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Late Summer Gentleman Farmer Photo Shoot

Ben Ashby

Jennie Love, of Love 'n Fresh Flowers, fills us in on this richly-hued, earthy wedding inspiration shoot:As someone who works the land every day, I feel deeply connected to the seasons and to the heritage of farming.  When I started brainstorming with the talented ladies at Love Me Do Photography on a photo shoot, we were all immediately drawn to the idea of celebrating the richness of a full harvest in an intimate setting ripe with agrarian history.  We wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the late summer season's flowers, fruits, and vegetables.  Everything in the shoot was locally sourced, including the flowers grown at our own flower farm, just a few miles away.  

Wyck, the venue, was the absolute perfect fit for our vision, and it inspired so much of this shoot.  Located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Wyck is the ancestral home of the Wistar-Haines family, colonists who helped build Philadelphia when they settled here in 1690.  The home and property remained in the same family until 1973 when it went into a trust and became a National Historical Landmark.  Today, it's beautiful garden, house, and small urban farm are open to the public for exploring, including the original glass greenhouse that was likely one of the very first to ever be built in colonial America and the oldest rose garden in America still growing in its original foot-print.  Wyck is a truly remarkable place.  When it was first built, it was in wide-open rolling hills, the country estate for its Quaker owners who traveled to and from the city of Philadelphia by horse and carriage.  Today, swallowed up by Philadelphia as it expanded over the centuries, Wyck is now a petite 2.5 acre green oasis in a tattered urban neighborhood.  Step inside its gates and one immediately escapes the dull roar of buses to hear bees from the farm's hives buzzing around instead. 

Our models for the shoot are a real-life couple deeply in love, and it was a pleasure to watch them giggle and blush together throughout the summer afternoon. We had them "marry" under the 250 year old Concord grape arbor beside the house, which was heady with the fragrance of ripening grapes.  The foodie-inspired bridal bouquet was quirky and fun with a mix of dahlias, zinnias, air plants, blackberries, raspberries, mint, sage, and garlic.  Yes, garlic!  The boutonniere included succulents, blackberries, gomphrena and celosia.

The celebratory farm feast that followed was set-up in the rose garden.  The handmade rustic farm table and antique chairs were provided by Maggpie Vintage Rentals. Birchtree Catering designed a scrumptious rustic late summer menu that was inspired by the colors and tastes of heirloom tomatoes.  The table was decked out with a lush sprawling centerpiece of zinnias, dahlias, kale, sage, hydrangea, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.  More heirloom tomatoes were placed down the center of the table and each place setting got its own garnish of either an adorable baby eggplant or string of green baby tomatoes.

We made one of my favorites, a Blackberry Shrub, for cocktails.  A shurb is a tart drinking vinegar that was popular in Wyck’s heyday as a way to preserve fruit for consumption throughout the year.  Today shrubs are an excellent mixer for cocktails and super easy to make. We served a "cheese cake", literally a stack of locally-sourced cheese rounds in lieu of traditional cake and a great idea for less traditional couples who love savory more than sweet. 

All in all, this shoot felt so natural and joyous, especially when we all sat down at the end to enjoy a delicious meal together in the late summer twilight.  A last hurrah for summer! And the perfect inspiration for an intimate farm or backyard wedding. 

Wyck is available to rent for weddings and other special events. 

Vendor Credits:

photography: Love Me Do Photography //   venue: Wyck House in Philadelphia, Pa //  florals & styling: Love 'n Fresh Flowers //  food: Birchtree Catering // dress: Free People // bow tie: Forage  // rentals: Maggpie Vintage  //  paper goods: Loveleigh Invitations //  hairpiece:  Lovely Bridal