When I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was get married to the boy next door, with a lovely wedding in our family’s backyard. The only problem was, there was no boy next door, and our garden’s pretty tiny.

But for Raychel & Cale, their big day was exactly that. Neighbours and high-school sweethearts who reconnected in recent years, this couple created a romantic and intimate wedding, right in the place where they met, grew up, and fell in love.

And we’re so excited to share the superb photographs of their day by Atley Marks.

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Wearing a beautifully simple two-piece wedding dress from BHLDN, Raychel completed her look with flowers in her hair, and a soft pink and white bouquet. She was joined by Cale in a smart grey mix and match suit, and her gorgeous bridesmaids in blue.

Their romantic waterside garden ceremony was conducted by the same pastor who’d married Cale’s parents, giving it a truly personalised feel.

And after an informal garden supper, prepared by their families, the couple danced under fairylights into the evening.

That sounds like a pretty perfect day, if you ask me!

Wedding Day Snapshot

Beautiful Backyard Wedding | Atley Marks Photography | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Our Love Story

We (and our families) grew up together! Our parents are neighbors and we actually dated in high school.

We eventually broke up, like most high school relationships, and went our separate ways.

Last fall, there was a memorial softball tournament in honor of his uncle. The rest is history.

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The Inspiration

Our parents are neighbors. They live across “the field” from one another. It made sense to get married in the backyard.

I just wanted our day to be as laid back and intimate as possible. I’ve been in several weddings before and have seen how stressful they can be. I knew I wanted mine to be fun and I wanted to be surrounded by our loved ones.

I wanted everything to be as simple as possible. I wanted my bridesmaids and groomsman to get something that they would wear again. I thought blue was a pretty, neutral and flattering color on everyone.

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The Flowers

White roses, light pink spring roses, wild flowers, baby’s breath, and gardenias. 

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The Budget

Our families were awesome with this. They helped prepare the food for the wedding and reception. My parents asked  three community members to serve food at our wedding, and instead of having an open bar, we had two signature sangrias and two kegs.

Since our reception was more of a celebration rather than a formal reception, we didn’t feel that it was necessary to have party gifts or things like that.

My mother made a lot of our reception/celebration decorations by hand, saving us A TON of money. Instead of hiring someone to decorate for us, our families and friends were a huge help that day and evening.

For the wedding and reception, ballpark budget was probably around $6,000.

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The Ceremony

The preacher that married us, married my in-laws 27 years and one month before our wedding, almost to the day.

It was a very special moment.

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The Photography

I chose Atley because she is local and is a natural light photographer.  I had seen her work on social media a couple years before I was even engaged. I knew that I wanted her to document my special day someday!

Choosing Atley to be our photographer was one of the best decisions I had made throughout the planning process.

Not only is she an amazing photographer, but she’s so genuine and sweet. We love her!

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Favourite Moments

Everything felt easy. Cale and I are very laid back people, and that’s how our day felt.

I didn’t have to worry about much, making the day as relaxing and fun as possible. (A big shout out to our families for making it happen!)

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The Decor & Details

My mother-in-law stenciled  did the calligraphy for all the placecards.

My mother made a homemade banner made of special fabric from our local quilt stores (Missouri Star Quilt!) and twine.

She made over 100 feet of it and we strew it across the beams at our venue. It made the venue feel relaxed and comfortable, yet party like at the same time. There were lights strewn around the middle of the beams, making the banner really stand out.

Once the sun went down, the lights really set the mood for dancing.

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The Refreshments

We had a reception six weeks after our wedding at the Clubhouse at Lake Viking where all of our families came to celebrate.

Cale’s mother and grandmother’s cooked for our wedding day, salmon, homemade lasagna, salad and bread. 

It was a BBQ buffet style meal, nothing formal. We had a “naked” cake with strawberries and baby’s breath for decoration!

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The Music

The processional was Cannon in D Major, recessional: Better Together by Jack Johnson, First Dance Song: To Make You Feel My Love by Adele.

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Advice for Other Couples

At the end of the day, it’s YOUR day. You and your significant other should do exactly what you want to do, not what you feel like you SHOULD do.

Make each other happy, that’s all that matters in the end. 

Beautiful Backyard Wedding | Atley Marks Photography | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

So lovely, right? It’s such a great idea to have a simple reception on the day of your wedding, then a bigger party afterwards. And I just love how this wedding shows how some of the most simple and stress-free celebrations can still be amazing.

Thanks so much to Atley Marks Photography, and the wonderful Raychel & Cale for sharing their backyard wedding with us.

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