Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 5, 2013

Marriage isn’t just for a chapel

Local couples tie the knot down on the farm

BY LINDSAY ECKERT
KOKOMO TRIBUNE

— “Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married,” crooned the band The Dixie Cups in 1964. The tune sang excitement into couples’ ears as they planned their weddings within the four walls of a small chapel, tailored to the tradition of walking down the aisle beneath the steeple of their Sunday morning homes.

Fast forward nearly 50 years later, and The Dixie Cups would need to change their lyrics just a tad, as couples of the 21st century are increasingly tailoring their weddings to fit around their tastes, and leaving the cookie-cutter tradition back in the 1960s with the avocado green refrigerators.

Over the years, couples have meandered outside of chapels to outdoor gazebos, poolside ceremonies and swapped conventional aisles for sand.

As we turn another year, another crop of wedding trends has popped up: farm weddings.

Guests to the new out-of-the-chapel-box trend wind through country roads and fields to find the new unique spot for couples to cherish each other and their loved ones, their special day and may even be a little surprised by just how intimate the setting can be.

“We have some family members who aren’t easily pleased, so I’m sure they had their doubts about a wedding on a farm,” said newlywed Ben Brothers. “They ended up complimenting everything and just kept saying how beautiful it was, how it had something for everyone and how special it was.”

“Something for everyone” may be an understatement: The couple said Doug Eytcheson, Easy Acre Farm owner, was the host with the absolute most. The wedding had multiple facets ranging from a petting zoo and train rides for the kids, to barns for music and coffee and a small outdoor bar for drinks and more tunes.

Emily said they began wedding planning with Eytcheson in May for their Sept. 22 wedding. It was an event all its own, full of excitement, exchanging fun ideas and making the unconventional location fit with the wedding ceremony.

“Most weddings are a little bit of a learning experience, this was a fun adventure,” Emily said. “We’d be so excited to tell Doug our ideas, then his excitement about [our ideas] made us even more excited. We just kept building off each other to make things flow and he’d make sure everything we wanted got done.”

Eytcheson, who bought the farm eight years ago from Bill and Opal Trottier, said the thought to start hosting weddings at the farm stemmed from a deep-rooted appreciation for what the corn-filled campus represents. Eytcheson never grew up on a farm, but now shares a home there with his wife and two young daughters.

“The idea for hosting weddings crept in my mind as I experienced the world [our family] lives in on a residential farm,” he said. “Farms can bring a feeling of community, it can bring people together and nowadays people are understanding community can come in simplistic ways and I think that’s why the farm stimulated my idea to [host weddings]. It’s a great reuse.”

Although Eytcheson credits the sprawling landscape and the foundation of three barns nestled next to his family’s farm house for motivating his mind to make the land a wedding destination, he said watching families come together is what makes him thankful.

“Seeing the couples’ ideas have stimulated my ideas here. It’s touching and provokes warm feelings of family as I watch families coming together,” Eytcheson said. “I watched this wedding where the dad gave his stepson a locket. It was very touching. I think the organic nature of the farm provides something within all of us; a sense if comfort within all of us. I think people can sit and look at a farm and appreciate what was done here, years and years ago. It’s a sense of comfort to be here.”

Eytcheson’s hunch about couples appreciating the comfort of the farm was on point. Emily said the ambiance charmed the guests and created an atmosphere of togetherness for everyone, not just for the two tying the knot.

“It was so laid back and no one felt uptight, it was like a big family gathering and we had fun,” Emily said. “We had a do-it-yourself rustic theme, all of our food was homemade and everyone was so comfortable, that was beautiful to see how everyone was enjoying themselves.”

But, it was the most unconventional concept of the wedding, that painted an image of beauty in Ben’s mind when he saw his bride walk towards him - surrounded by hay bales and loved ones.

“Seeing her walking down a dirt aisle with singers in the background was really special. It seemed like something out of a movie and it was pretty perfect,” Ben said, as the newlyweds held hands four-and-half years after the day they met.