," she recalls. "I loved the mac-and-cheese and cornbread cupcakes."

DIY wedding sign - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

"Our seating plan fell apart at the last minute," says Chelsea. "Susannah Mikulin, our day-of coordinator, put together this great sign on the fly."

Blue and white vintage place settings - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

Mismatched vintage china and a CD favor sat at every place setting.

Dog at wedding - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

The couple's dog, Olivia, was with them throughout the day. "She fell asleep on the dance floor at 1 a.m.," says Chelsea.

DIY Lite-Brite wedding sign - A DIY Barn Wedding in Texas

Photo: Claire Eliza

After dinner there were sparklers and s'mores beside a fire pit, and an Elvis-and-'90s-rap dance party that raged until 4 a.m. Thirty guests stayed even longer than that, finally tucking into tents in the field just before dawn. "One of the wedding's tag lines was 'Dance out, camp out,'" says Chelsea, "and that's exactly what happened!"

Event planning and stationery: Plenty Fantastic || Day-of coordinator Susannah Mikulin; (512) 791-7096 || Bride's dress: Jasmine Bridal || Caterer: The Jalopy || Flowers: Bushel & Peck Floral Design; (512) 299-5507 || Ceremony music: Shakey Graves || Reception music: DJ Karey McGraw; contact via email || Entertainment: Texas Elvis || Rentals: Class A Rentals || Tableware: Lindsey's Whimsys || Decor rentals: Loot Vintage || Photo booth: Memento Photo Booth || Wedding photographers: Claire Eliza Photography; Paige Newton Photography

Browse more rustic real weddings.

—Heather Lee

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