“When I went to college in the summer of 2005, I never thought I’d meet the love of my life just a few doors away. Andy and I met after living on the same floor our freshmen year of college. We were both 18 and started dating soon after. Fast forward eight years… We got engaged on August 1st, 2013 while walking his parents’ beagle only a few months before our eight year anniversary. As you can imagine after dating for eight years and living together for four, we had talked about marriage and our wedding long before our engagement. We love throwing parties for our friends that are filled with good food, good music, and above all, games! For our wedding, we knew we had to have all these things in a place that would make our guests feel comfortable and at home. It was perfect that my dream venue had been out my backdoor for my entire childhood. We decided to ask my parents to host our wedding in our backyard and the hay field immediately behind it. Thankfully, they were thrilled; It never would have come together without their help, support, and home. “
“In the middle of the field is a single black walnut tree. Farmers would put one tree in the center of the field so they had shade to rest under when it was time to take a break and eat lunch. We decided to get married under this tree and to leave it without decoration. It was important to us to let the natural beauty of the land speak for itself so our wedding mantra was “simplify.” We used this tree as a sort of theme for the wedding and chose a guestbook where guests could use their fingerprints to fill in the leaves in colors that matched the black walnut tree. We also decided to give “mini trees” to our guests as favors in the form of mini succulents with DIY “thanks” flags and DIY painted mini pots. I wanted my flowers and the centerpieces to look like we picked them that day out of the field to connect back to our place, which really set the theme for our entire day. Food was the next thing on our list, but luckily my dad knew a local chef through coaching little league baseball who was able to use his personal and family recipes to create an amazing barbecue for our guests complete with sweet potatoes, corn bread, and of course, ribs! Andy and his dad are very handy and love projects so they built the boxes for our centerpieces as well as two corn-hole sets to add to the other games we had: washers, horseshoes, Kan Jam, croquet, and bocce.””Because our guests comfort was so important to us, we asked that they wear whatever they want, including the groomsmen and bridesmaids. We just asked that bridesmaids to wear blush and groomsmen wear gray. We encouraged our guests to wear footwear and clothes that were comfortable enough to dance and play games!”
“Our cake was made by one of my bridesmaid’s husband who loves to bake and made the cake for their wedding as well. It got a bit melted on the way over to the wedding, but somehow that made it more sweet and heartwarming… it certainly didn’t look like a cake you would get at a bakery! We also had a selection of Italian desserts including cannolis, mini fruit tarts, and cheesecakes; A little something for everyone!” “DIY didn’t stop with our games and favors. One of my bridesmaids tied ribbons to the back of our chairs for our sweetheart table just to add a little bit of DIY flair. The french door that I wrote the seating assignments was in the rafters of my parents’ garage since our house was built. They salvaged the beautiful antique doors always hoping to use them in the house, but never found a space for them. But they were so beautiful they couldn’t throw or give them away and I was able to incorporate one of the doors into the wedding.” “Another small touch that was a surprise to me on the wedding day was my dad’s choice in tie. I think many people planning their weddings obsess over every detail down to what everyone wears. I’m glad Andy and I kept with our “simplify” mantra and decided to let everyone express themselves in the way they dressed because it allowed for moments like my dad’s outer-space tie. This of course didn’t fit with our “theme” or our colors but it was the first tie I ever bought for my dad as a little girl and when I realized he had kept it and had it repaired for the wedding I was overcome with emotion. It was such a small detail but so meaningful. ” “We wanted our ceremony to be short and sweet and have the laid back,personal feel of the rest of our wedding. We asked our good friend Hope to perform the ceremony. We chose two readings for our best friends to recite and kept our vows to 150 words or less. The ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding. I’m an easy crier so you’ll see my tear soaked face in many of the photos. I started laughing when I walked down the aisle by both my parents because everyone had been joking all week about how much I would cry that I couldn’t help laughing when I didn’t disappoint.” In then end our guests said one of the things the loved best about our wedding (besides the food) was that our family and friends from all sides played games and danced together and it was truly a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere.
“My favorite part was the ceremony. Andy and I decided to keep our vows short, simple, and sweet in keeping with the theme for the rest of our wedding. We said 150 words or less and stuck to it. We also chose two readings that our best friends shared on our behalf and we were married by our mutual best friend, Hope. It was hard to believe she hadn’t performed a million weddings before ours. I also really loved our first dance. We danced to Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Andy and I were nervous but I was so happy to finally be married I laughed and smiled the whole time. When he dipped me he got a big cheer from my college rugby teammates. It was one of the best and most surreal moments of my life.”
“The best advice I received was passed on to me by a friend of my now mother-in-law. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” when people offer to help… and really mean it! When it gets closer to the wedding you’ll be thankful it’s not all left up to you to accomplish things!”