Gaby and PJ were married in the bride’s parent’s backyard in Sacramento, Calif. on July 5. “We wanted a small wedding with a lot of character,” Gaby said. “The backyard was surrounded by a rustic wood fence with ivy growing up, covered in beautiful trees to shade us from the hot, hot sun, and had a built-in-bar and dance floor, and even a trampoline for the kiddos!” The bride wore a scalloped lace trumpet wedding gown, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, while the groom wore a white button-up shirt, denim vest, and khaki pants, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore mix ‘n’ matched short orange dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of roses, peonies, dahlias, and greenery. “I LOVED all of my do-it-yourself projects, but my favorite was my backdrop,” she said. “We knew we wanted to do something with my grandparent’s swing set, but it was over 9-feet tall and 12-feet wide. Our florist happened to be an old friend from high school, and she did a walking tour with me through the backyard and gave me the idea to cover it completely in fabric. I spent a very long time looking for and cutting up table cloths and old bed sheets from thrift stores. My mother-in-law sewed a very big plain white background, which we hung first (so you couldn’t see through when the wind blew), and the day before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I sat out in the 110 degree weather, got out our ladder, and started tying all of the individual pieces together. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I was really nervous about this . . . but when it was complete . . . I couldn’t have been happier!” Fun fact: The ceremony also included the couple’s five-year-old son. “This was not only our special day, but his too,” Gaby said. Guests found their seats via a chalkboard window panel. Tables were decorated with vintage vase and vessel centerpieces, glasses, which served double-duty as favors, and mason jar candles. “In the middle of all the fun, everyone had gotten out on the dance floor and really started to let loose,” she said. “We went off to the back to just have a moment alone and look out at our family and friends, who had taken this journey with us. We watched them all laugh and just have fun, and then we danced too . . . very slowly and awkwardly to a rowdy song.”
Lauren and Carter were married in the groom’s parent’s backyard in Columbia, Mo. on September 6. “When searching for a venue, nothing felt like us,” Lauren said. “When Carter’s parents moved into their house and offered it as a venue, it fit us. It was familiar and relaxed, just what we needed.” The bride wore a vintage-inspired v-neck a-line wedding gown with capped sleeves and an illusion back, accessorized with a pair of gold peep-toe wedges, while the groom wore a gray suit, accessorized with a tie and pocket square. Bridesmaids wore mix ‘n’ matched short peach chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of roses, poppies, astilbes, berries, and dusty millers. “Oh man, there were so many special moments,” she said. “I guess the one that stands out the most would be after we walked down the aisle from the ceremony. Carter pulled me aside privately. I could feel the sprinkles that were thrown on us falling off of our heads and shoulders. It was really sweet.” Guests were directed to the tented reception via a wooden directional arrow. Tables were decorated with mint linens, vintage vases and vessels, books, picture frame numbers, and votive candles. “The day was perfect, and everyone who helped did an amazing job,” Lauren said. “We loved our sweets table. I have a sweet tooth, or more appropriately, sweet teeth. Anything someone could want for dessert was delicately arranged.” It featured an three-tiered ombre cake, cupcakes, mini pies, cookies, and more. The newlyweds’ best advice? “My advice to other couple’s planning their wedding would be to go slowly,” she said. “Go one step at a time and everything will come together. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Jessica and Brett were married at the groom’s parent’s backyard in Greensboro, N.C. on July 12. “My initial thought process for planning our wedding was based around some chickens I saw at the Wayne County Fair in Pennslyvania the week we got engaged,” Jessica said. “They were a beautiful gray color, and I knew that’s what our bridal party needed to wear. I also knew I wanted a lot of green and cream as well as coral and mint for a pop of color too.” The bride wore a strapless lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with an ivory sash, while the groom wore a white button-up, khaki pants, and gray vest, accessorized with a mint bow tie. Bridesmaids wore short gray chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of roses, hydrangeas, berries, and hosta leaves. “Our venue was my in-law’s backyard,” she said. “So, I knew this would be a wonderful place to have our wedding because it was where my husband grew up, and it was cost effect as well.” Guests were greeted with a chalkboard sign that displayed the couple’s love story, which began in September 2008. Fabric was draped across the trees to create a ceremony backdrop, and in lieu of traditional unity candle lighting, they combined paint onto canvas. “I LOVED the handmade signs,” Jessica said. “They added a fun, little quirk to everything. I also loved all of the floral arrangements. They were perfect. I wish I could have kept them longer. I also loved all the antique-y things we were able to incorporate.” Tables were decorated with burlap runners, wine bottle and mason jar centerpieces, and twine-wrapped napkins. The dessert display featured a two-tiered cake topped with birds and assorted cupcakes such as Chocolate Oreo, red velvet, and vanilla with strawberry filling. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Make sure to communicate what you want with other people and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “If I had really thought about this the week before the wedding, I wouldn’t have been such a stress, and it would have alleviated a lot of arguments with the parents!”
Maria and Jason were married at their own home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on June 14. “Our engagement party was actually a surprise wedding to all of our guests,” Jason said. “For the first hour and a half of the event, we were dressed casual. We made an announcement over the microphone thanking everyone for coming to share in our special day. We then dropped the bomb that no one was supposed to leave because the party was really our ‘surprise wedding!’ We said were going upstairs to change, and we were to be married in 30 minutes. And that is exactly what happened. People’s faces were in complete shock, and one person even yelled out, ‘Are they for real?’ Once reality settled in, everyone started clapping and congratulating us.” The bride wore a strapless lace wedding gown, accessorized with a her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls with a jeweled headband, while the groom wore a khaki vest and pants, accessorized with a pale blue tie and pair of Vans slip-ons. Her bouquet featured cymbidium orchids. The very important extra was Piglet, the flower pup. Following the outdoor ceremony, dinner and dancing began underneath a tent. To beat the heat, refreshing drinks in beverage dispensers, such as pink lemonande, were served. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Not everything is going to come out perfect,” he said. “Just roll with the punches and enjoy your day.” Almost everything was handmade! Tables included burlap runners, mason jar centerpieces, lanterns, and lots of candles. “They were full throttle on making something beautiful from scratch,” Stephanie Rawcliffe, the photographer, said. “What an amazing job she did!”
Ana and Cliff were married in a traditional church ceremony at Kentwood Community followed by an outdoor reception in the bride’s parent’s backyard on April 26 in Wayland, Mich. “It was my grandfather’s house,” Ana said. “He bought 30 acres and built a house when my mom and her siblings were growing up. After my grandfather passed, my parents bought the house to keep it in the family. I called ‘dibs’ on being able to have my wedding there for a LONG time.” The bride wore a v-neck lace wedding gown with capped sleeves and keyhole back, accessorized with an ivory sash, while the groom wore a light brown three-piece wool suit, accessorized with a denim button-up and striped bow tie. “All their suits were thrift store finds with some flare and added personal style,” she said. “We basically gave them the color scheme and told them to do their thing.” Bridesmaids wore long chiffon dresses and carried do-it-yourself bouquets. Before the ceremony, the couple opted for a first look. “But when we said our vows, I was astounded that we got through them without crying,” Ana said. “That moment, when time stood still, and I looked into Cliff’s eyes to profess my love to him — it’s engraved in my heart forever.” Reception tables were decorated with antique vases and vessels centerpieces, picture frames, handkerchief runners, and kraft paper bag thank-you notes at each place setting. “My mom crafted nearly every single decoration,” she said. “Everything was that much more amazing because of the extra love put forth.” In addition to a mini cake that the newlyweds cut, there was also a popcorn bar with all the toppings like M&M’s, peanuts, and cinnamon sugar and Krispy Kreme doughnuts for guests to snack on. Yum!