Artistic Pennsylvania Backyard Wedding

Brianna Kozlarek / Friday April 15, 2016

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We have got such a beautiful, unique outdoor wedding to share with you today. Best of all? It was photographed by our amazingly talented #PrettyPerfectPartner Kanayo Adibe. Britt and Mike have such a beautiful story, it is best told by the bride herself:

Michael and I met at on a ship sailing the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland on December 21, 2012. We both happened to be attending my work Christmas party.  Our meeting was fateful; one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where everything around you just stops and you only focus on one another, instantly connected. We knew fairly quickly that we wanted to spend our lives together and in December of 2014 Michael got down on one knee and proposed with the engagement ring my grandfather proposed to my grandmother with 56 years earlier. We immediately started planning for our rustic wedding to be held that September and quickly sent out our handmade “Save The Dates”; by mid-winter we had settled on a small historic village in nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania and had booked all of our vendors.  We are a creative couple and wanted to create the décor ourselves so we settled into a flurry of activity and the days flew by. In April we found a beautiful home that needed a full remodel (our first home) and decided to take on that project as well.

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By May, everything had changed. Life had decided to throw us another curveball… we found out that we were expecting our first child! Naturally, the day we found out we were having a baby our priorities instantly shifted. With four months until our wedding day and a tiny human steadily growing in my belly, we completely revamped our wedding. One of the best decisions we made was to keep one of the original vendors- our photographer Kanayo Adibe. We knew we wanted unforgettable pictures to forever remember the beauty of our day. We forfeited all of our other deposits with vendors in favor of a backyard wedding at the home we were in the process of remodeling ourselves. We took the DIY concept to an extreme level. Crazy, I know.

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The Ceremony

Family is very important to both of us and we knew we wanted to have a rustic, softly romantic wedding. We wanted it to be intimate and filled with personal details we cherish. On a whim, I stopped by a secondhand store and just so happened to find a gorgeous wedding dress for $80. I chose a local tailor to make any needed alterations but this dress must have been meant to be. At five months pregnant this dress fit perfectly off the rack with no alterations needed, only a slight repair on the bustle.  I chose pale pink and creams as our romantic colors, to complement the lush green of our backyard. 

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A beautiful old tree was strung with twinkling lights and served as a backdrop as we said our vows. I am of the sentimental sort, so I bought artificial flowers and charms at a nearby art store and crafted my own bouquet. I wanted to be able to keep it forever; it now sits on top of our fireplace as a memento of one of the best days of our lives. Our ceremony was unusual, with unique music and readings we picked to highlight who we are as a couple. A friend who helped introduce us officiated the ceremony. We wrote our own vows and had friends carry the vows up the aisle in glass bottles, as a subtle nod to our first meeting on a ship. After we shared our first kiss, we hurried away to have our photos taken at a nearby park. Kanayo was able to take such masterful shots that our backyard wedding appeared magical; as if we were in a fairy tale.

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The Reception

After Kanayo shot our couples photographs, we came back and our DJ played an unforgettable, romantic/comical mash-up of two songs we love for our awkwardly fun first dance. For dinner we went with comfort food (ribs, barbecue chicken, pulled pork), all must-haves to complete a backyard wedding. With daylight fading fast, Michael shared a dance with his mother and then we listened to heartfelt, emotional toasts from family and friends. Melanie’s Cakes by Design out of Washington, DC made a delicious pumpkin spice flavored cake for our fall wedding, beautifully adorned with fresh roses. Always ready to surprise each other, Michael and I both smashed cake into each other’s faces as we enjoyed our first bites as man and wife. L.Lee.M. provided amazing rose cupcakes for our guests to enjoy. Before we even began dancing all of the cupcakes and cake were devoured! Guests were invited to take home candy in small burlap bags that I hand stamped with our initials. Our DJ played every obscure song we had on our list and even offered karaoke.

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One of the funniest, best moments of the evening was looking over at my new husband and watching him and a friend sing karaoke to “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. Their horrible alto voices were hysterical and everyone enjoyed it immensely. The day was filled with lots of emotion, love, and laughter. As the night wound down, my husband and I had one last slow dance to “A Good Day To Hide” and let all of the beautiful chaos of this incredible day fall away. We were transported to the first day we met, when it seemed that we were the only two people in the world. Surrounded by family and friends who walked this journey with us, I felt an indescribable feeling of love and contentment.

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Three months later on December 31 we welcomed our son Gabriel into the world, and I can’t wait to have him play under the tree in our backyard that we were married under. To show him the stunning wedding photographs of us, to point to my belly and tell him that he was present when his parents got married. Holding our wedding at our home means that every day we get to see beautiful relics of the day we became husband and wife; sentimental reminders to always be grateful for the beautiful gifts that life has presented us with. They are subtle hints to never take one another for granted. Not everyone gets to experience the kind of love we have for each other; I hope to always remember that and to cherish the little family we have built.

Our magical wedding would not have been possible without the help and support of many family and friends. As with everything in our lives, this wedding was a labor of love and a community effort. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Photographer: Kanayo Adibe Photography//Venue: The couple’s home in York, Pennsylvania//DJ: DJ TeeJ (Synfuse Productions)//Tailor: Linda Poff’s Bridal Services//Cake: Melanie’s Cakes by Design//Cupcakes: L.Lee.M Cupcakes//Rentals: Harvey’s Rent-All//Catering: Smokey Bones//Flowers: FlowerWorld