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Intimate DIY Backyard Wedding in Urbana, IL

Intimate, lovely and filled with so much love you can feel it through the computer screen, this backyard beauty captured by Anna Page Photography warms my heart right up. It’s overflowing with too many darling DIY details to list, but thankfully you can devour every gorgeous moment of this stunning soiree right here.


From The Bride…Before Gunnar even proposed, we both knew that we wanted to have a wedding that was intimate and authentic, and truly a reflection of us. And that is how our entire wedding journey felt for the both of us. It began when Gunnar proposed to me, on our apartment patio decorated with flowers and bistro lights and served with a homemade dinner, and ended with a small backyard wedding with our closest family and friends.

When we started planning, and figured out how expensive everything wedding-related is, we decided to seek out ways to do and provide a lot of things ourselves for the wedding. That started by choosing the wedding venue, which we decided would be in my parents backyard in my hometown of Urbana, IL. Gunnar and I are both very outdoorsy and family oriented, so this location was the perfect fit for us.

When planning the wedding, our number one goal was to have a party that brought all of our different friends and families together to have a good time. In order to accomplish that, we wanted to there to be plenty of things to do to enable a great celebration. We decided on having a bench filled with jars of jam to greet our guests as they walked in to the backyard; a whiskey and cigar bar for backyard socializing; a beer-garden inspired arrangement of two long tables where everyone sat to eat and chat for dinner; a dance floor under the tents to dance the night away; a station with madlibs, advice cards, and a Polaroid camera to allow our guests to personalize their page in our guest book; and later in the night, a bonfire with accompanying s’mores to round out the evening. Oh!, and my favorite installment, we converted my parents backyard cottage into a room dedicated to the many delicious deserts provided by our caterer and the delicious cake and cupcakes by Cream and Flutter.

Our DIY theme continued as Gunnar and I, with the help of many family and friends, started to tackle wedding-related projects. Gunnar is an avid homebrewer, and made two homebrewed beers for our wedding day. My friend (and bridesmaid), Ashley Benson, and I made the save-the-dates and wedding invitations by hand. Ashley also made all of the place card nametags and signage for each station as well as the escort board. My mom, with the help of her friend Patsy, made the beautiful blue napkins that would be at each place setting. To make the stations, we collected tables from around my parent’s house and bought vintage frames for the signage. The boxes used for the flower centerpieces at our tables were the drawers to my parent’s Chinese apocathery chest. My mom and her friends scoured Champaign-Urbana, and the surrounding towns, for the jams we would give out as favors, the lavender we would place at each place setting, as well as many other odds and ends. In the last week, every one pitched in to put together the s’mores bags and set up the backyard. We tried to put our special touch on everything that was part of our wedding day, and while it was quite the process, with many late nights of planning and crafting, it was well worth it in the end.

To complete our perfect day, we had amazing vendors that provided flowers, tents, and food. Getting ready, we had makeup done by the women from my mom’s cosmetics business and a family friend doing our hair. And, a spectacular photographer to document it all!

When we picked our wedding date of May 3rd, we knew it was a gamble weather-wise. In the Midwest, an early May day could be freezing cold and raining to scorching hot and humid. But when our day finally arrived, it could not have been more perfect. The weather was warm and breezy, the sun was shining, and the garden flowers were just starting to bloom. We had eighty of our closest family and friends together on a perfect May day. I tear up at the thought of how wonderful it truly was. It was the most amazing day for Gunnar and I to start our married life together.

Photography: Anna Page Photography | Floral Design: English Hedgerow | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Bride's Shoes: Nina | Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Classic Events Catering | Groom's Suit: Brooks Brothers | Cake And Cupcakes: Cream And Flutter | Groomsmen Attire: Jos A Bank | Makeup: Hada Cosmetic Medicine | Tents: Herriotts | Venue: Private Residence

BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.

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Pop Art Wedding Inspiration

I’m all about breaking the “mold” and when it comes in the form of one absurdly cool shoot from Magnificent Milestones, you better believe things are about to get good. Inspired by the ’60′s Pop Art movement and translated into a wedding setup  - not to mention the most amazing floral backdrop by Dilly Lily - the gallery from Amanda Hein is modern bride’s heaven on earth.


From Magnificent MilestonesOne of the most familiar representations of Americana and the party decade of the 1960s, the Pop Art Movement also acted as inspiration for this colorful shoot. From bold, saturated colors and fonts to cheeky floral portraits of the bride and groom, the details came together to create a party as lively as the couple it celebrates. This perfectly executed shoot, captured by Amanda Hein Photography, drew on the spirit of sheer joy and vibrancy that can be found in Pop Art and in celebrations of love everywhere.

The crisp, clean venue of Chez-Chicago, new to the city of Chicago, added contemporary glamour to the festive details and provided an elegant backdrop to the amped-up color palette of the décor.

Invitations, menus, and other punchy paper pieces created by Magnificent Milestones used multiple Pop Art elements, from geometric designs and patterns to ultra-Mod fonts. Splashes of lively pinks, oranges, yellows, and reds reflected the energetic soul central to Pop Art. Even Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans made an appearance, acting as labels for veggie chips as colorful as their surroundings!

The expertly selected floral arrangements, done by Dilly Lily/Christine Noelle Design, were a kaleidoscopic vision of hot pinks, sunny yellows, and vivid tangerines. The floral mosaics of the couple drew on the work of Roy Lichtenstein—another respected Pop Art personality. Renowned for his comic strip-inspired paintings, Lichtenstein used large dots in bold colors in the same technique used to print graphic novels and cartoons. These playful portraits added an ultra-personal touch while keeping with the lighthearted theme.

The floral centerpieces and the bright white tables from Tablescapes were a match made in heaven. The crisp, clean surroundings were reflected flawlessly in the simple, bright white furniture, creating a stunning contemporary canvas for the Pop Art-inspired details.

This play between contemporary flair and Pop Art playfulness was further repeated in the fabulous fare from Entertaining Company—from the vibrant, fresh green color of the chimichurri and triangular shapes of the New Zealand baby lamb chops, to the bold circles found in the Round Crabcake and the Layered Vegetable Tian with heirloom tomatoes, to the vibrant Blood Orange Martini. We absolutely loved the application of geometric shapes and bright colors found throughout the shoot!

Photography: Amanda Hein Photography | Floral Design: Dilly Lily | Catering: Entertaining Company | Paper: Magnificent Milestones | Rentals: Tablescapes | Wedding Venue: Chez Chicago

Dilly Lily is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Dilly Lily

DIY Gold Heart Arrows + Rustic Whimsical Wedding Inspiration

This rustic-whimsy infusion from Studio Finch is literally packed with pretty. The gems from Artifact Vintage bring a slightly boho touch, Pollen‘s florals are crawling with a wild beauty and the playful cake from Lovely Bake Shop is the slice of sweetness to balance out the unrefined backdrop. Feast your eyes on the gallery and take a peek below for Revelry Creative‘s fabulous gold heart arrows!

Urban Space

From Studio Finch Photography… Gold, Arrow infused with antlers and whimsical florals bejeweled with antique turquoise jewelry was the inspiration for this rustic styled shoot in Chicago. We wanted to emphasize a woman’s strength and pair it with a soft whimsey and rustic elements paired with gold. The whimsical tulle dress contrasts beautifully with the strong curves of the antlers and the golden arrows. Turquoise added the pop of color along with the pinks and blushes in the florals. Allie Hasson provided amazing watercolor invitations to be paired with Artifact Vintage’s amazing collection of antique bridal jewelry. Rustic, Whimsical and Timeless. Project Runway’s Kate Pankoke of Elaya Vaughn paired the shoot with a beautiful tulle wedding gown.

A Signature Cocktail was inspired by the forging roots of Ginger, provided by the Chicago Distiller Koval and the Ice for the Signature Cocktail was Provided by Just Ice, INC. We wanted to keep the shoot as Chicago as possible with local vendors. Signature Cocktail: Ginger Root Citrus Wagon, 1 Part Koval Bourbon Whiskey, 1 Part Koval Ginger Liquor, Large Square Ice Cube, Fill with San Pellegrino Sparkling Lemon Citrus Soda. Add Rosemary for an aromatic garnish.



Fine Paper
Kabob sticks
Heart Template
Hot Glue
Gold Spray Paint


step-1Take the heart template and cut out 6 hearts for each arrow. You will need 4 hearts for the fletching portion (back) of the arrow and 2 hearts for the broadhead (front).

step-2Spray kabob sticks with the spray paint.

step-3Take 2 heart cutouts for the head of the arrow and glue them together with the kabob in between

step-4Take the 4 heart cutouts and fold them each in half, they will be glued together at 90 degrees

step-5Once the glue has dried, slip the 4 glued fletchings through the back part of the kabob

step-6Trim the fletchings as you with, we used a fringe technique to mimic feathers.

step-7Viola! DIY arrow bunch. The arrows paired with the eucalyptus and strung hearts, all became tied together with the gold dotted antlers spanning the table. A nod to The Hunger Games.

Photography: Studio Finch | Wedding Gown: Elaya Vaughn | Shoes: Dolce Vita | Jewelry: Artifact Vintage | Cake : Lovely: A Bake Shop | DIY Arrows: Revelry Creative | Florals: Pollen | Hairpiece: Elaya Vaughn | Hand Crafted Cocktail Ice: Just Ice, INC | Invitations And Hand Lettering: Allie Hasson | Makeup: Katie Hughes Makeup | Signature Cocktail: Koval Distillery | Venue: Lovely A Bake Shop

Pollen and Artifact Vintage are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Artifact Vintage