These two approached wedding planning with a goal in mind: prioritize what’s most important and don’t stress the rest. But that doesn’t mean they let the cutie factor fall by the wayside. From cowbells to ring after the “I do’s” to whiskey bars and fruit tarts, this backyard bash was filled with personal touches galore. Lauren Fair captured them all and we’re loving on all day long – more this way!
From the Bride… Anyone who has attempted to plan a wedding knows that it is beyond intimidating and completely overwhelming. In an effort to prioritize, Michael and I sat down together and came up with the most important things that we wanted from our wedding, no matter what. This list saved us when it came to tough decisions that almost always revolved around money. We could look at this list and decide together that no, the more expensive chairs wouldn’t make our ceremony better, or no, the extra flowers weren’t as important as the ridiculously good band. This list helped save our sanity in the overflow of choices that is wedding planning.
Here was our list:
Involve as much family as possible
Make a big wedding feel tiny, personal and special
Have really, really good music
Spend the extra money on a fabulous photographer and videographer
Stick to the budget (we failed)
Spend time on the ceremony, it’s what the entire day is for
Family & Friends: I was given the advice early on that there are only two times in your life when you can have all of your favorite people in the world in the same place: at your wedding, and at your funeral. Since I don’t plan on being around for the latter, we knew that revolving this event around our loved ones, and including them in every way possible, was going to be what made our wedding feel so special.
My cousin played the ceremony music, a different cousin made our tiny sweet wedding cake, our aunts did the flowers, my great Uncle performed the ceremony, a dear family friend catered the event, another close friend drove all the way from NYC with all of the sound equipment, and my Herculean Mother acted as the event planning machine that pulled it all together. We were beyond lucky.
Making the big feel small: I come from a big family, so a tiny wedding was never in our cards. This didn’t change our desire for the day to feel special, and for every guest to feel like they were a crucial part of the celebration, because the truth is we wouldn’t have been there without them.
To pull this off we wanted people to feel comfortable. We made sure that during the outdoor ceremony there was plenty of water available, and handheld fans that people could grab. We over ordered on food and drink because what’s a party without an abundance of both?
We wanted dinner to feel like one giant dinner party, so we placed all of the tables close together, in various angles, and served the food family style. We put out large pitchers of sangria on every table that paired perfectly with our Spanish style meal.
Michael is a huge fan of whiskey, so post dinner we opened the whiskey bar and allowed people to taste some of our favorites that Michael personally selected.
For dessert we had a large table with different types of fruit tarts, and pies that people could grab on their way to the dance floor, or when they needed to take a break. Around 9:30, individual servings of local ice cream were passed around the dance floor as the perfect way to cool down after breaking a sweat.
The music: You can never, ever underestimate the power of good music. Our friends and family are the kind of people who like to dance, and we didn’t want to disappoint. Months later we are still hearing our guests talk about how wild and amazing the band was. You won’t regret the splurge.
Photography & Videography: We knew once the wedding was over, the photos and videos were all that we’d have left to remember the day. For us, paying extra for someone whose style we really, really loved was worth it. We made sure to tell both teams how important it was to capture the guests, not just the two of us, and they exceed every expectation.
Stick to the budget: Everyone’s situation is different, but we wanted to stick as closely to the budget as possible. Things happen, and unexpected expenses occur, but I’m really grateful that we spent what we did because every penny was worth it, and at the same time, that we didn’t spend anymore.
The ceremony: During the planning it was really easy to get sucked into the details of the bridesmaid dresses, or the type of lights to hang in the tent, or what flowers we would have where. We had to constantly remind ourselves that the point of the wedding was to get married, and that if we achieved that, the wedding would be a success.
We had my sister and Michael’s brother read a blessing that was read at my parent’s wedding. We had my Aunt read a poem that was written by my Grandmother. We chose music that meant something to us, and that family performed. We wrote our own vows. We created a list of what we loved most about one another and had our officiant, my great Uncle, read aloud. There were lots of tears, and lots of laughs, and to us it was perfect.
As a closing detail we ordered 50 cowbells that were handed out to guests. Michael and I got engaged on top of a Spanish mountain with the sound of grazing cows wearing cowbells in the distance. We figured there was no better way to start our marriage than to that sound, with the added cheers of our guests.
Photography: Lauren Fair Photography | Cinematography: Visual Rose | Floral Design: Daniel Vaughn Designs (Large Arrangements) | Floral Design: Backyard Bouquets | Cake: Hope Woodhouse | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lovely Bridal Shop | Makeup: Kelly Clark Makeup Artist | Hair: Viva Bella Salon | Band: Night Life / Washington Talent | Wedding Venue: Private Residence | Printed Designs + Paper Goods: Shannon Hovick (Bride) | Rentals: Best Event Rental | Tables + Chairs: Weir Event Rentals