Emily & Chris’ Nature Wedding | Rust Manor House | Leesburg, Virginia

Did you know that nearly 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada think it is important that a brand is sustainable or Eco-friendly, according to a new study by IBM and the National Retail Federation? It’s true, according to a recent article published on www.barrons.com, siting a recent survey.

As an animal lover and advocate, and founder of a wedding and lifestyle brand, it is not lost on my team and I just how expensive a wedding can be. So when we have couples like Emily and Chris who are both nature lovers, we jump at a chance to incorporate Eco-friendly designs and options into their wedding day. From the minimal centerpieces to the locally sourced floral from a local Loudoun County farm, we made sustainability the priority.

I’m excited to share Emily and Chris’ wedding day at Rust Manor House in Leesburg, Virginia, beautifully captured by Megan Rei Photography.

a look behind The Eco-friendly Design

The groom’s suit is rust/wine, wedding party (their sisters wore English rose), and nature provided the rest of their color scheme: green of the lawn plus rose gold and gold; the bride wore a beautiful white/ivory lace gown. During our first design consultation, the couple described their wedding style as

Natural, romantic, vintage, fall, fun, elegant but not stiff.

about Their Nature+vintage inspired wedding Style

The bride described their style elements to include the changing fall season so as to take advantage of the natural setting and the changing leaves and the weather, she added that it must include pumpkins and to incorporate vintage glassware and vases they’d picked up at antique stores and mason jars that were given to them from her mom’s farm in West Virginia. Other important style elements that they wanted to incorporate into their wedding day design + decor was a beautiful rug, borrowed from their parents, who’d acquired the pieces during their travels to the Middle East.

The couple exchanged their vow standing on the beautiful ornate rug for their romantic vow exchange. The vintage suitcases were used as cards holder and belonged to Emily’s grandparents’. Another way they incorporate their love for travel while paying homage to their family. This allowed them to incorporate their love of national parks/travel/each other, and they also displayed old family photos as n tribute to absent loved ones.

Design mood board for nature and vintage inspired wedding in Leesburg, Virginia; Eco-friendly wedding; green, gold, rose gold, ivory and burgundy

Wedding design mood board for Emily & Chris’ nature / vintage inspired wedding at the beautiful Rust Manor House, Leesburg, Virginia

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Waste reduction was at the forefront for me while working with Emily and Chris as we looked for ways to cut back, reuse/re-purpose, and most importantly, source out vendors who also believed in their sustainable wedding vision.

Going semi-paperless. With so many trees being cut down every year to put up skyscrapers and more luxury condos than we need, it was hugely important to Chris and Emily that the less paper waste we can achieve, the better. They are both fans of national parks (they got engaged at one!), so their programs were made from recycled paper, signage was minimal to reduce unnecessary waste.

Ways we created an Eco-friendly wedding

  1. The couple selected a sustainable venue. Rust Manor House is a set amid 68-acres of woods and meadows on the western edge of Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia.(more about Rust Manor House below)

  2. No plastic straws, bottles, or cups; there were also no printed menu cards

  3. We used natural items such as pumpkins for decor, including potted plants

  4. We opted for no wedding arbor or arch at the altar, instead the beautiful tall matured evergreens at the venue pulled triple duty--as backdrop/arch/decor

  5. Our couple choose mini photo frames as favors

  6. Our couple selected an all vegetarian menu; leftovers were taken to the post-wedding brunch at a local winery

  7. The bouquets were repurposed as centerpieces

  8. We used vintage decor items. We used vintage suitcases for cards and gifts, guests signed vintage globe to be used as decorations and keepsake in their home

  9. Guests could take home the mini flowers arrangement as favors

  10. The couple opted for small, local, women / minority-owned businesses as well as LGBTQIA vendors

What else would you add to this list? Comment below or on Instagram.


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Rust Manor House is part of the NOVA Parks system and NOVA Parks - the best of Northern Virginia through nature, history, and great family experiences. Today, NOVA Parks (as the organization came to be known in 2014) represents three counties and three cities -- Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax. NOVA Parks staff, volunteer board members appointed from each jurisdiction and many friends of the regional parks working together have preserved over 12,000 acres of the rolling and wooded Virginia countryside for you and created a priceless legacy for future generations.

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On their wedding website, the couple address the question of going green…

How can I be more green?

Great question! We're conscious of the natural resource consumption involved in our wedding weekend during this climate crisis. We hope that you all will help us help the planet in your own ways. You can eat less meat and eat locally grown foods, donate to offset your carbon footprint after booking transportation, travel with reusable water bottles and cutlery instead of buying plastic ones, carpool to the weekend activities, etc. Mother Nature thanks you! —Emily & Chris

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“Pro tip: with a large wedding of 200+ guests, consider having multiple stationed appetizers and have 3-5 passed apps so guests are not waiting in line for apps. Always think about your guest experiences especially at cocktail hour and reception. Side note: this wedding had an extended cocktail hour at 90 minutes. ”

— Glory Barbaris, Founder, Creative Director, Event Designer, Always Creating Studio Weddings & Events

With an extended cocktail hour, guests enjoyed apps and lawn games on the beautiful grounds.


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Venue: Rust Manor House

Planning/Design/Coordination: Wildflower Hill Co.

Florist: Bee’s Wing Farm

Hair and Makeup: Makeovers On Call

DJ: Elite Mixers Entertainment

Catering: Great Blue Heron

Cake: Scout’s Bakeshop

Programs: Becky J Invitations

Rings: Shelter

Dress: Theia from Ellie’s Bridal

Rentals: Sammy’s Rentals

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