DIY Weddings: A Backyard Wedding With Homemade Brew
For a lot of us, a backyard wedding is the epitome of the ideal wedding. Maybe it’s because we’ve watched Father of the Bride one too many times, but we don’t think that’s quite it. The backyard wedding we’re dreaming of is down-to-earth and personal. There’s something incredibly touching about starting your new family in the place where your forever-family raised you. And while most of our family homes don’t have yards that are big enough or beautiful enough to make our big day as incredible as we want it to be, our next couple, Kristin and Bryan, had just that and they put it to the best use possible.
While wearing a Jenny Woo dress, Kristin walked down the aisle at her parent’s home near Sacramento, California. Her dad gets all the credit for spending years building their backyard into a refuge that borders on botanical garden.
The site of the ceremony was anchored by an old draping willow tree. The scene was romantic enough to give goosebumps to the entire guest list… and anyone looking at this image.
A sort of garland was created by tying flowers into the branches of the willow, which in turn lead to a subtle frame for the bride and groom’s to take center stage while stating their vows. The bride adds, “While the ceremony flew by, it is still such an incredible moment to reflect on now. I usually get crazy nerves in front of crowds, but it felt as though we were the only people there.”
When it comes to staging the vibe, Kristin tells us that she and Bryan “were really focused on creating a fun, relaxed atmosphere while still acknowledging the fact that getting married is a big deal! It was important to have an amazing event that all of our loved ones would enjoy, but not to create a scene that would make us totally stressed out or unable to be present. The food and drink, atmosphere and dance party were where we spent the majority of our planning time. We were going for delicious, beautiful and hysterically fun.”
As far as adding personal touches goes, Kristin shares, “We spent a ton of time on the DIY elements, and the weeks leading up to the wedding were crazy (and super fun!). Friends and family came over every night to help us.”
And just what did they help them with? Lots of things, but let’s start with the gilded terra cotta pots, which held their beautiful gold, peach, cream and warm orange arrangements created by floral designers Scarlett and Grace. This is a project you can totally tackle yourself. We even have a tutorial for you right here.
The latest must-have for wedding fun, cornhole, is something you can also make yourself. Best of all, you can set it up in your yard after the ceremony, use it for years to come and it will serve as a reminder of your happy day. To make yours, check out Cornhole How To, a site dedicated to making the game. If you run out of time to sew the bags, Etsy is always there to help you out.
And probably our favorite (and their guests’ favorite) DIY element of the wedding was Kristin and Bryan’s favors, which doubled as escort cards. They home brewed their own beer and had a friend design the labels. Each guest went to their table (and then home!) with a four pack. Not a bad way to end an epic day. Try your own home brewing adventures with a kit or the American Homebrewers Association is happy to take you through the process.
If you want to have at least one DIY element to your wedding, table numbers are kind of the way to go. There are a million ways to do them. There are no wrong or right answers and they can be as complicated or as simple as you want. In Kristin and Bryan’s case, they were incredibly simple and beautiful. If you like the watercolor look (which we wholeheartedly encourage), we can help you out with our own little how to.
Their menus looked totally pro, but were actually made by the couple and their friends. Bryan told us that the willow tree “became a sort of motif throughout the design and was included on the menus, save the dates, etc.”
Bryan and Kristin replaced their guestbook with something we’re totally swooning over — a Wish Station, where guests made predictions about the happy couple with prompts like: “Where Do You See Us in 25 Years?”
If you ask the groom what his favorite part of the day was, he’ll tell you that it was when their photographer Kris Holland grabbed them in the middle of cocktail hour for a photo shoot in the back of the property: “We’re talking hiking through weeds, trampling on burrs, bugs and dirt. We had a great moment to reflect on all that had just happened, and we are so thankful to have had that space together.”
Bryan and Kristin left us with a suggestion that we think is a good one to pass on to all engaged couples: “We spent a weekend away a few weeks before our wedding to focus completely on writing our vows, talking about what we were hoping for from our marriage and our excitement about it all. It was a very, very special time and highly recommended!”
The couples’ final thoughts? “We were so lucky to have such an amazing community to lean on and support us through all of the planning stages. If you are planning on doing a lot of DIY, enlist your troops!” Not only will asking for help ensure that the projects you’re passionate about get finished, but it’s a way for your friends to be involved on another level.
Floral Design: Scarlett + Grace
Wedding Planner: Catrina Arcularius of Catrina Maria Designs
Photographer: Kris Holland Photography
Print Designers: Jack and Ginger Studios
Hair + Makeup: Polish and Pout
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
If you have a super creative wedding you’d like to share, we want to know! Just send a note to email@example.com or leave us a message in the comments below.
Your relationship with your finances is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have, and you can't avoid it. That said, for many of us, the pandemic only added to our financial stress. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, just remember that financial insecurity isn't a net-worth issue — it's a mindset issue. And, we happen to have plenty of advice on how to turn your money mindset around so you can take charge of your funds once and for all.
To start, feeling secure begins with a strong foundation, and there's no better time than now to get started stacking the bricks. It's easy to get swept up in the January "new year, new me" mentality, but really? Any time is the right time to get yourself in order. You don't need to wait for a new year, a new moon, the right moment, or a sign from above. You don't even have to start on the first day of the month — you just need to start.
Introducing NerdWallet: A Safe and Reliable Money App
To help with that, we've put together a list of the just-right-for-you ways that NerdWallet can help you monitor your financial outlook. Haven't heard of them yet? NerdWallet is a personal finance company that helps consumers make smarter financial decisions. Their website and app let you compare different financial products, find articles and tools to make financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances (hey there, credit score, I see you!) all in one place. Plus, NerdWallet has over 75,000 glowing reviews in the App Store (and a 4.8 star rating) if you want to read up on any more testimonials.
Tim Chen, NerdWallet's CEO and co-founder, started this financial journey in 2009 after his sister needed help finding a credit card. Even with an economics degree and a Wall Street background, it took awhile for Tim to find the right recommendation (so don't feel too bad when it takes you a while, too). Their mission is to bring clarity to all of life's financial decisions.
So it's safe to say that NerdWallet is a pretty good sherpa for your journey, too.
Get the most from your money
Did you know that the money you park in a savings account can lose value? Harsh, but true. If your money isn't earning interest that's on pace with inflation it will actually be worth less to you in the future. And if the bank charges fees? Forget about it. Make sure you're earning the interest you deserve and come out on top. NerdWallet has researched dozens of financial institutions to help consumers find the best options. The hard work has already been done for you, so you can just select the account that works best for you and your nest egg.
Keep an eye on everything, securely
Once everything is set up, tracking and managing your finances is what will keep the money machine running smoothly. You can create an account either through the site or the app and link your bank accounts, then keep tabs on all your finances in one place. Get a clear picture of your saving and spending, get insights into how to master your money, and even build your credit score all in one place.
Get extra credit points
Do you have the best credit card for your lifestyle? Some cards give cash back on every purchase, ones with travel perks, and ones that charge way less interest than you're paying now. NerdWallet takes the guesswork out of choosing the right credit card with simple side-by-side comparisons of different credit cards so that you feel confident choosing the right one. Whatever you want to do, NerdWallet can help you find the best credit card to get it done.
Know your options for settling down
Mortgage rates are pretty low and it looks like they're going to stay that way for awhile, so buying a home might be the move sooner than you think. But there's so much more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has in-depth reviews on multiple lenders in a mixture of categories so you get the home loan with the mortgage rate, term, and fees that's right for you.
Settle an old score
NerdWallet helps you monitor your credit score for free and helps you see how little things (like raising the limit on your credit card or paying your bills on time) can increase your score. NerdWallet partners with TransUnion® to provide your VantageScore® 3.0, based on information in your TransUnion® credit report. Your score and credit report information are updated weekly. But that's not even close to all:
- They provide you with tips from experts on how you could build or optimize your credit score
- You'll get a detailed look at your credit score and all the factors that go into it—your payment history, credit utilization, the age and type of accounts, balances, and any recent inquiries
- The credit simulator tool gives you an idea of how your credit score would change if you applied for a new credit card, closed your oldest credit card, or got a new auto loan
- You also get free, unlimited access to your credit report
When it comes to managing your money, safe and reliable is where it's at. Establishing a healthy relationship with your finances begins when you take control and practice habits that build wealth. Signing up just takes a few minutes. Set your intentions to build a solid financial foundation, it will only strengthen your relationship with your finances. And don't be afraid to get a little nerdy while you're at it.