Today’s real wedding has brightened up my Monday no end. And I bet it does the same for you.

Some weddings inspire us to try out DIY projects, opt for a certain seating plan, add something symbolic to our ceremony, or amp up our big day style.

But Emily and Zach’s backyard wedding has inspired me to… smile.

Of course, having the awesome Alyssa Wilcox Photography behind the lens helps, but their beaming faces resulted in wedding photos that are romantic, fun, and so freakin’ gorgeous.

And I bet their day was all the more memorable on account of such happy hosts too.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

From the loveliest first look ever (I proper welled up!) to their excitement during their vows, to their cool food truck reception, we just love how this couple didn’t leave eachother’s side all day, and had huge smiles on their faces throughout.

With fabulous style, beautiful blooms, the most adorable little ones, and lots of local foodie touches, this is yet another example of how some of the most simple celebrations are often the most special.

Scroll down to read more from Emily about her and Zach’s day, and just see if their wedding won’t pek up your day too…

Wedding Snapshot

Smile-Filled Backyard Wedding | Alyssa Wilcox Photography | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Our Love Story

We met in the town of Snohomish where there is a little skydiving center. I worked there and Zach was a student getting his skydiving license.

For a few years we pursued our passion for skydiving over beautiful landscapes until we decided the Pacific Northwest is too beautiful not to experience everything it has to offer. So we decided to turn our focus to a much more broad spectrum of activities.

We had found a local hiking spot that over the years became a safe place for us to renew our energy and gather inspiration for our life ahead.

On a stormy October day we put on our boots and set out for a bundled up hike to our favorite viewpoint where years ago he had first told me he loved me and where we often visited to sit and take in the beautiful view of the Olympic Mountain Range.

On this day, he had sneakily set up a video camera, got down on one knee right there in the dirt and asked for my hand in marriage, and while wearing my hiking boots, I said yes!

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015  © Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

Our Wedding

Our ceremony and reception was outdoors in my dad’s huge backyard.

For the most part, we reached out to small local vendors and friends to make everything happen. The beer we served on tap were all Washington craft breweries, the flowers were from the farmers market, the rentals came from a small business.

We chose not to have a bridal party, but we still wanted to honor our immediate family members so we set up a family procession before the bride came down the aisle.

The groom’s grandparents are the only living grandparents we have left. They have been married for 75 years, so it was a meaningful moment for them to be the ones to present us our wedding rings during the ceremony.

We wanted our reception to feel like a big backyard barbecue, where people could mingle and enjoy making new friends without the interruption of a schedule or the obligatory participation in traditional reception activities.

We had spiffed up the gardens and hired our friends to play some good background music that our guests from any generation could appreciate.

When it got dark, we put on a good fireworks show to kick off the night and lit a bon fire to beat the crisp PNW after-dark chill we all love.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Theme

Outdoor, garden party, earth tones with pops of color everywhere, simple.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015  © Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Flowers

We chose Seeded Eucalyptus, Italian and Israeli Ruscus, Hydrangea, Dahlias, Thistle, Snap Dragons, White Garden Roses, Astilbe.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015  © Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Attire

We chose not to have a bridal party. A few of our family members had great success finding something to wear at JCrew. They have amazing wedding attire.

My sister was able to search for specific clothing ideas for her kids on Amazon and they all looked adorable.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Music

Processional: ‘Where the Dirt and Water Collide’ By The White Buffalo

Recessional: ‘Highway 101’ By Social Distortion

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

Favourite Moments

I always thought the reception would be the most fun part of the wedding, the part we get to toss a few back and party.

What I didn’t anticipate is that looking back, my favorite part was being up there with my love and having everything else fade away.

There was a time when he was so nervous before he said his vows that he did a karate chop in preparation so he wouldn’t loose it, and it was a hilarious moment.

It broke the ice and though it wasn’t planned, we realized how much it helped that we didn’t care about being stoic or professional.

We were the same quirky couple we are in our daily lives and it created an amazing interaction between us during our ceremony.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

Advice for Other Couples

We are so glad we didn’t spend tons of money on random fluffy decorations with our names plastered on everything. Spend your money on what matters! The material elements will fade away over time and you’ll realize that fretting over it wasn’t worth it.

Spend your day with your new spouse rather than splitting up to chat with distant relatives. We were glued to the hip all night, so we have tons of little memories that we made together from that day.

If you’re thinking about doing your own flowers, don’t! They take a lot of time and energy to put together.

We hired a family friend who is starting her own wedding flower business and we are so glad we did.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Photography

We knew that if there was one thing we cared about the most, it would be to be able to remember our day by looking at timeless, quality photos that didn’t rely on heavy photoshopping and effects.

We chose Alyssa because her work is not only stunning, but as a person she is easy to work with and clearly a smart and honest business woman.

As a result, I have had multiple family members approach me after the wedding and say they have never felt more comfortable in front of a camera.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Venue

I had an amazing childhood here, its big and beautiful and I am the last of my siblings to have gotten married here.© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Decor & Details

We kept it very simple. We wanted to focus on making our ceremony meaningful and just enjoying our summer as we approached the wedding, so we spent very little time on crafty decor.

Our biggest project was maintaining the gardens and putting up the 400 feet of string lights.

To string them up we set 10ft 2×2’s into 5 cement buckets and placed them around the yard and into the trees. Then we covered the base of the buckets with dark brown burlap and hoped they would fade into the background.

The lights were beautiful, and the project was well worth the effort.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Refreshments

Our ale bar had Diamond Knot Blonde ale, Fremont Universale Pale, Boundary Bay Scotch Ale.

Our special drink was Liefman’s Cuvee Brut, a Belgian imported sour cherry ale.

For wine, we served Canyon Road Sauvignon Blanc, Canyon Road Chardonnay and Canyon Pinot Noir. All of the alcohol was ordered from our favorite local spot, Trails End Taphouse.

Our guests had the option of getting a drink before the ceremony which we’ve had a ton of compliments on.

After the ceremony we had a few snacks available for people who didn’t want to get in line for the food truck right away. Platters of cheese and crackers which we prepared the night before, a huge basket of kettle corn made by the local Snohomish Farmer’s Market, and our favorite trail mix made by the bride.

Dinner was BBQ food truck style, and the self-serve dessert table consisted of strawberry shortcake with homemade whip cream, key lime pie, cheesecake, peanut butter pie, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate torte.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

The Honeymoon

We went to Cabo san Lucas!

I would recommend any location that allows you to relax, disconnect from the internet and people at home, and maybe a little sunshine too.

We were so glad we didn’t return to work right away.

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

© Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2015

Isn’t it lovely? So many wedding pictures are really serious and intense, it’s so cool to see a wedding a lot more relaxed and fun!

Thanks so much to the super-talented Alyssa Wilcox Photography, and of course, Emily and Zach for sharing their beautiful backyard wedding.

Be inspired by more Laid Back Backyard Weddings

Photographer: Alyssa Wilcox Photography / Bride’s Dress: David's Bridal, Melissa Sweet Net Wedding Dress / Bride’s Jewelry: Nordstrom / Groom’s Attire: Studio Suits / Videographer: Yanli / Catering: Maximus Minimus / Flowers: Lorianna Floral Design / Desserts & Alcohol: Trails End Catering / Invitations & Stationery: Zazzle / Rentals: Hidden Meadows