HOLLYN & CHANDLER
I’ve had the privilege of photographing dozens of weddings over the years but this summer wedding at Joseph Decuis Farm in Roanoke, Indiana was one for the books. Everything about Hollyn and Chandler’s wedding was timeless, from her dress to the stunning estate that made for the most perfect backdrop in their portraits, to the gourmet dining experience that left guests in awe.
Before I tell you more about their day, a little backstory. I photographed Hollyn’s sister, Rachel’s wedding, the previous year (just as beautiful, you can check it out here), so that made the day even more significant since I’d already met (and grown to love) Hollyn’s family. Which made walking into the getting-ready house all the more special. It was the perfect mix of friends and family. Even grandma made an appearance, again (she was the cutest at Rachel’s wedding). Which, a side tangent, if you’re close to your grandparents you can most definitely include them in your getting ready and first look moments. I promise you won’t regret it.
THE FIRST LOOKS
Speaking of first looks, Hollyn decided to do a first look with her dad which was a tear-jerker. Then, she wrote letters to both of her parents and gave them to read right after that, which was the sweetest thing. I mean, she just loved the people around her so well. While wedding days are rightfully all about the bride, Hollyn really did a beautiful job honoring her parents on wedding day. If you hadn’t thought of writing a letter to your parents on your wedding day, do it! It made for such a tender moment and was a beautiful way to honor and celebrate them.
The ceremony was next and holy smokes was it a hot summer day in Indiana! One of my favorite moments of the ceremony was when Hollyn and Chandler decided to do worship and take communion. A friend came up to the front and played a song while everyone worshipped along. They prayed and took communion and the wedding guests prayed in agreement silently. It was a beautiful, still moment in the midst of what can sometimes be a chaotic day.
After the ceremony, it was pure celebration. Now, the bride has gotten a lot of air time in this story but let me tell you about the groom for just a minute. It doesn’t take much time around Chandler to realize that he is the ultimate hype man. Sports fanatic? Yes! Lover of his wife? Yes! He brought all the loud, fun, wild hype. A dancing machine and quick to laugh. He and his groomsmen were hilarious (well-behaved, but hilarious). Everybody was just being themselves and this made the bridal party portraits fun!
THE DINNER & VENUE
Now, where are my foodies at? I need to tell you about the dinner experience. This wedding had (hands down) the best food I have ever tasted. I found out after the wedding that the venue, Joseph Decuis Farm, also owns a restaurant in downtown Roanoke, Indiana. Now, Roanoke is a small town but this isn’t just any old small-town restaurant, it’s a high-end “farm-to-fork” dining experience.
A HIDDEN GEM IN ROANOKE, INDIANA | JOSEPH DECUIS FARM: A BACKSTORY
Their slogan is, “A Farm Dressed in a Tuxedo” and man, they aren’t wrong! It’s the kind of restaurant you’d make a reservation at for your one-year anniversary. The restaurant and farm are known for their legendary Wagyu beef. They happen to be the only farm in America raising Wagyu in the traditional Japanese husbandry practices. So… now that you have an image in your head of how special this food was, imagine attending a reception and wedding at Joseph Decuis Farm. You walk in and you’re about to be served some of the best food in the state and you maybe don’t even know it…
“Jordyn, what was for dinner?”
Now you’re probably wondering, “So, Jordyn, what was for dinner?” We had (drumroll please!) breakfast for dinner! I gotta tell you, I go crazy for chicken and waffles and that’s what we had! Not just your ordinary breakfast for dinner, think chorizo gravy on homemade biscuits, fried crispy pasture-raised chicken breasts served over hot waffles, praline maple bacon, and fresh fruit (I’m listing this all from memory. I’m telling you, there is a space in my brain reserved specifically for the food I had that night).
It was an unforgettable experience. And while weddings are most definitely not about the food, the experience really made me think. Why did it leave such an impression on me? Because it was delicious? I don’t think it was just that. What resonated with me was the experience that Hollyn and Chandler wanted to leave their guests with. You see, for millennia, people have been gathering together to celebrate and commune over a meal. The highest highs and the lowest lows are always shared over a meal. Celebrations, conversations, rejoicing.
Which leads me to the reception. The speeches were hilarious. The best man speech included Chandler receiving his “man card” and some stories shared that left the guests laughing out loud. Both of Hollyn’s sisters gave speeches that left us all sniffling while we wiped tears from our eyes. Hollyn’s dad came up and said and word and then prayed over dinner. You could tell by the stories that were shared and the tears that couldn’t be held back how loved the two of them were. It was a significant day not just for the bride and groom, but for their families and friends who have been by their sides for years.
A Reflection on Wedding Day
When you reflect on the entirety of the day, it was filled with significant and highly personal touches, spent surrounded by kind and loving people, abounding in laughter, and the joy that comes when you see two worlds becoming one with all of your favorite people in one room.
FOR THE BRIDE-TO-BE
For the Bride-to-Be planning a wedding in or around Roanoke, Indiana, I cannot recommend Joseph Decuis Farm as a wedding and reception venue enough. This venue will go down in my list of top wedding venues. I also wanted to share some of the other wedding vendors that truly outdid themselves. Videography was provided by Courtney at C Berger Productions who captured their day beautifully. Florals provided by Weddings by Ella (see them in the images below, they’re dreamy). Baked goods were provided by Rise n Roll and cake by LindseyLoo Cakes. Hollyn’s dress was a Miss Stella York dress purchased locally at The Wedding Studio in Carmel, Indiana. Hair was done by the fabulous Wedding Hair and Makeup Team Blush Boutique in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Earrings handmade by Abide Designs. The DJ that kept the reception bumpin’ was Mazen DJs.