“I don’t remember the exact moment I realized I wanted to propose,” John Barneson confides, “but I do know that from the moment I met Keri Lynn, I couldn’t imagine my life without her.”
The feeling was mutual. “I couldn’t sleep for the next week,” admits Keri Lynn Pratt of her first encounter with John, whom she met at a charity function she’d attended with a friend. “All I could think about was this person I had met but knew nothing about.” Although they hadn't exchanged names, the two managed to reconnect through a mutual friend, allowing them to begin a romance that led to wedding bliss.
After agreeing to exchange vows in the bride’s hometown, the couple chose venues based on the special meanings attached. “Our ceremony took place in the church I grew up in; my mom still sings in the choir there, and it is the same church in which I was baptized,” shares Keri Lynn.
The second site for the celebration proved inspirational as well as meaningful. “We were able to have our reception on land that was given to us by Keri Lynn’s father, so there was a unique feeling of ‘home,’” John reveals. “The decision to have the reception there led to the theme ‘Feels Like Home’ for our wedding.”
The bride’s lush couture gown featured acres of silk and a bodice that sparkled from shoulder to waist. Attire by the same designer was worn by the bridesmaids, each dress a different color but in the same silhouette. The maids’ colorful nosegays played the perfect counterpoint to the bride’s cascading bouquet of neutrally hued flowers.
The traditional Christian service was emotional for all involved. The groom, who contributed to both the wording of the vows and the selection of music, was particularly moved. “The ceremony was the most important aspect to me,” he shares. “Seeing Keri Lynn come down the aisle was memorable, as was our first kiss as husband and wife; but saying the words ‘I do’ meant we were actually married, and that is a moment I will never forget.”
Despite the fall wedding date, the color scheme for the reception was free of an obvious autumn influence. “I initially thought I had to use colors that matched the outside foliage, but when I just couldn’t envision it, I took a completely different approach,” Keri Lynn confides. A romantic combination of ivory, gold, and blush lent the reception a timeless elegance without competing with the surroundings.
Keri Lynn’s personal touch also extended to the décor, almost all of which she crafted with her own two hands. “I made centerpieces by arranging sandblasted manzanita branches in vases I’d sprayed in gold,” she describes. “Our florist then filled the remaining space with greens and ivory flowers.” The bride also placed crystals, felted acorns, and fairy lights among the branches, and then added handmade table numbers as the glittering finishing touch.
Maple-frosted donuts (a favorite of the groom), fresh caramel apples, and mini pies baked in mason jars by the mother of the bride were offered after a dinner that included steak and lobster. However, it was a pair of scrumptious cakes that formed the pièce de résistance of dessert. Iced entirely in ivory, the couple’s vintage-style wedding cake included the original topper from the wedding of Keri’s parents. The top tier of the bridal sweet also featured sugar flowers sculpted to replicate those on the back of the bride’s gown. A groom’s cake designed to reflect the likeness of a lobster pot featured a crustacean bridal couple complete with rings and sugar accompaniments.
So many beautiful memories were created that day, including one that was formed between father and daughter. “During our dance my father said to me, ‘When I’m out here with you, I feel like a king,’ shares an emotional Keri Lynn. “I will never forget that moment.”
And while the groom doesn’t clearly recall the instant he was inspired to propose, he does remember a shift that irreversibly set the path. “Our relationship built so beautifully, and there was a moment I realized life would be infinitely less meaningful apart,” he says. “And that is a moment I will always remember.”