Sara & Josh’s Backyard Wedding

I know I am not good at blogging.  Writing has never been a strength for me.  It’s much easier for me to tell a good story with photographs than words.

BUT I need to blog. I want to share the pretty photos and I would love to have a resource for other couples getting married.

So here we go!!!
A whole new thing!
A whole new great thing!!

You get to see pretty pictures from their wedding and learn about the couples journey together and planning.  It’s going to be awesome!!!  (see all of those !!!<<<<<)

Josh and Sara met by chance on a sunny day in May of 2005.  Josh was home for the summer from college working on remodeling Sara’s mom’s house.  Sara came home for lunch one of those days, just a week before her high school graduation, and the two were introduced (Sara’s mom will take all the credit…just ask her :).  They had an instant connection and really, what girl can resist a man doing construction? Through ups and downs, years and distance, good times and bad, they always remained a part of each other’s lives.  And nine years later, they are excited to begin writing the next chapter of their story together.

Where was your wedding?

Easton, Wisconsin (20 minutes north of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin)

What were your deciding factors in choosing your venue(s)?

We lived a town apart growing up and we both have large families so we wanted to have something that was close by the place where we grew up and convenient for the majority of our guests. We also knew that we wanted something low-key and more casual so we decided on a family member’s private backyard in the country. We weren’t locked into setting up everything just before the wedding or subject to the prices and limitations of many wedding specific venues. We really felt we could make it our own.


wedding flowers wedding flowers bride and groom first look outside first look first look first look

What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?

I am very detail-oriented so I loved planning the decorations and focusing on the tiny details. We also did a lot of DIY. My husband built wooden gift boxes out of our old, rustic deck boards for my bridesmaids’ gifts and I decorated them with lace and filled them with individualized gifts for each of my girls. I also made my own table runners from wholesale burlap and lace. My husband made the rustic signs that were displayed around the yard. We used old windowpanes for our table assignments and chalkboards for the ceremony programs instead of having them printed.


What was your greatest challenge in planning your wedding?

1. Trying to make everyone else happy
2. Finalizing the guest list
3. Not having lodging accommodations close by for our out-of-town guests


relaxed wedding weddings outside natural wedding photography outdoor wedding photography

What memory stands out most from your wedding day?

THE RAIN!!! It rained all day! Not ideal for an outdoor wedding but looking back, that was definitely the one thing we won’t forget.

DIY wedding backyard wedding ceremony

How did you calm your wedding day nerves?

It was one of my bridesmaid’s birthdays the day I got married and another one’s was two days later. They were both my college roommates and one of our traditions was to wake up at the crack of dawn and make a pancake breakfast for the birthday person and then jump on them and wake them up. The both live over 1000 miles away from me now and we don’t often get to celebrate the tradition anymore. So instead of sleeping in as late as I possibly could on the day of my wedding, a couple of the other girls and I got up and made pancakes before the sun came up. We followed breakfast up with some yoga and it definitely kept me calm. Everyone involved in a wedding has his or her own emotions on that day. I just sat back and tuned out all the commotion around me and thought about my vows and how I was going to marry my best friend. I didn’t worry about the overcast skies or the decorating that my family was hopefully finishing that morning at the venue. Once I let go of the control I wanted to have, I was able to relax and enjoy each moment.backyard wedding ceremony backyard wedding ceremony backyard wedding ceremony

If you wrote personal vows can you share them with us?

When I sat down to write my vows to you…. (earlier this week) … I didn’t know how to put it all into words…there are great songwriters and poets who can fit the sum of their feelings into just a few verses and maybe a chorus…but how do I put our story into a few paragraphs that I can say in the presence of all of these people who have somehow and in some way been an important part of our lives?
I think the reason I couldn’t do it at first and waited, literally, until the last minute, was because I felt like no matter what I said, it wouldn’t be good enough for our wedding day…and you deserve nothing but the very best…even if it’s just words…but then I realized, as I began writing it all down…that never once…. since I have known you, have you ever made me feel like anything I have ever done or said wasn’t good enough for you. You have always accepted me for the person I am …and I have learned with you that it is okay to leave some things unspoken because they will still always be felt.
In our nine years of knowing each other we have been many things to one another…acquaintances, a couple, broken up, friends, long distance supporters, a calming voice on the other end of the line, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a sober ride home, together again… but never once were we enemies nor did we wish hurt upon one another. And so…. After all of that…I get to stand here today and marry the best man that I know… to become your wife. Even above your loyalty to family and friends, above your kindness to strangers, above your honesty to all, and above the unconditional love you bestow upon those around you… you are a good man… a really good man…with the best heart. And I have always known…always… that I am the lucky one.
So Josh…
I vow to always be myself…but to continue allowing you to make me a better person as you have always done for as long as I have known you. I vow to say the truth…to share with you the things that are written on my heart…I vow that grilled cheese sandwiches will still always taste better when YOU make them and that the lawn will always look nicer when YOU mow it…I vow that I will try to save a bird or a squirrel or a turtle for every duck and pheasant that you and Maverick, our lovely Chocolate lab, gun down and “fetch up” …And I can’t promise that a stray animal won’t show up at our house, in my arms, in need of our love and cuddling. I vow that some things will never change. I realize that marriage will not always be easy and there will be days when I want you to sleep on the couch or in the dog kennel outside…in the cold…preferably with the dog…but I vow to hold your hand and stand beside you when all you need is a friend…and I vow to give you the space you need when you feel you want to be alone.  I vow to support you in your decisions even if I may not always agree. And above all, I vow to love you in the best way that I know how…for all the rest of my days.

processional wedding details

If you had an unlimited budget or simply could redo your wedding day, would you have done anything differently?

I would have definitely had a smaller wedding in terms of the guest list. We had 275 guests or so for the dinner and it really was too many. I felt like I had to try and talk to everyone who came which just wasn’t possible. 150 guests or less would have been an ideal number and if I could do it again, I would find a way to trim it down to that number.


What resources helped you in planning your wedding? (blogs, websites, magazines, friends, wedding shows, etc.)

-Wedding photography blogs were helpful because you can see all the details of what other couples have done.

-Pinterest was also amazing for finding decorating details, bridal party looks, and gift ideas

-Talking with friends who have recently been married was also extremely helpful. We found our ceremony musician and videographer through friends’ recommendations. outdoor wedding bride and groom outdoor wedding bride and groom fun bridal party photos in madison fun bridal party photos in madisonwedding in madisonhomemade wedding cake wedding details wedding reception backyard backyard-wedding-natural-photos-101 backyard wedding formals wedding shoestent wedding reception

 Since it rained a fair amount on their wedding day and everything was outside her wedding dressed got super dirty!  I love love love how much she did not seemed phased about this!

Every wedding dress gets dirty.  More so when you have an outdoor wedding.  And well even more when it rains on your wedding day!outdoor wedding dirty wedding dresstent dancing recptionfather daughter dancefirst dancemadison wedding photography



Do you have any advice for people planning a wedding?

1. Identify the aspects that are most important to you and spend your energy and money in those areas and cut in others. Photography and music were most important to us so that is where we splurged to have exactly what we wanted. For example, I didn’t care all that much about flowers since we were having an outdoor wedding and reception, so we decided to ditch-pick wild flowers, even for our bouquets. They turned out AMAZING and we didn’t have to spend a dime.

2. Stick to your budget. It’s REALLY easy to go over.

3. Don’t ask for advice from anyone except your soon-to-be spouse. Everyone will have a different opinion about how things should be done for your big day. It will do nothing but drive you crazy and make you second-guess everything.

4. Do FIRST LOOK PHOTOS!!! Some people shy away from it because it’s not “traditional” but I am SOOOO glad we decided to do this. Even my husband didn’t want to do them and I talked him into it a few weeks before the wedding. He admits that he is really happy that he agreed to it. It is so much more intimate than seeing each other for the first time in front of 200 some people. It’s two of you and your photographer hiding out to capture the moments.


Which moment(s) are you most excited to see in your wedding photos?

Our first look photos, the ceremony, the speeches and the RAIN!

Describe your wedding inspiration. (Think overall theme, décor, etc.)

We went for rustic/vintage/DIY

What song did you walk down the aisle to?

“Time After Time” played by Tyler Wied on acoustic guitar

What song did you dance to for your first dance?

“To Make You Feel My Love” played by Tyler Wied on acoustic guitar



Make up- Sarah Singletary, Baraboo, Wisconsin-E-mail:

Wedding Dress-“Goldie” by Designer Enzoani, purchased from Vera’s House of Bridals in Madison, WI

Bridesmaids Dresses-Anthropologie (At Dusk Dress by Yoanna Baraschi)

Groom & Groomsmen Attire-Men’s Wearhouse (Bowties purchased from Kohl’s)

Catering-Elite Catering, Baraboo, Wisconsin

Rentals-Tents and Events, Baraboo, Wisconsin (tables, chairs, linens, dance floor, tent, lighting)

A La Crate Vintage Rentals, Madison, Wisconsin (whiskey barrels)

Officiant-Friend of the Bride and Groom

Flowers/Florist-Corsages and Boutonnieres from Anchor Floral, Adams, Wisconsin

Bouquets and Centerpieces-picked from nearby ditches and family gardens

Invitations-Invitations by Dawn (Antique Floral Design)

Dessert (cake and such!)-Cupcakes and cake made by bride’s aunt

Photography- Maureen Cassidy Photography & Patricia Espedal from Rejoy Photography

Videography-Aerodef Productions, Brookfield, Wisconsin

DJ and/or band-Rick Thalacker, Westfield, Wisconsin

Musicians-Tyler Wied, acoustic guitar

Shady Grove (Blue Grass/Folk band from Fond du Lac, WI- played for cocktail hour)

Favors-Wisconsin State Can Koozies from You’re That Girl Designs (Etsy)

Transportation-Kobussen Buses LTD (guest shuttle)

Honeymoon-Moon Palace, Cancun, Mexico