Amelia & Mike’s Colorful Spirals-and-Ribbons-filled DIY Backyard Wedding


teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

I’ve been smitten with Amelia and Mike’s refreshingly unique and colorful DIY wedding ever since it landed in my inbox. For one thing, they are so cute together — just look at that pic! Not to mention that their wedding’s got spirals, spices, and ribbons for a theme! Lots of DIY elements were incorporated and the wedding was held in Mike’s parents’ backyard so they were able to customize it to fit them to a T. The creative couple also invented the concept of their ceremony which you’ll have to see so you’ll know how AWESOME it is.

Once again have the lovely Karina Picache of Boston-based OhKarina Photography (see her previously featured work here) to thank for this feature and here she is to tell us more about it:

I love Amelia and Mike’s wedding, they designed the entire ceremony themselves. They laid out concentric circular seating and ran two ribbons opposite each other around the circle, ending at the end, so that their ring warming would consist of the rings being passed from the other edges of the circles along the ribbons, and end up with them at the center. They wrote the whole ceremony in 4 parts and at the end of every part, they turned a quarter circle so by the end, they faced each part of the audience.

They also got ready together — no first look! — and helped each other dress. Their giveaways were bottles of hot sauce that they had made themselves!

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

They didn’t have an actual “first look” because they prepared for the wedding together… how sweet is that? Let’s learn more about the lovely couple in Amelia’s own words:

Mike is a self-described law nerd from Boston who loves hot sauce, the Internet, and the future. Amelia is a nature- loving urbanist (or perhaps a city-loving environmentalist?) from New Mexico who loves spreadsheets, bicycles, and thrift stores. We met in college but didn’t start dating until after graduation, when we realized we couldn’t live without each other. Six years later, we tied the knot in Mike’s parents’ backyard.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

It would be best to let the lovely bride tell you all about the wedding herself from here on out so… over to you Amelia:

Our wedding in a nutshell is a colorful backyard barbeque with 250 loved ones. We joked that we either had no theme at all (“isn’t getting married theme enough?”) or too many themes: spirals, ribbons, spices, etc.… our color scheme was ‘teal and colorful’ which I still love.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

We invented our ceremony completely from scratch, with the help of our wonderful celebrant, Kezia. We wrote our vows together (thanks, Google Docs!) and read them by trading off lines like a two-person call-and-response. We designed the ceremony so that all the guests were sitting around us in two concentric spirals, and there were two long ribbons running through the spirals for guests to hold during the ceremony.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

At the beginning of the ceremony, we had someone on the outer edge of each spiral thread our wedding rings onto the ribbons, and then asked the guests to pass the rings through to the center of the spirals. It was our own take on a ring warming and symbolized the role that each guest played in helping Mike and I get to where we stood that day. After getting the rings off the ribbons in the center and exchanging our vows, we took the ends of the two ribbons and tied them together. Not only were we literally tying the knot, but we were symbolically connecting everyone in our two communities together into one with our new union.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

We used the symbolic visual elements from our ceremony and incorporated them into the design and décor of the whole wedding—our invitations and paper goods had a lot of spirals, and we decorated the dinner tent and yard with colorful ribbons, made ribbon wands for our guests to wave after the ceremony, and tried to use ribbons functionally whenever we could (in the bouquets, on the escort card board, etc.).

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

The spice theme throughout the wedding was inspired by our love of creative and experimental cooking together, and from an old story in our early dating days when we experimented with marinating bacon in various spices & flavors before cooking it. We had our celebrant include that story in our ceremony, and then for the cocktail hour we rented a popcorn machine and had a ton of spices out for people to creatively flavor their own popcorn. We also named all the dinner tables after various spices and herbs, and had live potted herb plants on the tables, along with flowers and succulents. Mike & I also made 11 gallons of hot sauce from scratch (something we do regularly at home, in smaller quantities) in the weeks leading up to our wedding, and gave away bottles of hot sauce as favors for our guests.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

There were a ton of other Do-It-Yourself/Do-It-Together elements that made the wedding very uniquely ours: it started with a Save the Date video I created to tell our story, and I also designed our invitations and all the paper goods for our wedding; We had a good friend from college DJ for the reception, and a lot of friends and family came the day before to help us set up and decorate the yard; I made all the bouquets and boutonnieres, and my grandma made all the floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception (with the help of many friends and family!); We collected various decorations and supplies for the wedding from second-hand stores and tried to make as much of the wedding come from recycled/repurposed/reused sources as possible, including from other weddings we went to. My sister got married a few months before us, and it was awesome to be able to share a lot of the same jars, bottles and vases for flowers in both of our weddings, for example.

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

Amelia’s also got some advice for those of you who are still in the midst of wedding planning:

If you’re inclined to DIY, trust your instincts on which aspects you can pull off yourself and with the help of others (and do accept their help!), and which are worth paying someone else to do. For example, I insisted on doing my own flowers with the help of my grandmother, who always makes beautiful flower arrangements from her garden.

A lot of people (including grandma!) were skeptical that it wouldn’t work out or would be too stressful for us, but we all had a great time doing it and the flowers turned out just beautifully and exactly as I envisioned them. Plus, I was absolutely right that arranging flowers was the perfect calming, meditative activity I needed the day before our wedding. On the other hand, I originally thought I would do my own hair and makeup, but realized a few months before the wedding that that just wouldn’t work out and I’m so glad I opted for a professional to help me out there. Know your strengths and what you enjoy doing, and make those the things you choose to do yourself.

I also think it’s important for any bride or groom to give themselves some flexibility and wiggle room as they plan their wedding. Particularly if you’re on a limited budget, you’re not always going to be able to match each color perfectly, or find the exact version of an item you’re searching for, so letting go of those self-imposed requirements and leaving yourself some room for other options and opportunities will save you a lot of unnecessary stress.

And finally, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, have an awesome umbrella on hand, just in case. If you end up needing to use the umbrella because it rains, then at least take advantage of it to get some awesome photos!

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

teal and colorful DIY backyard wedding

Huge thanks to Karina for sending this awesome wedding my way, and congratulations to Amelia and Mike! Here’s wishing you guys a lifetime of married bliss! 🙂

Photographer: Karina Picache of OhKarina Photography
Celebrant: Kezia Bacon
Bride’s outfit: BHLDN
Groom’s outfit: J. Crew
Caterer: Red Bones Barbecue
Dessert: Doughnuts from Ohlin’s Bakery, Belmont, MA
Bartender: Boston’s Best Bartenders
Flowers: purchased in bulk from Wilson Farm in Lexington, MA and arranged by Bride & family
Rentals: Special Events of New England
Sound Equipment Rental: Boston Light & Sound
DJ: Preston Johnson of ManSuits, Los Angeles CA
Venue (ceremony & reception): Groom’s parents’ house, Milton, MA
Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Merri at Aura Salon, Quincy, MA
Best source of creative reuse decorations & crafting supplies: The I.D.E.A. Store, Champaign, IL

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