photographed by Liv Hefner Photography
A bride brings her creative vision to life in a bohemian themed wedding.
There is a reason the word “singular” has come to mean “remarkable.” Sometimes even the best idea seems impossible to everyone except the person who dreamed it up. And in that case, it takes a singular talent with singular motivation to bring that idea to life.
That’s what happened when Emma Boso began to plan her wedding. She wanted the event to reflect her “eclectic, bohemian” tastes. But, try as she might to explain her vision, no one else quite understood.
Others might have abandoned their ideas at that point, but Emma did not. She forged ahead and, despite being a full-time student with limited free time, personally oversaw nearly every detail of her big day. In the end, she got the wedding she envisioned—and created a day that family and friends will remember for years to come.
A Homey Vision
Emma Ervin met Sam Boso in 2013 at Parkersburg South High School, where she was a freshman and he was a junior. She got caught sitting in the upperclassmen area at a basketball game and one of Sam’s friends told him to kick her out. Sam wouldn’t do it, taking to Twitter to write, ”Of course I’m not going to kick the pretty girl out of the student section.”
He quickly deleted the tweet—but not before one of Emma’s friends screengrabbed it and texted it to her. They began trading messages. A few weeks later, on Valentine’s Day, they went on their first date and immediately became inseparable. They both enrolled at West Virginia University, where Sam studied civil engineering and Emma enrolled in the school’s fashion design program.
They got engaged in August 2016, while on a camping trip with friends to Lake Erie. On their first night, Sam and Emma took a sunset walk along the beach until they came to a lighthouse. He knelt in the sand and popped the question. Emma said “yes” without hesitation.
The couple scheduled their wedding for August 2017, but didn’t begin planning right away. Preparations didn’t get underway until Christmas break of that year, with the ceremony less than eight months away.
Some of the particulars were easy to figure out. Sam and Emma knew they wanted to get married at his family’s 13-acre property in Washington, Wood County. His sister had been married there a few years before, so benches were already in place for the ceremony. But Emma’s ideas for decorating the grounds went far beyond the usual flowers and ribbons. She wanted to separate the outdoor space into various “rooms.” “When guests walked in, I wanted them to feel like they were walking into an old-timey house,” she says.
She wanted the registry area to resemble a bedroom. There would be a secretary desk covered in wth globes, succulents, and old cameras. She would set out three dress forms for her mom’s wedding dress, her grandmother’s dress, and the wedding dress worn by both Sam’s mom and grandmother. Nearby, on an antique sewing machine table, there would be the veil Sam’s mom and grandmother wore as well as photos of all four women on their wedding days. The centerpiece of this area would be a white metal frame bed, where guests would drop off their cards and gifts.
For the ceremony area, Emma wanted to create the feel of a living room. She wanted to line the aisle with oriental rugs in varying colors and sizes running down the aisle. The couple would exchange vows before a white greenery-draped mantle and beneath a chandelier hanging from a tree. The bridal party would enter the area through two white doors. “Without the doors, it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a room,” she says.
While her family was happy to go along with her plans, they didn’t quite understand Emma’s vision. “My mom thought I was crazy. Sam’s mom thought I was crazy.” Nevertheless, she went antique hunting at every opportunity—with Sam tagging along as her muscle— to tracking down the items she would need. “We went antique shopping probably every single weekend for a year and collected stuff,” Emma says.
She bought old box cameras, chairs, a vanity, a desk, and that big white bed. She found a chandelier and adorned it with colored crystals. The most difficult items to track down, surprisingly enough, were the oriental rugs. It took a long time to find the colors and sizes she wanted. “I was very picky with my rugs.”
Even as her family saw the ever-increasing stash of décor, Emma still had a difficult time explaining how it would work. So, one sweltering summer day a month before the wedding, she decided it was time for a dry run. “Everyone was trying to help me but I was like, ‘No, I need to do this.’”
She set up each room, just like it would be for the wedding. Finally, everyone got it. And before Emma put the items back in storage, she took photos so everyone would remember where everything needed to go.
A DIY Dress
Emma ordered her bridesmaids dresses from Show Me Your MuMu, an L.A.-based bohemian apparel brand. Some of her bridesmaids wore bohemian-style wrap dresses with uttering sleeves while some wore high neckline gowns with an open back. Sam and his groomsmen all wore blue tuxedos. “That’s something else they thought I was crazy for,” Emma says.
Sam did not initially want a blue suit but, after seeing the slate blue fabric at Hornor & Harrison in Parkersburg, he changed his mind. Emma picked out ivory shirts, vests, and ties to complete the ensemble. “You always match the vest to the girl’s dress, but I didn’t want a prom look,” she says.
When it came to her own attire, Emma only went shopping one time. “I just wanted to go for the experience. I went once, just to say I did,” she says. “Everything I saw was too plain or not really my style.”
She knew all along that she would make her own dress. “I always felt like i went to college for this, it would be a waste not to make it.” Besides, Emma wanted a gown with drape sleeves and none of the bridal shops seemed to carry anything like that. “I still have not seen that out in bridal stores.”
With wedding preparations and schoolwork, she did not have time to start on the dress until two months before the ceremony. “I think my mom almost had a stroke. Everyone was so stressed.”
Emma wasn’t stressed, however, even as she drafted five different designs—none of which seemed right. So she just began to make patterns. She then mocked up the dress with muslin, made everything fit, adjusted the patterns, and started sewing.
She made the dress from ivory-colored fabric and covered the garment in silver-threaded lace. The result was a fitted design that flares at the bottom. “It’s not a mermaid dress but a trumpet dress,” Emma says. She did all the work herself, except she needed the help of a local seamstress to get it hemmed—Emma couldn’t pin the bottom while also wearing the dress. “She said it was hanging up and everyone who came in was asking where I got it.” No one could believe the dress was handmade by the bride.
A Boho-themed Big Day
Although the weather was stormy in the week leading up to Sam and Emma’s wedding day, August 5, 2017 turned out to be a perfect 74 degrees and breezy. The couple was similarly fair-tempered. “I wasn’t nervous at all. My friends commented on how calm I was,” Emma says.
Emma’s dad Fred, who also officiated the ceremony, escorted her mom to her seat before looping around to walk his daughter down the aisle to the 1990s jangle rock classic “There She Goes.” It was the first time Sam had seen Emma’s dress. “Her dress looked beautiful. she looked beautiful,” he says. “It was a very good moment.”
The ceremony was short and sweet—as a unity ceremony, the couple planted a maple tree to symbolize the strength of their relationship—and the newlyweds left the ceremony to Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” The reception was held just a short walk away, in a tent erected by the property’s barn.
Sam and Emma’s fathers built and stained each of the 14 tables used at the reception. Each was decorated with five centerpieces of garden roses, ranunculus, greenery, and other seasonal flowers. Guests dined on vintage china place settings with Depression glass cups and salad plates Emma collected during her antique hunts.
Theo’s Restaurant in Cambridge, Ohio catered the meal, serving up parmesan chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, bowtie pasta, and beef roast. “It was a lot of random stuff because they let me pick it out,” Emma says. For dessert, guests enjoyed a three-tiered vanilla cake covered in textured buttercream icing and fresh flowers, made by The Village Cakery in Vincent, Ohio.
Then, with the meal finished, everyone headed to the dance floor. “We were worried at first because we didn’t have alcohol,” Emma says. But once DJ Chris Wilson of Premier Productions in Parkersburg got the music pumping, guests couldn’t resist.
Emma and Sam’s wedding favors followed the handmade vibe of the rest of the event. Women received candles made from antique teacups the couple bought and filled with wax. The men received small jars of local honey from Bob’s Market in Belpre, Ohio.
The couple honeymooned in Nassau, Jamaica, then returned to Morgantown. They are now planning a move to Pittsburgh where Sam will work as a transportation engineer. Emma, who will graduate from WVU in December 2018, has landed a management job with Target. She hopes to someday work for a fashion design house. One thing is for sure—she has over a hundred guests who could provide one heck of a reference.