Shannon & Pete | DIY Backyard Wedding in Philadelphia


Shannon and Pete’s intimate DIY wedding took place in their own backyard, with delightful pics by Morrissey Photo

“When Pete and I first started talking about what we envisioned for our wedding day, we always knew we wanted it to be simple,” says Shannon. “At first, we saw ourselves getting married at City Hall and having a small reception with family to follow. We realized how important it was for our family (and dog, Betty White) to be there, so we decided to invite immediate family to our own backyard, for an intimate wedding with 13 guests. We had just moved into our house about a year prior to getting engaged, so we worked hard to fix up the yard to make it presentable for the big day.”


Love this: “I am just a little obsessed with details, so we embarked on a lot of DIY projects. Hand-dying fabric to create ombre strips that would hang from a tree was our first Pinterest fail, but we still ended up using them. “


Says the bride: “Since my family has a Native American background, we wanted to include a blanket ceremony. We asked our families to send us scraps of patterned yellow and grey fabric, which my best friend’s mom was kind enough to sew into a beautiful color wheel quilt. It’s something we can hold onto forever and it reminds us of our families uniting and all of that awesomely cheesy stuff.”


Sips included home brewed beer (complete with labels designed by the groom) and sangria.

Says the bride: “Our families joined forces the days leading up to the wedding to help us hang string lights, streamers, install a yellow and white striped tent, wash all of the mismatched vintage china we had been collecting, make hors d’oeuvres, and a lot more. We were really lucky to have their help, and it made everything even more meaningful.”


The wedding was full of DIY details that the bride and groom created together. “We made our own home brew together and Pete even designed the labels. We canned four different types of homemade jams for favors, with my illustrations on the labels. We made our own invitations. Since we only had 13 guests (17 if you count us and our amazing photographers), I decided to make place cards with drawings of each person. We spray painted plastic bunnies with gold paint and created place card holders, since we have two bunnies of our own and they hold a special place in our little family.”


Says Shannon, “We told everyone we wouldn’t really be dancing, but when our photographers kindly encouraged us to dance a bit under the tree at night with all of the lights, we were really glad they did. Now we have “a song” we can look back on and remember the night: “You Can Have It All” by Yo La Tengo. It was a magical moment for us, under the lights and streamers and just staring at the stars while spinning slowly together.”

Even the couple’s wedding film was DIY! “My brother was filming footage during the day (his first time using a DSLR for video), so I pieced together my favorite bits for a DIY wedding video. I’ve never edited video before, so it’s amateur, but we love it since it’s set to our song.”



What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  I managed to forget my bridal bouquet in our house as I was about to walk down our makeshift aisle with my dad. I had to run back inside and search all over the house for them, running past a confused caterer and trying to not take forever. When I came back out, I was frazzled, but felt calm after looking at the end of the aisle and realizing what we were about to do.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  You can’t please everyone, so try not to worry about what everyone else thinks. Having a wedding so intimate might be confusing to friends and extended family who really want to be there, but at the end of the day you should really do what feels right to you as a couple. Having a talented photographer (or two!) is key when you’re having such a small wedding, so you can share the details with everyone and remind them that their support means a lot in your life. Sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself, “Am I a big wedding person?” and go from there.

What advice do you have for other brides?  During the wedding planning process, you’ll end up finding out a lot about each other, and during ours, we discovered we really like exploring things together. Even if it means burning a batch of homemade whoopie pies in the early hours of your wedding day and waking your sleep-deprived family with the lovely sounds of a smoke detector.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Everything about our wedding day was just what I imagined: it was completely laid back and really about creating a conversation between our two families. We wanted a long, relaxed dinner with some of our favorite foods (shrimp tacos were a must) and our caterer really made that memorable. It was my brother’s birthday, so the chef even brought out a banana crème brûlée with a candle in it after everyone was lighting sparklers around the fire pit.

Vendor Credits

Photographer: Morrissey Photo / Venue: couple's backyard outside Philadelphia / Officiant: Journeys of the Heart / Dress: BHLDN / Shoes: Steve Madden / Earrings Vintage heart studs /  Belt: Kate Spade / Headband: Anthropologie / Suit: J.Crew / Tie: Forage / Groom's Shoes: Macy’s / Tie clip: Etsy /  Floral Designer: Love ‘n Fresh Flowers / Tent Adams Rental / Furniture rental: Maggpie Vintage / Music: Luke Cleary / Caterer, Deserts:  Joshua’s Catering /  Make-up: Aleksandra Ambrozy


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