April and Selena definitely had their work cut out for them planning a wedding from a distance since their move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Both are well-versed in the art of wine and food, so all knew they would be in for a treat. I had been eagerly anticipating this amazing display of nuptials all summer long, and finally the day was upon us! April and Selena’s magical day took place on a sprawling and picturesque family farm in Monmouth, IL. The couple tenderly exchanged vows in front of an impressive garden overlooking a pond, where they performed a hand-fasting ritual and jumped over a broom for the ceremony finale. Each guest had a nice relaxing afternoon of socializing, games in the yard and pleasant breezy strolls along nature walks as we took family pics. As the guests munched on a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres and sipped on some fully loaded sangria, chef Cecil Rodriguez fired up the grill and prepared a hearty spread of grilled pork, chicken, greens, quinoa and everything in-between. April and Selena finally caught a glimpse of the fully functioning barn that was lovingly transformed into an intimate lodge-style dining room with pretty succulents and tiny lights that glowed like little stars over the long rectangular tables. Needless to say it was breathtaking and perfect for their small and lively group. Mother nature added a little bit of urgency to go into the barn as the clouds suddenly darkened and brought in a torrential downpour! The excitement was in the air as everyone pulled together to save the buffet and gather the essentials from outside. The storm added a surprising element of comradery and bonded everyone together, not to mention it cooled that barn down by a good 10 degrees – perfect timing for a pleasant meal. Everyone gathered in the barn and took their seats as the newlyweds were toasted with smiles and giggles. The amazing and lovingly prepared meal exploded everyones minds with deliciousness and bellies became happy and full. Jessica Casteñeda made a decadent cake with rainbow-winged doves for the ladies to cut, and delicious little mason jars of fruit-filled shortcakes for guests to nibble or take home. As the storm passed, a faint rainbow glowed in the distance and the sky opened up just enough for all to witness a spectacular sunset – a perfect coda for the day. Evening fell and Rachel Karlic cranked some booty quaking jams and everybody stomped into the wee hours of the night. The vibe was casual, fun and twinkled with love and friendship. It was a straight-up barn burner that I was honored to be a part of! Congratulations April and Selena!