Carolina Bride

Rustic Romance

After featuring Leah and Daniel's romantic lake-side proposal in a previous issue of Carolina Bride, we wanted to catch up with the new bride on all the details of their nature-inspired nuptials. Carolina Bride: As an artist, how did you envision the theme for your wedding day?

Leah Benfield: I really wanted to incorporate a natural and rustic theme, using unique materials like burlap and twine in the decor. I also used warm colors like chocolate, rust orange, red and yellow. We chose Beaver Dam in Davidson as our venue, and I loved how everything turned out.

CB: To create a romantic scene in the natural setting, how did you arrange the outdoor ceremony?

LB: Everyone was really worried about the fact that everything was outside, but luckily the morning rain cleared just in time. I just kept saying, 'I know it's not going to rain. I know it's not going to rain!' We set up seating for 180 guests to create an aisle and hung lanterns on shepherd's hooks to make an entrance. We also set up the reception area under a large white tent just a short walk away from the ceremony site.

CB: Did anything funny happen that morning as you were getting ready?

LB: (laughs) Well, we planned to have moss incorporated into the centerpieces on the tables. As we were getting ready, no one could find my mom until we discovered she was digging up moss in the backyard! I guess she just knew it had to be done, so she rolled up her sleeves to make it happen.

CB: No one else would dig in the dirt for someone like a mom would. I love her dedication to the day! Tell me about the ceremony. Did you celebrate any special traditions?

LB: Daniel really wanted us to write our own vows, but I was a little unsure. That's a lot of pressure! Then my brother sat me down and shared that he thought I should do it because it was so important to Daniel. So I took the good advice from my brother and wrote my vows from the heart. We also did unity sand and had the most beautiful music that had a very Celtic feel to it. When it was over, our guests made their way up the hill to enjoy the cocktail hour.

CB: That must have been a beautiful scene in the open outdoors. How did you warm up the tent to create a more romantic feel?

LB: We used twine and wove it along the beams in the ceiling and hung white paper lanterns at different lengths to create a more intimate, cozy feeling. We used the moss, birdcages, lanterns and fall leaves in tall glass cylinders to decorate the tables.

CB: Well now for everyone's favorite part, tell me about the dress!

LB: I must have tried on over 200 dresses, and then my maid of honor finally told me I had to make a decision because we only had a five-month engagement! I finally found a Maggie Sottero dress that I loved. The bridesmaid's dresses were linen with lace accents from Anthropologie and a friend handmade my hairpiece and the bridesmaid's earrings from glass.

CB: So tell me, what was the most special memory from the day?

LB: The best thing was seeing the rain clear. The barn provided the most perfect backdrop for our ceremony, and the tent reception was just what I wanted. I wouldn't change a thing!