Katie + Erik tied the knot in their backyard in Holly Springs, NC on September 27, 2014. This couple spent months preparing their yard and home for this wedding, and the care and precision that went into their DIY decor blew me away (just take a look at the paper bouquets Katie made and you'll see why!) Read more about this creative couple's non-traditional wedding in their Q&A below!
1. What was your favorite moment from the day? After everyone had left, we walked back into the woods to the spot where the ceremony was held, hugged it out, and laughed about all of the crazy things which had happened that day. Don't get us wrong, the wedding was amazing too, but it was nice to have some relaxing quiet time after 15+ hours of setup and wedding duties that day. Also, the moment when we discovered that the caterer left an entire tray of mac and cheese in our fridge was pretty sweet too.
2. What factors led to your decision in having a backyard wedding? What advice do you have for other couples planning a backyard wedding? We decided very quickly that we wanted a backyard wedding, maybe even within the first 12 hours after getting engaged. The house has always been a meaningful part of our relationship, and we pretty much knew that we wouldn't find another location which could top it in sentimental value We did a lot of growing up together between saving up for a down payment, going through the home buying process, dealing with unexpected home maintenance, and figuring out what mattered to us with renovations and upgrades. We also wanted an excuse to fix up our backyard - before we got engaged, we had no fence, a tiny patio, a terrible lawn, and a ton of dead trees. Our engagement was 50% wedding planning and 50% home improvement projects. One day, I'd be trying on dresses at a bridal store, the next day we'd be chainsawing dead trees to haul to the dump. It was definitely not a traditional wedding planning experience. Our advice to other backyard couples is to remember that your "venue" is a backyard first and a wedding venue second. There were a lot of landscaping projects we wanted to do which would have been great for the wedding, but would not have made sense for us to keep in the yard long-term. We found a good middle ground on many of these details and still loved the end result.
3. What factors other than photos went into your decision on a wedding photographer? Why did you decide to pick me? What ultimately got us to book was when you took the time to find photos from previous weddings with similar venues and themes to share with us (even a couple of backyard weddings I think). Photography can be scary to commit to because you don't know exactly what the result will be until after the event is over. It was especially tough for us because we chose a setting which had never been used for a wedding before. Out of all of the photographers we looked at, you gave us the most accurate idea possible of what we'd be getting. It was easy to envision you shooting our wedding.
4. From booking to delivery of images and seeing the results, what in your mind made it the right choice for us to collaborate? Did anything surprise you? Every step of the way, you were very easy to work with too. I work in client support, so I placed a lot of weight on service and professionalism when searching for wedding vendors. You always responded quickly and answered our questions completely. There was never any doubt in our minds that you could deliver a great result in a professional manner. Seeing the photos from our engagement session sealed the deal for us. We were blown away by the quality and variety of shots you delivered.
5. What's next for you as a couple? We are looking forward to our honeymoon in December - a road trip through Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. We've also been getting into homebrewing since the wedding, although our friends who gave us a brew kettle as a wedding gift may have had a hand in that. Our first batch of beer (a brown ale) is ready to drink, and we have our second batch (a smoked molasses porter) going through fermentation as we speak. For years, Erik has nicknamed our home bar "The Thirsty Bison". At the wedding, we even gave out beer mugs with a Thirsty Bison logo as favors. We'll likely carry over the Thirsty Bison name into whatever homebrew recipes we create as well. Going back to the backyard, we really want to put in a shed next year. That was one project which we couldn't make happen before the wedding. For now, we're just enjoying not having to do any landscaping or home improvement stuff on a deadline.
6. Anything else you'd like to add about your wedding? We made many non-traditional decisions for the wedding. We spent our engagement doing yard work, we chose a non-traditional setting, I made paper flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces, our dog was at the ceremony and reception, and we hired a food truck to cater our buffet. For all of the extra thought and work that we had to put in to make our vision happen, it was completely worth it. Everything felt very "us".
Katie + Erik, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your day. I respect your practicality in approaching your wedding and admire how you "killed two birds with one stone," so to speak, with your backyard renovations. :) I have thoroughly enjoyed every step of the wedding planning process and am excited to share these photos with you!
To view all of the wedding photos and order prints, please visit my print gallery here.