Our Backyard Wedding

I was showing our printed wedding album to my friend the other day, and it made me realize that I never actually shared a photographic post of our wedding day, captured by the renowned Daring Wanderer on my blog.

I’ve shared details of our wedding, but never an official honorary blog post of the day itself.

At the time, I wanted to zoom in on the snippets of what made that day special to me, like the story behind wearing my Mom’s wedding dress, or how I created my flower veil.

To me, those details were important to artistically document something sentimental and successful during a time of uncertainty.

My intention at that time was to share inspiration for other wedding couples seeking creative solutions during the unpredictability of wedding planning during the early pandemic.

But today, my intention is to zoom out from the details, and revisit a dream.

Looking through these photos now, I am picking up little traces of what might have subconsciously inspired our honeymoon in Ireland. Unbeknownst to us at the time, our woodland backyard wedding in August 2020 poetically nodded to a future trip to a familiar enchanting place.

Today, I hope this wedding post brings you along a dreamy little escape, and inspires a moment of nostalgia, celebration, romance, beauty, hope and faith in time.

Vintage romance ceremony

Delicate petals of eucalyptus and ranunculus set the stage of a family backyard transformed into a wedding venue. Under the birch tree, handwritten vows laid on ivory lace and wedding bands were tucked inside a vintage jewelry box, ready to be used.

An intimate first look

The night before, we kissed goodbye in our sweatpants and messy hair. We were tired, nervous and excited from planning every little detail of our DIY wedding. We had spent the last eight months planning, pausing, mourning, postponing, re-planning and changing directions with very little control of how things will turn out. But on this day, seeing each other for the first time dressed as bride and groom got us both emotional. In that moment, our tears were saying: “We made it. We’re finally here”.

Walking down the aisle

Our 92 guests await on screen to a jazz playlist and the camera pointing at the welcome sign. The first guitar strums of I Can’t Help Falling in Love by Kina Granis start to play, and the ceremony begins. Just as her voice sings ”So take my hand” during that iconic part of the song, my parents walk me down the aisle. Holding onto my Mom’s arm as I wear her wedding dress was a once-in-a-lifetime moment I will forever cherish.

The vows

There was something very intimate about reciting our vows in a private backyard. Words handwritten on delicate paper were spoken with dedication and promise. These familiar words have already been said to one another over the years, but in that exact moment, saying these words ceremoniously in front of witnesses felt so official. I couldn’t believe this was the moment I was marrying my best friend.

Our first dance

We swayed to Blue Moon by Billie Holiday with the greenery of cedar and birch trees as our backsplash. We whispered, giggled and took deep sighs of relief. I have danced a million dances with him before. His hand has been on my waist a million times, and the scent of his cologne caressed my nose a million times. But this was the one dance where I felt like I was floating.

Greeting our guests

Our dearest family and friends were dressed in their best with a drink in hand, raising a toast and joyfully cheering from all corners of the world. From Lebanon to Finland to Germany to Abu Dhabi to Paris to California to Montreal, and to our native Toronto. During a historical time of social distancing, it was so touching seeing everyone’s smiling faces in one space, especially the elder family members that lived far and wouldn’t have been able to witness this day if it wasn’t for the pandemic’s enablement of virtual connection. The love and joy that everyone brought was an energy that could be felt beyond the screen. It physically filled our hearts to the brim.

Toasting to family

Our wedding was an all around teamwork effort. From my in-laws sprucing up their backyard for this day, to my mother-in-law lending us her finest crystal and silverware, to my father-in-law helping install the canopy and lights, to my Mom altering her own wedding dress to fit me, to my Dad picking up our wedding cake, to my brother and sister-in-law helping set up our reception food, to one family friend who beautifully officiated our ceremony and another family friend who managed the audio visuals. Our hearts were bursting with gratitude at how much our parents, siblings and chosen family deeply love us and support us.

Backyard reception under the stars

Vintage porcelain, pressed linen napkins and tea light candles elegantly lit up our harvest table. A spread of cheese and charcuterie, crudités, seafood, and Lebanese and Finnish appetizers fill the picnic table. Jazz played in the background, glasses clinked and laughter echoed under the white canopy where we shared our vows only a few hours ago. Our wedding cake was sliced, the raspberry jam and vanilla Chantilly cream delectably consumed. More champagne was poured, and glasses continued to clink under the late August stars.

Just us and the forest

Hiking and the outdoors is a shared passion we connected over when we first started dating. This particular location was where we had our first hike together – the first of many. He proposed to me on a hike in Montreal, and we hiked all over Ireland during our honeymoon. Forests and nature is where we feel the most like ourselves, and it was so special that we were able to be there on our wedding day.

I am so grateful for these captures. This is why I value photography so much. They are emotions in a frame, and a story you can cherish and revisit for the rest of your life.

Thank you to everyone who made this day unforgettably special.

Thank you to Daring Wanderer for capturing our day through your incredible lens.

xo 🖤

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