A backyard wedding If you happen to have the perfect backyard yourself, go for it. Or if someone has offered to host your wedding in their gorgeous yard, say yes. Backyard weddings make for some of the most amazing photos because you’ll find all your favorite people looking like movie stars relaxing in the garden. I love taking pictures of people feeling at ease and at home during their wedding. If tying the knot with your loved one in a familiar place appeals to you, having a backyard wedding is a great way to make memories that sparkle and shine.

Britta and Brandon’s Backyard Wedding

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Where our wedding was, and how we chose the venue(s)

Brandon and I are both originally from Beaver Dam, WI, where most of our family still lives. After toying around with the idea of a destination wedding or something closer to our home in Minneapolis, we realized what was most important to us was to be surrounded by family for our wedding. We were enjoying a post-engagement celebratory drink with my parents when my dad offered to host our wedding in my parents’ backyard. I instantly burst into tears! We were so touched by their offer and knew a backyard wedding would allow us to have the intimate celebration we envisioned.

Our favorite part(s) of the wedding

It was so fun to share the places where Brandon and I grew up together, became friends, and eventually fell in love with friends from near and far alongside our families. The most perfect moment to us was walking into the tent as husband and wife for the first time and seeing all of our loved ones faces smiling back at us.

Planning an at-home wedding definitely added a lot of work during the wedding planning process, but looking around on our wedding day and realizing how much love our friends and families poured into making it happen was incredible. My parents spent months planning lighting schemes, planting schedules, tent placement, and brunch menus to transform their home into a wedding venue. My sister Cobby handcrafted hundreds of paper flowers to create a “WELCOME” sculpture guiding our guests to the reception.

So many personal touches – My Grandpa Ken helped our dads string the hundreds of lights and paper lanterns in the tent, hand-lettered every sign in the yard, and scoured eBay for our vintage ski guestbook. The centerpieces filled beautiful hobnail vases my Grandma Becky had searched out for us as soon as we announced our engagement – we missed her and Brandon’s Grandma Paula but felt their presence in so many ways. Brandon’s family hosted a rehearsal night bonfire BBQ to kick off the weekend, and the wedding night escape to my aunt’s candlelit lake cottage was icing on top.

I could go on forever! (we borrowed golf carts to help guests up the hilly yard! our next-door-neighbors lit the candles before dinner!) Every detail was perfect and we couldn’t have made any of it happen without these incredible people.

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What was definitely worth it

Keeping the guest list to a size that matched “personal and intimate” was really tough, but we were really happy that we felt like we had a fun memory to share with every guest. We ended up with around 130 guests, and it was fabulous to feel like we had a little time with everyone.

Oh, and the dress. Worth. It.

What was definitely not worth it

It was all worth it! Honestly we have no regrets. Maybe worrying so much about the weather – that wasn’t worth it!

Our Planning Guidelines

“Keep it simple, keep it personal” –  I have the tendency to over-research and over-plan. I tried hard to stay focused on our vision and limit myself to a few really great options before making a decision. Also, I told myself that if it wasn’t important when my mom got married, it can’t be that important. Pinterest, magazines, and the internet have turned wedding planning into this crazy thing that you could spend every waking moment on. We aimed to be more minimalist.

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Greatest challenge planning the wedding

We basically built our venue from scratch and did not hire a day-of coordinator, so I was very nervous about day-of logistics throughout the wedding planning process. There are so many things you don’t think about at first: who will receive deliveries while my family is gone taking pictures, who will manage ice/garbage/etc. how do we light the tent, who will refill the generator for the tent (?!!).

With so many variables, I relied on choosing vendors who are known for being flexible and creating a VERY detailed plan that was scheduled in 15 minute increments. I shared my color-coded wedding planning spreadsheet with everyone who helped out with the wedding, fully knowing the day wouldn’t go 100% “to plan” but that at least the many pairs of helping hands would be on the same page. That spreadsheet turned into a family joke, and we never did end up with a great Plan B for the weather!

Resources that helped us along the way

I used the checklist from TheKnot.com to keep me on track overall – but I would definitely recommend that brides pick and choose which “to do’s” really matter to them (no dance lessons for us!). Word of mouth in a town like Beaver Dam goes a long way – I chose my amazing DJ (Sound Effects DJ) through family friends, and I got a lot of help choosing a salon and stylist. Our wonderful florist Gene, from Beaver Floral, is a family friend and gave us invaluable assistance along the way.

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The wedding photos we’re most excited to see

The group shot! Maureen was so accommodating of our crazy idea to try and get a photo of all of our guests together. Everyone was really cooperative and we are so excited to have a memento of the entire party. Maureen also snagged us at the perfect moment to take a few photos together in the “glow’ of the sun setting. We saw some sneak peeks and can’t wait to see the magic!

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 Advice for other people planning their wedding

Decide what is really important to you and forget the rest. I really wanted both Brandon and I to enjoy the experience of planning our wedding, and to look back on the wedding day as special, outrageously fun, and full of love. Putting my foot down for gray tablecloths instead of white ones didn’t meet that criteria of “important” – making that distinction early on helped keep me sane and the budget reasonable!

Other cool stuff people should know

  • We asked the pastor who had married my parents to officiate our wedding ceremony, and we were so honored he agreed to perform the service. The ceremony was touching, just the right amount of funny, and he started the entire evening off with so much meaning.
  • Instead of serving traditional cake or dessert, we used personal-sized cakes at each table to display the table numbers. A note told the guests to dig in whenever they would like – and they totally did! Watching our friends mingle as they bartered for more cake was a hilarious memory from dinner.
  • The selfie stick that my sister brought out for the dance deserves an honorable mention…we spent hours on our honeymoon flight laughing over the shenanigans captured in the candid snaps!

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We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because

Maureen is so friendly and laid back, and she immediately hit it off with me and my sister the first time we met her. We knew she would fit right in with our fun-loving families. She takes the most beautiful outdoor photos, which was also a priority. We were prepared for anything as far as hosting an outdoor wedding, and we knew we could count on Maureen to capture beautiful moments, rain or shine.

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Where we allocated the most funds 

Food & drink, photos!

Where we allocated the least funds

No upfront venue costs! We saved by buying our own alcohol. We kept “extras” pretty simple (DJ provided ceremony music, we decided against any rentals for decorations).

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Ceremony & Reception Venue: my parents’ home in Beaver Dam, WI

Hair: MCV Salon in Sun Prairie, WI- Absolutely loved my braided crown and wavy wedding hair – Brides, ask for Kristin!

Make up: my sister and her date Anthony

Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Ultimate Bride in Chicago, IL – Wonderful personal service!

Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaid in Excelsior, MN

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Groom’s suit – Nordstrom Custom Fit; Groomsmen’s suits – Men’s Warehouse

Catering & Bar-tending: Upstairs Downstairs Catering in Madison, WI- Amazing service- they kept everyone fed and happy!

Rentals: Modern Rentals in Ripon, WI 

Officiant: Pastor Garrett Kamerling (retired) – It was such an honor to have a trusted family advisor and officiant bless our day.

Flowers: Gene’s Beaver Floral in Beaver Dam, WI- Gene was wonderful, he created the most gorgeous floral centerpieces and arrangements and even straightened my dress as I walked down the aisle!

Invitations: Minted – loved the pre-printed guest addresses!

Dessert: 8 inch cakes from Rechek’s Food Pride in Beaver Dam, WI – were the perfect centerpiece decorated with flowers from Beaver Floral and handmade table numbers

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography – Maureen was wonderful with our guests and created the most beautiful visual story of our day!

Videographer: Tommy Schmidt (skishowtom@gmail.com) – Tommy captured our day exactly as we had asked him to – we are so grateful to be able to relive our wedding!

DJ: Sound Effects DJ in Beaver Dam, WI – Chad played at least 3 encores when our guests couldn’t get enough of the dance floor! He was the best!

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}.



Maria & Kevin’s Backyard Barn Wedding

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Where our wedding was, and how we chose the venue(s):

Our wedding was at our farm outside of Columbus, WI. We purchased a small farm almost 2 years ago and the barn was in amazing shape. It’s over 100 years old!

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Our favorite part(s) of the wedding:

My nephew Tyler who is 19, sang and played acoustic guitar during our ceremony. Almost every single song he learned was recorded before he was born. When Kevin walked down the aisle with his parents, Tyler played, ‘Holding out for a Hero’, by Bonnie Tyler. He did AMAZING. Kevin is a HUGE Footloose fan. This song was appropriate for so many reasons!

Kevin and I also wrote our own vows. It was so touching to be able to express our vows from the heart.

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DIY backyard weddingbackyard wedding in a barnbarn weddingWhat was definitely worth it:

Having it at our place. The photos and memories from that day mean so much more knowing it was in our backyard.

Greatest challenge planning the wedding:

We are SO GLAD we had our wedding on our farm BUT living at the same place as the venue could sometimes be a challenge. We wanted to constantly ‘do things’ in preparation. I am a sprinter and this was more of a marathon…I probably swept the barn 20 times before the actual day J.

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Resources that helped us along the way:

Pinterest and Etsy! I would find things I liked on both sites and then bring these ideas to my dad. He played a HUGE role in helping us construct a lot of our décor. I would tell him what I liked and he would build it. He actually built the bar in the barn out of old barn wood.

Advice for other people planning their wedding:

The day will go by so quickly. Try to enjoy every moment! Don’t stress, everything will get taken care of.

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Other cool stuff people should know:

My dad and I made all of the decorations. He trimmed birch trees, placed them in corners of the barn and we strung clear lights on them. He found an oak tree already down. He trimmed it to be the base of our cake. He spent a lot of time stringing lights and hanging material on scaffolding.

We purchased our centerpiece flowers from a vendor at the Sun Prairie Farmer’s Market the morning of our wedding.backyard wedding DIY detailsDIY details

The wedding photos we’re most excited to see:

There was so much going on that day, we are excited to see our guests engaging with each other. We know there were bits we missed and we can’t wait to see what was captured in the photos!

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We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because:

We met with Maureen in January and immediately felt comfortable with her. She had only one day open in September, our date. It was meant to be! She has such amazing energy, we knew she would be able to capture our day perfectly. And when she confirmed she would climb the barn banisters if needed, we knew she was our photographer! The day of our wedding, she was so much fun!

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Ceremony & Reception Venue: our home

Hair: Bfix Salon in Madison, WI

Make up: My sister and I did ours together

Wedding Dress: I found my dress online. It was from a boutique in NYC and had been a mannequin sample.

Bridesmaid Dress: www.modcloth.com

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Everyone picked their own

Catering: Eldorado Grill provided our dinner with smoked brisket and mashed potatoes

Bar-tending: We had kegged cocktails provided by Dlux. Old-fashions were on tap!

Rentals (tents, chairs, linens, etc.): Event Essentials

Officiant: Rev. Rita Erickson from Tomah, WI. She was great!

Wedding planner: Kevin and Maria 🙂

Flowers/Florist: Wild Apples Floral in Baraboo, WI

Invitations: Maria made them. She has a design background.

Dessert: Market Street Diner did our wedding cake along with rustic pies, pumpkin and s’mores bars.

Basset Street Brunch Club provided us with donuts. Guests were encouraged to take them home for breakfast the next day. Flavors included Maple Bacon (yesss!), Oreo-Crusted and Sprinkled.

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography

Bands: During cocktail hour, the No Name String Band: Midwestern new-time string band.

Our dance was The Rusty Hearts: electrified, stringified and countrified music.

Both bands fit our theme quite well. In fact the Rusty Hearts even countrified some songs from the 80s and learned how to play ‘My Maria’.


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}.

Our Stunning Backyard Wedding in the Northwoods

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Where our wedding was, and how we chose the venue(s): 

Our wedding was at the Mother-of-the-Bride’s cabin located on Rice Lake in Upper Michigan.  The rustic beauty of the cabin and the lake made it an easy choice for our wedding venue.  The cabin also had a special significance for both of us, as Hicham spent the summer of 2014 helping build the cabin from the ground up and I was also helping out the day the foundation was laid.

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Our favorite part(s) of the wedding:

The first look – after a lot of anticipation and a bit of stress, it was such a relief to finally share  a quiet moment with each other and hold one other close.  The rest of the day went by as such a whirlwind. Looking back, walking together for our first look in the beautiful north woods of the Keweenaw definitely stands out.

Also, being reunited with our friends and family. One of the hardest parts of living abroad is being so far away from all these amazing people.  It was the first opportunity many friends had to meet each other, and for others it was the first time Hicham and I had seen them in years.  It was very special reuniting to celebrate our love with everyone.

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What was definitely worth it:

The flowers: After a lot of hunting, my Mom found a small farm (Rock River Farm) in the U.P. that sells fresh flowers at a really good rate. A few weeks before the wedding, we drove out and met with the owner, Shailah, who is absolutely amazing! She was really accommodating and the flowers were beautiful. For the big day, Shailah made my bouquet, the floral crown for my hair, the two arrangements on the archway, and we had over 400 fresh cut flowers all for a very affordable price.

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What was definitely not worth it:

Too many small details: A few weeks before the wedding, when I was home from abroad for the first time in months, I went a little detail-happy during a few shopping trips to the craft stores.  There were a lot of little decorations that didn’t end up being used or put up because we ran out of time to set them up! I spent a lot of time stressing about little details and in the end they didn’t matter much. If you’re doing a DIY wedding, I would recommend sticking to a few must-haves and ditching the rest of the little details!

Our Planning Guidelines:

We live abroad, so our biggest planning guideline was that we had to be able to plan it from afar.  We had a lot of help, particularly from my family, with contacting vendors and getting the cabin ready for the big day.  I was also lucky that a lot of my close girlfriends were already married, which means that I had a lot of advice and tips for DIY wedding planning (lucky me!).

My Dad gave us a great piece of advice that became our other main guideline: figure out what is worth doing yourself and what is worth delegating or hiring someone to do.  This mantra was super helpful when deciding when to find a vendor and what to tackle on our own.  Sometimes, it’s totally worth it to hire some help! 
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Greatest challenge planning the wedding:

Living abroad! Although a lot of things could be organized by email and online, there were some things that just had to wait until we were back in the Midwest.  We were lucky that we had 3 weeks off in the States before the wedding.  Those three weeks were spent helping finish the cabin (the frame was constructed in 2014, but the entire interior, exterior and landscaping was done from May-July 2015!) and finalizing all the other last minute things, including having my wedding band made.  That said, we did what we could and tried our best not to stress out about the things we couldn’t get to before the wedding.

Resources that helped us along the way:

As mentioned, we had a lot of help along the way, from my parents and from a number of our friends including Kim (our Officiant), Nicky (who made our amazing cake and cupcakes), the entire bridal party and family members (who helped with wedding set-up), and the whole work crew that helped finish the cabin on time. Pinterest was another key resource to gather ideas and inspiration for our own DIY wedding.

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Personal Vows:

I, (Hicham/Whitney), take you (Hicham/Whitney), to be my lawful wedded (husband/wife), my partner in life and my one true love.

I give to you in the presence of our loved ones as witness,

My promise to love you without reservation,

To trust and honor you through times of good health and bad, and times of joy and sorrow. 

I promise to comfort you in times of distress,

And to encourage you to achieve all of your goals.

I will grow with you in mind and spirit,

Always be open and honest with you,

And will love you, today, tomorrow and always.

No matter where in the world we are,

My home will always be wherever I am with you.

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Advice for other people planning their wedding:

Don’t stress the small stuff and remember that things have a way of coming together in the end!  The other most important thing is to have fun, because the day will fly by!  The day after the wedding, Hicham and I both said, “We want to do it all over again, it went by too fast!”

The wedding photos we’re most excited to see:

The first look photos!  Whitney is also pretty excited to see the photos of the keg stands (which she missed out on and only found out about later on in the night)!northern wedding in backyardcandids at wedding

We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because:

We were referred to Maureen by Natural Intuition Photography, who had done our engagement photos (but was booked our wedding weekend). As soon as I looked at Maureen’s website, I knew that her style was a good fit for us!  Maureen and I emailed and chatted on Skype a few times in the months before the wedding and Maureen is so easy to work with.  She has such a great spirit and a natural calm about her that we didn’t even stress at all about the photography.  The day of the wedding Maureen (and her second shooter) were amazing – they worked so quickly and quietly that we sometimes forgot they were there!  Our guests loved them and so did we! 

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Wedding Vendors:

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Private residence on Rice Lake in Upper Michigan

Hair: Regis Salon

Make up: I did my own!

Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero

Bridesmaids Dresses: Each bridesmaide chose her own dress.

Groom:  Custom-made in Lebanon

Catering:  Kanga’s Catering

Bar-tending: We did our own alcohol and had our friends Sherri and Tim help serve!

Rentals (tents, chairs, linens, etc.): UP Event Rentals

Officiant: Our lovely friend, Kim Hodges

Wedding planner: Us!

Flowers/Florist: Rock River Farm near Marquette, MI

Invitations:  Betty Lu Designs

Dessert: Another lovely friend, Nicky Gagnon Outinen

Wedding Bands: 

His – from a jeweler in Hicham’s home town of Tyre, Lebanon

Hers – custom-made by Thomas Dailing at Lee Ayers Jewelers of Stevens Point, WI

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography & Amie Heeter 2nd shooting

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}.

Lauren & Tim’s Backyard Wedding in Madison

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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bride walking down aisle at outdoor wedding in friends backyard

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}.

By | November 20th, 2014|Backyard Wedding, Wedding Photography Madison WI|0 Comments

Backyard Wedding in Madison Wisconsin

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.


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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


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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: beautiful.faces.by.sarah@gmail.com

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


By | September 12th, 2014|Backyard Wedding, Wedding Photography Madison WI|0 Comments