July 24, 2019



Backyard weddings. We see them in movies (hello, “Father of the Bride”), but can they really be for us?

I am from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, so I have had “The Wizard of Oz” in my face for pretty much my entire life (and that’s not as much of a complaint as it is just a statement). Because of this fact, however, I find myself using one phrase from that movie over and over again, just because it is simple but pure truth.

There is no place like home.

Because there is no place like home, we can’t discount our own homes—or the residences where we feel the most like we belong—as potential wedding venues. Why not look towards your own backyard? Better question: Why look back there? I have three answers that have nothing to do with saving money. 

One reason for considering a backyard/cabin wedding is the emotional response. If the heart has a strong connection to a childhood home or the place where  pretty much every day summer vacation was spent, that might make the property up north or the lake spot a great venue idea. Maybe there are the best memories of someone who left us too early are in the woods behind the house, and by saying “I do” in those evergreens is the best way to connect them with your wedding, making it as if they were there. 

Another reason is creative control. Some venues are free-wheeling and let the couple do what they need to do for their big day. Others (most)…not so much. They restrict what it brought in, what directions are put up, what time things wind down. The venue is in charge. Having a reception at a private residence allows a little bit more freedom in how the party progresses. What grandma’s handmade candies? Go for it. What to give out little bottles of Fireball to take a group shot? Cool. Want to celebrate until the sun comes up? Feel free. This does mean that there is more responsibility as far as clean up goes, but that might be worth it for the ability to bring a distinct vision to life. 

A final reason to think about a wedding at home is the fact that no one else will have a wedding like it. It will for sure be unique and one-of-a-kind with no one else having the exact same set up or sentiment. It would be your day, and your day alone.

This is not an endorsement of one venue option over another; I just wanted to point out a few reasons why you may want to consider the cabin or the back forty. It is becoming easier and easier to plan these sort of receptions; between luxury restroom trailers and portable wood fire ovens, the wedding world is becoming smaller and smaller, which only opens opportunities for you to have the day of your dreams in a place like no other.. 

Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer who provides services to elegant, authentic, joyful couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest.

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At home on the road. Forever-focused on authenticity and the thrilling art of creation; always found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

After fourteen years as a high school educator, I stepped back through a door I thought was closed. Journalism came back into my life. Armed with a Masters of Arts in Communication, I was again challenged and prepared to tell the stories that would become history, but with a twist: It is now your legacy of love that I document. The tension I seek is that from every tear, smile, laugh, and moment of love on your wedding day. 


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