You haven't seen a backyard wedding until you've seen Simone & Andrew's fairy-lit wedding

March 13 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: The Pink Ray Gun
South Florida Backyard Wedding
Photos by Jipsy, The Pink Ray Gun

The Offbeat Bride: Simone, higher ed administrator

Her offbeat partner: Andrew, small business manager

Date and location of wedding: Our home, Miami, FL — December 14, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The ceremony took place in a gazebo in our front yard, the dinner was hosted on our driveway, and the reception continued in the backyard, poolside. My mom was the officiant for our wedding and the three of us (including the groom) wrote the ceremony. Andrew's grandmother and my own participated as our "flower grandmas."

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

We skipped out on the bouquet toss and the garter belt traditions because they aren't our style. And we didn't make a big fuss about cutting our cake, we just stepped aside with our videographer and photographer. Also, we asked a non-wedding photographer to shoot the wedding. She's a friend of ours and is renowned for her nightlife photography and we really digged her style. For our reception, we did full-on club-style lighting and a house DJ in our backyard because we wanted to dance the night away, as if it we were at a South Beach nightclub.

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

My mom was very into making everything from hand, from the chalkboards to a beautiful facade she created, featuring reclaimed wood and photos of our family members who have passed on. It was a very unique experience to get married at our home. I got to escape to my house when I needed, and as we were preparing throughout the day, we both kept running into each other. Right before I went into hair and makeup, we said our goodbyes — it was just a few hours between then and our first look.

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

Tell us about the ceremony:
Here is the blessing of the hands ceremony that we used, revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris, read just before the exchange of rings:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and as in today, tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge for both of us was trying to be stress-free. We faced a lot of anxiety the day of. We could barely eat our dinner. But thankfully, once we wrapped up our first dance, we had a blast from then on out.

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

My favorite moment:
There was a tradition I learned about, where each partner offers their ring to the other, then the rings are placed on each other's fingers. A line from this tradition goes like this, "Andrew, I cannot bind you to Simone. Only you can choose to do this. If it is your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand." And we thoroughly enjoyed our first look.

It was also very meaningful to have this video as a keepsake:

South Florida Backyard Wedding

My funniest moment:
The funniest moment was absolutely when my mother decided to jump in our pool! A few groomsmen joined her and the party raged on.

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

South Florida Backyard Wedding

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

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  1. Wow, I cannot believe this was in your backyard. Amazing wedding and great job to you guys and your mum on getting everything together 🙂

    10 agree
    • I second Katie's comment, this is your house? Anyone would be so lucky to have such a beautiful garden to get married in, let alone have it be their backyard!!

      Also, looooove the dress!

      6 agree
  2. Of course the drunk picture of me and Andrew, will make it on here! I'm glad I got to be part of such a beautiful wedding :).

    1 agrees
  3. This is such a dream wedding!!!! How did you pull it off? I love most of all how excited everyone is!!!!

    And how wonderful and beautiful the whole event is!!!!

    2 agree
  4. The photos are just ravishing, and…can I just say how relieved I am to see a shorter bride happily surrounded by taller bridesmaids? Because that's going to be ME, too!

    4 agree
    • Hi Sadie, I definitely didn't care about height 🙂 Also all my bridesmaids wanted to wear heels and I wore sandals. We all just did what made us happy 🙂

      1 agrees
  5. this wedding is perfection. you all look so happy and relaxed in every picture!
    plus, you have a lovely home. how lucky to be able to wed in the same place where some many more memories will happen!

  6. What a beautiful and original wedding. Absolutely stunning. I especially love your dress. Where did you find it?

  7. I love LOVE the video!
    I wish I had a videographer at our wedding
    also check out FOB's thumb twitch walking down the aisle, bet he was nervous!
    what an amazing wedding 😀

    1 agrees
  8. What an absolutely gorgeous wedding!! And your dress! Truly stunning. You both look so happy and the photos are fab too. Enjoy a long and happy life together! x

  9. The ring ceremony sounds lovely. Do you remember where you found the wording? I'm hoping to include something similar in my own ceremony.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Ursula, here's the wording:

      [Officiant] The wedding ring is the outward visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two loyal hearts in endless love.
      Andrew, I cannot bind you to Simone. Only you can choose to do this. If it is your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand.

      [ANDREW] It is my wish. (Places ring in Simone’s hand)

      [Officiant] Simone, if it is your wish for Andrew to be bound with you, place the ring on his finger. (Places ring on Andrew’s left ring finger)

      Simone, I cannot form your bond with Andrew. Only you can choose to do this. If it is your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand.

      [SIMONE] It is my wish. (Places ring in Andrew’s hand)

      [officiant] Andrew, if it is your wish for Simone to be bound with you, place the ring on her finger. (Places ring on Bride's left ring finger)

      [Pronouncement of Marriage]

      1 agrees
  10. I agree with you. Getting wed at your own backyard is indeed convenient. And also, you got to do whatever you want in terms of wedding decoration just like what you mom did here. Putting the picture frames of the loved ones who passed away shows respect to the family and I love it. And good thing, you have a huge backyard, enough to accommodate lots of white chairs. I just hope that you had a white gown. White is pure!

  11. close family and friends in your own environment is the way to go. gosh I love the backyard! if mine were that big hands down I would have it at home!

  12. the antique floral dishes made me INSTANTLY teary! my great grandmother had a set just like that.. long gone … hope life if wonderful!!

  13. Oh my word this is amazing! I'm planning my own small wedding in Miami and wouldn't mind renting your house 😉 Thanks for the inspiration.

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