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!


venue name: Martin Farms (private home) // wedding dress: vintage and found on etsy store orange on broadway // hairpiece: made by bride // bride's shoes: Steve Madden // bridesmaid dresses: modcloth // hair stylist: Sondra Bohanna of Saints & Scissors Salon in Scottsdale // groom attire: Indochino // catering: amici catering // music: ceremony music by Kevin Betz and Kelly Ehley, reception DJ JC Lenz (friend) // photography: Feather Love Photography - you can see more from this wedding here on her blog // day of coordinator: Sharon Martin (home owner) // floral design: bouquets by Petal Pusher // make-up: Morgan Gates // cinematography: John David Moffat