Michigan dairy farmer Josh Lehman and his fiancée, Diane, tied the knot before 250 of their closest friends and family members – and 400 cows – on June 29, 2013.
Maybe getting married among farm animals isn’t every woman’s dream wedding scenario, but it was just fine by Diane.
“I thought it was a neat idea,” she said. “I never thought about how I wanted to get married.”
Plus, she had grown accustomed to the farm and Josh’s demanding job -- a job that often means working 12 to 14 hour days with little time off. During four years of dating, the couple found that “date night” often meant a farm rendezvous where Diane pitched in by milking cows or doing a variety of other tasks. Getting married at the farm just seemed like a natural decision.
“The farm is where she sees me all the time,” Josh said. “I don’t leave very often, so it made sense to get married in the old barn.”
The “old barn” is indeed old. It was built in the 1800s and remains a functional part of the dairy. But it wasn’t exactly in wedding shape, so Josh replaced the wood floors and some other parts for a refurbished look. Hay bales were stacked in bleacher-style fashion to accommodate the guests.
Dress was come-as-you-are.
“We’re getting married in a barn for Pete’s sake,” Josh said. “I wasn’t expecting people to wear ties.”
Josh admits there were some anxious moments leading to the big day as he juggled milking cows with wedding day preparations.
“A couple of weeks before, I wondered if we were going to pull it all together,” he said. “The week before, we got the hay baled and stacked and then it kind of hit me that this is actually going to happen.”
The ceremony went off without a hitch with great weather and nary an objection from the farm’s cows situated in another barn about 30 feet away. Guests were invited to tour the dairy before heading to an off-farm reception.
The newlyweds and members of their wedding party arrived later in true farm fashion: via a hay ride.
“We drove through town on a hay wagon,” Josh said. “That was pretty cool. But that happens around here a lot. We’re a big farming community.”