This backyard wedding was such a special treat for me to photograph, and it’s one I hadn’t even planned on until just a few weeks beforehand! While many of my 2020 couples have been choosing to downsize their wedding days into more intimate affairs, this year has introduced me to a number of local couples who planned to be elsewhere for their big day. Jessica and Daryl had hoped to elope in France (France! I know!) but instead adjusted their plans to celebrate their vows at their beautiful family farm.
The guest list was super intimate – just immediate family – but it was so charming right from the start. The farm where they live has been in Daryl’s family for generations, and there are still two horses that live right on the property. I didn’t know about the horses until I arrived on-site and I’ll be honest, it took every bit of focus for me not to run into that field for a quick hello – I grew up with horses and still have that bug in my bones, big time.
Intimate afternoons like this have a whole different vibe than a big, traditional wedding day. While the nerves might be the same for the couple exchanging their vows, the rest of the group just settles right on in – it’s sort of like a marriage-themed family reunion, and I am totally here for it. One of the things I love the most about wedding days is the family (whether blood or chosen) – there’s such a wonderful spectrum of humanity on display with these people that love this couple so much.
Jessica decided she would wear the same dress that she’d planned to take to France (it was totally gorgeous) and we had a quick minute to take some portraits of just her before the ceremony got underway. Portraits can be really fun, and almost like a breath of fresh air from any of the pressures you might feel on the day of. Taking a minute to ground yourself, close your eyes and breathe a little deeper, all while making some photos of you that capture just how incredible you feel…total magic! One of my favorite moments of the day was shooting this handful of portraits with Jess – just being present while she took a minute to slow down and absorb everything.
Another favorite from the day? Watching the family (including some of the kiddos) spread the roses for the ceremony aisle. Everyone had their own technique — some more effective than others! But this is the beautiful thing about having the time and space to watch for these moments. Daryl and Jessica were elsewhere before the ceremony and totally would have missed the love and care with which those kids spread those flowers around had it not been for the photos! It’s one of the reasons that having the time and space to shoot candids during a wedding day is so powerful – so many of these moments that the couple will never see, but have such a huge impact on the day.
A wedding day isn’t about the epic nature of the venue, or the size of the guest list, or even about all the little (albeit beautiful) aesthetic details. It’s about the celebration of love, and the acknowledgment of all the rich histories that brought you both to this place and this time, together. If you’ve had to change your plans this year (maybe from France to the backyard!), just know that your day and your vows are just as important as they might have been under different circumstances, and I’m so honored to capture them just as they unfold.
Here are a few of my favorite snaps from Jessica and Daryl’s intimate backyard wedding day back in July. Congratulations loves!