In early May of 2021, Katie Kizer and Marshall Bartlett tied the knot at Home Place Pastures in Como, Mississippi, in an enchanting wooded area behind the groom’s childhood home. How they ended up throwing the farm wedding of a lifetime in a place so extraordinary is a tale we just have to tell.
Home Place is a fifth-generation family farm situated on 1,800 acres. It’s home to several hundred pasture-raised livestock, a bespoke farm store and butcher shop, and a “glamping” site for outdoorsy adventurers interested in learning about regenerative farming. In 2014, when Marshall was just 25, he and his siblings grew the family business into the animal operation it is today.
Katie and Marshall’s relationship started slowly but quickly gathered momentum. The pair were introduced by a mutual friend at an event in Como — an event for which each was accompanied by a different date. In the months that followed, they shared more snippets of conversations at parties and began noticing one another. Finally, at one rather festive farm party (much like their eventual wedding), the stars aligned.
After a few date requests were refused, Marshall thought he had Katie “pegged as a goody-goody who was scared of ponds and loud music,” (his words from their wedding website), and Katie thought Marshall was a bit arrogant and — perhaps like his hogs — too wild. After their eventual first date, however, Marshall realized Katie was the coolest and smartest woman he’d ever shared a beer with. Similarly, Katie quickly decided that Marshall was the most interesting, charming hog farmer she didn’t know her life was missing.
They bought a house together not too long after they began dating. Katie was sure Marshall wouldn’t be able to surprise her, but he managed to pull off an epic engagement during a snowy ski trip in Taos, New Mexico.
During a lengthy engagement of a year and a half, Katie and Marshall planned the wedding themselves but enlisted the help of a fabulous day-of coordinator, Kelsey Connor of Connor & Co. “She was there from the beginning as we dreamed up our plans. We didn’t lift a finger the day of the wedding, and her services were invaluable,” Katie says.
With the pandemic still rearing its pesky head in the winter of 2020, they nixed the idea of an indoor wedding in Katie’s hometown of Memphis. At Home Place, everyone could be outdoors, and the party could continue as late into the night as their hearts desired.
“The woods back up to a beautiful lake that is west-facing and the sunsets there are gorgeous,” Katie says. Since they forewent the church ceremony, Katie thought of the trees as forming a natural sanctuary. “Everything had just bloomed, so there was plenty of shade for our guests.”
“I wanted the evening to feel romantic, relaxed, and fun,” Katie tells us. Kristin Wolter at Everbloom Design took the helm of floral design, building a variety of wonderfully asymmetrical, seasonally appropriate and creative arrangements.
“With all the natural beauty of the Home Place, I decided to incorporate one of the many trees as a focal point,” Katie says. “I wanted the flowers to be colorful but not too bold or loud. I wanted them to complement the existing scenery and still feel very bridal,” she adds. Mission undoubtedly accomplished.
A different reaction than most brides have, Katie called dress shopping a blast! “I love shopping, but I am not the kind of girl who’s been dreaming of my perfect gown since I was a child. I can be super indecisive, so I thought I was going to agonize over it, but the women at Maggie Louise were systematic and amazingly helpful.”
Marshall and the other groomsmen purchased their suits at Memphis menswear atelier, Oak Hall. He went with a blue suit that Katie says matched his blonde hair and blue eyes. And he decided to go sans tie. “He’s not really a tie kind of guy,” Katie laughs.
Ninety in-person guests and 150 more live-streaming at home watched Katie and Marshall exchange traditional vows beneath a canopy of lush trees. “Our ceremony was one of my favorite parts of the whole day. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle. I really wanted both of my parents, who are tremendously supportive and loving, to be up there with me on that day,” Katie says.
Katie wanted to take as few photos as possible after the ceremony, so they opted for a first look. “Seeing each other ahead of time just felt like some much-needed normalcy on a somewhat nerve-wracking day,” Katie says. Plus, they were ready to join the party right after their vows. To kick off the night, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour of wine, beer, champagne, lots of bourbon, and two specialty cocktails: a margarita and a Pimms cup.
For the remainder of the night, they danced to the Grammy-award-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers, a fantastic Cajun band out of Louisiana. The dancing was punctuated only for the seated three-course meal catered by longtime buddies of the groom’s family, Tresse and Austin Sumrall of White Pillars in Biloxi, MS. “They blew it out of the water,” Katie says. “It was so special to share a meal with people we love that showcased all the hard work that happens at Home Place – from raising the animals on pasture, to the slaughter, to cultivating relationships with creative chefs from the South.” A late-night menu of carnitas tacos, fried shrimp corn dogs, and boudin balls was a welcomed treat for dancing guests.
The cake was important to Katie. She chose a three-layered Southern buttercream dream made by a local baker in Senatobia, MS, named Shirley Maples. The bottom and top layers were orange, and the center was almond with a raspberry.
When it was time for the after-party, sparklers guided Katie and Marshall to a canoe where they sailed across the dark water to the campsite across the pond. “Marshall and I shared a special, quiet moment on the water. It felt pretty romantic,” Katie says.
After a night in the woods, the newlyweds changed scenery drastically and embarked on week-long trip to two luxurious eco-lodges in Costa Rica where they saw wildlife, surfed, zip-lined, and whitewater rafted. As a final note to brides-to-be, Katie offers this: “It doesn’t have to be the most perfect day of your life. It’s probably one of the nicest parties you’ll plan for yourself, so enjoy being surrounded by the people who love you, and try not to agonize too much about the details!”
Thank you so much, Katie and Marshall, for sharing this truly special day with us. And thanks to The Warmth Around You for the incredible photos. If you’re interested in hosting a wedding or event on the farm at Home Place Pastures, email [email protected].
Ceremony & reception: Home Place Pastures
Coordinator: Kelsey Connor
Photographer: The Warmth Around You
Livestream videography: Pixel Love
Hair: Annie Shackelford
Bridal party preparation venue: Moon Hollow Farm
Bride’s gown: Made with Love from Maggie Louise
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bhldn, Reformation
Groom and groomsmen attire: Oak Hall
Catering: White Pillars
Cake: Shirley Maples
Entertainment: Lost Bayou Ramblers and Shardé Thomas & The Rising Stars Fife and Drum Band
Rentals, glassware & linens: Magnolia Rentals
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