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Jill & John

Bride's Hometown: Columbia, PA-

Groom's Hometown: Columbia, MD

Reside In: Timonium, MD

Wedding Date: April 18, 2015

Wedding & Reception Location: The Farm at Eagles Ridge, Lancaster, PA

Photographer: Kylene Lynn Photography

Honeymoon: Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Mexico

Jill and John, who hail from different towns named Columbia (Columbia, Pa., for Jill; Columbia, Md., for John), first crossed paths during their senior year at Towson University, where they were both athletes. Track team member Jill and baseball player John remained friends after they graduated and officially began dating a few years later.

During their engagement, Jill, a disability examiner, and John, a beer distribution sales representative, returned to their sporty roots. "We both grew up appreciating our athleticism, and we enjoy exercising and its many health benefits. After the engagement, we decided it was the right time to get into shape all over again; however, this time we agreed we would make it a team effort," Jill explained. "Wedding planning is a lot of work, and taking a break is important. When we found ourselves so overwhelmed with planning, we knew that going for a run or hitting the weights would help release some of that tension. Working out together during our planning days paid off both physically and mentally!"

All of Jill and John's hard work on wedding planning paid off, truly hitting it out of the park with their Lancaster County farm wedding, complete with a barbecue meal and plenty of dancing. The couple took the time to answer our questions about their process of planning the big day.

Vendors Used:

Wedding Planner: Taryn Blake Events, York, PA

Officiant: the Rev. Kelly Jo Singleton, Lancaster, PA

Catering: Hess's Barbecue Catering Inc., Willow Street, PA

Photography: Kylene Lynn Photography, Lancaster, PA

Disc Jockey: Roger Campbell, Top Hat Entertainment, Lancaster, PA

Cake and Cupcakes: Byers Butterflake Bakery, Leola, PA

Dress: Renaissance Bridals, York, PA

Bridesmaids' Dresses: http://www.donna-morgan.com

Groom/Groomsmen Suits: Jos. A. Bank, Lancaster, PA

Makeup: Kayla Hummer with A Little Off the Top, Lititz, PA

Transportation: Newhurst Inc., Pine Grove, PA

Other/private vendors utilized by Jill and John included James Burke (videography), Courtney Torborg (flowers), and Rhonda and Colleen (hair).

What was the first thing you did when you began to plan your wedding?

Immediately following our engagement, we wanted to pick a venue and a date - they coincide when planning! We knew we wanted at least a year to plan and did not want a winter wedding, so we were anticipating April or May 2015, pending on venue availability. We had a few venues in mind, and nowadays venues tend to book fast, so we booked several tours right away. We knew we needed to act quickly if we wanted our dream venue, and 26 days after the proposal, we put down our venue deposit and had a wedding date!

How did you choose a style for your wedding? What unique touches did you add to your wedding?

From the beginning, we knew we wanted our wedding to be laid-back with a touch of tradition - not super fancy - and offer a good buffet-style dinner and a really fun time. The "rustic" theme seemed to fit us best - relaxed, unsophisticated, homey.

The Farm at Eagles Ridge has a ton of character on its own, and we chose to utilize the layout. We wanted guests to appreciate all that it had to offer - structural pillars outlining our dance floor, original barn wood, the spacious corncrib, and the simple backdrop of the pond during our ceremony. We kept centerpieces and decorations simple. (This also helped keep costs down, which is a huge perk!) We opted for rustic elements like tree slices, terra-cotta flowerpots with miniature peach roses, and jelly jars with white candles. We served cupcakes for dessert, so we had two cupcake stands built from barn wood and garnished with burlap.

We went with Hess's Barbecue to cater our wedding meal, which seemed fitting on a Lancaster County farm. Most importantly, it felt like a giant spring barbecue with our biggest fans! Our guests enjoyed a buffet-style meal loaded with pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, corn bread, and much more.

How did you select the bride's dress, the groom's attire, and the outfits of the members of the wedding party? Did you know what you wanted in advance or base your decision on what you saw while shopping?

When selecting attire for our wedding, we wanted something that fit not only our personal styles, but also our rustic theme and color scheme. We knew sparkly items, satin dresses, lots of tulle, and tuxedos were out for us!

Jill had some ideas in mind - lace, slim-fitting, off-white, lightweight. Even though she tried on a few dresses, she ended up saying yes to the first dress she tried on, falling in love with the low-cut back, scalloped trim, and the way it looked bustled.

John knew from the beginning that he wanted a slim-fit suit versus a tuxedo. Originally, Jill was set on light tan suits for the guys, but John suggested navy blue, ultimately selecting a two-piece navy blue suit with a subtle tan pinstripe and a tie that corresponded with Jill's dress.

Once we established an April wedding, Jill fixated on pastel, spring colors and immediately fell in love with the peach/mint combination. We liked the idea of the matron of honor and best man wearing a different color, so we selected a mint dress for her and a corresponding mint tie for him. The girls wore one of two different styles of dresses to accent the color scheme and add some character to the wedding party. The groomsmen wore peach ties to match their wedding party partner. The navy suits really brought out the peach and mint colors and set the vibe for the pretty spring day!

Out of the many skilled photographers in the area, how did you choose one?

We came across Kylene Lynn Photography on The Farm at Eagles Ridge blog. We decided to contact Kylene, really liking the idea that she was familiar with our future wedding venue, and her pictures were amazing. Aside from a photographer who was prompt, personable, and friendly, we were looking for someone who provided an assistant on the big day and granted us the rights to the photos taken. We were super excited about the digital rights we earned to our photos - the online gallery made it easier for sharing with family and friends after the big day.

How did you incorporate the tastes and personalities of both the bride and the groom into the wedding?

We have similar tastes and personalities, but nonetheless our wedding was a mutual project that reflected both of us. We shared ideas with each other and found ways to incorporate them into our wedding.

Our music choices for the night allowed guests to enjoy a variety of tunes. Although we listen to almost anything, we do have different tastes in music. We trusted our disc jockey to take care of the majority of music for the evening - we agreed to let him spin whatever the crowd was into - but we took turns selecting the special songs. Roger Campbell with Top Hat Entertainment did a wonderful job of getting our crowd going and rolling all night. We trusted his knowledge and only provided him with a small song list to play throughout the night.

What favors did you provide for your guests?

We wanted our favors to reflect our theme or colors and found the "mint to be" idea appealing. Rather than using a pack of mints, we decided to give out something we both love - Keebler's Grasshopper cookies! Our favor was simple, inexpensive, and edible - and who doesn't like cookies?!

What did you find to be the biggest challenge in planning a wedding?

The biggest challenge was narrowing down the final guest list. We would have loved to have an unlimited number of guests at our wedding, but given that we would also be spending on the venue, additional vendors, food, etc., we had to come up with a comfortable number that was affordable for our parents and us. Creating the seating arrangements was difficult too, but looking back on it, it is really nothing to stress about! It is your day, and, unfortunately, you are not going to be able to accommodate every single guest.

If there was one thing you could do differently, what would it be?

Hire a loading crew! We created our centerpieces and brought in the majority of our decorations and props, so we were also responsible for packing it up and taking it all home at the end of the night. Although we got everything packed and loaded after the reception, we missed a little bit of the after-party because we felt it was necessary to assist with cleanup.

Do you have any tips for managing wedding planning stress, pre-wedding jitters, etc.?

Take advantage of it when people (parents, bridesmaids, friends, a wedding planner) offer to help. And do not be afraid to ask for help from those in your wedding party; they agreed to stand by your side no matter what!

Have a first look! We met on the dock at the pond two hours before our wedding ceremony. It was a moment we will never forget, and it helped ease the ceremony jitters. Our photographer was able to capture the moment, and our parents and the wedding party watched in the distance. It was honestly the best moment of the day!

Finally, if you have to stress, stress up until the day of your wedding, but do not stress on the day of your wedding! We know it sounds like terrible advice, but it is true. We will admit that were some stressful moments leading up to the wedding, but, ultimately, the most important part of your wedding day is that you enjoy it. There will be hiccups, but keep in mind that they will probably be minor and they will go unnoticed by guests, who are there to celebrate you, the newlyweds!

Photos by Kylene Lynn Photography

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