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A DIY Backyard Wedding with an Elephant Piñata

"Making it work," one detail at a time

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Abbie, Speach-Language Pathologist & Reid, Computer Programmer

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: A relaxed and joyous poolside backyard wedding complete with margaritas, BBQ, and a giant elephant piñata.

Soundtrack for reading: “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper


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About two months before we got married, I found out that the place I worked was closing and decided I just had to jump at the chance to open my own business. Aside from what had already been planned, I just had to throw my hands up in the air and leave the rest up to fate (and also my mother). My mantra became, “I just want this to be fun, no one will care about the centerpieces.”

We were so busy we never even bought wedding bands, but we made it work. Our ring bearer became our flower boy. One of our best friends married us, and when we got busy she stepped up and wrote the whole ceremony for us and managed to tastefully include singing Beyoncé to herself as part of it. It was so beautiful. I didn’t ask anyone to write a speech (but people did, anyways). I didn’t invite anyone to our “rehearsal” pizza party until about a week before the wedding. I didn’t taste test the cakes or even know what flavors we were going to have. My sister used left over fabric from the APW wedding arch to turn plain old hydrangeas into lovely bouquets at the last minute. We didn’t register for gifts, and it was the best decision ever. My now-husband and I did so many Tim Gunn, “Make it work,” impressions whenever a problem came up. My mom laughed a lot, at how quickly my planning attitude went from “let-me-carefully-examine-all-options” to “seriously-I-don’t-care-just-get-it-done”.

Our wedding was fun. We had mixed-gender bridal parties. I gave my bridesmen nerf guns as gifts and they ran around all dressed up shooting at each other. Reid wore his great grandfather’s bow tie. I bought a piñata and color yourself in poster guest book. My Grandma cried when she saw the picture of her wedding day, framed and set next to our guest book poster. Our photographer set up a remote control “photobooth.” We drank over eighty-four liters of margarita mix. It was also fun in ways I couldn’t have imagined or planned. The wedding was in my parents’ backyard and because we served margaritas, some people thought their pre-existing Jimmy Buffet décor was part of my wedding décor, which I thought was hilarious. Several people checked in with me because they thought the cookies were a pregnancy announcement. Apparently, “having a ball” looked a tiny bit like “having a boy.” Our flower boy’s stuffed animal “husky” didn’t leave his side for most of the wedding. My mom changed into jeans basically immediately after the ceremony.

No one cared about the centerpieces.

Favorite Thing About The Wedding

The ceremony, seeing how happy everyone was for us, and the genuine love and support that we felt from everyone.

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