Post # 1
Hello bees! Thanks for taking the time to read as we could really use some advice. If you’re short for time, skip on to the last paragraph, but I’ll try to briefly frame the issue below.
My FI and I are planning for a September 2013 outdoor homecoming wedding (we met in college, been together for 4 years, and he proposed just before we received offers from graduate schools) and have a little less than 5 weeks to find the perfect venue, before he heads to London for a year and I to Chicago (where we’ll both live after he returns). We’re both from Alabama and want to get married in Tuscaloosa (where we went to school), where there are extremely few “proper” venues. A lot of inspiration for what we kind of conceptualize is from this backyard wedding posted on GWS.
When we first started scouting venues, my FFIL suggested this one small historic home downtown that (while indoors, it’s typical stuffy Southern-Victorian) features a wonderfully green backyard that lies again a great stretch of an old train trestle (unusual in a backyard, but a totally perfect characterization of the city we fell in love in, where nearly everyone in a 30 mile radius falls asleep to the hum and horn of the tracks and engines).
From the second we set foot on in the yard, we felt like this was really it. But we kept looking, keeping this beautiful place in our back pocket, just to make sure. Well, we’ve now seen it all and still love this place as much as we did the first time, but one problem remains: a brick arch right in the center of the property (see pics below). Typically, people stage the ceremony in the front half of the backyard, facing the arch (which they decorate), but…it’s not for us. The place is not well known and less expensive than other local venues, so what we’ve been able to see of what other couples do with the place with smaller budgets than ours hasn’t helped (which we kind of love; we were hoping to really make this celebration one-of-a-kind). We really want to transform this backyard into a sprawling ceremony and reception and hope to keep everyone outside (and away from the stuffy furniture, save bathroom visits), but we’re struggling with what we’d do to minimize the prominence of the arch and maybe even brick walkway. The guests will definitely see it upon arriving for the ceremony, as it’s right across from where they’ll enter the yard. We considered making it part of the photobooth backdrop, but it’s right in the middle of the yard. Maybe that would be ok, providing the ceremony and reception carved up the area to where it didn’t seem out of place. But what do you think? The second picture gives you a better view of how much space is on hand. Our main questions are 1) what to do with that damn arch? and 2) how to stage the wedding and ceremony (haven’t decided on whether to do a turnover with cocktails in the front) space. We anticipate 100-150 guests (still working on that list), and plan to exchange vows in front of one of the oaks draped in lanterns at sunset. Thanks in advance for your all your wonderful advice, if you have time to spare it!
Post # 3
What about having the ceremony space on the other side of the arch (basically anywhere between the arch and the trestle) and using the arch as the “entrance” to the ceremony space? You can set up entrance-type things (programs, maybe fans or waterbottles since it will probably be HOT) on the farther side of the arch, which help guide your guests through the arch instead of walking around it.
And then if you have a cocktail hour, it can be on the other side of the arch (closer to the house) while the ceremony space is flipped to become the reception space…?
Also, is that a wishing well I see in the background of the second picture? Awesome photo opps!
Post # 4
My first thought is to use old doors. The brick arch would be hidden and used as a support for the doors.
these grand old church doors are amazing
I saw this pic and thought bookcases might be an alternative idea given your academic credentials. This one is too frou-frou for me but I would see it done in a toned down manner.
I love this blackboard done on a grand scale
Post # 5
@mholden: Thanks! Your post inspired me to check the Farmers’ Almanac to check out past temperatures. We’d consulted it when picking a date, just to ensure we were safe(ish) for rain, but I’d not even considered the heat. Hopefully, we’ll be at a perfect 75, but there’s always the possibility for the low 90’s in AL.
@julies1949: What a reply! Now that’s a fantastic idea. I’ve pinned a good many doors since Feb, but hadn’t even thought of doing that with this arch, and now I’m really scheming! My FFIL (whom I adore) is a fantastic hobby craftsman and has offered to take on any building projects, and I think he’d really love to tackle this one. Thanks so much!
With the doors in mind, my only question for now is what if we want to get married off to the left or right (to avoid exchanging vows in front of the trestle)? Will it look odd for the doors to open and the aisle to start at a considerable distance, and off to one side?
Post # 6
@KatyC: If your photographers are shooting at ground level, the trestle will not be visible if the doors are closed.
Post # 7
I have some old doors and also a wall that we built for our outdoor wedding in September (in North Alabama). I made the wall big enough so that when I started walking towards the ceremony no one could see me until I got to the back of the aisle. My wedding was very vintage/rustic themed. Here is the link to where I have pictures of things from the wedding for sale. We also have a vintage/antique iron arbor/arch that we are also selling.
Post # 8
@KatyC Hi there Katy! I’m actually looking for something similar – and actually we have a similar story! I was wondering if you’d be willing to tell me what that venue might be – as I’m near the end of my rope with picking a venue and trying to save money! If you don’t want to divulge, I understand – but I’d love the help! Thanks.
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2014 - Italiano's Humble
Auburn, that is FANTASTIC!!!
You’ve got me inspired to talk to FH about this, especially since I would be coming from the back of the house, and around the pool. Which is separated from the backyard by a waist high fence and gazebo.