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.

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Seasons
Spring

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

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