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Tommy & Debbie’s Handmade Backyard Wedding

Posted February 25, 2011 | 8 Comments

bride and groom big kiss

This beautiful handmade backyard wedding was submitted by Aimee Adams of LoveBIRDS | artistic weddings and we’re digging all the incredible personalized details! Tommy & Debbie’s wedding emphasizes the importance of incorporating memorable details to tell your unique love story. In fact, your wedding can be absolutely beautiful no matter what your budget may be. Tommy and Debbie handcrafted most of the details themselves, including their beautiful pergola (under which they were married), the whimsical banners and tasty treats, among other things. They used recycled wood for the pergola and tables, and found other details at garage sales and thrift stores. Bottom line? When it comes to a couple who is truly in love, budget is no issue – this couple married on a budget of $5000 and their wedding, as you can see, was spectacular.

We’re excited to hear the full scoop from the bride, Debbie, in her own words. Take it away, Debbie!

Tommy and I are huge fans of the music group “The Avett Brothers” and one of our many favorite songs by them is “January Wedding”. When we got engaged in September 2010, we had big plans to get married the following year on September 10, 2011 (09-10-11) because we loved the date and because we thought one year was the comfortable and expected amount of time to be engaged. The only problem was that the song “January Wedding” kept coming up in our thoughts and we kept wishing we could feature the song somehow in the wedding and make it relevant. Fast Forward to November 2010 and we still had this huge feeling that we should just go for it and move the wedding up to January 2011 so that we could use the song. It may sound silly, be one November morning we just decided to change everything and commit to having our January Wedding inspired by The Avett Brothers.

Two problems: (1) January was two months away. (2) January is in the middle of crazy Oklahoma winter (and we wanted to use our backyard!)

Tommy and I had been planning on getting married at our home in our backyard for quite some time. In early preparation for this, Tommy built a pergola in our backyard knowing that it was going to be the pergola we said “I do” under. Planning a backyard wedding in the middle of Oklahoma winter is pretty daring, but we checked the farmer’s almanac and it said our winter would be “mild”…so again, we confirmed our decision to just go with it.

Our other challenge was that we did not want to spend over $5000 for our wedding. We decided that saving our money for an awesome European honeymoon was more important to us. I wanted to be sure that not only was our wedding under budget, but I also wanted our wedding to absolutely reflect down to the core who Tommy and I are as individuals and as a team. So, we did our best to keep as much of the planning between the two of us and to keep all the details of the wedding as close to home as possible.

bridal gown and shoesbride getting readygroom getting readybride and groom getting readybride with birdcage veil pashminabride and groom first lookbride and groombride-and-groom-bwbride and groom under bunting

Tommy and I used our existing furniture and artwork as the main backdrop to represent us. For additional tables and chairs, Tommy either made them by hand using leftover wood from the pergola or we ventured to garage sales and thrift stores. Our outside deck and large pergola (which Tommy and I built together also) were turned into a large tent creating a nice outdoor enclosed space attached to our home. We were also given a large outdoor heater that was broken and told if we could get it working then it was ours to keep. My amazing husband was able to get the heater working and we got to use it in the tent (and now we have a free outdoor heater!).

We also purchased small detail items such as lanterns (which we hung from the pergola), handkerchiefs (which I used to make the “Sweet Love” banner over the dessert table), dishes (used for dinner), and two porcelain birds from estate sales and thrift stores. I got our hand knitted lovebirds from Etsy and used it as our wedding cake topper. I had a girlfriend hand make my bridal bouquet, Tommy’s boutonniere, and two pin corsages for our moms. They all turned out perfect and beautiful! I also made a personal guest book called “Mad Love Libs” in which I created a story letter from our guests to us. (We got to read our guest book later and they were hilarious!) I also made bookmark size handouts for the ceremony that had the words to our wedding ceremony songs printed for the guests. For favors, everyone was given a glass mug and a packet of hot cocoa with a “Our Warmest Thanks” handwritten note from us tied to the handle of the mug. So many items were given to us from friends and family (I am so grateful), but I was over the moon thrilled to feature my late grandmother’s antique date calendar with our wedding date on our entrance table.

handmade wedding detailswedding mad libswedding details

Tommy also made a huge table from left over wood in which dinner from a local pizzeria, The Wedge pizzeria in OKC, was brilliantly displayed and served. The Wedge pizzeria is Tommy and I’s favorite dinner spot and also the place we officially got engaged. We love this local restaurant because not only is their food delicious, but they use a lot of local vendors and ingredients. In addition to brick oven pizza, my mother made her popular homemade shrimp fried rice and coconut covered rice balls to tie in our Pacific Islander background. My mother also made all three cakes from scratch! The cakes were an absolute success and many people complimented and raved that they were the best cakes they’ve ever had… especially at a wedding! I also made my favorite brownies and made sure to have Tommy and I’s favorite sweet snacks (frosted animal cookies, ring pops, and sour patch kids). All in all, Tommy and I, with uber help from our friends and family, were able to create the perfect and unique wedding for us. It was better than we had imagined and under budget!

i do wedding bannerfirst kissbride and groom big kissbride and groom walkingwedding croquet
sweet-love-cake-buffetbrownies and strawberry cakebride and groom eating cakehot cocoa barbridal bouquet bride and groom paintingbride-and-groom-paintbride and groom first dance

Additional fun details…

My engagement ring is also my wedding ring. We found my amazing ring at a local antique store, Antique Avenue Market in OKC. The ring dates back to the 1880’s! I have yet to find a band that I like with it because it is so perfect all on its own. Tommy’s wedding band is a handmade wooden band purchased at a local art gallery, DNA Galleries, in OKC. I purchased my wedding gown off the rack and on sale for only $98! My mother did all the alterations. My amazing shoes cost more than the gown and were purchased at a local shoe shop, Shoe Gypsy in Nichols Hills. My birdcage veil was borrowed from a friend. All the original art in our home is work by Tommy.

Songs

Ceremony start: January Wedding by The Avett Brothers | Bridal walk: Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros | First Dance: The Greatest Sum by The Avett Brothers (electric version)

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Many thanks to Aimee for submitting these images, and thanks to Debbie & Tommy for sharing the details and images of your beautiful wedding day with our readers!  You make a beautiful couple and we wish you many years of happiness.

View Aimee’s ad in The Bridal Book here. Please visit her website to see additional gorgeous, awe-inspiring images!

All images courtesy Aimee Adams (LoveBIRDS | artistic weddings) Photography. All rights reserved.










  • http://www.pricewisefavors.com/ ann (@wedding favors)

    This wedding is one in a million. With all the motif and designs. Perhaps, the couple love art because of the painting in the background.

  • http://www.laurenelisecrafted.com Lauren Elise

    I love everything about this wedding! It is so personal and special, you can just feel that in the pictures. And I loved that they achieved this look for $5000…amazing! And the bride is rocking a scarf! And they like the Avett Brothers and Sigur Ros…enough said :)

  • http://deb22faith.blogspot.com Debbie & Tommy

    aww! Thank you so much for featuring our wedding on your site! It was truly a beautiful, fun, and memorable day for Tommy and I.

    • http://emmalinebride.com Emma@EmmalineBride

      Debbie & Tommy,
      Thanks so much for sharing your day with us! It looked absolutely beautiful.
      -E.

  • http://www.aimeeadamsphoto.com/lovebirds aimee

    Thanks Emmaline for sharing! Debbie and Tommy are awesome all around.

  • http://twitter.com/MamaHussy22/status/41283962747748352/ Mama Hussy (@MamaHussy22)

    A favorite couple featured on Emmaline Bride, a fantastic handcrafted wedding site. Debbie dishes the sentiment… http://fb.me/LQuzTORR

  • http://loveyourway.net lizzie

    aw! their wedding is so beautiful! i love how soft the photography is!




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