The Perfect Backyard Wedding The Perfect Backyard Wedding
Tell us about your wedding! Our wedding as it came to be certainly was a far cry from what we had originally envisioned. In... The Perfect Backyard Wedding

Tell us about your wedding!

Our wedding as it came to be certainly was a far cry from what we had originally envisioned. In November of 2019, we had secured our venue and all of our vendors for a large wedding in Chicago in July of 2020. COVID-19 was officially announced as a global pandemic only a few months later. Rather than postpone our wedding, we decided to cut our losses in Chicago and still maintain our July date.

To do this safely, we reduced our guest list down to 18. This included Nicholas and myself, our parents, our siblings and their significant others, and two of our closest friends to help things run more smoothly. We decided to host out wedding in our own backyard, but wanted to maintain the black-tie formality that we had intended for our Chicago wedding, so our landscaping, flowers, and decor needed to reflect that. Wherever possible, Nicholas and I tried to choose the more luxurious option to emulate a greater attention to detail and foster that sense of opulence.

We kept our palette as neutral as possible, with white florals, greenery, and slate blue napkins as the accent. Both Nicholas and I were raised Catholic; however, as this was a wedding between two men, we did keep it as secular as possible. We wanted to create a ceremony of love and devotion between two humans rather than one depending on a higher power to solemnize. We didn’t necessarily incorporate any religious or cultural traditions, but we’d like to think that maybe we started a few of our own!

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

We spent months preparing our backyard for our wedding- we wanted to transform it into a formal garden. We planted and sculpted hedges, laid flagstone pathways, manicured perennial beds, and planted countless flowering annuals. We placed the site for the vow exchanged right in the heart of it all. One of the largest (and most impactful) project was the bistro lights we installed to create a canopy of light above the entire garden.

We chose a banquet-style barn wood table with french cross-back chairs. A garland of greenery laid atop a white table runner. Our table settings consisted of white china on silver chargers and slate blue napkins, with beautiful cut Melodia glassware which captured the flickering from the large pillar candles on beds of white rock in glass cylinders and glass votives. We purchased an outdoor conversation set in a midcentury modern style to create an intimate and comfortable alcove near the fire dish that we kept burning throughout the entire evening.

Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

Our wedding felt incredibly personalized to us. Hosting it in the heart of our own backyard, a yard that we spent countless hours over the course of several months to landscape and sculpt it into a formal garden, made the moment that more intimate in sharing with our guests. For dessert, Nicholas and I had our sisters and mothers each bake several dozen of different cookie varieties for a Pittsburgh-style cookie table.

Additionally, we had our parents participate in a tree-planting ceremony of an olive tree to represent our Greek and Italian heritages. From four glass carafes, the fathers poured the soil into the pot, and the mothers poured water to complete the planting. Our olive tree is something that will grow with our marriage and will be a centerpiece to every home we make together.

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

Our most anticipated moment was definitely exchanging vows- The cathartic feeling of verbally expressing our love for each other in front of our closest family was a surreal experience. One of the most special moments was a bit of homework that our officiant (my older brother) had assigned us in the months leading up to our wedding. He asked each of us to compare the other to a single inanimate object and explain the reasoning.

We each kept the object we chose secret from the other, and did not reveal them until the moment during the ceremony. It ended up being such an intimate, unique, and memorable way for us to show how deeply and completely we have grown to know each other in our years together.

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

1. I think that writing your own vows is so important. If you are not comfortable with public speaking and if the nerves associated with preparing for it would add stress to your wedding day, I would encourage you to still write and exchange your own vows in private. Being about to verbalize your love for your partner in a few phrases rather than falling back on a template that has been used millions of times can act as your unique mantra for your marriage, and helps you to maintain that emotional memory of the unconditional love you felt at the moment you exchanged them.

2. Keep your guest list small. Weddings can become so much more a gross display of wealth and vanity rather than what they truly are: A moment in which your closest friends and family can bear witness to the most intimate expression of your love and devotion to your partner.

Linens and Coverings:Event Source//Caterer: Cameron Mitchell Premier Events//Apparel: Calvin Klein//Cake Designer: A Cake for Leroy//Photographer: Jessica Miller Photography//

Submitted via Two Bright Lights


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