I’ve been to a lot of weddings in my life, but as far as weddings go, this one was the best, because it was ours. It wasn’t held in a big wedding hall or cathedral. There were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. It was just us, in our own backyard, with a couple dozen of our closest friends and family members.
My best girlfriend had written a tight schedule for me, outlining the tasks I needed to accomplish in the days and hours leading up to The Big Day. Amazingly, I slept soundly through the night and opened my eyes at 7 am, feeling content and refreshed. As I lay there thinking through the day’s schedule, The Husband-to-be, who had been a big ball of prickly stress all week long, rolled over and put his arms around me and whispered “happy nuptial dinner day”. I happily snuggled in for just a few more minutes of cozy shut-eye and realized that no matter what happened the rest of the day, this would be the moment I would remember most. There were plenty of tasks ahead, but we started our morning like any other Saturday, with cups of steaming hot coffee enjoyed over our books. Afterward, I would make The Husband-to-be bacon and eggs, because I didn’t want to get so consumed by tasks that I forgot to make him feel loved. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to have a bad day when you start it with bacon.
By mid-morning my friend, Victor arrived to decorate. Like any other modern bride-to-be, I had some very Pinterest-worthy aspirations for the decor, but I lacked the skills (and the time) to pull it off. I handed him a box of canning jars, empty wine bottles I’d collected from friends, a 50 pound bag of sand and a couple of rolls of kraft paper. Like the McGyver of ribbons and tape, he transformed those ordinary objects into the most romantic scene. It is amazing to have friends who are so generous with their time and their talents!
The irony did not escape me that while a huge swath of the country was bracing for the Great Blizzard of 2015, we were preparing for a garden wedding, but this is what we call winter in Las Vegas and you’ll find no complaints from me! The slight breeze that threatened to kick up earlier that morning mellowed by the afternoon and temperatures rose to the upper 60s.
In the weeks leading up to the wedding, my girlfriends and I had gotten together and rolled hundreds of tiny meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup, baked four chocolate cakes and made the family bolognese. It was important to me that the menu represented our family and culture and also our relationship, but I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t spend the evening in the kitchen worrying about the food. I chose to make lasagne using the family bolognese recipe and the roasted chicken that the Husband-to-be loves so much. The lasagne was a perfect choice because I was able to prepare it ahead of time. The chicken was more high maintenance than I would have liked and the grill kept flaming up, forcing me to finish it in the oven. Some of the chicken was rather blackened, but if anyone noticed, they didn’t say anything. As usual, I made way too much food–we are still working our way through the leftovers!
As night began to fall and dinner was served, our little backyard began to glow with candles and firelight. Conversations flowed easy like the wine into our glasses. The stress we had both felt over the past month of planning melted away and we were able to relax and enjoy each other and our guests. I think I was the calmest I’ve ever been at a party we’ve hosted, thanks to the help of so many friends. As we exchanged our vows there under the stars and twinkling lights, I knew there was no place I’d rather be than in my backyard with the love of my life surrounded by so many smiling and happy faces.
A Special Thank You to Holiday Lighting Dynamics for providing the gorgeous bistro and tree lights. The photography in this post provided by our dear friend, London Mace. Popcorn favors by Popcorn Girl, Las Vegas.
Ahh now I see why you have been so busy! Congratulations on your marriage and your perfectly beautiful little wedding celebration! The photos are wonderful – I almost feel like I was there. We had a small wedding when we got married, although at 30 people, not as small as yours. We were very young at the time so it was mainly about keeping it affordable, but I loved the lack of fuss and the communal contributions made it so personal. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Thank you Chez! Yes, it was definitely keeping me busy over the past few weeks! We wanted to keep it affordable too and it had the extra benefit of being low(er) stress! I wouldn’t change a thing either!
This is so beautiful Tracey! We are so lucky to have been able to attend your gorgeous evening.
Thank you Adam! We both felt lucky to have spent it with you and Shawn! Thank you for the amazing centerpiece–it has a prominent place in our home!
Congratulations Tracey (and Jeff)!! Everything looks and sounds perfect. Mostly that you were surrounded by love and friendship in your dreamy backyard. Wishing you two lifetimes of happiness and many more days of deliciousness. Xo
Thank you so much Libby–you are such a doll! It really was the perfect night for us and having it in our home made it extra special!
What a beautiful celebration. I’m so happy for you, Tracey.
Thank you Lisa! We are so happy we did it this way!
Wow! Gorgeous setting, food, decor and – most of all – couple!
Congratulations to the both of you and wishing you a lifetime of happiness
Thank you so much for those good wishes! 🙂
You and your evening was just beautiful. I’m very happy that you were able to slow down enough to remember and enjoy it. Your helpers did an amazing job for you too. Congratulations!
Thank you Julie! It was amazing to be able to enjoy this day! Such great memories that will last a lifetime!
It looks like a beautiful day, Tracey! Congrats again! Love the new look of the blog as well!
Thank you for noticing the new look! It was indeed a beautiful day–thank you!
Made me tear up reading this…. it looked beautiful and so did both the bride and groom… I’m so happy for you and my cousin.. MY favorite part of the article was where you wrote “Afterward, I would make The Husband-to-be bacon and eggs, because I didn’t want to get so consumed by tasks that I forgot to make him feel loved.” So wonderful to read that my cousin has a wife who’s so loving and thoughtful…. anyway, thank you for sharing!! Most of all I pray you and your honey are blessed abundantly ♡♡
Ileen, thank you so much! It means the world to me and Eric is so special. I am a lucky woman! I am really looking forward to meeting you!
It looks like you day was filled with love and absolutely beautiful! Thank you for the praise on my first post back. I love what you have been sharing on your blog!
Thank you so much for stopping by Natalé! You are so welcome–it’s good to see you back and Happy Anniversary to you as well!
Congratulations! It’s such a beautiful and cozy wedding. And you look great! Best wishes for both of you 🙂
Thank you Maggie! Cozy is the best word–it was absolutely that. Thanks for stopping by!
I am way beyond happy for this marriage. Their years together gave me comfort in knowing my only Baby Girl was with the man who would love and keep her where she belongs: right next to his heart! Blessings and love!
Thanks mom! ❤️
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Tracey, what a beautiful beautiful celebration!! Everything — the food, the guests, the decorations, you! You are stunning. I have been dying to make that cake for years. Now I am seriously motivated. Can’t wait. So happy for you and your husband. Sending lots of love.
PS: I have been trying to comment here for weeks, but I wasn’t able to, so I emailed akismet, and it turns out my email had been marked as spam! So frustrating.
Ali, this is so crazy. I woke up this morning thinking about you and wondering how you were doing and magically here you are! Thank you so much for your kind words! And I am so sorry about the askimet issue. Usually I do find your comments buried in the spam folder and I always mark it as “not spam”! I’m sorry to have missed it this time, but thank you for commenting.
I hope you will make the cake! Seriously it’s too easy! People talked about that cake for days afterwards. I didn’t make any teaks to the original recipe and it was perfect–it nearly makes itself!
Oh no, it wasn’t just on your blog! It was on every wordpress blog, so don’t fret! It was nothing you did.
You are making me want to make that cake immediately. xoxoxo
Hello! I just stumbled across your blog and immediately came to this post as I’m just now beginning to plan my wedding and was taken with how beautiful, personal and simple yours was. That is honestly my dream for my wedding, and seeing an event like yours be pulled off in such a gorgeous way is very inspiring. Congratulations!
Meg, I’m so happy you stopped in! Thank you very much for your kind words! It was always my dream for us to get married in our backyard and it was a thrill to finally see it happen. As an extra bonus, it was also pretty inexpensive as far as weddings go. I send you all the best wishes for your wedding and I hope it fulfills your every dream!
Many congratulations x
Thank you Dimple! Great to see you!