Every love story is unique, and this one gives true meaning to the phrase ‘Home is where the heart is’. From childhood friends, to college sweethearts, to a destined day in Phoenix, their story ends with an intimate backyard ceremony at the house they call home. Maria Del Rio and Alejandra Vidal captured every DIYed detail (like Mom’s homemade cookies), and there’s more to be swooned over right here!
From The Bride…I first met David in Cleveland, Ohio when I was just 9 years old. It’s where both of our families are from and where we have deep roots. We spent our Summers playing together until he moved to Phoenix, Arizona while I was growing up in San Diego, California. After 10 years apart, we re-connected again in college and began to date.
After graduation, we both wanted to chase our dreams and started careers in two different cities. David stayed in Phoenix while I went on to live in Los Angeles and New York. We would date on and off, but eventually called it “quits” and didn’t see each other for three years.
Luckily (as fate would have it) I was in Phoenix for one night for work and ran into him. Shortly after, I moved into his adorable house (but total bachelor pad at the time!) and we began to build a life there together. It’s also where he proposed, so when it came time to pick a venue, our home was the perfect choice.
It was important that our wedding reflect us, as a couple. We wanted it to feel up close and personal, laid back (but still stylish) and unique. Most of all…warm, comfortable, relaxed and cozy. Note: If you ask David, he might tell you that “cozy” was my favorite wedding planning word!
I couldn’t think of anything more cozy than getting married right in our own backyard, surrounded by friends and family, dining under Portifino lights and dancing under huge woven lanterns hanging from our trees.
Even my dress had to be “cozy” – I didn’t want anything too grand or formal, but had a vision of long sleeves with an open back. I am forever grateful to Michael Costello for bringing my dream dress to life. He made the most gorgeous custom gown and I can’t thank him enough for making me feel so beautiful.
For bridesmaids, I had them choose whatever style of dress they wanted – shades of cream, off white and blush with gold accessories. And I had my maid of honor wear a different color shoe. (They didn’t actually walk down the aisle, so there wasn’t a need for bouquets.) We all got ready together at the Arizona Biltmore and took first look, family and friend photos at the hotel before heading over to the house. All guests were taken from the hotel to our home, via trolley.
As guests entered the backyard, they were greeted by our adorable little neighbors and enjoyed a pre-ceremony cocktail hour with great music and mingling. Servers and bar-tenders (all wearing matching navy and gold bow-ties) tray passed the St. Germain signature cocktail along with hors d’oeuvres. We also styled bar carts with all of the necessary ingredients, straws and “B” coasters.
Both being creative types, planning every last detail from start to finish was a wonderful artistic process for us. And coming up with fresh, thoughtful ideas led to many DIY projects (and many late nights working!)
We started with our DIY save the date – we actually got on a real school bus for the shoot and then photoshopped a road behind us – a fitting reference since we’ve known each other since grade school and because it really has been a long ride (over 10 years long!) Hence our tag line, “It’s been a long ride. Join us as we make the final stop.”
Next came our DIY invitations. We designed these as pamphlet style, fold out invites with illustrations to map out the whole weekend. We included rehearsal dinner and ceremony information, transportation pick up times, suggested wardrobe, Sunday brunch details, etc. I addressed the envelopes by hand for both the save the dates and the wedding invites to give them a personal touch.
We then created a custom RSVP site www.wearethebaum.com (our last name is Baum) so people could easily RSVP for all the weekend events. As a result, it saved lots of paper, stamps and time. We even included a spot for guests to type in a song request that would get them moving on the dance floor.
The gable boxes were perfect for out of town guests. We designed and printed the weekend itinerary for the front of each box (the font, color and style matched our invites and RSVP site) and tied with ribbon. It was filled with a “Lucky Life” AZ lottery ticket, our favorite chocolates from Cleveland, Ohio, Sun Chips, Arizona Iced Tea, my aunt’s homemade nut mixture, Boots makeup removing wipes and poolside essentials for the weekend: Supergoop sunscreen and Burts Bees lip balm.
For our DIY dessert and favors we did cookie bags. David’s mom is famous for her homemade cookies, so she baked them and I had stamps custom made that said, “Homemade Cookies From Baum’s Mom.” This also tied in nicely with our overall “home” theme. I found mini brown paper bags at Michaels and stamped each one. For additional favors, we did matches that had our J&D wedding logo, our wedding date and ‘perfect match’ printed on each matchbook. We also did custom yamakas in our signature colors with our names and date on the inside.
For DIY bridesmaid gifts, I sprayed the bottom half of canvas makeup bags gold and stamped each initial of their first name on the front. I then filled it with some of my favorite things and wrote on the tag “A few of my favorite things for one of my favorite people.”
We hung a huge DIY banner that we designed and printed. David and I hand wrote 5 things about each other and this was something that people said they had never seen before! It was also really fun to see and read what we had written about each other.
Our DIY Ikea hack bar backs were bookshelves from Ikea that we mirrored ourselves and styled with liquor, flowers, glasses, etc. PRO EM then built us a custom navy blue tufted bar to match our color scheme.
For our DIY cake topper, I really thought it would be great to have clay figures of us sitting in the car that we sketched on the invites. That car is actually David’s vintage car, which is his other true love :) It was sculpted, painted and baked in the oven (using FIMO clay) by my brilliantly talented cousin. We will keep and cherish it forever.
For the decor, we were inspired by two of our favorite places: ABC Kitchen in New York and the garden rooftop of Soho House in Los Angeles. In order to give our backyard the same sort of intimate and chic feel, we used a lot of our own patio furniture. We spruced it up with decorative Missoni pillows, fur throws, potted plants and bud vases.
The dream team over at PRO EM was at our house for 3 days covering our entire pool! It was much needed space and we could not have had our wedding and reception in our backyard if it wasn’t for them. As a result, it’s where we were able to place all of the pretty wooden dining tables. We decided on no tablecloths – just stripped down wood with gold candlesticks, french tea towels, gold silverware and simple, garden-like florals. All flowers were put together effortlessly by my friend, Jason, who is the special events stylist and floral designer for Neiman Marcus Scottsdale.
We chose to do a massive buffet dinner so there were additional large plates at the buffet. I liked the look of just a small appetizer plate at each setting. And white lights strung from high in the trees to create a tent-like atmosphere over the dining area.
Robert’s Catering provided all of the food and the cake. We have used him for other events in the past because he is simply the best. Every single person who attended our wedding said that it was hands down the best food and most delicious cake they had ever eaten. I swear. Literally, everyone.
Rabbi Barton Lee made our ceremony so special – touching, emotional and funny. He would only marry us after the sun went down, so we strung lights in our DIY Chuppah – a piece of fabric we draped and tied with gold rope on the sides. As soon as the sun went down, the Chuppah lit up beautifully. We read our vows under a full moon and illuminated sky.
As the night went on, we put out baskets of black slip on socks for dancing (mine were white) neon glow sticks, blow up music toys (David’s request) and cigars. We also had a late night delivery of pizza and In-N-Out (David’s request, again) after a packed dance floor for hours. There was not a slice of pizza, burger or piece of cake left when all was said and done!
And to top it all off? The police ending up coming to our house and giving us a noise violation and so we had to turn the music down at midnight (always the sign of a great party, right?) But it did make for a classic DIY thank you card. We sent out copies of our violation/ticket from the city and designed it to say “Thanks for helping us shut it down…xo The Baums”
It was such a special weekend filled with so much love, happiness and joy. To celebrate our long journey with the people we love most, right in our own backyard, gives true meaning to the phrase, home is where the heart is.
Photography: Maria Del Rio | Flowers: Jason Hammer | Wedding Dress: Custom Michael Costello | Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo | DJ: Knick Knack | Groom's Shoes: Asos | Additional Photography: Alejandra Vidal | B Drink Coasters: Sugar Paper | B Wine Glasses: Pottery Barn | Banner Printing: Trademark Visual | Bartender & Server Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Brides Makeup: Cristina Jaramillo | Brides Sandals: Valentino | Bridesmaids Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel | Bridesmaids Rings: Sterling Forever | Bud Vases: ABC Carpet & Home | Catering & Cake: Robert's Catering | Cubbies/Bar Backs: Ikea | Custom Yamakas: Kippahs Your Way | Decorative Pillows: Missoni | Gable Boxes: The Packaging Source | Getting Ready Location: Arizona Biltmore | Gold Pots: Anthropologie | Grooms Ring: Leo & Lynn | Initial Pillows: C.Wonder | Invitation Printing: AlphaGraphics | Ketubah: Jennifer Raichman | Matches: Tie That Binds Weddings | Month-Of Wedding Coordinator: Katherine Thornhill | Mother Of The Bride/Bridesmaid Makeup: Lillian Fogel | Party & Event Rentals: PRO EM | Party Dress: Sarah Seven | RSVP Custom Website Development: Revelation Concept | Ring Dish: Ben's Garden | Something Blue: Leo & Lynn Ring | String & Button Envelopes: Paper Source | Transportation From Venue: Mercedes Sprinters | Transportation To Venue: Ollie The Trolley