Dana Peterson didn’t have to look far to find the perfect wedding venue. Stonewall Farm, her father’s spread in Long Valley, had everything she wanted. Dana, who grew up in Long Valley, and Jack Jaskowski, of North Brunswick, sought a unique, outdoor setting with a rustic and laid-back feel where they could share everything they loved: delicious food, great music, nature, the vintage vibe and their three dogs, who served as attendants.
“I always pictured my wedding in this big field with lots of dancing and people having fun, and that’s exactly what we got,” Dana says. On October 5, 2013, the couple walked down a grassy aisle and exchanged vows in a field overlooking Schooley’s Mountain. The bride and groom said “I do” under an arch made from tree branches as their 200 guests sat on chairs and hay bales that faced their dramatic backdrop. “I wanted them to see the changing colors of fall, and to see the mountain,” Dana says, noting that warm temperatures made it feel like a beautiful summer day. “I wanted an open, natural feel.”
Standing in her gown beside Jack during the 4:30 p.m. ceremony was a highlight for the bride. After a lifetime of thinking about getting married, the thrilling moment had arrived. “I was so excited to see him and for him to finally see what I looked like on our wedding day,” says Dana, 32. “It was kind of just that feeling you wanted to show everybody your love for each other.”
Afterward, the party got started in a barn filled with her dad’s vast collection of antiques. They ate, drank and danced as a bluegrass band played, a nod to Jack’s love of the genre. A fan of the Grateful Dead, Jack, 31, and his groomsmen also wore socks inspired by the band. The group later gathered under a tent for a buffet dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread, mac and cheese, collard greens and corn on the cob, the couple’s favorite kind of food. “It was all really cool and different,” Dana says.
They danced the night away to tunes from the ’80s, along with reggae and classic rock. “I’ve never been to a wedding where the entire dance floor was filled with people,” she says. “Everyone was having a blast.”
After honeymooning in Newport, Rhode Island, the couple are home in East Brunswick.