A reflection of our intimate backyard wedding reception.

Did you think I was only recapping the ceremony part of the wedding on this blog? Heck no! I did not put all my blood, sweat, and tears into my wedding only to share half of it with you. My reception deserves just as much love as my ceremony, especially since it contained just as many fails to laugh at.

So, without further ado, the memorable moments and favorite details of Dave’s and I’s intimate backyard wedding reception.


Dio pooped during my wedding reception.

Illustration of a bride holding up a pooper scooper while her dog takes a squat by Asti Stenning.

Before we get to the normal stuff, let me first start with this: during the intermission between ceremony and reception while we were all taking photos with the photographer, Dio decided to relieve himself. Because, you know, the wedding is in the backyard and that’s where he normally poos.

And while most brides would probably get someone else to take care of that poo problem, I had no issue grabbing the pooper scooper and cleaning up that mess in my wedding dress. He’s my dog, why wouldn’t I pick it up?

If that doesn’t give you an idea of how laid-back and silly my wedding was, I don’t know what will.

As with the ceremony, I pretty much DIYed the entire reception.

The wedding took place in my parent’s backyard so apart from the built-in nature surrounding us, everything was left up to us. (And really, even the built-in nature got a huge overhaul thanks to my parents. They spent all summer fixing up the backyard and planting flowers.)

I cut streamers to hang down from the tent, grew succulents to use as my centerpieces, created a hanging flower wall as a photo backdrop, recycled an old fence panel as a Polaroid display, wrote all my signs using chalkboard pens, transformed wooden people into Dave and I for the cake topper – I could go on, and on, and on with all the DIY I did for this wedding reception.

And while it all was a tremendous amount of work, I’d have to say it was worth it. Not only was it a lot of fun seeing it all come together on the big day, it also made me feel a bit… proud. Like this wedding was even more mine because I put so much of me into it and every compliment I got felt like a direct thumbs up to my work.

Yes, I let them have cake.

Anyone who has known me for a while knows that I don’t like cake. I think the texture is gross, the flavors are nasty, I’m just not a fan. And the nice thing about having a non-traditional wedding is that you can pretty much serve the people whatever you want. Doughnuts, cookies, pies, candy – it’s your party so you can do what you want.

But I still gave the people their cake.

Now, I didn’t actually have any of the cake that day but I did still have it made based on my personal preferences. This meant it was a semi-naked cake because I really don’t like frosting and it was chocolate with chocolate drizzle because chocolate is bae.

Illustration of a bride and groom walking down the aisle while guests hold up sparklers by Asti Stenning.

We attempted those sparkler exit photos… and almost started a fire.

Wow, if you ever want your wedding to get real interesting, hand everyone a sparkler while they’re drinking and ask them to light them all at the same time and pose. If your family is as uncoordinated as mine, it will lead to quite the madness.

Not only were our sparklers super small dollar store ones, we also only had two lighters to work with. This meant that everyone had to huddle around the people with the lighters, get their sparklers quickly lit, and try to pose without burning their fingers off so Dave and I could walk under their sparklers all-romantic like.

In this process, not only did my dad burn his shirt by holding his sparkler too close to it while holding the lighter for everyone else, my brother actually caught the aisle runner on fire. That’s right, with a beer in one hand he dropped his sparkler onto the aisle runner and instead of hurrying to grab it he just sort of watched it as the burlap started to catch fire. Luckily his girlfriend had a bit more common sense and stomped it out right away before it could become an actual problem. But yeah, that was a thing.

Don’t trust your family with fire.

There were games instead of dances.

I actually love dancing. Give me a couple of drinks and some thumping beats and I have no problem getting down on the dance floor. Dave though? Not so much. He has absolutely zero confidence when it comes to dancing and is too self-conscious to even try. So, since I love him so much (darn it), I decided that there’d be games instead of dancing at our reception.

People had a choice of playing cornhole, badminton, croquet, tic tac toe, Yahtzee, or Jenga (the latter three all giant-sized). I thought the sit-down giant games would get the most love, but I’d say cornhole and badminton were the go-to games at the wedding. They were nice because multiple people could get involved and it allowed for some friendly rivalry.

And, in case you were curious, Dave and I as a team beat everyone else at cornhole. If that’s not a sign we’re meant to be, I’m not sure what is. (Though everyone at the wedding was pretty mediocre at the game.)

We bought a Polaroid camera for everyone to take pictures with, which eventually turned into my drunken mission.

Illustration of a bride and groom kissing on their wedding day by Asti StenningWe bought a Polaroid camera specifically for the wedding (though I’m not going to lie, I’ve always wanted one so really was using the wedding as an excuse to get Dave to buy me one, haha). And while people used the Polaroid camera at the wedding, I found a lot of people were keeping their Polaroids and not leaving any photos for us! As the Polaroid were our alternative to a guest book, that was no good.

We probably should have had someone guiding people to take doubles of their photos so that we could have a copy, but that would’ve been too easy. Instead, after a couple of drinks, I decided to solve the problem by going around with the Polaroid camera demanding everyone take a picture with me.

I loved the photos I ended up with afterwards, especially because some people who were a bit shy around the photographer (ahem Chantelle ahem) were more willing to be silly and have fun with the Polaroids.

A chill ending to the wedding: good company and s’mores.

The wedding ended with mostly everyone sitting around the fire pit, relaxing and eating some s’mores – and it was absolutely perfect. I have to say, my family doesn’t really socialize with others that much. Apart from the holidays, my parents and I mostly just stick to ourselves. The week of the wedding though we had people at the house almost every day and, somewhat surprisingly, we ended up really enjoying it.

The people who came to my wedding – our immediate families and my few closest friends –  all knew about the journey Dave and I took to get to the point we were at that day. Though I originally wanted to run off and elope, I think having them there at the wedding was the best way to say thank you for all the love and support they’ve provided us over the years. It definitely hasn’t been easy and they’ve had to deal with a whirlwind of emotions as a result, but in one way or another they’ve always been there for us and we were happy that they could be a part of our special day.

Illustration of the bride, groom, and their wedding guests by Asti Stenning

But wait, let’s not forget the surprise honeymoon room!

Oh yes, the surprise honeymoon room that Dave’s brother set up with the help of his girlfriend. Now, since we were having a backyard wedding, Dave and I assumed we would just sleep at home. But, as it was our special day, Dave’s brother decided to book a honeymoon room for us as a wedding gift. Pete and his girlfriend decorated our room with flower petals and chocolate (they even brought my favorite kind over from London, mmmm) and it was a super cute ending to our special day.

Let’s Chat

What do you think? Anything that surprised you or made you laugh? Any similarities with your wedding (even if it’s just one of your dreams)? Let me know in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “A reflection of our intimate backyard wedding reception.

  1. Chocolate cake with chocolate drizzle sounds great to me! I actually get angry if I go to a wedding that doesn’t have at least some sort of cake, or if the only cake option is a lame white cake (as opposed to nicer white cake, and yes, I can tell the difference, or my real preferences – chocolate or strawberry). I also super love that you had games at your reception instead of dancing! I have no problem with dancing, but it gets tiring and everyone likes games, right?!

    1. Yeah, I get that people are more open about personalizing weddings these days but I feel like a cake is just one of those staples that can’t be ignored. A cookie stand or whatever just wouldn’t have the same impact.

      And yes, I think everyone enjoyed the games at the wedding! I think it made even more sense since it was mostly family at our wedding. It’s not quite the same getting down and dirty on the dance floor when surrounded by your family as it is with a large wedding filled with friends. 😂

  2. I love your illustrations and hearing about your wedding! It sounds like a lot of fun. I usually feel so uncomfortable at weddings (I’m with Dave on the dancing, haha), but this sounds way more chill. I’m so glad you had fun! Also, I think all your work on the wedding is amazing, and I’m glad you’re proud of yourself. 😊

    1. Thanks Maraia! It definitely was a chill wedding. Since most attendees were from out of town we had all spent a few days prior sort of hanging out around the house and whatnot too which helped with making everyone comfortable. Everyone had a chance to get to know about each other before being forced to celebrate our big day 🙂

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