Illi­nois corn­fields and a har­vest theme create a mem­o­rable open-air back­drop for a coun­try wed­ding.

Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - Kick Off Your Boots -

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

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