A Vintage-Inspired Backyard Wedding in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, During Golden Hour

When the pandemic forced Colleen and Ethan to scrap their initial wedding plans, the duo pivoted to hosting a boho, vintage-inspired backyard wedding

When the pandemic forced Colleen and Ethan to scrap their initial wedding plans, the duo pivoted to hosting a boho, vintage-inspired backyard wedding in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The romantic wedding, which took place during golden hour as the sun was setting, included eclectic vintage dishes and linens Colleen had inherited and collected over the years. Colleen even transformed her mother's wedding dress into a short summer frock for the event summer evening soiree. "After changing our plans due to COVID, we had about two months to plan. Luckily, our planner Monica knew my love of all things vintage and suggested using my collection as an inspiration for our day," explains Colleen. "We ate off of my grandma's vintage poppy dinner plates, drank from vintage coupes and glassware, and used my grandfather's retro MG as our getaway car! All of our additional decor choices were based on the collection I already had—golden tones, pops of blue, and meaningful details everywhere. By cutting our guest list down to just 17 of our closest family members, we shifted focus to what really mattered to us—saying our vows to each other while being blessed by God and our families. My father-in-law is a pastor, so he performed our small ceremony which I absolutely loved. My favorite moment (and photos) are our whole family reaching their hands to us, blessing our marriage."

One silver lining of the couple's pandemic wedding was that it enabled the duo to tie the knot at their dream wedding venue. "Since I was a little girl I have always talked about getting married in my aunt's backyard," says Colleen. "I knew having 200+ celebrate in their backyard wasn't going to be an option, but changing our plans to a small elopement was the perfect opportunity to make that dream come true. Really, we just flowed with what was already there; I cut raw silk into ribbons to hang from the fruit tree grove that we were married in front of, and our planner Monica insisted on the most gorgeous Sperry tent from Chance Pro Events that instantly gave us a magical dinner/reception space." Beyond saying "I do" at her aunt's house, Colleen involved her family in the wedding in another meaningful way—by wearing her mother's wedding dress! "I had already bought a wedding dress with a glamorous winter wedding in mind, so when we changed our date I knew I would have to find another option. With all of the heirlooms involved in the wedding, it only made sense to wear my mom's gown. I'm lucky enough to have an incredible seamstress as a grandma, so she was able to adjust the dress to perfectly fit me and make a few style adjustments (goodbye pointed drop-waistline!) and shorten it to make the perfect summer frock," says Colleen. 

Following the couple's intimate wedding reception, they even found a way to celebrate safely with a larger group of loved ones—by hosting a drive-in movie screening! "In an effort to include more of our friends and family (but from a distance) hosted a drive-in movie viewing of 'You've Got Mail' after dinner. Additional friends and family came to wave from afar and watch the movie with us. My dad built a popcorn cart and we pre-packaged movie snacks and water for everyone, too! It was the perfect way to end the night, still feeling so surrounded by love," recalls Colleen. 

Looking back on the wedding, Colleen recalls how "truly the whole day is so precious to me—from quiet moments in the morning to waving goodbye to our guests, but the most special was something I wasn't expecting at all. I knew my dad was planning to give a toast, but near the end, he brought my grandpa up, who read the sweetest letter my late grandmother left behind specifically for him to give me on my wedding day. Ethan and I both have a very special bond with each our grandmas, and for her to give her blessing in that way was extremely significant to me."

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Bride Turned Mother's Wedding Dress Into a Vintage Summer Frock
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Wedding Reception Underneath Sailcloth Tent
Romantic Golden Hour Wedding Reception Underneath Sailcloth Tent
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