Liza and Wyatt were married in the bride’s uncle’s backyard in Shreveport, La. on December 13. Liza has been battling a form of cancer called synovial sarcoma, and she and Wyatt planned the surprise wedding in just two days.
“After getting the prognosis that my cancer was terminal, we laid in bed that night and made a bucket list of things we wanted to do — mostly travel and adventure trips,” Liza said. “When we started considering it more seriously we both decided that we wanted to get married. Once we were told I only had a couple weeks left, I never thought we would have enough time to pull off a wedding, but Wyatt said he knew we could do it, and convinced me by coming up with the idea to do it as a surprise! When we returned to Shreveport the night before the wedding, Wyatt and I finally had a little time for just the two of us. He pulled out the most beautiful ring and told me he couldn’t love me anymore or be any happier to call me his wife. I was taken aback by the ‘official proposal’ because I had no idea his dad had already shipped Wyatt his mom’s ring to give to me.”
The venue was nestled on Cross Lake, “where my family spent a lot of time growing up,” she said. “I always wanted to get married there because the sunset over the lake is so beautiful.” The bride wore a v-neck lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown with capped sleeves and keyhole back, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, floor-length veil, and a bouquet of roses and hydrangeas. “Maybe the most trickiest detail of planning a wedding in 48 hours is finding a dress,” Liza said. “Luckily for me, I had always dreamed of wearing a dress just like the one a neighbor had worn at her wedding a few years before. Because we were in such a rush, I decided to call her and just ask if I could wear it at my own wedding. She graciously said yes and even offered to allow me to make alterations. It fit perfectly. I also borrowed my best friend’s mom’s sapphire earrings. My best friend had gotten married the month before and her mom wore the earrings to her wedding. I loved them so much that she promised me I could wear them as my ‘something blue’ at my own wedding, thinking that would be years, not weeks away.”
The ceremony took place at dusk on the lawn with 150 witnessing. “It was so fun to see everyone’s faces as I walked down the aisle,” she said. “They were so overjoyed and many of the guests, men and women alike, had eyes full of tears. Wyatt said he can’t stop thinking about how happy I looked when I walked out on my dad’s arm. He said my smile has never been bigger.” The newlyweds’ performed their first dance shortly after followed by dinner and the cake cutting inside the private residence. Of course, Liza smashed a piece in Wyatt’s face! “We cut out a lot of the little details and delegated decisions that weren’t important to us,” Liza said. “I’m sure most of the details weren’t perfect, but I felt we had the best wedding ever. We realized that what makes a wedding great are best friends and family, a great setting, good food, plenty of drinks, and non-stop music.” They ended the night with the song “Shout.” “After about eight hours of celebrating, we closed the night by dancing to a favorite song,” she said. “We were in a screened-in porch and all of our family and friends swarmed around us in a circle. I remember looking around and seeing all these people we loved dancing and having the times of their lives.” A grand exit took place amongst a sea of glitter and a ride in a fancy old convertible car.
For more information on synovial sarcoma, visit the Love for Liza at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center fund. Please follow this link here.
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!”