Aryanna & Craig's vintage, big easy-style wedding/party!

Updated Oct 12 2015
Aryanna & Craig
Photos by J. Vu

The offbeat bride: Aryanna, Public Relations Assistant (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Craig, Teacher

Location & date of wedding: Our home and garden, New Orleans, LA — May 30, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Not only did we manage to have our wedding and over eighty-five guests in our one bedroom, one bathroom, 1,000 square ft. home (and fabulous garden), but we also managed to have a blast! Lauging at something funny!

My main goal (besides getting married!), was to have a fun party, Big Easy style. Having the wedding at our house gave us more freedom. There was no one to tell us when to pack up. While the evening started like any other laid-back, family gathering in the Big Easy, it lasted well into the night (and morning!), like any true New Orleans shindig.

Weddings are all about Family!
Cramming their HUGE family into the backyard!

Our biggest challenge: Our two biggest challenges were finding a way to get everyone to fit into our house, and getting our house "wedding ready." The key to our success was thinking outside the box. We moved almost every piece of furniture into the bedroom and made that off limits. Then, with thorough measurements, I was able to create space for about fifty-five people at tables and chairs. Then, by tearing down our shed, we cleared an area in the backyard for more milling about space. Also, we had food and drink stations both inside and out. Aryanna & Craig

The second challenge was making sure our house was "wedding ready." Just when you start to think everything is falling into place, something always goes wrong. From fixing the toilet in the bathroom, to patching cracks in the wall, keeping up was a huge challenge.

My favorite moment: I was hanging out on my front porch, talking to some friends during the reception, and someone said, "You know, only in New Orleans, will you find a bride hanging out on the porch, in a huge gown, like it's just any other day."

The best part was just enjoying our time with friends and family. Although the set up and clean up were the most stressful things ever, it was truly a night of enjoying the wonderful company of friends. Time with Friends

But overall, nothing could stop the "laissez les bon temps rouler" attitude and atmosphere of a true New Orleans party. Even when the meter maid tried to give guests tickets for parking over the sidewalk, everyone remained care-free.

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't let people tell you that it can't be done! If you put your mind to it, you can probably accomplish whatever goals you have. With a lot of careful planning, we were able to have the ceremony we wanted, where we wanted it, with the budget we could afford and had a blast doing it!
The bride
I kept hearing that I was never going to fit that many people into my house, and that I HAD to cut down the guest list. Instead, I completely rearranged the house and created a layout that would keep people spread out in different parts of the house and garden.
Flowers
Then we decided to have a family only ceremony, followed by a friends and family reception. It worked out great, it never once felt over-crowded.

Where there is a will, there is a way, you just need to find it! Careful planning can go a long way, if you have the patience and dedication to make it work!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? When things went awry, I found that breathing exercises and a couple bags of Reese's can help make everything more manageable.

Guestbook
Free-style guestbook!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: Off the rack and 50% off at Cache ($250!)
  • Bridesmaid dresses: Zara
  • Headpiece: Ebay seller littleworksofart
  • Photography: by J.Vu
  • Flowers: I ordered wholesale orchids from Potomac Floral and did the all the centerpieces, boutonnieres, and bouquets myself with greens from the backyard.
  • Paper & envelopes: Invitation Outlet and designed and printed invites myself.
  • Vases, candles, candle holders and other table decorations: Dollar Tree!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

    • Thanks! I was seriously stressing about not finding a dress I liked and could afford. I stumbled on this dress while Christmas shopping at Cache. Off the rack and $250 and I only had to have it hemmed. I still can't believe it!

  1. I cannot describe in words how absolutely charming and darling you looked on your day! Your dress has so much personality and fits you like a glove. Everything looks like it was meant exactly for this moment – I truly love the photo of you on your front porch -it's magazine-cover-worthy!!! Congrats on the budget and the marriage! Job well done.

  2. yay for centerpiece items purchased from Dollar Tree! We just bought a ton of glass for my friends wedding

  3. Aryanna, great pictures, and I love the dress. My favorite picture was your family pic though. And I loved the vintage look to it…matched your theme wonderfully of course. You just don't seem to see family pictures that large anymore. Great job!

  4. Aryanna, you look stunning. I love the dress and the hairpiece. It sounds like the wedding was exactly what you wanted. I love backyard weddings. I wish I could have one myself.

  5. Everything about this is beautiful — not to mention the bride, but also the house & gardens are just perfect! God that must have been stressful organising that. I can't even begin to contemplate…

  6. I've always thought a backyard wedding would be wonderful, and yours makes me drool over the idea even more. But sadly, housing prices in LA make that nearly impossible and we can't wait forever to get married!

    I also have to say that your dress is STUNNING! I've never considered anything close to white before, but I could definitely see myself in something like that.

    • Thanks! The idea of white kind of made me cringe too, and I've never really felt like it suits my skin tone. I was utterly depressed looking at "normal" wedding dresses because even the ivory ones weren't what I wanted. I stumbled on this champagne/gold/vintage-y lacey number and knew it was for me.

      I totally understand the financial part though. It was actually why we had it at home–I knew spending our savings on a house down payment and as little as possible on a wedding was the way for us to make it work.

    • Thanks! You know it's funny, when I look at other people's wedding posts, I think oh, I wish I would have done that! or Grrrr, why wasn't I that clever with XYZ. But when I really look back on it, it WAS our dream wedding. We found what worked for us and made it happen and still had a damn good time. What else could anyone ask for?

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