Etress–Stephens Wedding (full of agriculture goodness!)

Well, howdy strangers!

We apologize for the haphazard postings over the past month. Between graduation, moving, the wedding, honeymoon, re-planting and the lack of internet access at our new home we haven’t been very diligent on getting posts up. But that is about to change!

I’m going to take this post to share a little bit about our wedding and all the ag related goodness tied up in the decorations and food!

The Ceremony Location: Landmark Park, Alabama’s Agriculture Museum

This location was PERFECT for us. We both had volunteered at Landmark throughout high school and junior college. We planned to get married in the gazebo just outside of the historic “village” (a collection of old houses, a general store, drugstore, church and schoolhouse that are the heart of the park) with tons of flowers, a unity sand ceremony (because we identify more with sand, dirt and soil than candles) and a horse carriage that would bring me (Jillian) in and take both of us to the reception area after the ceremony.

The Reception Location: Stokes Activity Barn at Landmark Park

For those who have never experienced the wonder that is Stokes Barn, let me describe it to you. Stokes is 8,000 square foot of beautiful wood goodness. With antique farm implements and mule equipment hanging from the walls. It is also, thankfully, air-conditioned!

The Big Day:

On our big day, June 4, everything was perfect. I was beginning to think things were going to go off without a hiccup. My dress fit, Jared’s tux was perfect, all the bridesmaids and groomsmen were happy and no one was crying… Then, as guests were being seated outside at the gazebo and I was sneaking to the horse carriage in an undisclosed vehicle, the wind began to blow.

And it did not stop.

Pretty soon, the wind began blowing so hard that our director, bless her heart, had to chase down ferns and flower arrangements that were dancing willy-nilly through the gazebo. My grandparents bailed on the ceremony taking refuge in the car from what was sure to be the next big weather disaster in Alabama.

Someone with a smartphone (I love technology!) finally walked up to Jared, who was standing patiently in the gazebo as the remains of our yearlong decorating efforts blew around him and said, “Uh, man… you might want to look at this.” After viewing the radar, Jared hollered out, “Go to the barn!” and 300 people in dress clothes and heels made a mad dash to the barn and their cars just as the rain AND hail started peppering down.

Now, one might ask, why in the world didn’t yall call this ceremony earlier?

Honest to goodness, when Jared left to go to the barn 20 minutes before the ceremony it was a beautiful, blue sky day. Then, in the span of 10 minutes, God and nature decided to show us who was boss.

horse carriage in the rain

Many thanks to Sallie Martin for the awesome photo!

So as the rain and hail rolled in and the guests sprinted to the nearest dry area, Mr. Ben and Mr. Kenny, our buggy drivers, giddy-uped Betty and Bonnie and we began the slow buggy ride around the gazebo and to the Stokes Barn. As we circled around, guests continued to scramble for umbrellas and the safety of their cars. About halfway to the barn, something spooked Betty and Bonnie and as we were going over the last terrace in the ride up to the barn they decided to run! Fortunatly, Mr. Ben, the fantastic horseman that he is, was cool as a cucumber and had them back in hand in less than a minute.

After arriving at the barn, I hugged soaked guests as they trickled in the front entrance and talked with the others to decide what we should do.

Everyone except Jared, mom and me, were all in a tizzy. We knew this could happen, heck we’d been praying for rain for weeks. So after all the wedding party and guests were accounted for, we decided to proceed with the ceremony in the barn.

There was one leeetle problem though… no music. Luckily, my super fabulous friends Carly and Matt, were able to work iPhone magic and download two wedding songs that super fabulous friend numero three (aka Jesse) was able to run through the barn’s sound system. (Props to Jesse who had never worked iTunes before–we put him on the spot and he did AWESOME!)

The rest is history. We had the ceremony right in front of the cakes with guest surrounding us completely. We were able to do the sand ceremony as well, even though my sand ran out on the table because the glass container has been cracked during the storm. At the end of the day, we were married, it was memorable and we got the rain the area so desperately needed.

The Reception:

The reception featured several ag themed items, the most impressive being Jared’s grooms cake!

Jared has a burning passion for tractors. Antique tractors, modern tractors, odd tractors, red, green or blue tractors. He knows about them all. However, his latest interest has settled around International Harvester’s 5488 (it might have to do with the fact that just bought one…) SO, his cake was an edible model of a 5488 on a peanut butter and chocolate cake field of cotton and peanuts. It was absolutely perfect, the designers even had grates in the radiator and a slanted hood! He was tickled pink!

tractor cake

Don't let the picture fool you--the tractor was bigger than a football!

Also at the reception were several farm-home related items: barn lanterns, mason jars and Oberwise milk jugs from my summer in Missouri. These items held flowers and candles and were the centerpieces on most of the tables.

The music at the reception was also non-typical. Jared is an avid bluegrass fan; I (and my mother-in-law) enjoy Appalachian Mountain Music. So most of the music consisted of Flatts and Scruggs numbers mixed with hymns that had been rehashed with dulcimers, fiddles and mandolines.

In the end…

We were married, it rained and we were happy. Rain is so important to us as agriculture producers. According to old wives tales, rain on your wedding day is a good omen. And with the dryness of this planting season, Lord knows we needed the rain and the luck!

bride and groom

Many thanks to Hannah B for taking such wonderful pictures! (PS--I snatched this from her facebook page--you should like her page!)

Stay tuned for updates from our honeymoon featuring my first beating from my husband (don’t panic, I passed out and he had to wake me up! It wasn’t a real beating!), visiting the location where Deliverance was filmed, planting sweet potatoes and checking out an awesome race car that just happens to have our farm name on it!



PS–Check out Hannah at


7 thoughts on “Etress–Stephens Wedding (full of agriculture goodness!)

    • Thanks Janice! I wish I had of thought to include the cow that stole my bouquet! Guess that will just have to go in the next one 😉

  1. Pingback: Maybe We Should Have a Revolving Door Installed « a colorful adventure

  2. Pingback: Maybe We Should Have a Revolving Door Installed | a colorful adventure

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