I admit I have a soft spot for a DIY backyard wedding and this one is full of heart warming touches and sweet vintage details, I know you’ll fall in love with it immediately as I did. This vintage garden themed soiree was brought to life by everyone pitching in to make sure the day was a true reflection of the couple’s love for each another. The bride made all the bouquets, boutonnieres and favors, her Mother and bridesmaids helped create the floral centerpieces and aisle decor bouquets, and the groom made the wedding cake and desserts! (now that’s impressive!). But for me, the two ‘stand out’ details was the groom including a ‘groomsmaid’ in his bridal party (such a cool idea!) and the bride chosing to wear a family vintage wedding gown (such a beautiful gesture). Thankfully, 2&3 Photography were on hand to capture all the amazing DIY details, plus we’ve included very little detail from the bride herself, so all you DIY brides can receive first-hand a ton of priceless information and sweet inspiration.
Bride Nikki shares:
Wedding Theme: In light of my dress being almost 30 years old (it was my mother’s dress), and my engagement/wedding ring coming from an estate collection from the 1950′s, we decided ‘vintage‘ would make a great theme. And since we were in our backyard with our closest friends and family, we went for a garden party feel. And so the ‘Vintage Garden Party’ theme was born.
DIY Elements: Almost everything we did was DIY. We didn’t have a ton of money to spend on a wedding (we bought a house and fixed up the yard at the beginning of the same year) and we didn’t want many of the extra details that go into traditional weddings like getting my hair and makeup done professionally (I did it myself and it looked great), renting/buying a tuxedo, or fancy centerpieces. We didn’t want the day to feel like a staged production so we tried to keep things as natural as possible, from the burlap table runners and mason jars and flowers stems to the decor and food.
Ceremony: Our vows, which we wrote ourselves, were inspired by sample scripts from many different religions and cultures which reflected our own views and feelings. We focused on our commitment and how we are individuals who have chosen to live our lives together, as opposed to “two becoming one.”
Vintage Wedding Dress: I wore the wedding dress handmade by my great-aunt for my mother. Although, it was a tad too big, knowing it was made with love by a family member, (and the fact that Mom never actually got to wear the dress because it wasn’t finished in time), made it even more important I wear it. The simple, deep V in both the front and the back is my design; the original top had much more fabric. I added a sash of ivory ribbon and a fabric flower just under the bust. I left the bottom the same because the original lace was so beautiful and my awesome seamstress made it feel light and flowy.
Color Palette: The two colors we agreed on were purple and green. Purple is my favorite color and green is our compromise color for just about everything because we both really like it. Even though we had an Autumn wedding, I really wanted to keep things bright and cheery so purple and green seemed perfect.
Decor: We decided on minimal decoration to allow the natural beauty of our backyard to shine through. We spent several months before the wedding mulching, weeding and filling in newly-built steps in the backyard. My parents helped out a lot and in the end, the yard looked amazing. From the porch railings we hung a string of photos I made, with photos of us starting in early childhood and ending with us just a few years ago. We made a “Just Married” banner out of burlap and white acrylic paint and hung it on the fence behind the food table to enjoy during the reception.
Fashion: The girls wore their own green dresses they picked out themselves. I told them if they already had a green dress to wear it but if not, I asked them to choose one that was pretty and any shade of green but, most importantly, that they felt comfortable wearing. The guys wore white button-down shirts with khakis and each wore a green tie with a different pattern.
Flowers: My parents and I purchased a bunch of flowers from the supermarket the morning of the wedding, to use for the centerpieces. We also made small bouquets (with the help of my amazing bridesmaids) to tie to the chairs lining the aisle. We also made a few bouquets to sit around the yard. I made the bouquets and boutonnieres ahead of time with artificial flowers. I used dahlias, hydrangeas, and roses to make the bouquets and roses for the boutonnieres. I wrapped them all in burlap to keep things rustic. And apparently I went a little crazy with the hot glue because we had trouble pushing the pins through the boutonnieres!
Reception: Nick (my husband) strung up some string lights and hung pretty white paper lanterns. In keeping with our vintage theme, the centerpieces consisted of old mason jars, bottles and vases of various shapes and sizes we filled with the supermarket flowers. My mother, bridesmaids and I (they did most of the work) put together all of the flowers for the centerpieces and chairs. We covered tables in white linens and burlap runners. Each table contained two centerpieces where we arranged three jars (one small, one medium, and one large) together on one white lace doily and placed a few flower stems in each one. I also really wanted to somehow incorporate into the decor several other ceremony readings (which were’nt used during the short ceremony) which perfectly described our sentiments. So, I printed the readings and displayed them in frames around the yard for people to read.
Catering: We brought in catering from two of our favorite restaurants. Our wedding cake was a homemade Key Lime Cheesecake Nick baked himself. He also made little cheesecake cupcakes for the guests. We had Raspberry Swirl, Blueberry, Plain, and Key Lime cheesecake cupcakes. He did such a great job and everyone loved them; our friend even asked him to do some for her upcoming wedding!
Favors: I wanted the favors to really mean something to our guests, to let them know how appreciative we were of them spending our day with us. I decorated little note cards with a pretty bride and groom stamp and wrote short, personalized messages to each guest. We also set up a candy bar for them to pick out their favorite sweet treats.
What was your wedding vision?
We knew first and foremost we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of our love and commitment to each other and of the love and support we’ve received from our friends and family. We wanted it to be casual, comfortable and fun. Ultimately, we wanted it to be about the most important aspects of our decision: our love, our family and friends, and spending the rest of our lives together.
What else made your wedding unique?
We had a groomsmaid! One of Nick’s best friends is a girl and it was really important to him that she stand with him on our day. She dressed similar to my bridesmaids in a green dress, but was part of the grooms party.
What was your biggest challenge?
We thought the biggest challenge would be keeping the guest list small but really it was managing the wedding! We didn’t have a wedding planner so we had to do all of the research, decide what we wanted, and execute it all ourselves. In hindsight, we would have greatly benefited from a day-of coordinator because the most stressful part was the few hours before the wedding started; we were running around, making sure everything was out, up, and running the way it was supposed to be.
Thad and Sarah proved to not only be awesome photographers but they were a lifesaver, as well! Thanks to their experience, they were able to help us organize our processional, which was really confusing us in the beginning. But thanks to them, it all ran smoothly.
Any favorite moments?
During our vows, Nick started to tear up and his voice cracked a little to keep himself from crying. I thought I would be the one who cried at our wedding, but it was my almost-always serious husband who was overcome with emotion. It was really touching. Another favorite moment was our speeches. Two of my bridesmaids gave really heart-warming talks and then Nick, who kept interrupting mine by leaning into the mic every time I thanked someone he forgot.
Wow – so much great information! Thank you Nikki for going explaining your wedding process and sharing all the DIY details. Congratulations on creating such an amazing day! Also a big thanks to 2&3 Photography for the wonderful imagery.
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