Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


The Villagers

 [Unless noted otherwise, all images ©Kate Headley. 
Posted with permission from the photographer, Kate, and the bride, Janet Blyberg.]

The romance began in summer school. American museum professionals studying abroad, Janet and Joel met exploring English country houses through the Attingham program.

[Photos by Janet Blyberg]

Back in the States, while they dated long distance, Janet took time nearly every night to share her evening sky with Joel via iPhone. The emails might be described as her own 21st century take on 19th century love notes.

And once they were engaged, there was little doubt the wedding would reflect their shared passion for historic architecture and design, as well as their contemporary sensibilities.

[Janet's inspiration board: Top row (l-r): Anne Hathaway, from Becoming Jane (photo by Andrew Eccles); dresses by Vera Wang; and letterpress invitation by William Arthur via Tiny Prints. Middle row (l-r): Carlyle House; wreath (photo by Mille Holloman) via Once Wed. Bottom row: Liberty tie (purchased on eBay); flowers (photos by Jose Villa) 100 Layer Cake.]

They wanted the event to be relaxed and intimate with the feel of an English Regency village wedding. "Carlyle House [in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia] was so fabulously Georgian in style, it just seemed like the perfect place," explains Janet, adding, "But, we also wanted the wedding to celebrate Virginia."

[Janet made the boutonnières herself using herbs from her roof garden, mixed with flowers from a wholesaler.]

Elements that gave a nod to the Southern state included magnolia leaves, a letterpress dogwood on the program, and the Virginia peanuts given as favors.

[She used fabric for wrap rather than paper.]

Like the heroine in a Regency-era novel, Janet was resourceful. As she shared on her blog, most everything -- flowers to programs -- she did with her own hands. When she spied some about-to-be-trashed manila folders in her office, she grabbed her scissors and reinvented the old supplies as tags; the worn patina appealed to her, so she selected clip art and then ran the thick paper through a printer.

A talented community of friends including Stefan Hurray, aka Architect Design™, who served as the day-of coordinator, pitched in also.

Stefan essentially set up the entire ceremony site, plus managed the logistics of moving objects (and people!) and getting everything cleaned up.

 [Another wonderful friend made a magnolia garland and boxwood wreathes for the couple.]

By limiting the guests to 45, scouring eBay and Etsy for vintage Liberty print ties and antique ribbons, and above all staying true to herself, Janet was able to pull together -- and thoroughly enjoy -- a day that really mirrored her style and Joel's, too.

 [Although the wedding wasn't too theme-y, feathers and birds were a repeated motif.]

 [A terrific friend found the feather for Janet's hair at a vintage shop.]

 [Janet did the bouquets herself.]

Moreover, the couple managed to conserve funds for two priorities: hiring the incredible Kate Headley to photograph everything, and hosting dear family and friends for a cozy and delicious lunch at Restaurant Eve.


Janet's young nephew and nieces had big roles in the wedding. In fact, some of Kate's most striking pictures are of the children.

To protect the kids' privacy, I'll refrain from showing how great the girls looked in their navy-blue dresses from Anthropologie. But take a peek at the origami cranes made by one of the nieces. The symbolic birds rest next to place cards calligraphed by Kathryn Murray.

Wine was a key component of the meal, and Janet left ample room for multiple glasses! Flower arrangements were unobtrusive.

While guests ended the savory meal with warm pear crisps accompanied by ginger ice cream, the pastry chef treated the couple to a mini three-layer wedding cake.

Another special detail you might have missed in the pictures above is the necklace Janet wore. Browsing an antique shop, Joel came across a stash of early-19th-century coral beads. He quickly bought them, strung them himself, and surprised Janet with them the night before the wedding.  

To see many more glimpses of the creative couple's understated day, click here. And enjoy more of Kate's work here and here and here (another lovely Virginia wedding to see: Liz and Jeff's).

And click here to learn about the Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History.


Mrs. Blandings said...

I'm overwhelmed by how personal and beautifully conceived this wedding was. I'm in awe.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Janet did a perfectly wonderful job making the day memorable for her and guests- it seems a blur for most brides- I'd say sense and sensibility ruled the day. many happy days to them both and thank you for transporting us to share the moment. pgt

Emile de Bruijn said...

I hadn't realised they had met on the Attingham Summer School - how incredibly romantic. And those beautifully designed details are extraordinary: the curator as artist.

Pigtown*Design said...

I am so impressed with Janet and lucky enough to call her a friend. She's just such an amazing gal, and I am sure that Joel is equally wonderful.

I got a bit misty reading about this happy event.

The Peak of Chic said...

Wow! What a beautiful wedding. Truly stunning. And what a story to be able to say that you met your future mate at Attingham!


More brides should realize that a small wedding is much more romantic and let's all your creative details shine. Thanks for more pix and background on Janet's wedding. It is a pleasure to savor all these special touches that this couple created. And that first picture may be my absolute favorite of the two of them.

home before dark said...

You, dear friend of the bride, let the glow and joy of true love wed be shared with admiration and great happiness. It does remind me of a Jane Austin ending where it takes the village to make the wedding meaningful.

ps if that hideous anon pokes up again, I think Janet's uber cyber uncle and brother could hunt that URL down like a dog!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

You summed up the day-of pretty perfectly :-) It was a charming day for the MOST charming couple. Kate's photographs are just stunning -they capture everything to a T.

Janet said...

First, Courtney, thank you for presenting our day in such an eloquent way. I am honored to have such a lovely post here on Style Court!

And thank you to everyone for such kind words. It was a sweet, momorable day, and I am glad that shines through.

The Devoted Classicist said...

All beautifully done!

pve design said...

I think the parents need to be commended for instilling such proud and personal elements to make the day a lasting memory. The only thing missing is a horse and carriage. Perhaps there was one.
Tally-ho, congrats the splendidly stylish couple.

smilla4blogs said...

This beautiful post has arrived like a gift under the Christmas tree, so true to the spirit of the day with your lovely commentary and Kate's extraordinary photography. A heartfelt thank you!

Janet's Mom!

quintessence said...

What an exquisitely understated and elegant affair. Every detail is pitch perfect from the stunning bouquets to the calligraphed place cards and origami cranes. Not to mention how beautifully you presented everything. Lovely - just lovely.

The Down East Dilettante said...

This is just marvelous, and indeed, captures Janet's resourcefulness and elegant and simple eye to perfection. Wonderful to see the back story.

I got to share a bottle of wine with the happy couple in late summer when they came to Maine.

Home Subjects said...

Unfortunately I am a bit late finding this! But I too was honored to have a small part in the wedding. It was wonderful to witness the marriage of two such kindred spirits.