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DIY Rustic Backyard Wedding


I want to take you on a journey through the DIY Rustic “Backyard” Wedding that I planned for my dear friend Angelina & her fiance (now husband) Joe Petersen. Like all weddings, this one had its challenges along with its triumphs. We had to battle weather, a tight budget, and two very different families and cultures. It was so worth it in the end, though.

If you noticed the quotes around “backyard” - they’re there for a reason. This was originally supposed to be held at one of our beautiful local parks, among the archways of twisting olive trees surrounded by green fields. However, Mother Nature had a different idea. February was sunny and blue, but March met us with heavy rainstorms. We didn’t let that ruin our plans, though, and were so fortunate that Angelina’s family church had a vacancy that weekend - so, a week before they said “I do” we moved our plans indoors.

This was such a fun event to plan. I did do a lot of the handy-work here, and will walk you through all of the DIY aspects of the wedding (so, just about everything). I hope you enjoy!


Rustic Church Ceremony , church wedding


These aisle signs are a bit of my own DIY handy-work. Angelina showed me an example of these early-on and I assured her I could re-create them. She wanted me to go for a rustic, worn-down wood look, so I sanded and stained these beauties myself before hand-lettering the scripture quotes. Our original vision was to have them placed down the aisle between trees, but I think they look lovely down the aisle of her church pews. Angelina’s little touch of tulle-wrapped twinkle lights was a nice touch too.

For the altar backdrop, the couple wanted something very simple. We rented white, satin pipe and drape and hung a few strands of greenery to add an organic look that Angelina likes. I decided to pull the reception flowers and place them on either side of the steps leading up to the altar, which I was really happy with. The crates coordinated with the aisle signs, and this added the much-needed pop of color in the ceremony space. An added plus was that we got double usage out of these beautiful arrangements (saving money!).


These DIY programs were designed by yours truly. I can’t for the life of me remember what fonts I used, but I loved designing these on Microsoft Publisher. I found my inspiration on Pinterest (where else?) and ordered the cranberry-red ribbon and “Popsicle” sticks from Amazon. Angelina, some friends and I had them put together in just over an hour.


Matt Martin Photography , Church Wedding Reception

We planned this wedding a little differently - with a two-part reception. At the church reception, Angelina & Joe’s guests enjoyed an early dinner, deserts, a hot beverage bar, and a few party games.


We decided from the beginning that we’d want long banquet tables, rather than round ones. We chose this layout for (1) the ability to give a family-style vibe to the reception and (2) to keep certain groups together. We had a long table for his family, her family, their friends, older kids, and younger kids.

We ordered all of our rentals through Celebrations Party Rentals. For this table setting, we chose white chivari chairs with white cushions, cornflower blue tablecloths, ivory linen napkins, Royce gold flatware, Jane gold dinner plates and their basic water goblets.

We didn’t number tables or choose to do a seating chart since space wasn’t that large and tables were so long. We thought it would be fun for guests to find their names at their individual place setting.

For the place cards, we decided to go simple and sweet. Again, I can't remember the font I used for these , but we loved it! I printed, cut them out, and punched-out little hearts on each one. We used burlap twine to tie each one around a napkin (ahead of time, of course) and added a little sprig of floral filler to add an extra little organic touch.

Sweetheart Table: I saw this “Daliah - glacier” overlay at Celebrations Rentals showroom and instantly thought “Angelina”. I love the sweet light blue color and the flower petal cut-outs. It was important for them to have their own special spot to eat together and watch their guests enjoy themselves from their raised platform. We decided to move the ceremony backdrop behind the sweetheart table during the reception for a nice focal point. You can probably tell now that I take advantage of double usage. Saves money and resources!


We knew that whether we were inside or out it would be chilly, so we wanted to offer guests a hot beverage bar to warm up. Because there was no alcohol at this reception, we wanted something special. We rented urns from Celebrations and filled them with Starbucks Coffee (I had someone pick up a few gallons of coffee travelers) and hot water. We purchased all of the necessities: hot tea and hot chocolate packets, tiny marshmallows, assorted creamers, honey, cinnamon, and sweeteners. I created little labels for each item using the same design as the place cards.


This cake was actually made by a friend of Angelina’s Mother. It was the most delicious berry-filled cake you’d ever taste. However, to save on the budget, we only ordered a cake large enough for a formal cake cutting (and to make sure a few select got a taste). The caterer actually provided so many Russian pastries and deserts that nobody missed the cake. Angelina purchased the custom wedding cake topper on Etsy. The cake is displayed on my own vintage dresser that I just love. We added some eucalyptus and a greenery garlands with cranberry-red carnations.

Wedding Game , Shoe Game , Fun Wedding Activities


Shoe Game: Because this isn’t your typical wedding with dancing and a bar, keeping the guests entertained was essential. For Angelina's family, games are a wedding staple. I acted as M.C. for this part of the wedding, and lead a round of the “shoe game”. We were all in tears from laughter as the couple took off their shoes and held them in the air to answer a list of questions about their relationship that I had for them.

"Backyard" Games:

These “backyard” games were gathered from friends, family, and a few DIY projects. We had tic-tac-toe, giant Jenga, ring toss, and corn-hole. We were so fortunate that the church had the perfect space between the ceremony and reception halls to spread out these games.


floral arrangements: As I mentioned earlier, the centerpieces doubled as altar flowers. I created these arrangements by staining some CD crates and filling them with floral foam and moss. I used blue and white hydrangeas and filled in the gaps with white roses, cranberry-red carnations, and baby blue eucalyptus.

Besides these arrangements, we also had some more greenery garlands that I put together and added carnations. I purchased all of the florals used for decor from Sam’s Club wholesale. It was super affordable and they were delivered fresh and on time!

the bouquet: Angelina’s Bouquet has a sweet back-story. Angelina and Joe are avid hikers and adventurers. Whenever they go on a hike, Joe will pick flowers and make her a bouquet (I know! So sweet!). She wanted him to pick out any flowers he wanted and surprise her with a bouquet on the big day. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the idea because I knew the flowers wouldn’t coordinate with the rest of the wedding, but it was a sweet sentiment. So, we went to good-ol’ Trader Joe's, picked some flowers and I helped Joe build a bouquet for his bride.


DIY Favors , Sunglasses Wedding Favors , DIY wedding sign , DIY flower arangement

Angelina and Joe loved the idea of sunglasses as wedding favors for their guests. We laughed at how ironic these were since we were in the middle of a dark stormy week. However, her guests loved them, and It was the first time I’ve ever planned an event where all of the favors were taken! I guess they were a hit! We also gave everyone bubbles to send-off the bride and groom as they rode off into the sunset.

I designed all of the signage for the wedding - DIY style. I filled gold dollar-store frames with custom signs that I printed in my office and placed all over the wedding.


Following the church reception, some guests headed over to what we called “Reception 2.0”. The Mother of the Groom actually planned most of the elements of this reception, while I helped her along. We rented the Old Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse in the cutest historic little town surrounded by chickens! Here is where the signature cocktails, DJ, and an awesome photo booth came to play for their wedding. The bride and groom were able to let loose and end their day with an awesome party.


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