On December 22, 2018 as the Eiffel Tower started to sparkle, Andrew got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Little did we know, March of 2020 we’d enter into what the world now knows as the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August of 2019 we flirted with the idea of a July 4th, 2020 wedding. However, we quickly put it to rest as we know many cherish their long weekends at the cottage, so we secured our wedding venue for June 13, 2020.
Fast forward to March of 2020 and I was beginning to wonder if this June 13th wedding would ever come to fruition.
A worldwide pandemic was now declared, and every news source was comparing it to the deadly Spanish flu. If there was a crystal ball, it was hinting towards a ‘no end in sight’ kind of date.
When April 2020 rolled around, we made the decision to pulled the plug on our wedding.
However, the pandemic was not the only reason. My mom was battling stage three triple negative breast cancer, with daily rounds of chemotherapy.
We both said there was zero chance we were risking her health with a big wedding; our wedding could wait.
And wait it did. On June 11th I was sitting outback with a glass of red, the birds chirping and my thoughts.
My thoughts of what would have been. What would have been on June 13th.
My day dreams were filling me with butterflies.
The though of laughter with my girlfriends, sister and cousins as we dolled ourselves up to walk down the aisle. My healthy mom getting ready to walk with me.
As I took another sip of my Ménage, I realized what would have been, can still be. My mom had now completed her chemotherapy and was healthy and doing well; our friends and family have technology…
If 2020 came with this much baggage, how do we know what 2021 will bring? We don’t.
I quickly ran inside and proposed to Andrew that we get married on our scheduled wedding date of June 13th, right here at home.
The odd time you can say I am a last minute jump, then look kind of girl LOL. In this instance I was for sure.
Andrew quickly rationed with me that it was impossible, and reminded me that this would be our only wedding; we would want a photographer, I’d want my wedding dress – and a list of all the other rational reasons why it wouldn’t work.
So we settled on July 4, 2020. A backyard wedding.
Our original dream date- our anniversary.
I always cherished the idea of getting married on our anniversary, as I never wanted marriage to change us. This isn’t a new book, just a continuous chapter in our book of life.
By this time, they were discussing dates of opening up and had announced 10 people were allowed at outdoor weddings.
First we celebrated, then contacted our immediate family, pastor, and photographer and told them to save the date for July 4th!
We then reached out to our friends and family, telling them to prepare their laptops and zoom in.
Now, first thing first…
Amazon to the rescue! I had a little over 2 weeks to plan and Amazon Prime was my BFF!
Secure the dress!
My wedding dress was a design of Essence of Australia.
I purchased it from Creme Couture in Guelph, ON. Now I choose to look at wedding dress bouquets in Guelph because that is where Andrew and I both went to school. This was my own little tribute to one of the places that held so much of our love.
I purchased my dress about 8 months before what was suppose to be our original wedding, however when the dress arrived in store I was unable to pick it up due to the pandemic and lockdown. So on June 11th as I sat out back with my wine and my ideas, I called the boutique pleading they let me pick up my dress. Luckily the lockdown was lifting that week & I was able to schedule a 1 on 1 to alter & pick it up.
I will say, the timing of everything just fell into place. Which leads me to believe it was all serendipitous.
I am so thankful for the design of my dress as it worked beautifully with our boho inspired backyard wedding.
Third: Spruce it up!
I wanted to respect all the natural elements around us. The beautiful cedars, our pool, the birds (which chirped throughout our whole service, true magic. We even had a lunar eclipse on the night of our wedding! Swimming under the lunar eclipse with our family was incredible.) So with natural elements at the forefront in my mind, I wanted lots of pampas grass.
At the time, pampas grass was hard to find and pretty pricy, so I went on the side of the highway and cut as much pampas grass needed!
If you do this bring gardening sheers – the first time I tried to just break the grass and I sliced my finger opened. The stems are like razor blades.
For a backyard wedding, I recommend purchasing lots of sheer curtains. (I purchased ours from Walmart a few days before). We were able to secure them to our pillars, as well as make a beautiful backdrop against our metal fence (which is usually an eye sore!)
Inviting in the natural elements, I went with a burlap aisle runner from Amazon. I love the natural warmth it added.
(It is currently sold out – I will update with the link if it comes back in stock.) The burlap runner was 3ft wide x 100ft long and the perfect touch!
Although you’re getting married at home, make it fancy! I created a little menu with name tags for everyone. They also served as the cutest keepsakes!
We had our local Italian restaurant, Caro cater (if you’re in Hamilton, ON I cannot recommend them enough.) They did an incredible job.
I mentioned sprucing up your backyard wedding, however florals can be quite expensive.
When we were planning our original June 13th wedding, I was planning on silk flowers for the bouquets or no bouquets at all. (Can you tell I am not a flower girl?)
So on July 3rd, the day before our backyard wedding, there was no dress rehearsal, no wedding planner, and so far no bouquets. Yet, I was so relaxed and happy with how things were going.
When I sat down to think of the flowers I needed to spruce up the backyard, I thought of the small price of 3 bouquets, so I figured why not!
To my local superstore, Fortinos I go.
I told the florist I was getting married the next day and asked if they did bouquets. (Which they do)
I told her my price point for my bouquet and my Maid of Honours (I asked both my sister and my cousin to be my MOH), my vision of bohemian / natural elements, and left the rest up to her.
She did such a wonderful job!
I also picked out the centrepieces, babies breath and palm leaf for greenery around the backyard.
The night before our wedding my photographer reached out asking if I would be wearing a veil, so I asked her opinion.
Her answer was obvious, “YES!!!!”
I quickly called my cousin and asked if she still had her veil from her wedding. Another lucky star, she had it!
I’m so grateful to have borrowed hers, I would highly recommend for every bride to wear a veil! Your photographer has an extra creative element to work with.
We had another incredible prop.
My sisters partner borrowed his friends car. They surprised us after the ceremony with this incredibly (loud and) gorgeous car!
We not only got gorgeous photos, but a rush of adrenaline while driving it on the country road.
If you have a pretty field or building near your home, I highly recommend taking photos there! We live 5 minutes from a historic sight so we had the pleasure of taking photos in the car as well as at the grounds of the historic building.
Having our wedding in our backyard was the most magical wedding I could have asked for.
It was incredibly relaxed and intimate with our 10 family members.
Our loved ones zoomed in (on zoom) and our photographer captured the most intimate moments, filled with laughter, love and so much gratitude.
We also had the freedom to take pictures at three different places, all within a 5 minute drive of our home!
For us a wedding is about love. Love you have with each other, and the love others have for the two of you.
If you’re hoping to celebrate your love, despite the worldwide pandemic. I would recommend a backyard wedding 1000x over.
To contact our photographer please visit: https://ashleypopekphotography.pixieset.com