A Vintage Bohemian Backyard Wedding at a Private Residence in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Tonya Brown (39 and a pastry chef) and Michael Bradford (34 and a business development manager) met at a common friend’s house, when Tonya was challenged to a game of darts (she won). Even though she beat Michael, he told her “I like you the best.” Those five words became their inside joke. “All these years later, it is still true for both of us,” she says. After Michael proposed with his great-grandmother’s 19th-century diamond cluster and yellow gold ring, they got married in the backyard of Michael’s childhood home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The Bohemian-inspired celebration included colorful Moroccan fabrics and textiles in mismatched patterns, whimsical hanging glass bottles along a wooded path and an outdoor tented ceremony complete with white Chinese lanterns. Tonya’s dad walked her down the aisle (to “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen), Michael’s dad gave a welcome speech, and Michael’s mom incorporated a bit of her Scottish heritage into the day with a quaich, a special two-handled drinking cup. “In marriage, it symbolizes a couple’s lifelong commitment, a lifelong friendship, a life of shared love,” Tonya says. They surprised Michael’s family by hiring a bagpiper as the processional entertainment. The bagpiper brought the couple down a decorated wooded path to the reception area. Guests enjoyed signature cocktails of pomegranate margaritas and local hors d’oeuvres before sitting down at farm tables to enjoy an “upscale barbecue” meal of smoked-pork sliders, flank steak tacos and an array of seasonal, local salads. For dessert there was a doughnut bar and a naked wedding cake made by Tonya. “Most people called me crazy when I told them I was making my own wedding cake,” she says. “It was the biggest cake I had ever made. It was one of my greatest accomplishments.” With the help of a number of professional vendors, including a talented wedding planner, we had “the most perfect wedding,” Tonya says. “More [perfect] than I could have imagined.” —Chrissy Sorenson