I mentioned last week that while Parker and I are off galavanting across the western United States to celebrate our first anniversary, I had plans to share our wedding here. We were featured on Ruffled a few weeks back so you may have seen some of our day, but I wanted to share my favorite moments and things that may not have been featured since I wasn’t blogging when we got married. So this week I’m going to share our wedding with you and hope you like getting a peak in to what was – truly – the best day of our lives (so far!).
I’m kicking off a week long series of wedding posts with the details, because I believe the little details often make the biggest impact. And I need to mention our amazing photographer, Nessa K, is responsible for all of these lovely images.
First off, the location was the star of our wedding. We looked for months for the right venue and couldn’t find anything that felt like us and was affordable and didn’t feel like the venue owners were trying to dictate so much of the wedding (what we could and could not bring in, who we had to work with, how much time we were allowed to set up, huge upcharges for alcohol, what kind of decorations were allowed, etc etc). Weddings are so expensive and if we were going to spend the money, I wanted to feel good about who we were working with and wanted to feel completely comfortable on the big day.
After searching high and low for several months, I decided to give it a rest for a weekend while I went to visit my grandparents in Frederick, Maryland so I could enjoy spending time with my family without wedding planning. And lo and behold, as soon as I got there, it hit me that this was the perfect place to get married! Right there in their backyard – it had been right under my nose the whole time. The only thing not completely ideal was the fact that it was 600 miles away (we live in Atlanta). But that didn’t matter, we decided to have a destination backyard wedding.
It was everything I had ever wanted – wide open space for the ceremony, and lush trees to hang bistro lights from for the reception, plus fields all around for photos and ambiance. Simple, natural beauty that didn’t need a lot of elaborate decorations and was off the beaten path. Plus, freedom to do whatever we wanted, take as long as we needed to set up and take down, bring in whatever vendors we wanted. It felt like home and a family celebration – it was perfect!
I knew I didn’t want much decoration for the ceremony site (the scenery was enough), but I loved the idea of a couple of simple tables set up with flowers and cheerful ribbons flowing in the breeze on the backsides of the chairs.
One thing my family was (understandably) adamant about was shade and fans. My brother got married in July in Augusta, GA on the hottest, muggiest day and our side of the family had the sun right in our eyes and no one let me forget that they didn’t want a repeat situation. So, my solution was paper parasols that were functional and adorable for shade and I DIY’d fans that also had a welcome message to all of our guests on one side and the Apache Wedding Blessing on the other side.
The venue allowed for the rustic, heirloom decorations I had always imagined using. Quilts that have been in my family for generations were perfect for their looks and sentimental significance, but also for their practicality – we draped them over hay bales to create inexpensive and comfortable seating all around the yard. We also laid quilts on the grass for lounging and laying under the trees. My aunt made a bunch of great pillows that made everything so comfortable and looked great with the old quilts.
The land also allowed us to set up lawn games for guests to play during the reception since we didn’t want a dance floor. I know, shocking, right?! But dance floors are so not us. We wanted to dance in the grass when the mood felt right and not feel forced or obligated to on a dance floor with all eyes on us. Lawn games and casual seating throughout was more our style :)
So much bunting – 500 ft! I cut out the fabric and ironed over one side so my mom could sew them and then I had friends help string it all. It’s an inexpensive way to add a festive touch, but it does take time!
To keep the idea of family tradition and heirlooms in mind, I displayed the wedding dresses of my mom and both my grandmothers (you may remember my mom’s dress on the right from our engagement pictures). This was a really special way for me to pay tribute to the women who came before me and played such an important role in showing me what it means to be a great wife and have a beautiful, loving marriage. The dress in the center was what my grandmother wore for her and my grandfather’s elopement. Fun fact: I recently discovered they were married on the exact same day, in the exact same year as Parker’s grandparents. December 27, 1949. Isn’t that amazing?
In addition to hay bale couches we also rented some vintage furniture from Ginger & Spice so my grandparents could have somewhere really comfortable to relax but also be a part of all the fun and not feel like they needed to go inside. This was a big hit with the older crowd!
I also had my heart set on having a campfire with s’mores for a late night snack so we made that happen with the BEST gourmet marshmallows and some campfire sticks I found randomly one day at the Target dollar section. That barrel was a craigslist find that sits in our living room now as a side table.
We set up a bar on the patio, which seemed like it was built exactly for that purpose. It was the right size and centrally located for guests to grab a drink. We found out Frederick is home to Flying Dog Brewery and Frederick Cellars, a local vineyard and winery, so were were excited to serve local beer and wine in addition to cocktails.
We set up the dinner tables on a grassy stretch of land on the edge of a bean field that had a large hedge separating us from the caterers in the driveway on the other side. It was nice to sit there with all of our friends and family, eat wonderful food (we served gourmet burgers, fries and milkshakes!) and look out at the wide open, beautiful view right at sunset.
I should also mention that my mom, aunt and I did all the flowers ourselves. We purchased them wholesale from fiftyflowers.com and had them delivered a couple of days before. If you are on a tight budget like we were, this was a great option because we got a TON of flowers for a great price. But it took two solid days of work to arrange them ourselves, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
Stay tuned for tomorrow! I’ve got the getting ready pictures and ceremony planned, plus I’ll tell the story of how we wrote our vows just two hours before the wedding! Yikes! :)