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Post-Elopement Backyard Reception

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retro wedding attire

Oh my goodness! Where do I begin with today’s wedding? Well, first off, it’s not technically a “wedding.” JJ and Benjamin eloped in California, then returned to JJ’s home to celebrate their nuptials with family and friends at a fun reception. With the help of family, they hosted an amazing party filled to the brim with creativity! JJ’s bouquet, created by her mom, is positively stunning! And I absolutely love the darling, cozy outside seating area for their guests to visit. And make sure you check out their cake table! They opted for a collection of Wizard of Oz themed wedding cakes that represent their love story… so different and fun! Enjoy this backyard reception! xoxo, Jessica

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JJ + Benjamin

April 30th, 2016

Fredonia, Kansas  |  Pecanderosa Grove (Bride’s Parent’s Backyard)


What was your budget?

Our budget was $4,000.

$500: Bride’s wardrobe – (dress, shoes, jewelry)

$200: Bride’s Makeup & Hair – a friend helped design my make up and gave my sister and me a tutorial.  She then took us on a shopping spree for all the right make up.  My sister did my makeup on the actual wedding day.   I made my own netting piece for my hair and my mom helped me do my hair on the big day.

$700: Groom’s Suit & shoes – My very creative husband designed his look and pieced it all together.

$900: Catered Food

$200: Bouquet Cost! (made by the Mother of the Bride, Sherri Wickham – a florist) – We purchased, collected, found vintage and old broaches, hatpins, charms, etc.  Then she pieced it all together.  Actual cost would have been much more had my mom not been my florist!  So much talent in that one lady!

$400: chair/table/linen rentals

$300: Centerpieces/Flowers – My mom provided the design, feathers, and flowers.  And my mom’s talented friends Kay and Diana helped put these together the day before.  

$100 – Dance floor – My dad, brother, and uncles built this and are reusing the material for another project.

$700 – Decorations


How many guests did you have?

We had 100 guests.


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

This wedding was created FULLY by the love of my wonderful family!  I come from a very creative family and my husband is just as creative!  My husband and I chose an old vintage and hand-made feel for our wedding.  And the entire day was put together and created by my family’s hands and hearts.

My mom, Sherri, is an incredibly talented florist, designer and shop owner.  She pretty much managed all of the planning along with my equally talented sister, Amanda.  So the event was VERY personal… From the centerpieces and flowers to the smallest detail in the decoration… My mom and mother-in-law put out framed photos of my husband and me (through-out our many life phases – even the embarrassing ones).  My mom made us a hand-painted hutch for the wine bar and a hand made garland made of vintage hankies.  Everything had a vintage and hand made feel surrounded with vintage stacked luggage and antique cameras (my husband is a photographer and we love to travel).

My mom and sister researched and put together all of these clever ideas from custom personalized cozies, a S’mores & Snack bar, and even a vintage door propped up on a tree full of vintage hankies for wiping away happy tears.

A family friend, Jackie, did our wedding cake as a gift! – With a Wizard of Oz theme at our request!  The story of the Wizard of Oz is very special to my husband and I, and it was a personal touch we just couldn’t resist.  We also played Somewhere Over the Rainbow for our first dance.  It is our song.  I grew up in Kansas and he in the Emerald City of Seattle.  But we met in Los Angeles… a land we feel is much like the crazy world of OZ.  It is mutually one of our favorite stories…a great story of friendship and finding “home.”   

My brother, Chad provided the event tenting and saved the day with some last minute clever crafting.  He runs a funeral business and provided all of the tenting in case of rain.  And boy did it rain the day before.  It poured and hailed all day.  We weren’t quite sure if we were going to be able to have the party outside after-all.  The ground of the party was no longer a beautiful field of grass… it was a swamp of mud!  However the morning of the big day, once the rain had stopped, he pulled up in a truck full of kitty litter and mulch.  He and the whole family team saved the day by spreading out pounds of kitty litter and topping the mud with mulch. It worked!  The ground was dry and everything was perfect and ready for the guests.

I just can’t believe how much everyone pitched in.  Not just my family, but friends too… A friend who runs the grill in town, Rory, catered all of the yummy food, my mom’s best friend, Terri, provided the popcorn for the popcorn bar, and my dear friend and very talented artist, Sara captured all of the moments on camera!


Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?

Oh yes!  I mentioned some above, but it really seemed like everything was handmade.  My sister hand chalked all of the signs.  They made the wine bar out of an old hutch.  They hung vintage hangings on an antique door as party favor gifts for “happy” tears.  We even had a fire place lit with painted wine bottles and tapered candles.   


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We chose a look and design that was reasonable for a budget.  Everything had an old vintage handmade feel, so we could borrow furniture, make the decorations, and put it all up together ourselves.  This kept our rental and shopping costs down.  We were able to pull some very cool furniture and decorations together going to thrift stores and friends’ attics!


What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Try and keep it simple.  The day is about people and celebrating this great love you have found.  It really does seem that some amount of stress will find it’s way in to all wedding planning… but try to not sweat the small stuff and focus on the love you want to share with your partner and family and friends.   In the end you are walking away with the memories and captured moments on camera, so it’s important those memories are happy and special.


What was your biggest splurge?

My shoes!  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to wear, so I ordered two different options.  I loved them both so I kept them both and decided the day of what to wear.  And I still wear both pairs all the time.


What was your favorite detail?

The keys.  My husband and I love the symbolism of the key, so we used them throughout our decorations.  My husband wore a skeleton key on his boutonniere and I had skeleton keys dangling from my bouquet.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Dancing with my husband on our first dance.  The day was going by so fast; it was nice to take a moment in time we could hold each other.  It was like time finally slowed down at least for a couple minutes.



Photography:  Sarah Bode-Clark Photography • Reception Venue:  Pecanderosa Grove (home of parents of the bride) •  Flowers:  Heartstrings (mother’s floral shop) • Event Design / Styling:  Bride, Groom, Sherri Wickham (mother of the bride), and Amanda Tindle (family) • Catering:  Rory at The Yellow Jacket Grill • Bakery:  Friend • Wedding Gown Designer:  Mossimo • Makeup:  The Factory Salon (Nina Lares) • Jewelry:  Various antique stores & Melrose Trading Post in California • Shoes:  Miz Mooz Teal Kitty Boot and Durango Marbled Turquoise Riding Boot



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