here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
with a million dreams to fulfill
with a million dreams to fulfill
sting | until
Few events compare to a wedding in the backyard of the bride's current home. Few events require such invasion of personal space ("This is where he picked me up for our first date." "I ran into my parent's room and cried... He just didn't like me and I knew it." "I primped and prettied in this bathroom, I came home to this bed, I walked these halls, watched out these windows."). Few events take over your whole world, turning life into a wedding factory. Cleaning, storing, gardening, decorating, visualizing, transforming for a wedding alongside lunch dishes, morning showers, errands, refrigerators that need the vegetable drawer cleaned out and homework. It is quite a feat for families to accomplish. There is no escape from the ever-nearing and yet all-elusive wedding. The result, however, is that the wedding day itself has an undeniable and contagious weight of charm, hard work, intimate, familial celebration. It's really an experience to behold. Richard and Evelyn's wedding was my 100th wedding, and it did not disappoint (I also shot their engagement shoot in this backyard!)
Our bride today, Evelyn, has the privilege of being daughter to brilliant, engaging, well-spoken Dave and lively, bright, uncommonly organized and capable Nancy. This family, along with the groom, Richard, developed a beautiful wedding theme: Romantic Garden Library. Every element of this wedding was either classically amorous, involving fresh, local plants or including books and great literature. Starting with the type-writer key necklaces all the bridesmaids received from Evelyn.
The entire upstairs of this brick cottage home was transformed into an airy "ladies suite," with one room cornered off to use as a "bride's refuge."
From the window in the bride's refuge, she and her little ladies could watch guests arrive. They shrieked when long-time friends pulled up, they oooo-ed at colorful dresses and dashing bowties, they rapped on the screen and enjoyed the confused faces darting back and forth below.
Guests certainly enjoyed an over-the-top view when they entered the party. From homemade hand-cut (and burned!) signs, to a real, working antique vehicle (which served as the gift table), to the extravagant flower gardens tangling the property - it was rather inspiring.
The "Welcome Tent" had chairs to lounge on, drinks to mingle with, fresh flowers, photographs of the clearly loved couple and name cards for the reception. These name cards were not only handmade by the bride and her mother, they are book marks, to continue the library scheme.
Once you presented your gift to the ancient car altar in the side yard, and grabbed a sip of something sweet, you would find yourself enjoying the continued details of the back yard.
It is hard to briefly point out this lean green machine of a garden, where food was grown for months to use for the wedding meal. Vegetables, herbs, greenery... You name it. Talk about locally-grown garden-to-table, huh?!
The kitchen smelled truly celestial as the local caterer chopped away at the newly picked ingredients.
I particularly loved the soft pansies on against the dark chocolate cupcakes. Entirely lovely.
This cake bar is particularly special because the middle cake (not the cupcakes) was the exact same recipe Evelyn used to woo Richard. Her hail-mary in this Get His Attention Contest was a birthday cake, a really really fantastic one. And, hey, it worked! ;)
Sweet daughters of the caterer were joyfully working alongside him. I love how family-oriented this whole wedding was.
Alright, back to the back yard. The official shed-turned-bar was one of my favorite pieces of this day. Nancy and Evelyn proved that with great taste, patience, and some imagination can honestly make anything beautiful. There were literally shovels and lawn mowers hidden inside the shed... but the front? Adorable.
More writing, perhaps? I think yes! While MabLibs are becoming more popular at weddings, I have to applaud Evelyn and Richard for their extremely funny and borderline risky MadLibs. I had a hoot reading over everyone's answers ;)
The bartenders were friends of the family... also friends of my family... also parents of Sam, of Sam and Emily! I'll be shooting their wedding in just a few weeks :D
The reception table numbers were made from real cuts of wood. Nancy sanded, stained and either stamped or burned the numbers onto the wood and turned them into bookends. I. Know. Right?
I loved their idea of making a giant "program" or itinerary for the night. Typography is always wanted, in my book, and it was a bit of a different take on the ordinary programs!
How nice does that red look with the green?!
Day traded shifts with night as we created history, as we celebrated.
The buzz of content friends and clinking glasses sang upon the sleepy neighborhood. We, like a moon in the night sky, shone with color and love.
I won't even try to detail for you what this reception was like. I can't do it. I'm not talented enough. I do not know enough words or know enough about arranging words together to be able to communicate how special this evening was. The toasts were THE best I've ever heard. The laughter was uproarious, the tears were constant, the conversation was endless.
Evelyn and Richard, you are wonderful and wonderfully loved. It was a career highlight for me to be a part of your wedding, to enjoy your company, to watch your enjoy each other, to learn new vocabulary words, to feel alive and wide awake at the end of the day, to dream about the kind of celebration meals God has awaiting us in the future. Thank you and congratulations.