Chic Weddings/DIY Weddings

Simple Yet Beautiful Backyard Wedding

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

Today’s bride and groom describe their day as joyful, intimate, and comfortable. And I have to say, joy was the first word that came to my mind too. (Just wait until you see this first look!) 

Rachel & Wes got married with a backyard wedding in her parents’ Virginia home. Their day, captured so beautifully by Lauren Love Photography was an emotional occasion – oh, make sure you read this couple’s love story! 

With snow cones, s’mores, lawn games and lots of dancing, this was one of those carefree summer days, while DIY terrariums (a bridal shower craft activity – genius!), string lights, dreamy boho style, and beautiful florals gave a sense of occasion amid all the informality.

I know I say this a lot (and I mean it every time!) but this wedding will make you happy…

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

Our Love Story

Rachel and I met at a camp through a campus organisation (InterVarsity) we were both a part of at our respective colleges, in Michigan one summer while we were both in college. She was in school in West Virginia and I was in school in Chicago.

We started dating long distance a few months after meeting and made an effort to see each other as often as we could, which amounted to about once every other month or so. Ultimately long distance wasn’t for us so about two years later we broke up.

Rachel went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin and I finished up school in Chicago. During my final year of college I started applying to jobs and landed a fantastic opportunity in Madison, but was hesitant to accept because I knew that’s where Rachel was.

I ended up letting her know via email that I’d be working in Madison, but that I didn’t expect to reconnect with her.

After a mediocre online date Rachel reached out to me and asked me out for a drink. It didn’t take long for us to rekindle our love and we were engaged eight months after that!

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

Our Wedding

Our wedding was the perfect day. Having it at Rachel’s parents’ house made it into a true celebration that our families really got to participate in.

My (Wes’s) mom came out to help us about a week before the wedding, and we had such a blast working together to put the final preparations in place. The day of, we went out to breakfast then returned to a buzzing house as folks were putting together flowers, chairs, and making sure everything was in its place!

We had a gorgeous ceremony, but it was so hot. As soon as it was over we moved all of the chairs under the tent and Rachel and I turned on the snow cone maker to help everyone cool off.

The meal was easy and laid back, and we got to dancing as fast as we could!  We also had lawn games set up, and a fire pit with s’mores.

It was so cool to see our friends and family kick back and spend time enjoying each other’s company.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

The Style

I loved the look of the wedding dresses on BHLDN and I actually found my wedding dress on Oncewed, which is a secondhand wedding dress site. It was an adaptation of BHLDN’s Rena with cap sleeves rather than ¾ length sleeves.

The previous owner had it personally made an then ended up going with another dress. I got it for a steal before doing any other wedding dress shopping and fell in love with it.

I’ve purchased suits at Indochino before and have never been disappointed. So I went back to them for my wedding suit. I got their indigo shadow windowpane suit and could not have been happier!

I (Wes) worked with Brilliant Earth to make custom rings for our wedding. They use ethically sourced diamonds and were incredibly easy to work with and we continue to get compliments on our rings!

It was important to us that our bridal party wore something they felt really good in so we let our wedding party pick out their outfits within the bounds of a muted blue/green spectrum.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
Simple Yet Beautiful Wedding by Lauren Love Photography 5
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

 The Ceremony

Another really special thing that we did was write our own vows. Honestly we both think that writing our personal vows during engagement was such a meaningful way of exploring and talking through what we wanted our marriage to be.

We have them on display in our home now, and refer to them often. Wes is a crier, so although he was going to read his vows first, he couldn’t get through them. I took one for the team and read mine first. Such a classic memory because all of our friends and family know how sentimental Wes can be.

One funny quirk of our wedding was that it happened exactly during the 17 year cicada (think grasshopper-like bugs) cycle in WV. Every 17 years, cicadas come out of the ground and they chirp like crazy.

What this meant for our wedding was that there was a dull roar of the cicadas throughout our entire wedding. Our minister greeted everyone by saying, “in the presence of God, family, and thousands of cicadas.”

People joke that they’ll know when our 17-year anniversary is!

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

The Photography

Getting married in rural West Virginia, we had to do a good bit of looking around to find a wedding photographer who we loved.

When I came across Lauren Love’s wedding website, I knew that she was the photographer that we wanted. She is amazing at capturing the emotions in all of the in-between moments.

I also loved how artistic and unposed her photos looked. While browsing through her website I was captured by how well she incorporated nature and greenery into her shots.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

Favourite Moments

We went out to breakfast together on the morning of our wedding day. It was just the two of us and it was so calming and centering to take a break from the bustle of the prep in Rachel’s house. We exchanged cards at breakfast and they’re one of my (Rachel’s) favorite little keepsakes from our wedding day.

One of the first things we did at the beginning of the reception was “break-in” the snow cone maker. It wasn’t planned or anything, but it was HOT so we served all of the kiddos at our wedding snow cones. Looking back it is so cool to us that serving others together was one of the first thing we did as a married couple.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

The Decor & Details

Ashley Curry was our wedding planner and she was incredible at making sure our day ran smoothly.

My [Rachel’s] mom is an amazing gardener, and she did all of the floral arrangements. She ordered quite a few of the flowers in bulk from Sam’s Club. We had terrariums on the dining tables which were made as a craft activity at my bridal shower.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

Advice For Other Couples

I think the most important thing we learned while planning our wedding day was that it’s ok to do it totally your way. Everyone will want to give you input and tell you how to do or plan certain parts of it, but in the end it is your day so do it how you want to!

We had many parts of our wedding that were non-traditional and we did things that we hadn’t seen at any other weddings before – and it was perfect.

If you’re trying to pinch pennies, one thing that can really help is finding vendors who are doing one of their first weddings. It will be a little more work upfront to make sure they know what they are doing and have a good plan in place, but they’ll want to really impress you so you leave good feedback for future customers. We did this with our tent and saved close to 50% on what we expected to pay.

When the day of rolls around – just enjoy it! Something is bound to not go according to plan, but it is going to be the best day of your life! Don’t let anything get in the way of the happiness and joy of your wedding day!

I [Rachel] gave my sisters my cell phone a few days before the wedding, so that they would have to manage the incoming questions regarding wedding logistics. That decision was really helpful in disconnecting from planning mode and just enjoying the family that we were spending time with.

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach

The Honeymoon

We went down to a small city in Mexico called Loreto.

My (Wes’s) parents have a little house there so we crashed there for ten days or so. It was a great way to cap off a wonderful celebration!

We also didn’t feel too pressured to get out and do all of the sight seeing that we would if we went somewhere we would never return to. It was so peaceful and we got to do so much fun exploring!

I would highly recommend a honeymoon to Loreto!

View More: http://laurenlovephotography.pass.us/wes-rach
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