Real Weddings

Rustic Barn DIY Wedding Followed by Halloween Themed Reception at Cairnwood Estate – Kris & Chris

Happy Halloween everybody! These two lovebirds had a ghoulishly-delicious gold and black, Halloween themed wedding which is the perfect feature for today.

Kris and Chris met at a charity benefit in Los Angeles where Kris approached Chris in line for hot dogs. Kris says that he saw Chris enter the room, he literally took his breath away and still does every day. “Chris surprised me with a fun proposal in Texas at a Horror Convention. We both LOVE scary movies so he gathered the cast of our favourite scary movie, “A Nightmare On Elm Street” together and burst through the door dressed in full on Freddy mask and torn sweater to get down on one knee to propose. My family was there which was so truly special. It was SO US.”

They both wanted their wedding to embrace the Halloween/Fall Season but in a surprising, unexpected and non-traditional way. And yet they also wanted their special day to reflect both their individual upbringings as well. Chris was raised Catholic with a big Italian family in Pennsylvania and Kris was raised in a smaller Southern Baptist upbringing in Texas. Gold and black was the first decision as the core wedding colours, and their reception venue, Cairnwood Estate was the embodiment of elegance and regality so they kept picturing themselves in black tuxedos and their guests in formal gowns and suits. The well-manicured lawns overlooking the terrace and high ceilings filled with rich history reminded them of an estate in Southern Italy somewhere. Kris kept thinking of their reception as this sweeping, lush fantasy black and gold masquerade ball. On the other end of the spectrum, The Barn at Forestville ceremony setting was a little bit country reminding him of his hometown Texas roots. It was rustic and romantic so they knew that accenting the barn with soft and vibrant non-traditional Autumnal colours of burgundy, blush, white and gold would compliment it perfectly. Those colours would also be the through line flowing throughout the rest of the evening and tieing both very different venues together into one cohesive love story.

The day started off at the rustic and beautiful Forestville Barn, a 160-Year-Old German Swing Barn, restored to its rustic best. There, the couple had a tearful first look session in matching navy blue Calvin Klein suits with black ties and black shoes. Both grooms wore lovely white rose accented boutonnières by Mom’s Flower Shoppe in Jamison, PA. They shared a soulful stroll through the bucolic fields of the Forestville estate, long rolling meadows were punctuated by old stone farm buildings, wooden carriages, wood fences and the deep barn red colours of the restored Forestville Barn.

After family formals were taken using the gorgeous red barn as the background, the couple held their ceremony in the golden glow of the tea-tree lit barn room, officiated by Pastor Chris Schwab of the United Church of Christ in Carlisle, PA. The ceremony area was adorned by a beautiful white arbour pergola with flowers arranged by Kay Gaida (Mother of Groom) and Tonia Porter (Sister In-law). Mom’s Flower Shoppe in Jamison, PA provided the groom’s ladies bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres. Chris and Kris were flanked by their “best people”… 4 groom’s ladies dressed in neutral-toned, champagne gold-hued silk dresses with rose gold sequins and 4 groomsmen dressed in black suits with black ties. As the couple exchanged their heartfelt, handwritten vows, there was not a dry eye in the house. The couple exchanged Gun Metal Gray Tungsten Carbide Rings with Polished Beveled Edges by Triton before their dreamy first kiss.

For the reception, the couple chose the grandiose Cairnwood Estate, a house designed by Carrère and Hastings in the Beaux Arts style. The estate blends Greek and Roman Architectural Ideas in a French Renaissance Style.

Guests were each given mini “cotton candy” white pumpkins purchased from Shop Rite with handwritten black nametags showing their table number assignments for dinner. Keeping with the established colour palette theme in the atrium, Kris, our groom, further flexed his DIY skills with some festive handcrafted & embellished gold/black miniature pumpkins adorning each black cloth-lined table. Kris also made the original white tuxedo menu cards & instructed that each black napkin be tuxedo-folded around every black bowtie shirt menu. Flowers for tables were purchased from Produce Junction in Hatboro PA and arranged by Kay Gaida, Kim Elam, Keri Griffin, Lauren Sapp and Krista Haun, further emphasizing the DIY aspect of this wedding.

After arriving at Cairnwood Estate, the dapper grooms changed into a second outfit: two Calvin Klein Black Shawl Lapel Slim Fit Tuxedos. After some additional family pictures and grooms’ portraits in their stylish new getups along Cairnwood’s stately grounds, the couple settled in for cocktail hour with hors-d’oeuvres and a buffet style dinner serviced by John Serock Catering.

Appetizers included mouth-watering mac and cheese lollipops, mini grass-fed beef with cheddar and tomato aioli, mini grilled cheese with tomato soup shooters. Dinner was braised short rib with frizzled onions served on a cauliflower mash, chicken francaise pan seared in a Beurre Blanc white wine sauce, and grilled Atlantic salmon served with mashed potatoes, mixed green salad, and heirloom tomatoes in a balsamic reduction.

After this delicious smorgasbord, the guests started lighting up the dance floor with music by DJ Gary G. (Gary Giaretta of GnJ DJ Services), which climaxed in an all-out rendition of the Village People’s – YMCA with one of our groom’s, Kris, dressed in a policeman’s uniform. Guests were free to explore the photo booth room provided by GnJ DJ Services completed with life-size zombie standees of the grooms made by Leslie Tolbert and her team at Flashpoint Graphix. What a wonderful “Walking Dead” style Halloween surprise.

The zombies weren’t the only surprise that evening. After burning some calories on the dance floor, the couple revealed another surprise–a beautifully arranged DIY dessert, candy, wedding cake and champagne room. Assorted candies were purchased in bulk from and various candy jars purchased from Joann Fabric & Crafts. The room was carefully arranged by Kristy Arnold, of John Serock Catering. There were homemade chocolate covered pretzels by Karen Gaida (Sister-In-Law). Here, the couple welcomed guests to their favourite candies like sour belts, gummy cola bottles, Swedish Fish, candy corn, Reese’s pieces. The grooms’ favourite desserts were duplicated by John Serock Catering with a dessert table filled with whoopee pies, blueberry crumble bars, pumpkin pie, fruit tarts, gold-dusted crème Brulee’ & delectable warm chocolate-chip-cookie and milk station (chocolate, strawberry & plain).

After a fun cake flinging session, the couple steps out for some beautiful night portraits showing the beautiful Cairnwood grounds at night.

To cap off the night, guests were offered hand-etched mini champagne bottles by as a small parting gift along with personalized small, black and gold foil embossed boxes from Etsy filled with wedding cake slices for the road. 

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Photographer: J&J Studios, LLC // Ceremony Venue: Barn at Forrestville // Reception Venue: Cairnwood Estate // Tuxedo & Mens Attire: Calvin Klein // Favours & Gifts: Miramonte Winery & Etched Wines // Caterer: John Serock Catering // Ring Designer: Triton // Officiant: Weddings and Ceremonies with Pastor Chris // Signage: Gloss Studios // Floral Designer: Mom’s Flower Shoppe // Cake Designer: Palermo’s Bakery // DJ: GNJ mobile DJ Service

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