We LOVE this gorgeous backyard lakeside DIY wedding!
Shea Shoemaker
Shea Shoemaker March 03, 2016

Shea’s Wedding Week Part 4 // Final Thoughts

Share this project

Hi Bridal Babes! Thank you SO MUCH for letting me share our wedding photos, video, details + more with you this week and for letting me get to re-live it all! I’ve had more fun than I can tell you being a Bridal Blogger throughout my engagement and planning until now. It’s been so great to be able to share my planning thoughts and DIY idea’s with you along the way and then get to see them come to life!

From the very beginning of our wedding planning, we knew we wanted to keep it simple and very us, while also creating a backyard cocktail party-esqe vibe. This meant doing some things a little non-traditional {i.e. no wedding party, pup on the front porch and a taco bar!}, but also experiencing some of those great ‘wedding moments’ {cutting the cake and our first dance}! At the end of this experience, I can truly look back and say, yep, that was really us! It felt very intimate and sweet, but yet like a party! Being on the ‘other side’ so to speak, definitely gives you more insight that I hope might be helpful for those of you deep in the planning process or just starting. A few of my thoughts below!


Setting your date + selecting your venue are some of the first items on your planning checklist. For us, this was about thinking outside of the box and thinking about how we wanted the day to feel and making it our own. We really wanted to feel like a fun cocktail party {with guests standing and mingling}, our pup running around and a more laid back feel. Plus the twinkle lights. I’m pretty sure no one loves twinkle lights like I do! So while selecting your venue, I encourage you to think outside of the venue box to make your wedding what you envision.

How gorgeous is this front porch wedding ceremony?! SWOON!Swooning over this gorgeous twinkle lit backyard wedding reception!


For our wedding, we went the route of less traditional and more what made sense and was true to us as a couple. As weddings are becoming more hands on, more DIY’d, etc., I think it’s super important to take a look at what traditions mean to you and which you’ll keep, toss out or put a new twist on to ensure you’re big day is meaningful to you!

Wedding Party. For us, this is a tradition or usual wedding practice you’ll notice from our wedding post from Wednesday, that we tossed out! With our front porch ceremony and backyard reception, we decided to keep it very intimate with only family and close friends. For us this also helped to keep things simplified, relaxed and just more true to us as a couple. So, we decided to forego the wedding party for just us on the porch + our bow-tied pup! I loved how intimate the ceremony felt and it was much easier when it came to rehearsals!

We LOVE this gorgeous front porch ceremony!We LOVE this gorgeous front porch ceremony!

Cake. We all love cake and love those hilarious + cute cake cutting wedding photos, but for us we chose to not allocate a large portion of our budget to cake! While still wanting to uphold this tradition in some way, we decided to go with a darling cut cake made by a gracious family friend. This route fit perfectly with our wedding + reception style and allowed for us to still cut the cake in a new twist! For desserts, we had a darling cookie bar that was easy to eat and gorgeous on the dessert table!

Love this gorgeous cut cake with wooden cake topper and cookie bar!How darling is this cake cutting series?! Love!

First Dance. This is one tradition we couldn’t pass up and boy am I glad we didn’t! Dancing as Husband + Wife in front of our family and friends under our twinkle lit dance floor was such a sweet moment I’ll never forget. Quietly whispering about how much we loved how the day went it felt like time stood still. When it comes to traditions, I feel as though you must look at each as a couple and honor what’s important and true to you and your big day!

We love this gorgeous twinkle lit first dance!How gorgeous is this backyard reception and twinkle lit first dance? Swoon!

Garter + Bouquet Toss. This is another tradition we passed on. With a smaller wedding + when all of your friends are married, it makes ‘Asking all of the single ladies to catch the bouquet’ a little awkward!

Bridal March Music. Since we didn’t have a bridal party, my Dad + I we’re the only ones walking down the aisle for the ceremony. To keep true to ourselves + our front porch wedding, we felt that changing up the song from the traditional bridal march to an instrumental tune we both loved made more sense. I’m really happy we decided to swap this tradition up!


The process of deciding what you’ll DIY or do yourself and what you’ll hire out for is so important! From the beginning, I wanted to ensure we prioritized our vendors and did as much as we possibly could ourselves. Therefore, we didn’t hire a wedding coordinator and researched, hired + booked our vendors ourselves, as well as scheduled our big day accordingly. Looking back, some of those decisions are what made our day less stressful and more gorgeous!

Photography. Some vendors are a given, you must have a photographer and a great one you love at that. I can’t sing enough praises for our photographer, Shots by Cheyenne. Not only does her work blow me away, but we always have such a fun time doing it which is just as important on a such a fast paced day! You’ll heavily rely on your photography for the schedule and flow of the day and Cheyenne did a GREAT job ensuring we got all of the shots we wanted/needed while still feeling involved in our wedding!

Videography. As I shared on Monday’s post, a videographer wasn’t in our initial budget or plan. But again, I honestly can’t share with you how special that video is to us. It allows you to actually re-live the day and was a great investment for the day itself. Our videographers, Dog + Doe did such a great job of capturing the big {+ little} moments of the day and again, made it so relaxed and fun!

Event Styling. Again, if you would have asked us in the beginning of planning, this wasn’t even something I had thought of or even thought I needed. Sure! I can set-up and thoughtfully decorate my ceremony and reception while being relaxed, enjoying the day and looking like a beautiful bride! For me, our event stylist, Elizabeth from Stockroom Vintage was my lifesaver. Her + her team showed up that rainy morning and went to work using what appeared like a room of random decor into the exact vision we had for the wedding! She worked diligently to ensure everything looked perfect and it was the least stressed I could have ever been. I got to enjoy spending time with everyone, take my time getting ready and truly soak in the day.

DIY Details

With our wedding, DIY played a big aspect. We wanted to ensure we had many personalized details + DIY’d to save as much money as we could!

Aisle Sign. This gorgeous aisle sign handmade by Jen, was the perfect detail for our ceremony. The most hilarious moment of the day was when I was about to walk down the aisle and we couldn’t get it untied from the chairs…so I grabbed my Dad and we hopped over the sign! I wasn’t letting a little yarn get in the way of our big day! I love seeing the pictures of this as most people are tearing up walking down the aisle and we’re all cracking up! Find Jen’s aisle sign DIY here!

How darling is this gorgeous DIY wedding aisle sign?! Swoon!We love this fun Bride and her ceremony!

Chair Tags. These chair tags we’re the best! The kraft paper tied into our kraft paper tablecloths keeping the neutral and earthy tones, while also making it super simple + beautiful to ensure our families front row seats we’re saved. Such a fabulous DIY here!

How darling are these family kraft paper chair tags? We're in love!

Team Bride + Team Groom Buttons. These buttons we’re such a hit! Darling childhood + current photos donned each button and we’re the perfect compliment + icebreaker to keep the reception fun! We used a kraft paper sign to let guests know what to do + again, it tied in perfectly with our other kraft details. I also loved that we displayed the buttons on the frame and placed on an easel! Check out Jen’s DIY Here!

How fun are these team bride and team groom icebreaker buttons? Love!

Guest Book. We DIY’d our guest book pumpkin + sign which I love! It’s a great wedding keepsake that we can display in our home each fall. It’s fun to swap it up and have something we actually want to look at and display over the years! You can find Jen’s guest book pumpkin DIY Here.

Gorgeous guest book pumpkin and sign DIY!

Honeymoon Fund. It was super simple and looked great on our welcome table! The other welcome table item we DIY’d was our Honeyfund {DIY Here}. This worked great to hold cards + ‘moon donations throughout the night and was super simple to grab as we left for the evening.

We love this gorgeous DIY Wedding Honeyfund frame!

Centerpieces. We collected, cleaned and painted tons of glassware for our centerpieces and table decor. We wanted them to feel + look effortless while still giving you an elegant cocktail party vibe. I love how these random combinations of wine bottles, painted glassware, candles, florals + decor turned out so beautiful!

We're loving this gorgeous DIY glass centerpieces!

Kraft Tablecloths. I love how perfectly these turned out. I found the idea on Pinterest, bought a giant roll of kraft paper + our event stylist, Elizabeth from Stockroom Vintage took over from there! It was such a darling way to label + decorate our tables at the same time! Check back tomorrow to learn how-to with Jen’s DIY!

How gorgeous is this hand lettered kraft paper tablecloth?! We're swooning!

Music. This is one that isn’t a visual DIY, but was a big DIY in and of itself! One of our we’ll do-it-ourselves tasks was to handle the music. We wanted to have a nice mix of cocktail party + current music without the cost of a DJ or band. Insert our Spotify playlist! We worked for a couple of months adding songs we both liked, great cocktail party background music + more to a reception playlist we created. At the end, we went through and edited the flow to ensure all made sense + ta-da! We rented two large standing speakers to ensure we had the volume we needed + purchased a month of Spotify and let the playlist flow through the night. This was one DIY I was a little worried about throughout our planning process as I didn’t want radio silence or anything strange to happen, but honestly, it turned out great!

All in all, whether it’s a team of professionals, a team of your best girlfriends or a combination of both, ensure you have your bases covered so you can truly relax and enjoy the day as much as possible! I hope I shared some insight into backyard weddings and some of our how-to’s and tips. This has been an unbelievable experience and I’ve made some great friends along the way! I’ll still be around as I have joined the Something Turquoise team as our wedding editor and am loving seeing all of the amazing wedding’s and DIY’s you all have shared with us! Thanks babes!


Shea Shoemaker, our guest blogger, is a recently hitched stylish DIY bride who said “I Do” to Joseph, the love of her life, on October 3rd, 2015 with their pup Knox by their side. You can personally find + follow her on these social channels:

Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter

No related posts found.