DIY Weddings/Real Weddings

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding Featuring The Bride & Groom’s Own Band

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 50

Rock & roll couples, DIY’ers, & outdoorsy folk – oh my, this backyard wedding has so much to love for brides & grooms who love all things vintage & eclectic.

Photographing weddings in every corner of the globe, I’ve (Claire Eliza) accumulated a diverse list of clients. While each party is quite different than the next one thing is constant – I am spoiled with the coolest couples. Always dancing to the beat of their own drum, my brides & grooms seem to always celebrate in unique style. Rachael & Nikolaus are the perfect example of that genuine, self-confident, lovely & absolute coolness.

The couple first locked eyes at one of Nikolaus’ shows as he sang a favorite Jenny Lewis song of Rachael’s. The couple fell in love, Rachael soon joined the band, and the two bought a weekend home in Upstate New York. So naturally, when it was time to say ‘I do’ the couple turned their getaway house into an outdoor concert space to serenade their nearest and dearest – and let me just say, it was a seriously good show.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 53
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 65

The folksy tunes were matched by the hip & vintage-filled space. Planning & decorating herself, Rachael scored some old church pews for their ceremony seating (so rad!) and Nikolaus built a pathway through the forest for guests to arrive in style with Aperol Spritzes in hand. Guests were spoiled with raw oysters & delicious berry pie bars. The flowers? All selected by themselves at the New York City flower market.

Then, true to form, the couple donned killer style. Nikolaus sported a hip light blue summer wool suit and rad hat. To greet her guests, our rocker bride wore a knee-length lace dress showing off the coolest bridal boots. Then for the ceremony, she changed into a light & airy strapless gown with the prettiest whimsical 3D florals.

Photographing Rachael & Nikolaus’ wedding was not only an honor but an all-day blast thanks to their clear understanding of how to throw a good party.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 21
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 4

Our Love Story

We met at a show Nikolaus was playing in a bar in Brooklyn. I was invited by a mutual friend – who ended up officiating our nuptials! Nikolaus’ band started playing this obscure song that I have always loved, our eyes met and we both knew something special had happened. A week later, we went on our first date and soon started playing and performing together – it was a perfect fit.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 80
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 5
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 7

The Venue & Wedding Style

I (Rachael) planned the wedding for over a year, collecting décor from vintage shops in WV, NY and Etsy. Nikolaus and I agreed that the event location had to be the backyard of our upstate house, which we had purchased only a few years ago. The lawn is perfectly suited for a party which was really exciting. I drew a lot of inspiration from images I viewed on stylemepretty.com. The theme was “Adult Summer Camp”, and I started to collect inspiring images that felt related. We started prepping the property in the early spring, including laying out a beautiful path through the woods that Nikolaus worked on for months.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 12
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 8
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 22

The Events

The day of the wedding started with drinks and food around 4:30 pm, then the ceremony at 7:30. Food was a big part of the evening because it set the scene, and gave guests something to focus on. Oysters were served in one area while two rounds of bite-style foods were brought out by the caterer. Desserts were served after the ceremony. Music performances, coordinated by Nikolaus, went on until all the guests had headed home for the evening.

Because of the event’s schedule, I wore two dresses, a short lacy number in the beginning with the show-stopper revealed only once the ceremony started. Nikolaus forgot his shoes and ended up wearing old Toms – we just wanted to have as much fun as possible and spend time with all the people who love and support us. It was perfect.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 20
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 1
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 9
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 3

The Flowers

Flowers came from three places in the NYC flower market: Associated, Major, and G. Page Wholesalers. I met with a dear friend (and coworker) early (they open at 5:30 and that’s when all the action is happening) on the Thursday before the wedding to pick out and buy all the flowers and then Nikolaus and I packed them all in the car and drove them upstate in the rain. We showed up at the house and the guys with the tent were waiting outside for us, a day early – we hit the ground running prepping things for that weekend. The flowers luckily lived in our chilled garage until the morning of the big day and lasted into the next week despite the 100-degree weather on Sunday.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 31
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 32

The Dress & Attire

For my first look, I wore the Yumi Kim Leading Lady dress, altered by a local Brooklyn dry cleaner. For my main ceremony dress, I wore Ti Adora by Alvina Valenta, purchased from Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck, New York. They include alterations in the cost of their dresses and really love what they do. I found dress shopping in NYC to be overwhelming and rushed.

For the bridal party, choose your own adventure! I gave my bridesmaids a basic color theme and look, and let them decide how much to spend on their dresses. The groomsmen were instructed (or not instructed) similarly, basically being their own fabulous selves.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 29
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 38
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 37
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 40
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 49

Favorite Moments

The fact that the wedding was held in our own backyard made the whole day truly magical. The process of setting up with our close friends and family, watching it come to life, was a rewarding experience.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 52
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 58
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 61

The Photography

Claire had been spotted by a coworker when she photographed a friend’s wedding in Poland. We then met at a wedding at Frankie’s in Brooklyn, and she ended up shooting ours. I loved her imagery. Capturing the full scene of each event, not just portraits of the people there. I knew I wanted her to be our photographer so that we would remember the entire day!

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 60
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 70
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 68

The Decor

The décor’s center was a 40×50 tent in the middle of our lawn, with the band on one side near the house, and the bar at the back end of the property.

Guests were dropped at the end of the main gravel road with a short walk to the special path that cut through the woods near our home. Along the path we had a station with drinks, and displayed personal photos and memorabilia along the way – the path then dropped guests right at the back of the lawn with a view of where the ceremony would take place later in the evening.

We had adopted huge church pews from a client’s renovation project in the city, and set them up for the ceremony. The backdrop were our “lover’s logs”, with candles upcycled from my sister’s wedding, lit just before the ceremony.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 66
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 67
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 79
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 71

The After Parties

We stayed in Rhinebeck for the week to entertain family and friends, some of whom had traveled from far away. We are looking forward to a proper honeymoon next year.

To us, the wedding wasn’t only about the big day itself, but the whole experience – a meet up over drinks the night before, and a pig roast the day after,  stretching the fun for as long as possible, making our guests feel taken care of.

Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 78
Adorable DIY Backyard Wedding in Upstate New York with a Rock and Roll Bride and Groom – Claire Eliza 72

Advice for Other Couples

For our invitations and website, we used Minted. We hired a day-of-coordinator, and it was a good idea! Several friends had recommended I do this, and I am so glad I did. The rental company was easy to work with. I took advantage of the fact that they would leave everything up until a few days later, and at a pig roast the next day, we used a slightly different arrangement.

The costs do add up eventually. There were lots of little things that we hadn’t thought of until the very end. If you can find a venue that will handle the little things, the details, it might be worth it.

The flowers, vessels, lighting, and table settings were really thought out, and people noticed. Friends who helped us with the planning and setup felt like being part of the wedding in a special way!

Share this
Looking For More Wedding Ideas?
Sign up today for free and get the best of Bridal Musings in your inbox every Friday!
All done!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×