Love & Marriage

YHL Wedding Week

Today marks the one year anniversary of our swanky DIY backyard wedding… so we thought a wedding week was in order.

That’s right, we’re dedicating this week to sharing all of our crafty and creative ideas for not only a swoonworthy backyard wedding, but a fun and festive gathering of any kind. So don’t tune out if you’ve already tied the knot, we’re gonna bring you tons of affordable, personal, and unique decorating and entertaining ideas fit for any par-tay on your own turf (even if it’s just a romantic evening for you and the hubby). So sit back, relax, and don’t worry about having to catch the bouquet.

First the basics. We got married on 7/7/07, our exact two year anniversary of dating (which just happened to fall on a Saturday). Unfortunately 36,000 other couples picked the same exact date to get hitched, so we decided to make everything else about that day feel fresh, original and so very John & Sherry. And what could be more personal than hosting the 75 person affair in our own backyard?

Just like everything else we do, our wedding was one giant DIY project. From the invitations and decor to the food and entertainment, we pulled out all the stops (without breaking the bank) by doing everything with our own four hands. And because the event was at our home sweet home, we were able to put money that otherwise would have been spent decorating a venue into our own home improvements (gifts that keep on giving even a year later). For example, we knew our old jagged patio was a tripping trauma waiting to happen…

patio-before

… so we invested some of our wedding money towards replacing the old slate patio with a new cobblestone paver version, which created the perfect place for a big wooden buffet table full of delicious gourmet eats and a grilling station for the chefs (John’s uncle and nephew)- who donned customized aprons that read: “You may now kiss the cook.”

And not only did we need a flat surface for serving, we also wanted one for eating and entertaining, which is why we went on to pave our treacherous gravel driveway (where heels + gravel = yikes!).

driveway-before

The newly paved surface created the perfect place for grubbing as well as mugging for the photobooth that we rented for the occasion. We’ve never been so thankful to have such a huge driveway (with a spacious turnaround area in the back of the house which kept all of our partying private). And the added bonus that we haven’t had to weed our monstrous driveway since getting it paved (which used to take days) is one of the best wedding presents we could have given ourselves.

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While these two home improvement projects were so major that we brought in the professionals, nearly everything else was completely DIY from there on out (thanks to some help from our fabulous friends and family). Between John’s cousin officiating the ceremony, a friend playing “here comes the bride” on the guitar, and relatives cooking up some gourmet fare on the grill, we definitely kept things personal and meaningful. And when it came to setting the tables, crafting the menu, making the bouquet, assembling the centerpieces, designing the lighting, creating the perfect favor and coming up with our version of a wedding slideshow, you know we embraced the creative and the unexpected. So stay tuned for every last DIY detail.

*Drop in on our Wedding Album tab (right below the header) to check out all the details of our big day from start to finish!

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Put A Lid On It

Inspiration can come from the strangest places, so I wasn’t even surprised when I saw some cool old canning jars in a recent Pottery Barn catalog and needed to take a closer look. Upon closer inspection I realized they were antique bell jars filled with shells, sand, and even just ocean water with fancy labels that said things like “Mikonos” and “Fiji”. Adorable. So I looked around and realized I had at least one or two keepsakes from each and every vacay that John and I have spent together. Why not put them on display instead of in a box in the closet? So after a trip to Michael’s to pick up 6 canning jars (for just six smackaroos) I returned home and slipped the items into little labeled jars of my own.

Now we’re hardly as posh as the imaginary family who loves in the Pottery Barn catalog, so our labels (hand written with a fine point Sharpie on clear tape) boast locales like San Diego, Rehoboth, Madeira Beach, Alaska, and the Outer Banks.

But they’re just as charming lined up on a shelf in our sunroom near the back door (which we pass through at least five times a day). And it’s nice to glance at our little vacation time capsules on a daily basis instead of keeping them out of sight (and out of mind). I even made a little reminder of our old life in Manhattan complete with our last MetroCard, a buy-ten-get-one-free hot dog card from our favorite little hole in the wall, and matching business cards from the advertising agency where we met.

It’s nice to know that even when we go somewhere sans sand and shells, we can still stick little keepsakes (a ticket stub, a matchbox, a hotel key) into a $1 jar to fondly remember the trip. In fact, to document our Alaskan honeymoon, I used a rock from a hot stone massage that we enjoyed along with a tiny ceramic bear from a craft fair in Anchorage. I can’t wait until our modern day snow globe collection takes over our entire three-tiered bookcase… better start planning some more vacations. And since everyday objects work just as well as shells and sand, it’s no big deal if we don’t make it to Mikonos or Fiji for a while. Whew.

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