I met Shalina through one of Susannah Conway’s online workshops back in the early 2000s. That is to say, it was the time of OG Instagram filters, a time when the social media network (we all know and hate) was fresh and new.
Subsequently, when Shalina reached out to me to photograph her wedding, so many years later, (despite having bore witness to some of my most embarrassing Instagram photographs) I was honored. Andrew and I flew down to Sacramento, ready to document one of the most beautifully intimate backyard weddings we’ve ever witnessed.
Check out the images below to see how they turned their backyard into a bohemian oasis. Read on to get some tips on how you can create your own DIY backyard wedding.
Why did you choose your specific venue for your wedding?
While researching wedding venues, we thought why spend all that money for a venue for one day only? We thought it better to spend the same amount fixing up our own yard. That way, we could enjoy it for years to come! We wanted a small ceremony (even before Covid was taken into consideration) and so the size of our courtyard was perfect. Another benefit to having our wedding at our own house, is the lack of a time constraint or rules. We had all the time we needed to prepare, making it very stress-free.
What tips do you have for couples wanting to do a lot of DIY for their wedding?
Get as much done as you can, ahead of time. Don’t commit to too many projects in the days leading up to the big day. That way you can focus on relaxing and being care-free on the day of your wedding. We gathered most of our ideas from Pinterest. We found a lot of our decorations at thrift stores and antique shops. Delegate where you can! Our brother made the hexagon wedding arch from a pattern he found on Etsy. We’re lucky that my sister-in-law has been a wedding floral designer for many years. She arranged all the tables for the reception. My other sister is an amazing cook, you would have thought the dinner was professionally catered! A neighbor made us our favorite vegan lemon coconut bundt cake.
What advice do you have for couples thinking of using a similar wedding venue?
If you’re thinking of having your wedding at home, consider if you’ll have enough space to accommodate your guest list. Communicate with your neighbors about parking, and if you plan to have loud music, respect the noise curfew.
Do you have any advice regarding your vendors? Anything / anyone you really loved? Why?
My sister-in-law was our officiant and took care of the decorations. My sister made all the amazing food, while my brother was in charge of sound and video. I made my dress, and we all pitched in for setup. The only vendor we hired was our photographer! Photos were the most important thing to us, so we could remember our day. Briana was the first person who came to mind. I’ve followed her photography career for many years. I knew she would be the perfect fit because of her beautiful aesthetic. She and Andrew were adored by our whole family! They fit right in.
What was it about your day that made it extra special (aside from the fact that you married the love of your life)?
We only invited our immediate family members to attend our wedding in person. Everyone else watched the ceremony streaming online. We’re both introverts, who enjoy smaller group settings. This ended up being the perfect amount of people to celebrate with. We really enjoyed the comfort of being with our own family, at our own home, without any time constraints or rules.
What is your favorite wedding memory?
We chose to do a “first look” before the ceremony. As a result, we got the majority of the photographs done before the guests arrived. This helped us to enjoy the rest of the day, stress-free. After our first look, we went to a local nature area with Briana and Andrew for our couples photos. By the end of our time there, we were super relaxed and goofing off – it was a really fun time! Being able to head into our ceremony with calm nerves was a huge relief. It made it easy to focus on how happy we were to be getting married.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with future couples wanting to plan a wedding similar to yours?
Keep it simple and delegate if you can!
View our Pro Tips & Tricks for more information on making your wedding day calm & photogenic.