{Real Weddings} Katie & John's Sweet Heartfelt Backyard Wedding

Get ready to feast your eyes on this adorably heartfelt wedding.  There are so many sweet details to behold, I don't know where to begin.  Katie & John's wedding was beautifully photographed by Kristen Jane Photography.  Upon receiving the submission, I had to reach out to the gorgeous bride to find out the details, including some info on her fabulous vintage inspired gown!

Katie graciously obliged to my inquiry and shared with us her sweet story of how she and John came to become Mr. & Mrs., and the details put into their wedding.  

The Meeting
Spanish class, my freshman year of high school. He sat directly in front of me. He took me on a few dates in high school and to a Halloween dance, he was the first boy I brought home to meet my parents. We lost touch and reconnected many years and four children later.

The proposal
On a private beach in Bermuda, we were the only two people in sight.


Vision for the day
A sweet and heartfelt ceremony at our home with our closest friends and family that focused on us and our four kids, beautiful flowers, and a relaxed reception with good food and laughs.

The color palette
I knew my dress would be a deep ivory and when I came across the pink dresses for our daughters, the brown and oatmeal tones fell right in place.

The details
Nearly every detail was hand-selected, hand-created, or completed by someone who loves us. Our table overlays were hand-sewn by a dear friend I work with. The napkins were folded and pressed by John's mother. The chair bows were tied by my sister and cousin the morning of the wedding.

We came up with the thumb-print guest book together and John chose the Colorado Blue Spruce tree saplings that were our favors. Our wedding arbor was lovingly constructed by John's father, as was the parking/wedding/Bermuda sign that greeted our guests. Every bite of food was prepared by our mothers. My favorite decor was the "Here Comes My Mommy" sign carried by my son Aiden, age 5, and he was so proud to do it! I also loved the movie quotes that sat in frames on our cake table. We love all the same movies and can quote Wedding Crashers and The Wedding Singer verbatim ... seeing those quotes that remind us so much of each other meant a lot.

The Venue
It's the most significant place in my life. My great-great grandfather built our home, I was raised there, we bought it from my parents and it has never left the family. We always knew that when we got married, it would be a wedding at our home. John transformed the back yard to include a brick patio and bar. It felt like a hotel reception, and the best part was knowing when the wedding was over, the changes were ours forever. A reception in a hall wouldn't have been nearly as special to us.

The Planning Process
Engagement to wedding day was 51 weeks. We didn't make serious plans until the back yard renovations started in the spring. Once we decided to make it happen, set a date and time and planned a menu, our families were priceless. Our dads and brothers and brothers-in-law were instrumental in the yard renovations coming together. My sisters covered every detail I overlooked, and our mothers didn't leave the kitchen for a break in the days leading up to the wedding. It wouldn't have happened without them.

The search for the dress
I knew I wouldn't be wearing a dress from a bridal salon. As a second-time bride I knew I wanted tea-length, ivory, simple and chiffon. After researching patterns and styles, I choose a simple dress from the 1940's, found a seamstress on etsy (Joan Allisen at TenderLane in North Carolina)whom I liked immediately, and had my dress made by hand, sight unseen, by this wonderfully talented woman. It arrived several months later even prettier than I imagined.

The lovely bridesmaids and their dresses
My daughter Natalie, age 5, and his daughter Olivia, age 9. Dresses and matching pearl headbands were from The Children's Place.

Favorite moments from the day
My dad taking my arm and walking me down the yard towards the tent, promising not to let me fall and telling me how happy this day makes him ... John's bright blue eyes filled with tears as we just held hands and stared at each other at the alter, not hearing a word the Justice of the Peace was saying ... And just knowing that we're a family now, all six of us.

Honeymoon travels
A quick mini-moon, five days away to Bermuda where we got engaged and try to go a few times a year for Mommy and Daddy time.

Vendor raves
It was important to us that all the details of our wedding to be DIY but decided to splurge on three professionals .... the first being the photographer (which you already have the contact information for). Our beautiful flowers were done by Samantha Mannarino at http://samanthasgardens.com/. Our bartender, who made the entire event run smoothly and seemlessly, was Frank Daffin at http://basiceventbar.vpweb.com/. The reception would not have run nearly flawlessly without his coordination. The JP, whom we liked from the moment we met him, was Alan Ulrich at http://bostonjusticeofthepeace.com/joom/. With his help, our ceremony was unique and beautiful and unforgettable.

Advice for brides when it comes to wedding planning
Plan and worry and stress your pretty little head off. That's what brides do, and no one can tell them any differently ... but when it gets to a certain point, when the wedding is around the corner, let it all go. Accept that if something isn't done yet, it might not get done. And that's okay. No one will notice a missed detail but you, and the minute you slip that dress over your head and walk towards the love of your life, those tiny incidentals you lost sleep over become a distant memory.

I just love it that Katie designed her own dress, and that she found an amazing seamstress through Etsy! Sight unseen is taking a risk, but it all worked out beautifully.  I feel many brides out there will be clamoring to connect with Joan to have their dresses made after seeing this! I would!

The thing that makes Katie & John's love story and wedding so sweet is that they are high school sweethearts reunited, and with their adorable children.  The pride on all the children's faces is apparent, and is so endearing to see.

I appreciate the fact that they splurged on 3 key areas of the wedding, and everything else was DIY by the bride, family and friends.  Having loved ones contribute in such ways like the food the mothers prepared, structures that the groom's father created, the table overlays hand-sewn by a friend, it all makes the event more meaningful and truly heartfelt.

I agree with the advice, worry and plan away your day, then at the end of that long road hand the reigns over to someone else so that you, the bride, can relax and enjoy every step towards walking down that aisle.  I can attest to this, as many brides out there do.

By the way, I do adore that quote from the Wedding Crashers: True love is the soul's recognition of its counterpoint in another.  

Many thanks to Katie for sharing your story with us, and all your details & great advice!  Congrats to you and John on your recent nuptials, by the way!

Many thanks to Kristen Jane Photography for submitting this wonderful wedding!

Photographer: Kristen Jane Photography, Bolton, Massachusetts
Bartender: Frank Daffin
Floral Designer: Samantha Mannarino @ Samantha's Gardens
Dress Designer: Joan @ Tenderlane Boutique-*Etsy
Jewelry Designer: Pearly Jane Bridal-*Etsy
Headpiece: Vintage Pearl Clothing-*Etsy
Boys Caps & Ties: Casanees-*Etsy
Guestbook: Gamut Media-*Etsy
Guest book signs, Here Comes My Mommy sign: Paper Pixie-*Etsy
Officiant: Alan Ulrich, Boston, Massachusetts
Wedding Quote Sign: Lauren Edwards @ Elle's Little Shop
Tree Sapling Favors: Green World Project


  1. I created the Wedding Crashers and Wedding singer posters for Katie! So happy for her to have been featured on your blog!


    1. Hi Lauren! Thanks for sharing the link to your shop! We'll add it to the list of vendors! :)


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