A Vintage-Inspired Backyard Wedding at a Private Home in Chesterfield, Michigan

For their early-summer wedding in Chesterfield, Michigan, Maria Manore (33 and a kindergarten teacher and a blogger) and Robert Gavin’s (31 and a lawyer) took their guests on a trip down memory lane. The pair planned an elegant, vintage-inspired affair with a soft pink and blue palette and plenty of DIY details. “It was really important to me that my wedding was memorable for all our guests, and I wanted to include as many personal touches into the day as I possibly could,” Maria says. The couple began planting the seeds for their vintage theme at the ceremony, gathering their guests at St. Peter Catholic Church in Mount Clemens, Michigan, where Maria’s parents had said their “I dos” and where Maria attended Mass and school as a child. Maria and Robert kept the decor simple, allowing the church’s ornate architecture to speak for itself, adding a few lush ferns to the altar and decorating the aisle with photos from family members’ weddings. “Rob and I had fun collecting wedding portraits from our aunts and uncles. We even found some wedding photos that went back so far that we didn’t know who they were of,” Maria says. “I matted each of them and placed them in gold 8-by-10 frames from the dollar store. Even the ribbon used to hang the frames around the church pews fit the vintage theme. 

After exchanging vows, the newlyweds and their guests made their way to Maria’s family home in Chesterfield, Michigan, for the reception. “When Rob and I decided to take the plunge and invest in a big wedding, I insisted that it be a special experience for all our guests, not just the two of us,” Maria says. From start to finish, the pair did just that, transporting guests to a simpler time with rose-colored glassware, pastel floral table linens, vintage silverware and dishes, and an old typewriter that guests used to express their well-wishes and advice for Maria and Robert. A vintage door served as the escort card display, and wood-burned chargers with playful messages—all handcrafted by Robert—graced each place setting. “Our guests enjoyed comparing messages when they arrived to their seats,” Maria says. After dinner, the Hello Ice Cream truck made an appearance, serving up decadent gelato from its cute mint- and cream-colored truck. Sugar Snaps churned out jazzy tunes all night, and a gilded tufted sofa provided the perfect place for guests to strike a pose. A tip from Maria and Robert, “Hire a wedding planner, or at least a day-of coordinator. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you should be able to savor every moment of the experience without having to take care of all the little problems that will inevitably arise. Enjoy the day with your new spouse and your family members.” —Libby MacCarthy