Lauren and Tim are two super down-to-earth, fun-loving people, and they managed to pull off the most complete outdoors wedding I have seen. No dance tent! No dance floor! No indoor facility! Straight up dancing outside in the grass under the stars!* I was so impressed by their simple (but beautiful) family-centered wedding and reception. They did SO much of the work for their wedding- Lauren’s mom made the wedding dress and one of the bridesmaid’s dresses, Lauren and Tim made the desserts and a lot of the alcohol, did the decorating themselves, and they made the invitations.

They were so excited to be getting married to each other.  Their love for each other was clear in a sweet, no-holding-back, smiles-as-wide-as-your-face kind of way- just check out some of the photos below for proof on that!

*For those DIY types out there interested in having a completely outdoors wedding, I will say that they did have 2 small tents set-up: one with a cocktail lounge area, and one with seating for the older guests.


Where was your wedding?

Our amazing family friends offered us the use of their 8 acre backyard!!!

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

Tim and I really wanted to get married in a personal setting. We had been joking about throwing the wedding in our very small backyard. We really just didn’t want to get married somewhere that felt too formal.

Three days after Tim and I got engaged we had dinner with our dear family friends. When we told them about our engagement they immediately offered us their backyard for our wedding! How perfect!!!

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What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?

Being done with the planning and getting to actually experience the wedding day!

What was your greatest challenge in planning your wedding? What did you feel least prepared for?

Haha…probably everything! I honestly never had big dreams of my wedding day, so figuring out exactly what Tim and I wanted took time. Thank goodness my mom kept encouraging us to “keep planning!” I’m not sure it would have been planned otherwise!

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This smile is amazing! Lauren was so expressive and enthusiastic all day.

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What memory stands out most from your wedding day?

     Lauren: It was such a sweet feeling to walk down to the ceremony with my dad and see our family and friends smiling back at us. Then turning the corner to go down the aisle and seeing Tim waiting at the end was just an amazing, indescribable feeling. Two of the most heartwarming minutes of my life! So that stands out from the wedding, and of course, dancing under the stars.

     Tim: The paper lanterns at night among the trees. I remember walking down through the trees and seeing everyone dancing down by the tents and wondering how we pulled this off :).

Any funny moments to share?

We planned the entire wedding outside! We knew it was a big risk, but also knew we would regret not trying to have an outdoor wedding. The weather was starting to look questionable in the afternoon, but the sun was shining for the ceremony and we danced under the stars!!! And then at 10pm…the rain came! Most of the yard turned into a giant mud pit!

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

Since we planned the wedding ourselves, and a lot of it was DIY, we would have hired a day-of wedding coordinator.

How did you calm your wedding day nerves?

I was strangely calm the day of the wedding! The day before the wedding? I was a bit less calm! While we were on the way to the rehearsal dinner, my sister (luckily) started making a list of things we needed to do on the morning of the wedding. I’m not sure why that calmed me, but it did the trick. Thank god for sisters!

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Why did you choose Maureen Cassidy Photography?

We found Maureen through Paulius of Queens and Hearts Photography. He told us she was “99% rock’n’roll!” How could we turn that down?! We instantly loved the emotion Maureen captures in her pictures! They just seem so real. And when we met Maureen, her energy was contagious! We booked immediately!

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

All of them! The day flew by and I can’t wait to re-live it by looking at the pictures!

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Vendor Shout-outs!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private residence

Hair & Make-up: Nicole from Bang Salon

Wedding Dress: Made by Lauren’s mom

Bridesmaids Dresses: One by Lauren’s mom, one from J. Crew

Groom’s Attire: Suit from Jos. A. Bank

Catering & Bartending: Wood fired pizza from La Fortuna, appetizers from Metcalfe’s Market, Beer/Wine from Steve’s Liquor, bottled cocktails made by us

Bartenders & Servers: Catered Cocktails

Rentals (tents, chairs, linens, etc.): Event Essentials for tents, chairs, and tables; Bucky’s Portable Restrooms for bathrooms; all linens and tableware were purchased by us

Officiant: Tim’s aunt and uncle

Flowers/Florist: Garden Laurels by Sager

Invitations: Designed by Lauren and printed through CatPrint

Dessert (cake and such!): Ice cream made by Lauren & cheese cake made by Tim

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography

DJ: Bride’s co-worker

Musicians: Ceremony music by Alexis Carreon

Honeymoon: Cirali, Turkey

Maureen Cassidy is a Madison wedding photographer, Madison family photographer & Madison boudoir photographer who loves capturing connections, love and beauty in Wisconsin and around the world. If you would like to send her a message contact her {here}.