Arizona DIY Backyard Wedding: Leanne + Nathan

Today’s super sweet wedding is from Leanne + Nathan. They dreamt up a perfect backyard garden wedding with a bit of vintage tea party fabulousness thrown in too! So many personal details for their day and they couldn’t have done it without the help of talented family and friends. From Leanne, “We were engaged for over 2 years and had a lot of time to consider all the elements we wanted to represent us. We hand picked every morsel of the wedding, from the design, the food, the flowers, to every single tea cup and tea pot…no two alike! In the end, this wedding was 100% us and we couldn’t be happier.” Thanks so much to Feather Love Photography for all the lovely photos!

farm wedding sign

bride in shoes with tattoos

bride with feathers in her hair

pink wedding bouquet

I’d say our true inspiration for the day was the home where the wedding took place. Luckily we have some amazing friends, with an amazing yard. Chad and Sharon Martin are urban farmers, so we’ve given their home the nickname, Martin Farms. Originally, I was dead set on having the wedding in San Diego (where I am from, and where Nate and I met). I searched and scoured the internet for some sort of amazing outdoor venue that didn’t have a ton on restrictions and that was affordable. We had found a private estate that was going to start hosting weddings, but sadly that fell through. One day, we were at the Martin’s and I was venting my frustrations of not being able to find a venue, and Sharon asked what I was looking for and I basically said I wanted something like their yard, so she said, “Well, why don’t you just have the wedding here?” I hadn’t really ever thought about it, even though I was trying so hard to find something similar to their home. Nate and I looked and each other and agreed that we wouldn’t have been able to find anything better!

bride and groom first look

bride on a swing

vintage wedding dress

bridesmaids with tattoos

stylish groomsmen looks

stylish groomsmen looks

What song did you walk down the aisle to? Pistol by Dustin Kensrue

Chad (the home-owner) and Betz + Kelly Ehley (friends of ours) are all in a great band, Lost in the Sun. We were struggling with what to do for ceremony music, and from the first time I heard Lost in the Sun play, I’d been in love with Kelly’s voice and how her and Kevin sound together. We approached them about maybe having them do the ceremony music, and they were totally in to it! They learned the songs we wanted to have played in just a few short weeks, and even customized them to fit into the timing we needed. A few weeks after the wedding they had a show and had been rehearsing Pistol with the full band, and at their show surprised us by singing it again so we could actually sit and enjoy it! It was so sweet!!

father walking daughter down the aisle

backyard wedding arizona

backyard wedding ceremony

backyard wedding ceremony

vintage wedding dress

vintage wedding dress feather in hair

Most memorable moment of your wedding day? Leanne: There were so many great moments, but one definitely sticks out… After finishing up the photos after the ceremony, Noa (of Feather Love Photography) and I were walking into the back yard when she stopped me and said, “You need to just stop and look around and realize you are having the best wedding.” I took this as such a great compliment! To have a photographer of Noa’s caliber, whom has the privilege to shoot the absolute best weddings, recognize the two years of hard work, was beyond fulfillment. It’s also quite possible I wouldn’t have stopped to appreciate that hard work. Thanks, Noa!

Nathan: I remember the moment I saw my soon to be wife in her gorgeous dress for the very first time. She was stunning and so beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, and I still can’t. Awww!!

seating names on windows

backyard wedding details

beer table for wedding

The signature drink, which we named The Starlite (after a San Diego restaurant where we had one of our first dates), was a yummy blend of grapefruit juice, tequila, triple sec, and mint. The grapefruits were picked off their trees and juiced the week before, then were placed in gallon bags and frozen until the morning of, and the mint was picked fresh that morning from the Martin Farms garden and added to the drink.

wedding guestbook made of wood

wedding photos by featherlove

wedding photos by featherlove

Any advice for those planning now? Weddings are very expensive and we had no shame in asking friends for help. Most people have talented friends who would love to lend a hand. Ask! All they can say is, no. Without friends and family, we would never have been able to pull this off. Our dear friend Emily who is an incredible baker, make the cake from scratch; My friend and co-worker MacKenzi altered my wedding dress, and hand made the sash for it; the home owner Sharon added lots of elements last minute like the silverware being placed in wine boxes, and the coffee cup tree on the dessert table; Nate’s mom, and aunt and cousin who live in Arizona all made extra desserts for the dessert table; one of my best friends and bridesmaids, Morgan came out a week early, and kept me sane and organized. She really gets all the credit for keeping everything from falling apart! She is also a make-up artist and did my make-up as well as my mom, and the other bridesmaids. Plus the day of the rehearsal we had about 15 family members and friends at the house to help set up everything, as well as the day after! It was work, but it was so fun having the people you care so much about be there to help out.

Also, do your research. I bought fabric, and buttons and ribbon from a discount fabric store, and ordered all the burlap from an online discount/bulk site. I spent a year searching and scouring thrift stores and antique malls for all the china pieces. Also, the flowers were all purchased at a wholesale florist (beside the bouquets) which saved us a ton of money! Taking a little time to research the best prices for things will definitely save you money in the end. One more tip: DIY!!! It’s so much easier to make things yourself, because you know what you want! I made the boutonnieres, hand placed all the centerpieces, cut and pasted the programs (with the help of Morgan again), and cut and stamped the name tags.

I think one of the hardest things about planning was explaining my vision to others, and having them not really understand. Everyone will have an opinion, suggestion, or tip. Some will be good, and some not so good, but remember that it is your wedding, and you aren’t obligated to take that advice. This may be especially hard when it’s coming from your parents or in-laws, or even wedding planner. Stick to your guns, because ultimately it’s your wedding and has to be 100% about representing you and your significant other.

Thanks so much Leanne! Such great advice + tips. Congrats to you + Nathan!

photography: Feather Love Photography – you can see more from this wedding here on her blog // venue: Martin Farms (private home) // day of coordinator: Sharon Martin (home owner) // floral design: bouquets by Petal Pusher, centerpieces and other flowers put together by friends and bride, boutonnieres made by bride // wedding dress: vintage, found on etsy store orange on broadway // hairpieces: made by bride // shoes: Steve Madden // bridesmaid dresses: modcloth, forever 21, target // hair: Sondra Bohanna of Saints & Scissors Salon in Scottsdale // make-up: Morgan Gates (also a lovely bridesmaid) // groom suit: Indochino // cinematography: John David Moffat // catering: amici catering // music: ceremony music by Kevin Betz and Kelly Ehley, reception DJ JC Lenz (friend)

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  1. I love everything about this!

  2. Loving the old + new motifs. Tattoos of old school designs like anchors on new rockers… lovely mixed flowers, too!
    New love + vintage dress… those gloves are giving me a coronary in the right way… love the tire swing pic. OH! This wedding is like a double Friday Favors helping. LOVE IT!

  3. gorgeous. love her tiered wedding gown.

  4. Oh wow! I am IN LOVE with this wedding! thanks for sharing :)

  5. HillJo- forgot to mention the gloves belong to my grandma, she let me borrow them, who wore them in her own wedding in 1952. Also the pearl necklace and earrings are hers, which she purchased in the early 50’s in Japan. It meant the world to me to wear them!!

  6. I love her lacy dress!!!!!
    the flower girl is so cute! :)

  7. hands down one of my favorite weddings so far this year!!! love all the super adorable details…who could go wrong with miniature deer figurines, lace gloves, feathers and a rainbow colored fence….LOVE IT ALL! oh and that dress?! killer! also gorgeous photog skills by noa too! love this wedding!

  8. Lovely wedding photos! My favorite is the picture of Leanne and her father. Congrats Leanne and Nathan!

  9. This is so lovely – congrats to them! :-)

  10. Beautiful, fun and creative wedding! And Dustin Kensrue! I was super excited when I read that “Pistol” was the song played at the ceremony because I’m also incorporating that song somehow into my wedding!!!!!! Also GREAT advice!

  11. I love this wedding, So pretty, her dress is gorgeous. I am having the greatest difficulty trying to find hanging lights like they have in the back yard. Can anyone help. I live in Australia but would buy anywhere that ships internationally

    ♥ brooke

  12. love this, so gorgeous. your dress is amazing.

  13. I love these photos. An outdoor wedding is so beautiful, especially when its someplace special. The picture with a bride in a swing always turns out looks magnificant!

  14. Loved this wedding!
    I have 26 days until mine and I have been feeling the pressure of everything almost falling apart and everyone putting in their 2 cents, some good and some bad. Your advice was reassuring to keep me sane and sticking to the stuff that’s important to our day. But also letting go of the stuff that is just stressful.
    Absolutely LOVE your guestbook. What a beautiful wedding day.

  15. This was an amazing event. We cater a lot of weddings, and this was definately one of our favorites. What a magical start to what I am sure is going to be a romantic, loved filled marriage. Thank you for letting us share in your day,

    Lori Harlig
    and the Amici Team

  16. @Brooke.H- We ordered the lights from and they ship internationally! Hope that helps!

  17. @Rachel- I forgot to mention the amazing etsy store where I purchased the guest book from.
    All the books are made from reclaimed wood, and handmade by a wonderful young woman who lives in Portugal with her husband and kids!

  18. Leanne THANK YOU so very much, Greatly appreciated!


  19. Hi Leanne! Curious, I know you found your dress on Etsy, but do you have any tips as to how I could find one like it? It is my dream dress. I wish I could recreate it, if there isn’t another like it. :)

  20. @Ashlyn- It was definitely a challenge finding that dress. I purchased 2 other vintage dresses via ebay before I found this beauty! Luckily they were both fairly cheap…
    When going to sites like etsy and ebay I would search specific phrases like “vintage lace gown” or “vintage lace dress”. I found that if you type in “wedding dress” your options become smaller.
    Also, when you’re searching for a dress don’t forget to look at the potential of the dress…i.e. most vintage wedding gowns have long sleeves, but if taken to a seamstress it could be easily altered into a strapless.
    My dress had thick straps and was too short, so we took off the straps and the original tulle bottom, bought new tulle and made it longer. Viola! New dress!!
    Good luck on finding “the” dress! Hope that helps!

  21. The sweet treat is so cool….

  22. This wedding was so perfect! I’m getting married in Gilbert, AZ in a few months and we’re doing a lot of things ourselves and I noticed Leanne mentioned that they got most of the flowers from a wholesale florist- I’m wondering which one? We’re looking to order from a wholesaler/bulk florist and do the arrangements ourselves, and haven’t decided on a supplier yet. Thanks!

  23. Hi Courtney-
    We used Greenleaf Wholesale florists. They were great! You don’t need to call or make an appt. Just show up and someone will help you by showing you the flowers they have or ones they can get. Keep in mind some flowers you may want may not be in season, and some are just harder to get. They will let you know. The location we used was in Phoenix, 7th St./Indian School, but they may have other locations! Good luck!

  24. Leanne,

    Your wedding pictures, info, details, blog, are fantastic! I have spent hours researching and just having fun getting ideas for my own wedding, and I have to say out of thousands of pictures ….your dress is my very favorite. You look beautiful. I know you mentioned in the comments you were lucky and found it on Etsy and then tweaked it a bit. This might be a crazy question and I totally understand if you do not want to part with your wedding dress…..but would there be any way you would be willing to sell your dress?

    • Thanks so much Emma…I am so sorry, but I would never part with my dress. I love it so much, and am actually considering shortening it into more of a party dress. Also, because it is vintage and handmade, the lace is very delicate and is stretching more than it should :( But good luck on finding your perfect dress!

  25. Hello… I have been searching for a rustic style guestbook and yours is fantastic! Do you have any information you could give me on how to make it or where to purchase something like this??

    Thank you :)

    Ps. Amazing wedding! Love your unique style !!

    • yes, actually if you just scroll up a few comments all the info on where I purchased the book is there.
      They are great books! Hope that helps!

  26. Hi there!

    Cute wedding!!….I’m currently planning my wedding and am trying to figure out if my parents backyard is big enough. Do you have an appoximate count of people in attendance to your wedding and size of the yard? I’d like to fit the ceremony and reception all in one yard!

    :) Thank you tons!!

    • Hi Andrea,
      We had approx. 140 guests. We never took the dimensions of the yard, because we used all of the backyard, back patio, carport, and driveway as mingling areas. Where the ceremony took place was a smaller area, and only some guests (mostly family) sat while everyone else stood. We had 12 tables seating 9-14 people in the reception area. Hope that helps! congrats!

      • Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! Can I ask how you found a backyard venue to hold your wedding? I am having the hardest time finding a spot! Do you have contact info still for this place?? Beautiful job on all of it, and congrats! (I know I’m way late in saying that) :-)

        • We are lucky enough to be friends with the owners of this amazing backyard. They offered it to us after we had a venue fall through in San Diego and we are eternally grateful! Good luck with finding a venue!!


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