When high school sweethearts Rachel Snyderman and Robert Begin got engaged after eight years of dating, there was only one place they considered saying “I Do”: their hometown of Princeton. After scoping out several venues in the area, the couple decided on a backyard wedding on June 28, 2014, at Rachel’s parents’ home (Rachel’s mom is NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman). “The space is perfect for a large party because of the way it flows,” says Rachel. “The U-shape meant we could have all of the day’s events—ceremony, cocktail hour and reception—without interruption. Guests could just flow from one area to the next.”
An at-home wedding required everything to be brought in for the main event, and a wedding planner was promptly hired to find trustworthy vendors and make sure everything would go off without a hitch. The garage was transformed into a catering kitchen, and a contingency plan was set up in case of inclement weather. “Everything needs to be meticulously planned,” explains the bride.
While it poured the evening of the rehearsal dinner, the wedding day was picture-perfect. Rachel chose yellow, cream and lilac for the décor. “I loved the contrast between the soft lilac and the bright, bold yellow,” she says. “And it tied in perfectly with the backyard garden-party theme we wanted for the day. All of the flowers looked like they could have been picked fresh from my parents’ garden.”
Rachel walked down the aisle in an Amsale ballgown—the first dress she tried on. The couple exchanged vows in front of a large oak tree that held special symbolism for Rachel’s mom, who loved that the tree featured two large branches that joined as one at its trunk. The 220 guests—who were asked to wear colorful garden-party attire—found their seating assignments, as well the evening’s menu, printed on the house’s French doors that led out to the backyard.
Rachel and Robert shared their first dance to Jack Johnson’s “Do You Remember,” and the band kept everyone on their feet all night. After feasting on grouper and duck—along with a three-tiered coconut cake—the event ended with a late-night snack of grilled cheese, sliders, Philly cheesesteaks and milkshakes. After a two-week honeymoon to London and Portugal, the couple is still amazed at how perfectly the wedding came together. “It was truly magical,” says Rachel.