A Low-Key Backyard Wedding at a Private Residence in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

Caroline Fenkel (28 and a clinical social worker) and Michael Blanche (43 and a clinical social worker) planned a fun-filled backyard fete for their summer wedding that perfectly captured their laid-back personalities. Breaking away from tradition was a top priority for the pair, and they enlisted the help of the Styled Bride to pull together a celebration jam-packed with unexpected touches. The day unfolded at Caroline’s family home in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, an intimate and sentimental location that played up the day’s low-key vibe. A short and sweet ceremony kicked off the festivities, and despite lasting only 10 minutes, it was a highly personalized occasion, complete with self-written vows, popcorn carton programs, a Quaker union and live music. “One of my favorite parts of the day was the walk back to my parents’ house,” Caroline says. “A small portion of a five-mile trail runs parallel to my parents’ house and guests were asked after the ceremony to walk the trail together back to the house. This was a good bonding activity for everyone, and I was excited because I made small burlap signs with our wedding logo that showed people where to go.” After the “I dos,” Caroline and Michael joined their friends and family members at the house for the reception. An abundance of wildflowers, warm candlelight and details such as vintage key guest book cards established a rustic, bohemian feel. The couple decided against a traditional sit-down dinner, opting instead for grazing stations that created an effortless, fuss-free atmosphere that encouraged their guests to mix and mingle. “Our food was delicious—we did a mac and cheese station, burgers and fries, sushi and an ice cream bar,” Caroline says. “By the end of the night I was so overwhelmed that I was eating ice cream at the sundae bar, asking people who came up with the idea. Finally someone said ‘You did!’ When you're making decisions like this sometimes you forget about some of the ones you make.” Lawn games, including badminton, bowling, horseshoes and a life-size Connect Four, were abundant, and a Polaroid photo booth offered a fun way for guests to capture the evening. A tip from Caroline and Mike: “Make it your own. You don’t have to make your wedding day traditional—it’s the 21st century! You only live once. And if your family thinks it's a crazy idea, they will eventually come around to thinking it’s pretty cool." —Libby MacCarthy