DOWN TO EARTH

THIS NORTH CAROLINA COU­PLE’S LOVE OF THE LAND SHOWS IN EV­ERY DE­TAIL OF THEIR EL­E­GANT-MEETS-RUS­TIC FARM FÊTE, FROM THE HOME­GROWN FOOD AND FLOW­ERS TO THE BARN THEY BUILT FOR THE OC­CA­SION.

Martha Stewart Weddings - - IN THIS ISSUE - Pho­to­graphs by Heather Payne Text by Is­abel Bur­ton

Food and flow­ers farmed on-site, home-brewed beer, and a barn built just for the oc­ca­sion made for mem­o­rable—and per­sonal— North Carolina nup­tials.

In ret­ro­spect, it seems al­most des­tined that their paths would even­tu­ally in­ter­sect. Stephanie Hall and Michael Noël grew up in North Carolina and then headed west look­ing for ad­ven­ture. Af­ter trav­el­ing, ex­plor­ing, and sow­ing their oats, they re­turned to their home state. They fi­nally met in 2012 when Michael, found­ing part­ner at an in­vest­ment firm spe­cial­iz­ing in start-ups, vis­ited Stephanie’s flower and an­i­mal farm at the in­vi­ta­tion of her sis­ter. “She works at Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity, and they were in a meet­ing to­gether. She just knew he was the man for me,” says Stephanie. “He’s funny and kind, and his sis­ter is a farmer, too!” Sure enough, the two na­ture lovers were a match made in hog (chicken, cow, sheep...) heaven. Seven months later, Michael pro­posed.

The ob­vi­ous or­ganic choice for the duo’s I do’s was the spot where they met: Sas­safras Fork Farm, which Stephanie runs with her par­ents. “I was never the girl who held a par­tic­u­lar vi­sion for the per­fect wed­ding, but I knew ours had to be some­thing soul­ful, nur­tur­ing, and in sync with this place and time,” Stephanie says. Lo­ca­tion set, the cou­ple be­gan plan­ning. Ev­ery­thing for their wed­ding would be hand-grown, hand­picked, or hand-built, start­ing with the venue it­self: a new barn made from re­claimed wood sourced mostly from a lo­cal fac­tory and an old home on the prop­erty. “The idea of putting up a beau­ti­ful build­ing to wel­come folks was so ap­peal­ing, not just for our wed­ding but for many cel­e­bra­tions to come,” says Stephanie.

The car­pen­ter on the job also made long wooden din­ner ta­bles and a bar; Stephanie’s brother-in-law brewed the beer; and the food was raised and grown by Stephanie, her fa­ther, and a few other lo­cal farm­ers. Then there were the flow­ers—lav­ish, breath­tak­ing blooms. “I wanted it to feel like the trees and vines had en­croached on the barn, like it had been taken back by the land,” says Sue Prut­ting, their flo­ral de­signer. Prut­ting en­listed five florist friends from around the coun­try (she called them the Flower Bri­gade), plus nine lo­cal grow­ers, to as­sist with the setup.

On Oc­to­ber 11, 2014, loved ones (320 of them!) filled the barn in the late af­ter­noon to wit­ness the cou­ple’s non­de­nom­i­na­tional vows. A cock­tail hour fol­lowed, in­clud­ing hors d’oeu­vres of lo­cal cheeses, dev­iled farm eggs with roasted red pep­pers, fritto misto, crispy pork belly, lamb meat­balls, and peach-glazed North Carolina shrimp, while a three-piece lo­cal band played tra­di­tional blue­grass mu­sic. The sun broke through in time to al­low guests to wan­der out­doors, where they were joined by a few roam­ing chick­ens.

Next up, a fam­ily-style farm-to-fork din­ner, fea­tur­ing plat­ters piled high with braised chicken and bour­bon brisket (from an­i­mals raised and har­vested by Stephanie’s fa­ther), frit­ters, and more. Later, the two­some two-stepped to Jack John­son’s “I Got You,” start­ing a dance party that lasted un­til mid­night. “A hand­ful of close friends stayed into the early hours, and we hung out around the fire pit,” Stephanie re­calls. “We ate left­overs, fin­ished off dessert, sang, and just en­joyed bask­ing in the warmth of the fire.” The night was so won­der­ful, in fact, that by the time they went to bed, it was al­most time to get up and feed the an­i­mals again.

1

2

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.