This Couple Decked Out Their Home's Front Yard with Florals for Their Washington, D.C., Minimony
Stephanie and Neal initially planned to tie the knot in front of 150 loved ones with a wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia. But when the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that would not longer be a safe and feasible option, the couple pivoted and exchanged vows with a front-yard minimony at home (the couple's first home!) in Washington, D.C. "Obviously given COVID, we ended up originally postponing the wedding for a year, but then due to family health reasons ended up deciding to get married in our front yard in D.C. We planned our new mini celebration in a couple of weeks, so it was a whirlwind," Stephanie recalls.
Inspired by the lush hydrangea bushes that grow in front of their DC townhouse, the couple planned an intimate garden-inspired day with only a handful of close loved ones in attendance. Although pandemic precautions necessitated a smaller guest list, there was one VIP whose presence was a must—the couple's pup, Trot.
With fluffy hydrangeas as the foundation of their design aesthetic, the couple's floral designer created a custom floral arch that stopped local passersby in their tracks as they passed the home. Even more floral arrangements were added to the home's front steps to create an overflowing garden-like look. To cap off the springy florals, Trot even donned a floral collar for the occasion. "We got married in our front yard, creating an 'aisle; with flowers from the front door to the ceremony location, surrounded by our friends and family (spaced 6 feet apart) circling us around the yard. One of our best friends married us in a short ceremony that focused on our vows to each other. Neal walked out with our pup and his best friends to one of our favorite songs that we danced to when we first started dating, and our recessional was 'This Will Be Our Year' by the Zombies, which took on added significance given the challenges 2020 has brought. That moment of walking back down the aisle, seeing all of our friends and have cars honking and neighbors we had never met cheer for us from the street—it just was so special," says Stephanie.
When it came to planning out the flow of their Washington, D.C., minimony, Stephanie and Neal knew it was important to have comfortable seating for their parents to be able to watch the ceremony and then kick back and relax during cocktail hour. With that in mind, a lounge area was constructed with a conglomeration of pink, blue and white vintage finds.
Although the guest list was pared down, the couple still went over-the-top with celebratory sips and eats. "In so many ways our family and friends made the day feel so incredibly personal. My brother (and my best man) made all of the custom cocktails while one of Neal's oldest friends is a talented artist and painted the champagne bottle we had our first toast with." The hand-painted bottle of Dom Perignon champagne was served up "using my grandma's antique coupe glasses" for family speeches by Neal's father and Stephanie's brother.
Later in the evening, while the couple cut their cake, Stephanie surprised Neal with a large container of his favorite blackberry-flavored ice cream to accompany the sweet bake. To ensure the safety of guests and allow for minimal contact with servers, a food truck offered up savory chicken and tots, plus a variety of delicious doughnuts. A key priority for Stephanie and Neal "was coming up with a way to serve food safely given COIVD concerns. The Astro Donuts food truck was amazing—the most delicious fried chicken and mini donuts and a big hit with guests. We also provided each guest with a cute cooler bag that contained personal champagne glasses, mini champagne bottles, and cupcakes that matched our wedding cake. We also served our three signature cocktails in individual CapriSun-esque pouches, and had a frosé machine," explains Stephanie of the minimony's food and drink menu.
Stephanie looks back on her wedding and recalls "one of the silver linings to canceling our original wedding was having such a sense of gratitude to be able to get married at all, and to be able to do so at our home, surrounded by our local loved ones (who we were so lucky were able to get tested and quarantine prior to our day). That perspective allowed us to savor every moment, even when the unexpected (in our case, a set of thunderstorms) happens."