Just One of the Dreamiest, Most Romantic Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm Micro-Weddings We’ve Ever Seen

The tented reception allowed guests to “socially distance in an aesthetic way,” says the bride.

Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm

Lara Aqel and Carlos Valdes-Lora’s Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm micro-wedding was a gorgeous tented soiree. Photography by Avonné Photography

There’s something enchanting about barn weddings in the Pennsylvania countryside — the lush greenery, the charm of the historic buildings and the occasional farm animal sighting never ceases to allure many a couple seeking a spot to say “I do.” For this duo, a series of pandemic pivots allowed them to have a small outdoor soiree that turned out to be everything they wanted and more. Their Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm micro-wedding was photographed by Avonné Photography, whose gorgeous images will certainly capture your heart. Check them out below.

Invitations getting ready bride and mother of the bride groom getting ready rings

Amman, Jordan-born photography director Lara Aqel experienced love at first sight when she was introduced to Carlos Valdes-Lora on a film set in NYC in 2014. She had an “instant, overwhelming sense” about Carlos, a lighting technician from Miami, and he agrees that something was different about her.

Five years later, Carlos chose a particularly meaningful moment to ask her to marry him. He popped the question while the two were on a trip to Cuba with his parents, who were visiting their birth country for the first time since childhood. 

first look first look bride wedding party

The Atlanta duo first set a date for March 2020 at Park Château Estate & Gardens in East Brunswick, then had to postpone till July. It was a no-brainer: Their parents, who are in the medical field, were running COVID-19 testing centers and dealing with the crisis firsthand. (Two days before the original March date, Lara’s mother got COVID-19. She recovered fully, but her experience made it that much more important for the couple to say “I do” safely.) “The choice was easy,” says Lara. But as summer approached, they knew they couldn’t safely hold a 220-person celebration then, either — and after nearly six years together, they simply wanted to be husband and wife.

The pandemic further strengthened Lara and Carlos’s reasons for getting engaged in the first place. “It helped us focus on the meaning of the commitment we were making,” says the bride. In just eight weeks, the pair planned a “moody secret-garden party” at the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. (A wedding insurance policy they’d purchased after getting engaged helped them recoup much of the expenses from their 220-person plans.)

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It was crucial to the couple to take precautions seriously, so they cut the guest list to 32. The entire day was held outdoors, from the courtyard ceremony to the romantic tented reception. Lara and Carlos streamed their nuptials to remote guests. While there were some hangups (the groom was nervous and initially forgot to turn on his mic pack), the couple was pleased with the outcome of the video.

Guests later signed the self-uniting marriage certifi­cate, which featured a poem by playwright Tony Kushner.

reception license lounge setting setting settingsetting food guests bride and motherevening

For the reception, Lara wanted to “socially distance in an aesthetic way” and was inspired by Parisian cafes. Bistro tables were arranged in a large circle around the dance floor in the sailcloth tent by Bucks-Mont Party Rental. “The reception felt intimate even though we were all slightly apart,” says the bride, who loved the florals by A Cottage Gardener, including around the sweetheart table. It was encircled by “Distant Drums” and “Koko Loko” garden roses, “Brownie” lisianthus, sweet peas, “Butterfly” ranunculus, fritillaria, olive branches and eucalyptus. 

cake slicing

Wagyu short-rib Délice de Bourgogne cheesesteaks on crostini were among the bites served. In honor of Lara’s heritage, the couple gifted attendees Palestinian olive oil. And despite heavy rains the evening before, they were married on what Lara calls the “most perfect day.” 

Photographer: Avonné Photography | Venue & Catering: The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm | Planning/Design: Lara Aqel (design); Carla Friday of Details Made Simple (coordinator) | Florals: A Cottage Gardener | Bride’s Gown: Pronovias, customized at Gizzelle James Couturiere in Atlanta | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Tania Olsen from Sentani Boutique | Hair: Air Hair and Makeup | Makeup: Lorena Ferreira Makeup Artist | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Music: Elegance String Quartet | Cake: The Sugary | Cookies: Brooke Stansfield of Lunabelle Baking Co. | Invitations: Minted | Videography: Shutter & Sound; LJDJS Event Design & Entertainment (livestream only) | Rentals: White Glove Rentals; BBJ Linen and Party Rental Ltd. (linens) | Favors: Nancy Nikko Design (custom bottle labels) | Tent: Bucks-Mont Party Rental

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