Oh where to begin with this lovely, love-ful wedding... Relationships - the good ones - take love, patience, and - let's face it - some serious hard work. We do the hard work because we believe the relationship is worth the effort, but there are times in even the best relationships when it's hard to keep the big picture in mind. Getting ready for a wedding is like a microcosmic version of a relationship, and it can be easy to get lost in the details there, too - the neverending list of to-do's that somehow obscures the goal of the I-do's. In the end, the hard work of coordinating a wedding is like a crash course in relationship management, and given what I saw at Luke & Rachel's wedding, I'm going to go ahead and pencil in a shoot for their 50th wedding anniversary :D

Blog readers, welcome to the Sweet Farm!

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DC Wedding Photographer 2Early last Spring, Luke & Rachel sent out save the date cards for a "Barnraising & Celebratory Extravaganza" at a location yet-to-be-determined. At the time, they were looking to purchase land in Virginia on which they would build a farm, but three months prior to their wedding, they were offered the opportunity to move onto a farm owned by Luke's grandparents in Frederick, MD. In the short time they had before their guests were to arrive, they had an enormous amount of work to get accomplished: move in, plan a wedding, and prepare for a barnraising... and the real catch? They did every stitch of the work themselves (with a little lot of help from their friends, of course!).

The barn you see below was constructed of timbers hand-milled from trees felled on the farm, and rose from nothing but a concrete slab in the three days leading up to their Saturday wedding. The community effort was the perfect metaphor for the support a couple needs as they make their way through life, and this couple - more than most - will have this beautiful, functional, and very physical reminder of the support they have from their friends and family for decades to come.DC Wedding Photographer 3

The day of the wedding, everyone pitched in to get a construction site converted into a wedding venue. Flowers were gathered in the adjacent field...DC Wedding Photographer 4DC Wedding Photographer 5DC Wedding Photographer 6

A whole hog was barbecued in honor of the occasion:DC Wedding Photographer 7DC Wedding Photographer 8I love these! These are wine bottle tops hung over Christmas lights (you'll see how the bases were used on the tables below). See also: their lovely programs, sushi made by a friend for the event, and cupcakes by Luke's sister on the cutest stands ever!DC Wedding Photographer 9DC Wedding Photographer 10DC Wedding Photographer 11DC Wedding Photographer 12Most brides spend the morning at the salon getting pampered, but Rachel only got showered about an hour before the ceremony was to take place, then she and Luke got ready together (as they said, they'd been doing all the work together thus far... why split up now?):

DC Wedding Photographer 15DC Wedding Photographer 16(Rachel got hit on the forehead during the barnraising and needed some emergency stitches, which Luke gently trimmed so she could cover them better for the wedding):

DC Wedding Photographer 17DC Wedding Photographer 18DC Wedding Photographer 19DC Wedding Photographer 20DC Wedding Photographer 21DC Wedding Photographer 41DC Wedding Photographer 22DC Wedding Photographer 23DC Wedding Photographer 24DC Wedding Photographer 25DC Wedding Photographer 26True to form, their ceremony was simple and hand-crafted, with a nod to tradition but a soul of its own.

DC Wedding Photographer 28DC Wedding Photographer 29DC Wedding Photographer 30DC Wedding Photographer 31DC Wedding Photographer 32(I absolutely LOVE this one!)DC Wedding Photographer 33DC Wedding Photographer 34DC Wedding Photographer 35DC Wedding Photographer 36DC Wedding Photographer 13

DC Wedding Photographer 37What started as a pretty stormy afternoon turned into a gorgeous August evening, with dinner under the stars and dancing under the very barn that their guests had helped them build... a true "celebratory extravaganza". DC Wedding Photographer 38DC Wedding Photographer 39Luke and Rachel, I'd wish you luck, but I don't really think you need it :D You are an extraordinary couple destined for an extraordinary life together... enjoy it!DC Wedding Photographer 40



P.S. If you want to read more about this super-cool wedding weekend, check out the local paper's coverage here.