Image: One Love Photo


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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#34: Brave Wedding: Hannah & Matt

You all know how much I LOVE simple DIY backyard weddings -- they're so personal, chill, fun, and joyful. So I nearly fell off my chair when I came across Hannah and Matt's drop dead gorgeous 30-person wedding, which was held in the backyard of Hannah's parents' home in Newhall, California. There's just something about a beautifully outfitted banquet table over Mom & Dad's green tennis court that just oozes with cool and character. Or at least in my book. 

Lucky for us, the lovely and warm Hannah agreed to be interviewed for Brave Bride. So sit back, relax, and soak up the wisdom that she has to offer. Because when a brave woman, mother, wedding cake baker, and new wife like Hannah wants to share the secrets of planning a stunning wedding for under $6k, we'd all better sit up and listen.


In what ways were you a brave bride?
We actually fit into a lot of the categories for your definition of a brave bride! We decided against having a large, flashy wedding and instead went with a small group of 30 guests (half of which were immediate family). We all sat at one long table which was wonderful because my husband and I could talk to everyone without having to go around from table to table. 


We also had my sister officiate. I thought she'd be able to make it through the ceremony without crying, but she ended up breaking down before she could get through the first sentence. It was so intimate and now I can't imagine having had anyone else marry us. She did a fantastic job, and spent the time creating a service that was special to us. My husband and I wrote our own vows to each other as well, we wanted everything about the ceremony to be personalized. 

We were on a tight budget, about $6,000 and even that was over what we had originally planned on spending. Because of the small budget we had a lot of DIY elements. My sister and I made the cake (we have a small cake baking/decorating business*), my mom and I made the centerpieces, my sister did my hair and makeup, and we did all of the set-up and tear-down ourselves. We were also so lucky to have my photographer, a good friend of ours who lent her services for free, and our guitarist, who played our ceremony and reception music at no charge.

Was there anything that you spent WAY too much time worrying about that turned out just fine and lovely in the end?
There was SO much I wish I hadn't spent so much time worrying about! One was having enough for guests to do at our wedding. We didn't have dancing (other than the first dance) or alcohol (other than champagne for the toasts) and I wasn't sure that people would have a good time. It ended up being just like a big dinner party, and everyone talked and had a great time. We also had a homemade "photo booth" which was a lot of fun. I also worried too much about the food. I really wanted good food, but because of the budget I didn't know where to look! We ended up with Stonefire Grill and it was delicious. I was so dead-set against a buffet, but we ended up with one and it was fine, it made no difference!


I guess you could say I worried about the venue a bit much too, but it was for good reason. We originally were going to have our wedding at a small restaurant in Pasadena, but 4 weeks before the wedding I got an email telling me they were closing down. Thankfully my parents have a large, beautiful yard where we were able to hold our big day. I think it ended up 5 million times better than it would have been at the restaurant.

What was your favorite moment of the day?
My husband's vows. They were beautiful and I think almost everyone there was crying. It was so great to hear each other really speak from the heart.

What big lesson(s) did you learn?
Plan ahead!!! We ended up running around so much the morning of the wedding doing things we could have gotten done ahead of time but just hadn't anticipated taking so long to do. I also learned that things have a way of working themselves out. So many of the things I stressed out about ended up being perfect. Also, to be honest, I would never make my own cake if I had it to do over. It came out great, but it was soooo much added stress I just didn't need.

*Hannah's wedding cake business is in the midst of creating a website at this time, so please e-mail me if you would like to get in contact with this beautiful baking bride.
Photography: Katelyn Demidow Photography (Louisiana-based and able to travel! Which is good news because in my humble opinion these photos kick major booty!!!)
Dress: Dolly Couture


  1. What a great wedding! And I would totally dig Jones soda over booze any day!

  2. Wow!! There is so much about this wedding that I LOVE!! REALLY! Wowza. Loving the decorations and their friendy-vendors did an incredible job!! I love the idea of a close-friends kind of dinner party!! That sounds like the perfect wedding, man.

    I recently went to a wedding that the bride and groom spent the WHOLE time going from table to table, carrying food with them and getting hugged by strangers {ahem, I was one of them} and what not. Man. I can't even imagine!!

    Thanks for sharing, this bride kicks ass.

  3. I agree, Lizzie - she SO kicks ass! I'm so glad Hannah was open to sharing her beautiful wedding.

    And I can't imagine spending 30 min. (or more) at my wedding going around from table to table! I understand wanting to mingle with everyone a bit, but that's just not a party.

    Brian and I plan to cut and serve our ice cream wedding cake as our way of "visiting" with all of our guests. (It's also nice because it will feel communal and really communicate our gratitude toward everyone.) But beyond that there will be no bouncing around to each table for a posed smile and photo.


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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