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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