We’re going to go ahead and file this spring-inspired backyard wedding under the sweetest, most romantic celebration EVER. Perhaps it’s the forgoing of conventional seasonal colors, the way two families joined forces to make every detail come to life, or the perseverance of this couple to tie the knot regardless of COVID-19 changing their plans. Either way, there are multiple reasons to love today’s feature. Childhood-crushes turned-lifelong-lovers, Morgan and Dominic exchanged their vows before heading to Morgan’s family home to celebrate with their absolute closest friends and family. Despite shifting their wedding from May to October, they chose to keep their original spring palette – decking out the backyard in shades of pink, purple, white, and green while wonderfully showcasing that wedding colors aren’t tied to a particular time of year. And even with the leaves changing to their autumnal tones, Sara Haines Photography perfectly framed their photos with greenery to give the spring vibes that they were hoping for. Details including bistro lights, timeless tablescapes, and even a mini cookie table all happened thanks to the labor of love from their family members. And just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, these newlyweds were surprised with a gift of personalized messages from family and friends near and far to share their love, support, and excitement for the new Mr. & Mrs. If ever there was a day that’s filled with so much heart and soul, it’s this one.
About the Couple
Dominic and I met in the fifth grade. He was the new kid transferring from Catholic school to public school and we were in the same class.
We had crushes on each other from fifth grade to graduation but never made any moves because we were in different groups of friends. It wasn’t until our sophomore year of college that we reconnected. Dominic was coming home from a semester studying abroad in Italy, and I was home on winter break. We basically went on three dates before we made it official. We like to call it “speed dating,” which led to two and half years of long-distance dating.
I moved back to Pittsburgh after graduation and as we began our careers and lives as new grads, we decided to take some time apart. Two years later, we got back together and it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. Another three years later and we got engaged. Dominic proposed after a bike ride that ended right outside of the breakfast diner we went to on our first date in the little town of Export, PA.
About the Wedding
We planned to have a quick 9-month engagement with our original wedding scheduled for May 2020, but COVID had other plans. We moved our wedding date to October 2020 and decided to get married with only our immediate families and best friends present for the safety of our loved ones. It was far different from our 20-person bridal party and 200-person wedding celebration that we had originally planned, but it was very us and truly magical.
The wedding reception took place in my parent’s backyard and every detail of the day was a labor of love completed by our families. The time, love and effort that went into it truly made two families become one. We borrowed chairs and tables from extended family, baked our own mini cookie table, hand-strung bistro lights, lanterns and greenery from the trees, and set up and took down everything ourselves. We definitely learned why people hire professionals to do most of these things, but we also were able to enjoy the magic of bringing every little detail to life!
Our original wedding plans were bursting with spring colors – lots of romantic purples, pinks, whites and green. I was somewhat disappointed when I was going to have an October wedding, but we made it look like spring. I kept my original colors and our amazing photographer and videographer focused on all the beautiful greenery and flowers still thriving. You would have never guessed it was nearly the fall season by the photos, which I love!
I always knew that I wanted to have a periwinkle/lavender color and hydrangeas as a part of my wedding day. It was my grandmother’s favorite color and flower, and I had grown to love them too! Hydrangeas were incorporated into both mine and the bridesmaid’s bouquets (which made my bouquet HUGE but gorgeous nonetheless!)
My dress had tons of small pearl embellishments on it. Once I found it, I decided to carry the pearl theme throughout the day. Clarissa Boutique decked me out with earrings and hair clips with tiny pearl details. I carried a pearl-studded clutch and broke out a pearl beaded jean jacket for our reception. We even added napkin holders with pearl details and a pearl-embellished tablecloth on our cake table.
I am instinctively attracted to any place that has bistro lights because I think they create the most magical and romantic feel, so incorporating them into the wedding was a must. We strung bistro lights throughout the yard and porch, hung glowing lanterns in the trees and bushes, and covered our long dinner table with large candle votives, intermixed with whimsical greenery.
The climax of the day was saying our vows surrounded by our families. It was incredibly intimate and special. We were also happy that we could include our friends and families who couldn’t be there by having our ceremony live-streamed.
During the ceremony, the priest called both of our parents up to the altar for a special prayer where they extended their hands over us. It was another example of how both of our families joined into one and was something unique we had not seen at a wedding before.
In addition to doing karaoke until 2 a.m. (benefits of not hosting a wedding at a venue with party end times), our families also gave us a HUGE surprise on our wedding night! My sister-in-law reached out to every one of our wedding guests and asked them to send in a video message with well wishes and marriage advice. It resulted in an hour-long video with special messages from friends and family from all walks of our life and from all over the country. We gathered around a big projector screen set up in the yard and laughed and cried for over an hour. It was such a gift and those personalized messages were something we never would have received with our original wedding plans.
Lastly, the night before our wedding day, my in-laws hosted a rehearsal “luau” in honor of our postponed honeymoon to Hawaii. Everyone dressed in Hawaiian clothes, we had traditional tropical food and drinks – kebabs, mai tais, and blue Hawaiian drinks – and we finished the night with a bonfire. It was a very fun spin on a traditional rehearsal and made light of the challenges COVID threw at us and our honeymoon plans!