A Laid-Back Farm Wedding in Michigan

The couple relied on natural decor to mesh with their stunning outdoor venue

Updated 08/06/18

Photo by Heather Jowett

It was love at first swipe for Gillian Gorge and Daniel Carr when the pair matched on Hinge in July 2014. After dating for nearly two years, the couple got engaged in December 2016 while vacating in Mendoza, Argentina. To do so, Daniel organized a horseback ride through the vineyards at Casa de Uco in the Uco Valley and proposed when they arrived at romantic set-up, which was complete with a professional photographer on stand-by for an engagement photo session.

For their wedding, Gillian and Dan knew they wanted to say "I do" on a farm in either New York or Michigan, ultimately selecting the latter after falling in love with Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Dexter, Michigan. "We were drawn to all of the indoor and outdoor spaces it offered for our wedding day," says the bride. "We were able to get married outside, which was important to us, have cocktails and hors d’oeurves on the lawn, dinner in the tent, and dancing in a beautiful red barn. It was the perfect setting and felt very us." To complement the farm venue, Gillian and Daniel aimed for an overall relaxed vibe, relying on white, soft pink, and green decor to play off the beautiful natural setting on September 16, 2017.

Keep reading to see how they pulled off their laid-back outdoor farm wedding, captured by Heather Jowett.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

Gillian wanted a minimal and structured wedding dress to avoid overpowering her petite frame. She immediately knew her Carolina Hererra strapless gown was "The One" when she spotted it while dress shopping in New York City. She accessorized with Giuseppe Zanotti heeled sandals and "something blue" earrings.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Daniel kept his attire on the more informal side, sporting a custom navy suit with his name and wedding date embroidered on the inner pocket. Gillian gave him a pair of cufflinks, and he added a pair of brown lace-up Oxfords to complete his look.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

Gillian's bridal bouquet was a luscious mix of anemones, dahlias, and garden roses. Daniel donned a ranunculus boutonniere.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

The couple opted against a traditional bridal party, but still encouraged their closest friends to get ready with them the day of. "Since we didn’t have bridesmaids, there was no set attire, but somehow all of the girls matched quite nicely in florals and autumn colors," says Gillian.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

To avoid making the venue feel too manicured, Gillian and Dan stuck with mostly natural decor elements. Both the chuppah and a gorgeous arch at the start of the aisle were covered in flowers, greenery, and twigs. Plants in ceramic pots lined the aisle itself.

Photo by Heather Jowett

The crowd went wild as the flower girl and ring bearer, Gillian and Daniel's niece and nephew, made their way down the aisle. One-year-old Delilah, who had just learned how to walk, accompanied her parents in a white cotton dress. Seven-month-old Ben, however, was pulled in a vintage wooden wagon adorned with flowers.

Photo by Heather Jowett

A keyboardist and violinist played "A Thousand Years," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and "Cannon" by Pachelbel during the processional. Gillian walked halfway down the aisle alone, then her father escorted her the rest of the way.

"It was important for us to write our own vows, and to bring Dan’s mother, who had passed away just a few days before our wedding, into the ceremony," says the bride. And, despite the loss of his mother, Daniel made sure their friends and family entered the wedding weekend on a positive note. "At our rehearsal dinner, when Dan welcomed everyone, he gave permission for everyone to celebrate our marriage and celebrate life; he did not want our special weekend to be a sad moment in lieu of the weeks' events," says Gillian.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

After the ceremony, the couple served appetizers (including pigs in a blanket!) and their signature drink, a spicy tequila cocktail, on the venue's lawn.

Photo by Heather Jowett

For the tented reception, the couple used farm tables (naturally!) with varying centerpieces to add an extra design dimension. "Some tables had flowers running down the center, and others had ceramic pots with arrangements down the table with candles in hurricanes mixed in," says the bride.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Each place setting included white china, custom napkins embroidered with the couple's initials in gold, and custom calligraphed menus personalized with guests' names. At dinner, everyone munched on a family-style spread of salads, tenderloin, sea bass, vegetables, Israeli couscous, and truffle fries.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Photo by Heather Jowett

Gillian admits that they went back and forth on their cake design, but ultimately agreed on a simple confection decorated with delicate flowers. The bride's mother, an experienced baker, also made cookies—packaged in brown bags with custom stickers—for guests to take home at the end of the night.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Dancing kicked off inside a picturesque red barn with tunes courtesy of the Chicago Groove Collective. As the night rolled on, the bride's cousin, a vocalist and guitarist based in New Orleans, hopped on stage and jammed out with the band for a few songs. "It was such a treat!" Gillian recalls. To commemorate their first dance, Gillian and Daniel chose "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Vallie. "We had taken dance lessons to learn a few moves, but did not practice nearly enough," the bride says with a laugh.

Photo by Heather Jowett

Looking back on their big day, Gillian has a few words of wisdom for couples planning their own weddings: "Roll with the punches, and don’t get bogged down by the little things—everything ends up working out."

Venue: Zingerman’s Cornman Farms || Wedding Coordinator: Ana Skidmore || Officiant: Rabbi Paul Yedwab || Bride's Dress & Veil: Carolina Herrera || Bride's Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti || Hair: Luigi Bruni || Makeup: Todd’s Room || Mother of the Bride Dress: Erdem || Groom's Attire: Monsieur Brunold || Floral Design: Parsonage Flowers || Calligrapher: Leah Moss || Music: Chicago Groove Collective || Catering: Forte Belanger || Cake: Zingerman’s Bakehouse || Videographer: Blue Racer Productions || Photographer: Heather Jowett

Related Stories