This Colorful South Carolina Backyard Wedding Was All About Family

January 30, 2024 | justine

Abby and Aidan were clear from the beginning—they wanted their wedding to reflect who they were in every way possible. They kicked things off by choosing a meaningful venue: Aidan’s grandparents’ family home, a place rooted in family history since the 60s. The backyard, overlooking a serene neighborhood lake, held a special significance as Aidan’s parents, aunt, and uncle had tied the knot in the exact spot on the gazebo where they would later exchange vows. Drawn by the sweet love stories and countless memories created there, the couple felt compelled to continue the tradition, leading them to celebrate their special day with a heartfelt South Carolina backyard wedding.

Imagine a picturesque waterside gazebo ceremony with lovely floral pillars, the perfect spot for the couple to tie the knot. The celebration carried on with a lively backyard reception where tables were adorned with vibrant setups—picture pink runners, colorful glassware, and the inviting glow of candles. Above, string lights and disco balls sprinkled a touch of magic. The dance floor, featuring a delightful pastel checkered pattern, welcomed guests to kick off their shoes and revel in an all-night party filled with joy and celebration.

If you’re looking to add some flair to your wedding fashion or searching for creative ways to turn your backyard into a dreamy reception venue, the images captured by Payton Urueta Photography have all the inspiration you need. Explore the stunning visuals that tell the story of a unique celebration, showcasing the beauty of breaking away from tradition.

The Couple:

Abby and Aidan

The Wedding:

South Carolina, United States

Navigating the Logistics and Design for Creating the Perfect South Carolina Backyard Wedding

There were a lot of logistics to figure out in planning a backyard wedding, but we also knew that we had a relatively blank canvas design-wise. We wanted it to feel fun and energetic yet cozy and inviting. We wanted lots of string lights and candles but colors that felt like us. Disco balls were a must. Funky shapes and textures were important. We wanted little details that nodded to our family. Aidan’s family was very tight-knit growing up, and they gathered weekly for dinner. They called these weekly gatherings “pasta nights, ” and they were always a delight to attend together when we were dating and engaged. We decided to share this tradition with our guests and host a larger-format pasta night at our reception.


Why They Opted to Split Their Wedding Into Two Special Days

We split our ceremony and reception into two days so that we could slow down and enjoy the weekend on our own time and our own terms. We invited only our close family, bridesmaids, and groomsmen to the ceremony to make it more intimate and special. I have been to several weddings where you start getting ready at 7:00 AM and go all day until 10:00 PM. I knew myself and knew that I would not enjoy it as much if it was done this way. I’ve also heard from many friends who have gotten married that it goes by so fast you barely have time to eat or talk to your people, so we just wanted to slow it down and take it all in. I cannot recommend splitting your wedding into two days enough.

From Witness Roulette During the Ceremony to Beer Gardens After

The most memorable part of our ceremony day was when we took the boat for a joy ride after eating brunch with our closest family and friends. It was this moment of realization that we were married and had finally reached the day we put so much work in to arrive at. We also loved witness roulette and watching everyone’s reactions when we announced that we had put everyone into a drawing to sign our marriage license as our witness. Seeing everyone on their toes waiting to hear who it would be as the spinner turned was so funny to me. My aunt from out of town ended up being the winner. She was so excited to sign our marriage license. One last ceremony day memory that I loved. Since we did our ceremony Friday morning, we had all evening Friday night to do whatever we wanted. So we went with our bridesmaids and groomsmen to the place where we had our first date, a local Biergarten. It was so fun to relax and have a beer with our people while wearing our husband and wife sweatshirts out. 

Celebrating the Fruits of Their Labor With a Dance Party

For the reception day, the most memorable part was the time we spent on the dance floor. We had all put in so much work, our families included, and it was so fun to finally let loose and celebrate the day that we had labored so hard to experience. Our family talked about that feeling for weeks after and even now. We could all agree that months of DIY projects and literal renovations that we did ourselves paid off, and we left it all on the dance floor. Watching videos and seeing pictures of us going crazy dancing is one of our favorite things nowadays.

Their DIY Projects: From Tables to Chandeliers

We DIYed almost everything. We hand-built all of the tables, the seating chart, the dance floor, and the gazebo. My Grammy sewed all of the table runners and did alterations to my dress. We sourced the candlesticks and vases from thrift stores all across the Upstate. Our family made insanely good home-cooked pasta dishes for dinner at the reception. We formed the candlesticks into funky shapes and put our Cricut to work, making all the signage. Including a sketch by Aidan’s amazing and talented sister, we designed our save the dates, which we later used as a wedding logo. We DIYed all the florals to meet a specific vision of dimension, color, and particular flowers I’d dreamed of in my bouquet for years. Aidan’s mom DIYed the floral arch used on the gazebo. We carefully constructed fringe chandeliers to hang over the dance floor. Our parents, siblings, cousins, and best friends showed up for us to make these DIY dreams happen. And that’s truly what we are the proudest of.

Navigating the Unseen Costs of Their South Carolina Backyard Wedding

We had assumed that a backyard wedding would be significantly cheaper, so we created our budget around that. But we were wrong! We didn’t think about the fact that venues offer so much and that we’d essentially have to rent a venue that would be transported to the backyard. Don’t let the rental stuff sneak up on you for a backyard wedding. You have to rent many things you don’t even think about, like linen trash can covers. We were naive when we made the first draft of our budget. We went over budget because we did not hire a wedding planner to tell us these things; we just figured it out ourselves. Even if you’re type A like me and want everything done a specific way, having a wedding planner will still benefit you. To be very transparent, we had initially said we’d try to stay under $10,000. Since we’d be DIYing everything and wouldn’t be paying for a venue. But we still spent around $20,000. 

Their Splurges That Made Their South Carolina Backyard Wedding That Much More Special 

The most significant change that occurred to exceed our budget was the clear top tent rental. We initially said we would not rent a tent, but it felt stupid to have no rain plan, so we spent a lot on a tent as a backup plan. But it ended up being beautiful weather, thankfully. I spent more on my wedding dress than I had initially budgeted for, but it was so worth it. We splurged on our photographer. We also added a photo booth, a mobile bartending service for the reception, and a mobile coffee bar for the ceremony. Initially, we hadn’t planned on videography, so we splurged on our videographer.

The Budget-Friendly Solutions They Incorporated

Since we wanted our family to recreate our pasta night that we convene for every week, we saved a lot of money on a caterer (though I wouldn’t recommend this since it was a lot of hard work for our family). Since we bought them wholesale, we saved money on florals. We saved money by renting my reception outfit through Nuuly. Another thing we overspent on was the table situation. We knew renting tables would be expensive and that building our own would be similar. But we figured we could sell them afterward. The most remarkable thing about the tables is that we sold them all to our family and close friends. A piece of our wedding is now part of their homes and lives. My boss took four of them for her new therapy clinic that I’ll work at as well. And it’s been so cool to see them in action there.

How Mini Disco Balls Became Unique Escort Cards

Wedding favors were part of our escort cards and seating chart. We had 130 little disco balls hanging with tags that indicated the table number where our guests would sit. Guests have sent me pictures of their mini disco balls in various places. Some on their Christmas tree, some hanging from their car’s rearview mirror. It felt like a touch of our day that people could take with them.

The Undeniable Value of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Splurge and hire a wedding planner. Everyone told us this. We thought we could do it all on our own because we were so specific on how we wanted everything done. But I’m so serious—no matter what, hire a wedding planner. It’s worth the time, energy, stress, etc. If you think it’s outside your budget, make room! And most of all, trust that your day will be perfect and memorable if you let it be. I was so stressed out for a while about the wedding and all the projects we had, but my best friend kept telling me that what helped ease my stress was that the point of it all was to get married. At the end of it all, we would be together forever, and that was all that mattered. It sounds so simple, but it greatly impacted how we viewed our wedding. 

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Payton Urueta Photography
Floral Design – Fifty Flowers
Mobile Bartending – Neon Moon Mobile Bartending
Cake – Little Peanut Pastries
Officiant – Dr. Emily Kofoed
Videography – Candace Gillespie
Invitation Design – Truly Engaging
Wedding Dress – Opal Bride
Bridal Accessories – Etsy
Bridesmaids’ Apparel –
Groom’s Apparel – Suit City
Groom’s Accessories – Fossil
Groomsmen’s Apparel – Men’s Wearhouse
Rings – Olive Ave
Rentals – Event Rentals + Upstate Event Services
Transportation – Top Hat Limousine Transportation
Favors – Beans & Bookmarks


Congratulations to Abby and Aidan on their colorful South Carolina backyard wedding. Thank you to Payton Urueta Photography for skillfully capturing the essence of this inspiration-filled event, demonstrating that unconventional outdoor venue spaces genuinely pay off.

DIY creativity, family involvement, and thoughtful details made this big day truly special. Take notes from the couple’s experience, and don’t underestimate the expert guidance of a wedding planner by exploring our curated list of the best wedding planners worldwide. Don’t forget to check out our wedding planning and budget guides to make your dream day a reality!

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Unique Groom Style Ideas for the Modern Man

January 29, 2024 | riley

As much as we love a nontraditional wedding dress, we can’t get enough of unique groom style. From bolo ties and patterned blazers to colored suits and flat-brim hats, there are plenty of ways for grooms to get in on the fashion fun for the wedding day. Whether you’re bold, edgy, folksy, or fashion-forward, these eight looks will help you get dressed for your big day.

Bold Groom Style

For a bold look, don a patterned suit. You can find everything from florals to stripes to plaid, all fitting different wedding themes and color palettes.

purple patterned unique groom style

Image by Daniela Ortiz

Subtle Bold Groom Style

For something a little more subtle, choose a printed tie or patterned button-up under a solid-colored suit jacket. This look is especially chic for a tropical wedding.

subtle yet bold groom style

Image by Madeline Barr


Edgy Groom Style

For an edgier look, trade your traditional tie for a bolo or neck bow. There’s nothing better for a western-themed or ranch wedding.

desert boho wedding

Image by Julieta Rabadan


Subtle Edgy Groom Style

If you like the idea of keeping the tie, but still want to incorporate the edgy look, consider wearing an all-black suit. This means black pants, a black blazer, a black jacket, a black tie, etc.

Folksy Groom Style

For a folksy look, top it off with a hat. Everyone looks good in a flat-brimmed wool hat, and they also offer shade on sunny days, perfect for outdoor “I do’s.”

groom in flat brim hat and earthy attire

Image by The Kitcheners


Subtle Folksy Groom Style

For a more subtle folksy look, swap your dress shoes for a pair of boots. This is ideal for adventure elopements or destination nuptials.


No matter your style, every groom needs a pair of great dress shoes to finish their wedding-day look. Junebug Tip: shop Amberjack for the best in today’s stylish and comfortable men’s dress shoes.

Fashion-Forward Groom Style

Colored suits are one of our absolute favorite trends, and we don’t see that changing any time soon. There are hundreds of options on the market. From pink to orange to yellow to emerald, it’s an easy way to tie in with your wedding color palette while looking fashion-forward.

colorful groom style

Image by Just Like Honey

Subtle Fashion Forward Groom Style

If a colorful suit is a little too much for you, but you want something that’s a little more unconventional, pair a camel-colored jacket with dark pants or a darker shirt. Bonus points if it’s plaid.

If you’re ready to put together your full wedding-day attire, check out these 10 places to buy wedding suits and tuxedos online. Don’t just stop there, though. Your closest friends standing next to you on the big day need to look sharp too! That’s why we’ve rounded up 17 fool-proof groomsmen outfit ideas that will match these looks perfectly.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means we might make a small commission if you end up purchasing a product from one of our sponsors! Thanks for your support!
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This Matanuska Glacier Wedding Featured Two Stunning Ceremonies

January 28, 2024 | justine

Laura and Jordan aimed to make every aspect of their big day a reflection of who they are as a couple and the breathtaking place they call home.  The goal of their Matanuska Glacier wedding was clear: to capture the essence of Alaska in an elegant, romantic, and timeless manner, whether through the glacier, helicopter ride, airplane hangar, flowers, dress, or any other detail. With the help of Junebug planner AKHappenings, they achieved their vision and surpassed it with flying colors!

The day started with a delightful surprise—an intimate glacier ceremony surrounded by snowy white landscapes adorned with ground arrangements. It set the perfect tone for the day. The journey continued with a second meadow ceremony, where a floral arch framed the majestic mountain backdrop, and benches provided a cozy spot for the celebration. The all-white hangar reception stole the spotlight, showcasing a stunning floral and draping installation. However, the night’s highlight was the all-out dance party that lasted until the early hours. Colorful wigs and LED foam sticks added excitement, making it a memorable celebration.

While we could share more details, we’ll let these incredible images, captured by the talented Megan Freeman, do the talking. 

The Couple:

Laura and Jordan

The Wedding:

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, United States


Bridging Tradition and Personal Style Through Wedding Fashion

I had a vision from the start. I wanted options. But I wanted to buy only one dress. Something romantic yet flowy and sexy. I love sleeves but wanted the ability to take them off.  And a fitted and flowy skirt.  I tried to make all my wedding memories in one dress. My vision was a fitted dress with a detachable skirt and sleeves. I needed a dress that fit the “Alaskan” adventure bride I was going for yet had my favorite aspects in a dress. My jewelry was a classic pearl set of earrings and a necklace my father gave my mother on their wedding day. It was only fitting to wear them on our wedding day.

Starting Their Matanuska Glacier Wedding Day With a Surprise First Look

Laura: Walking up to Jordan for our first look at Matanuska Glacier was my most memorable moment. I hadn’t told him nor showed him my dress. It was one of the hardest things not to share with him through the wedding planning process. It was custom that took many fittings and was ready at 11:30 pm the night before the wedding and it felt like a major weight was finally lifted. We were finally doing it, and it was very real.
Jordan: My most memorable moment was when we had our first look, and I saw Laura for the first time in her gorgeous dress. It was a surreal moment, and it all finally came together at that moment. We also shared our vows before our wedding party while standing on the glacier with the most fantastic backdrop imaginable.

Letting Loose on the Dance Floor and Surprises During Their Matanuska Glacier Wedding Reception

Laura: I loved cutting loose with our people on the dance floor, busting out all the props, and kicking off the fun night we have waited six years for. We also snuck away to sign our marriage certificate on the tail of Jordan’s airplane.
Jordan: Dancing and partying the night away with our closest people was unforgettable. We were so skeptical about the wigs at first, but they were one of the funniest and best parts of the day. We also accidentally cut ourselves while attempting to cut our ice cream wedding cake, too.

Advice: Focus on the Marriage Over the Wedding

Never lose sight of the fact that the marriage, not the wedding, is the reason behind your big day. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Take it easy on yourself and always lean into your partner, because it’s your partner and you at the end of the day. Never lose sight of the fact that anything is possible to achieve as a team. Also, this process will teach you so much about each other, family, and friends. The people who care for and love you will show up. Try to hold space, be patient, and know it takes work. It’ll be worth it.

Choosing a Venue With Future Ties and a Personal Connection

We chose our wedding venue for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s in the neighborhood where we will soon build our “forever home.” We wanted to share a part of our future with the people closest to us. Additionally, the airplane hanger is owned by our good friends, and Jordan helped them build it a couple of summers back. They were both members of our wedding party! The insane view was hard to pass up, as well as the ability to let the party go on as late as we wanted.

Photobooth Polaroids and Koozies as Thoughtful Keepsakes for Their Matanuska Glacier Wedding

We ensured that we provided a fun photo booth for our guests to cut loose and have fun and take a memory to keep after. The koozies are a nod to the Wallace family. They have the most extensive koozie collection, so it was only fitting for all guests to take a piece of our wedding home. We opted to ensure that they kept in theme with the rest of the wedding and were not overly done with our names or wedding details.

Custom Cricut Wedding Invites and Personalized Wedding Signage

Special shout out to one of my bridesmaids, Emily Holman. She is a saint for hearing my vision and making it a reality for me. I will forever be in debt to her patience and efforts to ensure my vision came to life. The first significant project was our custom Cricut wedding invites that feature cutouts of the two of us and our two Australian Shepherds, the background of mountains that double as the information cards. We then wrapped the invite and wax sealed them shut with a custom wax seal. All envelopes were addressed with the Cricut. This project was a LOT and so worth it. They were 100% us and truly fit our wedding vibe. All the signage for the wedding: welcome sign, seating chart, bar menu sign, audible guest book, table numbers, thank you note from us to our guests, instructions for our online wedding photo album, disposable camera instructions signs, custom menu for the evening with wax sealed names for each guest, was a labor of love.


Handcrafted Birch Log Benches and Budget-Friendly Touches

Jordan wanted to contribute to the wedding with his skilled craft and built us a custom rolling bar from which the bartender served drinks. In addition, he made the wedding sign stands and birch log benches for the ceremony, which we later used for seats around the fire, as well as the frame for the arch. We rented some more oversized items (tables, chairs, linens, outdoor tent), but otherwise, we bought most of our plates, cups, silverware, cookware, candles, vases, etc. It ended up being less expensive at the end of the day. We didn’t have to rush to get them cleaned for pickup the next day. We also borrowed several outdoor decor pieces from friends, such as fire pits, outdoor furniture, and propane heaters.

A Floral Labor of Love by the Bride’s Mom

My mother, Colleen, did all the florals for our wedding with one of her lifelong best friends, Gail Gibson. They have done florals together for forty-plus years and truly knocked it out of the park. As we referenced throughout the wedding planning, this was “Colleen’s Super Bowl.” If you ask us, they knocked it out of the park by going above and beyond. Our wedding party and I did all the decor inside and outside the hangar, and then Colleen did the finishing touches with flowers.

A Homemade Wedding Spread Put Together by Their Loved Ones

Catering was done with our very close friends, Kevin and Kimberly Burgess, along with a core group of close friends that we consider a part of our Alaska family. We shopped for all food items in advance from Costco. They set up a cooking tent at the hangar and prepped and cooked all the food on site. Shout out to Jaclyn Hernandez–she put together the most beautiful charcuterie board, even creating a meat “W” to honor our last name. It was incredible. For dessert, we had close friends make brownies and cookies. 

Personalized Wedding Beer at Their Matanuska Glacier Wedding

Through a friend, we connected with a local beer enthusiast. Jason was so fun to chat and connect about learning the types of beer we liked. He took our flavor pallets and created the two most fantastic wedding beers to serve at the wedding. It was even entered into the state fair and won several categories. We are savoring the last few bottles. Incredible, and it was less expensive than getting a local craft beer option. Jason even bartended for us at the wedding, which was also excellent.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Megan Freeman
Event Planning – AKHappenings
Ceremony Venue – Glacier Tours on Matanuska Glacier
Floral Design – Colleen Morgan
Officiant – Dave Dye
DJ – Ondago DJ
Videography – Haley Jay Media
Makeup Artist – Elizabeth Embry
Hair Styling – Mariah Bolinder
Wedding Dress – Essence of Australia
Bridal Accessories – Celestial Design
Rings – 5th Avenue Jewelers
Rentals – Special Events Alaska


Congratulations to Laura and Jordan for pulling off a Matanuska Glacier wedding featuring two ceremonies and many personal touches. Thank you to Megan Freeman for capturing all the lovely details and memorable moments. And lastly, a special shout-out goes to Junebug member AKHappenings for planning the entire event. To see more celebrations they’ve planned, check out their profile in our directory of the world’s best wedding planners.

This wedding teaches us that incorporating personal touches, collaborating with friends and family, and being mindful of practicality can result in a memorable and meaningful celebration. From custom decor to unique beer brewing, the couple’s choices reflected their values, making the event special and cost-effective. 

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