Friends Hannah Ekblad, Hannah Rogers, Brooke Payne, and Ashley Hamilton shared their disillusionment with the process of planning a modern wedding. Every bridal show they attended was a maze of clichés; the same identical vendors, the same pink cakes, the same hotel convention rooms spruced up feebly with black curtains. Seeking to equip brides who shared some of this dissatisfaction, they combined their own bohemian artistic sensibilities, and Hello Lovely, an indie bridal fair, was born. Deploying handmade personal invitations, they assembled a team of 40 vendors and sponsors based on past experiences and an eye for aesthetic individuality. The team selected only five florists and a comparable number of photographers, paper artists, and caterers, giving attendees time to explore vendors and quiz them on their favorite bridesmaids' speeches. Sun peeks between the rough-hewn wooden slats of the century-old barn at Vive Le Ranch as guests slowly filter into the event. Having held her recent wedding at the site, Hannah Ekblad prizes the restored interior, which blends refinement and a bucolic charm like Mr. Ed trying to read a subway map.
The gently tangled guitar and banjo notes of the Avett Brothers, Bon Iver, and Ingrid Michaelson twist around the rafters as attendees wander hay-covered floors, navigating tables designated with handmade driftwood signs by local calligrapher Victoria Hoke Lane. An area artist from Polypress Letterpress fashions unique invitations on a 1920s letterpress machine, designing each by hand and stamping them with a snowflake’s fingerprint. Edit Noveau's photographer Rustin captures nuptials in the warm colors of highly-exposed 1950s- and 1960s-style photography, and Yellow Bird, Yellow Beard's artisans craft paper garlands—one of which will be donated to an attending bride. Beneath tissue-paper chandeliers, a dessert-sample table groans beneath cakes, cookies, and cupcakes marked with the names of their respective bakers.