A Modern, Colorful Backyard Wedding in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Everything about Natalie Jeffrey (29 and an engineer at a furniture company) and Ricky Biddle's (34 and an industrial furniture designer) modern outdoor wedding felt unconventional – from the bride's watercolor Alice + Olivia gown (and Rachel Zoe bridesmaid jumpsuits!) to the intimate backyard reception sans one very common wedding ingredient...a cake. The day began in the couple's modern, mid-century home where they planned to wed in their lush backyard alongside 65 guests. Rather than construct an aisle, the couple set up two long rows of tables complete with wooden benches situated back-to-back. "It was really important that our wedding felt more like a dinner party with friends rather than big, formal event," Natalie says. While both Natalie and Ricky took on most of the planning themselves, their photographers – Megan and Caleb from Willow Noavi – served as unofficial consultants throughout the couple's seven-month engagement. Kalamazoo-based florist Vandersalm's created natural arrangements using green hypericum, tricillium and simple white freesia for the bride's bouquet. Another standout detail? The bride's bold, floral-print Alice + Olivia gown. "It was tough to find a wedding dress that looked like something I would actually wear, so I ditched the idea that I had to wear white early on," Natalie says. "I was a little conflicted about how my family would receive it since it was so unorthodox, but it seemed to me that a colorful gown in the sea of green in our yard would be most beautiful, and would look the most at home." The couple even took yet another untraditional take on their special day by having not one, but two cocktail hours for guests. "We stole the idea after attending a friend's wedding in Sonoma, California," Natalie says. "Being allowed to have a beer before and during the ceremony seemed like a genius idea." It was then that guests enjoyed a small selection of beers from Bell's Brewery along with a signature gin cocktail. "We're in Michigan – furthermore, we're in Kalamazoo– so good beer was a necessity and easy to obtain," the couple says. The newlyweds even ditched a traditional wedding cake in favor of a popsicle cart from their caterer, Mi Pueblo. "Ricky's not a cake fan and they specialized in homemade Mexican popsicles," the bride says. "We thought it'd be a fun alternative!" While guests enjoyed a night of dinner and dancing in the couple's backyard, both Natalie and Ricky agreed that simplicity – along with a little hired help – is the most important planning essential. "At the end of the day, all that matters is that you both show up and get married," Natalie says. "Everything else is just an expensive party."