A Bride's Perspective: Planning a second wedding with flowers

By Heather Lipp, J. Morris Flowers, all Photography by Lisa at Lovesome Photography.

Kerry and Tim Barnhart planned their Poplar Springs wedding together. A second marriage for both, they took great care with every detail of the day -- demonstrating the thoughtful commitment they were making to each other and to the new family created by their union. This was a wedding where two large families would become an even bigger “one.”

The focal pieces Kerry and Tim designed created a classically romantic setting for their ceremony, moved inside due to an unexpected chill. The white tent and field stone patio offered a lovely contrast of textures for the arch, urn arrangements and rose petals sweeping the sides of the aisle. As the day continued, each moment of careful planning unfolded into a lovely weekend getaway for family and a perfect beginning for this couple.

The Venue

Poplar Springs Inn, Warrenton, Virginia, Lovesome Photography

As this was a second wedding, Kerry and Tim were hoping the event would foster new bonds among two families. A getaway to Poplar Springs in Warrenton, Virginia felt like the perfect way to create that community. Kerry explains, “We went out to Poplar Springs and really liked it, it felt like we had really gotten away from everything but we were really so close to home. We rented the whole space for the weekend. It was part family retreat with our kids and a weekend away with friends that we hadn’t seen for a while. We had three full days together.”

The Barnhart’s mentioned that they picked Poplar Springs because they have an outdoor and indoor ceremony space, each equally beautiful. This would become an important planning decision as May turned cool. “The patio is tented and when you come down the stairs, there is this long expanse of stone, it’s beautiful. It turned out great, I was disappointed that it wasn’t sunny and beautiful but Poplar Springs did a great job transforming the space with the white chairs and draping.”

“Poplar Springs has been recently renovated,” according to Kerry, “and they do all the catering themselves including their own cakes.” The food was organized by stations with a special allergy-friendly cake for Kerry and Tim. 

The new family, Photography by Lovesome Photography.

The family

Kerry has four children; Tim has three. They wanted all of the kids to have a meaningful role in the wedding without creating a big wedding party. Kerry’s daughter stood up for her as maid of honor and her son walked her down the aisle. One of Tim’s sons stood up for him, two of the kids read during the ceremony and the others gave toasts. 

Kerry shared her feelings about why this weekend event was so important to the couple. “We had guests who were even surprised that we were doing the whole wedding thing. But, I wanted to mark this day for everyone. Here we are, combining two families, and we wanted to highlight that. The weekend wedding was great for us, our families didn’t know each other well and it gets much more complicated with extended family. We got to hang out together for a weekend and get to know each other in a way that we had never experienced before."

The Planning Process

Wisps of trailing Jasmine in this bouquet with Cafe au Lait Dahlia and O'Hara Garden Roses. Photography by Lovesome Photography.

Kerry admitted that as a bride getting married a second time, she had a lot of questions about how to plan a wedding that honored their families and the beautiful commitment they were making to each other. According to Kerry, “there is so much emphasis on a young bride in her twenties or thirties with a ton of friends that it’s hard to know what the traditions are for a second wedding.  What do people do? What’s appropriate? Is it appropriate to wear a veil? Really, we decided to do what we liked, to let it feel like a wedding. That was very important to us. We wanted everybody to feel involved and figured out a way to do that. There are not a lot of models out there for second weddings.”

As for the flowers, Kerry chose colors that her eye was drawn to in photographs, narrowing her choices down to dustier shades. The pink her daughter wore worked for Kerry because it was a muted shade and it was a great color on Jenna. She eventually chose dusty pink, peach, ivory and a light-blue green that she discovered in Dusty Miller (greenery variety).

“We started (the color selection) with the flowers because they have so much natural color. I started to collect pictures of arrangements and individual flowers and found myself holding on to an image because of maybe one or two flowers that I liked.” An effective wedding flower consultation begins by looking at flowers in different arrangements and selecting varieties that have appeal. Kerry agrees, “For me, this was very different from the last time I selected flowers for a wedding. That was important, I think.”

J. Morris Flowers designer, Katie Black, did a mood board for Tim and Kerry that became an important tool for Kerry. She recalls, “I didn’t pick the flowers and say you have to include them. I think it is really important to let the artist be the artist. I said, I like these flowers and I like this feel and left it up to Katie, who totally got it.”

The bouquet and ceremony

A face-to-face consultation is the perfect time to iron out important style preferences. Kerry did not want a tight arrangement of flowers in her bouquet, favoring a looser feel. Katie let only the Jasmine in the bouquet drape as Kerry wanted a cascading style that still looked “tidy.”

Arch flowers include Cafe Au Lait Dahlia, Quicksand Roses, White Lilac and Hydrangea, Dusty Miller, Silver Dollar Eucalyptus and Jasmine.

Kerry, Tim and Katie spent a lot of time focusing on the design details for the arch and the rest of the ceremony; including the placement of the petals. The urns and arch were filled with her theme flowers: Café au Lait Dahlia, Quicksand Roses, White Hydrangea, Dusty Miller, Silver Dollar Eucaplytus and Jamine Vine. The Rose petals carefully spread on the sides of the aisle created a continuity between the larger ceremony focal points.  

According to Kerry, Tim really wanted the arch to be rounded.  “A rounded arch spoke to him and it was perfect, we wanted to do it right and make it a real centerpiece.” Kerry also ordered champagne colored shawls from Etsy and put them in a box for her guests to wear. Call it women’s intuition, but they were necessary and a big hit with many women in attendance.

The reception

“I wanted to create an English Garden or Country Inn feel with the Cabbage (Garden) Roses and Dahlia’s,” Kerry explains. With the beautiful stone walls in the reception space, we had to make sure we weren’t trying to compete too much.”

Similar to the bridal bouquets, the low pedestal centerpieces are full and lush with loose greenery breaking the line of the container and adding a bit of a cascade. Kerry loved how the centerpieces added muted color to the tables. One of her “go-to” greens was Dusty Miller, a sage-green to nearly-blue leaf that adds unique texture and color to centerpieces and bouquets. The tablescapes were complete with tight groupings of metallic votives, “I wanted to put votives in groups of two around the centerpieces, Katie suggested we do it in threes and I was really happy with how that looked.”

The chargers and linens she selected added even more elegance to the affair. “We tried to do something really different with the chargers. The rental company showed us the chargers and tablecloths and explained that couples rarely pick them but that they look really cool and really different.” She offers this advice, “You might have a picture in your head but it’s important to trust the experts in order to get that artistic look, you can’t cut the artist out.”

The mantle at Poplar Springs was a great spot for some accent décor. “We did votives, candles and a long centerpiece, it doesn’t drive up the costs a lot when you use candles.”

Kerry really wanted to know whether or not there are rules for a second wedding, and in the end, she made her own. She created beauty and elegance and, in her words, “marked” the occasion for family and friends. She offered one more piece of advice that assuredly comes from experience. “Right before you walk down the aisle remind yourself that the planning is over. Take a deep breath, be in the moment and truly experience the beauty, joy and love that is present.”

Kerry and Tim really appreciated the help of their wedding coordinator, Lynn Liannizzi, from the Finer Points.