If there ever was a perfect backyard wedding, this is it. Rachel and Reid's big day last August simply couldn't have been any prettier. The duo chose to tie the knot at Rachel's grandfather's house, and the location set the tone for the rest of the affair. Relaxed, festive, and full of family and love, this wedding is a DIY dream come true. Rachel, Reid, and their friends and family worked for months to get grandpa's house wedding-ready and to craft all of the unique decorations you'll see below. Like something straight out of a woodsy, summer fairytale, Rachel and Reid's wedding is certainly one of my favorites. A few of the highlights include:
- The bride looked like a boho princess with her lace gown, wavy blond locks, and a colorful floral crown in place of a veil. What an effortless, breath-of-fresh-air beauty!
- Bridesmaids were allowed to choose whatever coral dress they liked best and the guys wore their own gray slacks and brown shoes. This mixed collection of shades, shapes, and fabrics went well with the day's casual vibe.
- Overlooking a field, Rachel's grandfather's backyard offered up the perfect picturesque ceremony location. The couple jazzed it up with a dainty carnation flower wall (strung by the bridesmaids the night before the wedding!), garden chairs, and twinkle lights in the trees.
- From the fabric garland and the marquees to the centerpieces and the hand-lettered wooden signs, this day was chock full of made-with-love touches. Collectively, all of the one-of-a-kind pieces gave the day the homemade feel the couple had dreamed of.
- Keeping with the at-home atmosphere, Rachel and Reid opted for an old-fashioned BBQ instead of a traditional meal. Guests feasted on pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, and mac and cheese, among other goodies. If you weren't hungry before reading this, I guarantee you are now.
Shayne of Soiree by Souleret was there to coordinate all of the day-of details and Mandy Fierens Photography captured them perfectly. Rachel and Reid's big day was even featured on The Today Show! See, I'm not the only one who thinks this wedding was seriously stunning. Treat your eyes to the images below and I bet you'll agree.
P.S. Rachel is a super awesome photographer herself! Be sure to check out her work as well!
From the bride…
When and how did you two meet?
Reid and I met at an M83 concert held at the Carnegie Library of Homestead. I worked with his sister and she kept trying to hook us up but we were both hesitant. Then, by chance we met at that concert and the rest is history!
Juicy details on the proposal, please! Where, when, how?
It was the day we moved into our new home. Reid wanted to get a group photo in front of the house with everyone who helped us move. I was busy unpacking and was like, “That's silly. It's December and snowing. Let's do it later!” But he pushed for it so I was like “Fine, geez!” (I had NO clue). Then, his friend taking the picture was actually taking video and Reid got down on one knee and proposed. I was shocked and asked if it was a joke haha! It was so special – in front of our parents and close friends.
Describe the wedding. The look, theme, style, colors, etc.
As a young girl, I dreamed of getting married at my grandfather's house. When Reid loved his property as much as I did, we didn't think twice about the location. We knew what we wanted for our wedding day: relaxed, fun, full of love, and to be surrounded by our family and friends. It was important to make everything unique to who we are and to reflect our personalities. We could not have asked for a more perfect August day for this backyard wedding.
What inspired your vision?
Our personalities inspired the vision of our wedding. Reid is outdoorsy and I loved the simple backyard wedding idea with lights strung up, handmade crafts, marquees, and flowers. Half of the stuff from the wedding is up in our house now so I guess it really is just our style.
What made your wedding unique?
All of our personal touches…from my husband and father making the cornhole boards and setting everything up to my mom and bridesmaids helping with ALL of the handmade decorations!
I first have to note how amazing my bridesmaids looked. They each chose their own coral dress to wear. The different shades, fabrics, textures, and cuts could not have looked better together! It felt great knowing they all chose something they were comfortable in and could actually wear again. The groomsmen didn't look too shabby either. We let them chose any type of gray slacks and brown shoes and the “Motley Crew” really cleaned up nicely 🙂
Upon arrival, guests first made their way up the long gravel driveway, seeing hand-painted signs showing them the way. These were also placed around the property to let them know where the photo booth, bocce, Jenga, and cornhole games were. All hand-painted by yours truly. While they were time-consuming, I felt like they were a nice touch to help show guests where things were.
When guests reached the patio, they were served peach prosecco punch, lemonade, and sweet tea before the ceremony. We used the coral color in a lot of decorations so we decided to decorate with peaches! (I can thank our lovely photographer, Mandy, for this idea!) What's funny is everyone ate the peaches. Our day of planner kept having to fill them up throughout the night, haha! My mother in law is an incredible gardener so she supplied tons of beautiful potted plants that were scattered about. And my mother made a gorgeous tassel garland that was strung on the balcony and behind the head table. My mom, soon-to-be sister in law, and I made string globe lights to hang throughout the trees. Although they were messy and took quite a while, they were a great addition to the decor. The ceremony site was kept simple. Carnations were strung on fishing line that hung behind us to create a backdrop. The bridesmaids made these after the rehearsal on Friday. The trees framed where we stood and guests were able to sit in garden chairs or stand at high cocktail tables around the pool. Since we knew we would still have that August heat, we had programs that guests could use as fans. After a short but sweet ceremony, the guests were able to grab drinks and hors d'oeuvres and play the lawn games while we took photos. (I do have to give a shout out to my handy husband who made the cornhole boards!)
We decided to go the less traditional route and serve our guests BBQ. It. Was. Delicious. Each table had milk glass and clear glass vases that we had spent eight months collecting. The vases had daises, roses, carnations, baby's breath, and hydrangeas in them. My bridesmaids, mother, and day of coordinator spent the wedding morning arranging flowers and setting tables. This is another moment where I felt completely grateful knowing this could not have been done without them! There were kraft bags on every place setting with the menu printed on them, design courtesy of my wonderful mother. They were stuffed with wet naps, mints, and silverware. Each guest also had their own drinking glass with their name on it for the evening. I hand-wrote these with a Sharpie pen and then baked them for 30 minutes. This was the most time-consuming of the DIY crafts since we had over 250 guests, but it was well worth it! When it came time for dessert, we had the traditional Pittsburgh cookie table. Friends and family baked for days to supply these delicious treats (thank you!). My recent obsession with marquee letters lead to Reid and I collaborating to make a SWEETS marque for the dessert table and a large R&R to be placed at the head table.
A huge part of the decorating came from Carmel at Mt. Lebanon Floral. She is a genius! We borrowed two candelabras that sat at the head table with her gorgeous arrangements on them, plus lanterns filled with moss, succulents, and a few other props. When it came to choosing a florist, Carmel was a no brainer. I opted for a floral crown instead of a veil and it was absolutely perfect. I kept it on the entire night. I was fortunate enough to have my hair dresser as a guest so she was able to give me a quick updo after the ceremony!
All of this could not have been possible without our amazing family and bridal party. Our hearts are so full from this outpouring of hard work, kindness, and love. Thank you for making our wedding day something out of a fairytale.
What was your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite moment of the day was marrying my best friend in my grandfather's backyard. It was so personal with all of our loved ones there in such a unique setting.
Another favorite moment of the day was just looking at everything all together for the first time. We got engaged in December and had our wedding in August. It wasn't even until February that we decided on a date so we only had so much time for planning and crafting. This is where I seriously want to give a shout out to people…my dad, husband, younger brother, and grandfather landscaped their butts off! They put in a lot of long, summery days to get ready for this and it all would not have looked so perfect without them! My 80+ year old grandfather was weed wacking the week of the wedding! He's a total gem and we can't thank him enough for letting us get married at his beautiful home.
Bride to Bride
What advice would you give to other Burgh Brides planning their big day?
Let others help you! I couldn't have done all the decorating and planning without my mom and bridesmaids.
And don't stress about EVERY detail that day. As long as you have each other and someone to marry you – everything else could go wrong and that's all that matters!
Any must haves, must dos, or can't live withouts? Anything you would do differently?
One must have is good food! It doesn't have to be expensive to be delicious. We had almost 300 people to feed and everyone loved Clem's BBQ.
Another thing I couldn't have done without were the decorations. They also weren't expensive because we made them but they set the vibe for the whole evening.
Bride's Dress: Alfred Angelo | Bride's Accessories: Kate Spade | Bride's Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids' Dresses: All chosen by the bridesmaids | Cake: Patti's Pasticceria | Caterer: Clem's BBQ | Ceremony & Reception Location: The bride's grandfather's home | DJ: Chuck of Sounds 4 Gotten | Flowers: Mt. Lebanon Floral | Hair: Brianne Neil | Linens: Smarty Had a Party | Makeup: Stephanie Kline | Menswear: All chosen by the groomsmen | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth | Photographer: Mandy Fierens Photography | Rentals: A-1 Rental | Restroom Trailer: Almost Like Home | Stationery: Occasion Creation Designs | Wedding Planner: The bride! Day-of coordination by Soiree by Souleret