RANGE REVELRY M
Illinois cornfields and a harvest theme create a memorable open-air backdrop for a country wedding.
High school sweethearts Haley Pease and Mitch Anderson were born and raised in Illinois corn country. As a young couple with strong rural ties, they didn’t want their wedding to be held at a fancy restaurant, a hotel ballroom or a rented hall.
With their hearts set on a rustic outdoor celebration, Haley and Mitch turned to their family and friends for help. Haley’s grandparents offered their farm for the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony and the reception. And both sets of parents helped the couple and their friends borrow, stitch, handcraft and cook a homespun occasion that was meaningful and memorable.
With more creativity than cash, they transformed an assortment of old doors into an arbor, an altar backdrop, picnic tables, and a bride’s dressing area.
“My husband, Steve, made the arbor using two doors and a few burlap-wrapped beams,” says Polly Hood, the groom’s mother. It symbolized the bride and groom’s journey, in which each of them stepped out of one home and into another. “An hour before the ceremony, we fresh-cut tall sprigs of goldenrod and placed them on top of the arbor. According to local
tradition, goldenrod means ‘make strong’ or ‘make whole,’ ” Polly explains.
Other decorative touches were handcrafted using humble burlap, salvaged lace and old books. Resourcefulness and teamwork defined every detail.
In honor of the groom’s love of old books, table centerpieces were made from vintage volumes purchased at thrift stores. These were topped with roses fashioned from coffee filters held in place with old-fashioned wood clothespins. Mason jars wrapped with lace— some filled with wildflowers, others with