A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
People say a photo is worth 1,000 words. When I asked Maria to describe her story, she gave me 1,000 words (plus 1,000 more – you will see what I mean below). I have had the pleasure of knowing Maria for a few years as both a teacher and a friend. She runs the incredibly popular blog KinderCraze, which delivers high-quality content to elementary school teachers. If you or anyone you know is an elementary school teacher and is looking for lesson plan or classroom ideas, I suggest you check it out. Being the creative and artistic kindergarten teacher that she is, when she said she was going to be doing an outdoor, backyard, DIY, vintage-themed wedding, I knew it was going to be filled with gorgeous, thematic details. When she asked me to be her photographer and I knew how important photos were to her, I knew it was going to be one of my biggest weddings of the year. Tons of planning, location scouting, phone calls, coordinating with Purple Clover Events, buying umbrellas in bulk in case the 100% chance of rain came true, changing photo locations to plan for the rain…it was a crazy day that seamlessly came together in a beautiful way. Here is Maria’s take: A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
~~~ A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
Rob and I are certainly a modern couple. We are both bloggers and we met the way any couple that thrives on devices would meet: online dating. We were matched on E-Harmony. A few weeks of emailing evolved into a few weeks of phone calls, until we finally met for drinks one January night in 2013. The rest is history!
Our courtship was very sweet and it evolved in it’s own time. Neither one of us wanted to rush into marriage, but we were both old enough to know when we had finally found the one. After dating for a little over a year, Rob proposed. So many facets of our relationship are simple, sweet and ordinary. Rob’s proposal was no exception. We had discussed marriage and engagement for several months prior. I even knew that the ring had been ordered, and I made it very clear that I did not want to know anything else. I really wanted his proposal to come as a surprise. A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding is on the blog!
In mid-April of 2014, Rob received word from the jeweler that my ring was ready. He was so sweetly excited to propose that he immediately picked it up and decided to propose on a trip to Chicago that we had planned for the weekend. After picking up my ring on a Wednesday afternoon, Rob secretly made the 45-minute drive out to my parents’ house to meet them for dinner. He asked my parents for permission and brought my engagement ring with him for my parents to see. I know it’s customary to ask for a daughter’s hand in marriage, but I think it is so sweet that he was thoughtful enough to let them see the ring before he proposed.
A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
The next day, we hit the road for Chicago and I was completely unaware that I would return to Michigan at the end of the weekend with a ring on my finger.The purpose for our trip was to see an Ingrid Michaelson concert with my childhood friend, Meggan, and her husband, who also goes by Rob. We saw the show on our first night in the city. Apparently, while Meggan and I were separated from the men, my Rob was so excited about proposing, he filled the other Rob in on his plans. The concert was amazing and I found out later that Meggan’s husband told her the news the moment we said goodbye and separated for the night.
We had all day Friday to explore downtown Chicago before meeting up with Rob’s cousins for dinner that evening. We decided to go to the Shedd Aquarium and Millennium Park since those were two attractions I had never seen during previous visits. Rob shoved the bulky ring box in his pocket and self-consciously tried to hide it all morning at the aquarium and I was none the wiser. We left the aquarium in the early afternoon and crossed through grant park. It was early april after a particularly harsh Michigan winter and this was the first truly warm day of the season. We were finally comfortable being outside without a jacket and it was a gorgeous spring day. Nothing was in bloom, so very few people were in the park. About mid-way through our walk, Rob pulled me aside and kissed me. We often spontaneously kiss so I didn’t think anything of it at first. Within a few seconds, though, Rob said so many sweet things to me and told me that he wanted to love me until we grew old together. The next thing I knew, Rob was down on one knee holding a box with an engagement ring inside. We hugged and kissed and of course, I said yes! It was a moment that only the two of us shared and it was perfect. There was no surprise photographer. No applause. Just us. A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
From there, we continued our walk toward Millennium Park and the iconic sculpture. I wanted to tell my friends about our engagement in person so we took a few photos of our reflection on the sculpture. We visited Rob’s cousins later that evening and drove home on Saturday. The rest of the weekend was filled with trips to visit our friends and family members and share our good news in person. I was not the type of bride that had everything planned out ahead of time for my wedding. I didn’t have any idea what type of decor I wanted or exactly what the theme would be. The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to get married at the Catholic Church I had attended since childhood and I wanted to have a tented reception at my parents’ house. It was very important to me that my wedding day be a memorable day for all of our guests and I wanted to include as many unique and personal touches into the day as I possibly could. A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
At first, Rob and I were lacking direction for our theme. We jumped all around from vintage to rustic to casual chic. When we met with our floral designer, Deborah, she listened carefully to a few details that I was most excited about, particularly the vintage ice cream truck (www.helloicecream.com) that I couldn’t get out of my head. Deborah emailed me afterward to share her ideas for our wedding and explained that she envisioned a wedding that was “Anthropology meets Ralph Lauren.” She also told me that I NEEDED to book the ice cream truck for our reception because my eyes lit up when I told her about it. She had me at “Anthropology meets Ralph Lauren.” It sounded PERFECT. From there, Deborah introduced me to a local vendor that handles vintage rentals. From that moment, our timeless and classic vintage wedding theme finally had a distinct direction and I could not wait for our guests to celebrate with us. Our very talented wedding coordinator, Kate McClellan of Purple Clover Events, managed all of the extra details that come with hosting a reception at a private residence. She followed up with all of the vendors I hired and turned my dream wedding into a reality.
In the meantime, Rob and I both worked on projects to add a more personal touch to the day. I created invitations for all of my kindergarten students to join us for the ceremony and crafted bubble bottles for each child to take home as a keepsake. We collected old family wedding photos and inexpensively framed them to decorate the pews of the church’s center aisle. Rob took on the biggest project: he personally inscribed each of our 140 guest’s plates with a message using a woodburner and hot stamps. The plates were disposable, and the time he spent was immense but it was such a beautiful gesture. It was also a nod toward Rob’s late grandfather who became a wood burning hobbyist in his retirement.
Our wedding day was truly perfect. The night before the wedding, we cringed at the forecast, which called for a 100% chance of rain with severe storms likely. Coming from a Catholic family, several of us prayed the rosary together early that evening, then laid the rosary in a bush. The next day I was astonished that it only rained briefly in the morning and sprinkled a few times during the afternoon. The cloudy day created ideal lighting for all of our outdoor wedding photos. A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding
A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding by Maria Gavin Maria Manore of Kindercraze and CrazyTogether blog.
The day was so wonderful, it is very difficult to name any one moment as being any better than the others. I got so much joy out of watching our guests enjoy the event we had planned for months to share with them. It was wonderful to see that they loved the classic jazz duo, The Sugar Snaps, we hired for our cocktail hour and dinner music and the antique gold sofa we rented was more popular than any photo booth I have ever seen. And then of course, there was the ice cream truck. None of our guests had ever seen anything quite like it before and it was such a show-stopper. Our wedding day was guaranteed to be an amazing day for Rob and I; but it was such a blessing to share that joy with our guests in a memorable way. A Backyard, DIY, Vintage-themed Wedding by BTW Photography.