This Couple's Floral Arch Stole the Show at Their Backyard Micro Wedding
In January 2017, Meagan Bingham and Matthew McCormick found each other on a dating app—after years of missed connections while they attended the same college. "It turns out we had run in the same circles at the University of Southern California, but never formally met until after we both graduated," says the couple. Early in their relationship, the pair planned a hike through Malibu, and two years later, Matt invited Meagan to recreate that moment with one unexpected twist: a proposal. "He hid the ring in the bottom of his protein shaker bottle and his cousin Jenny was hiding at the top of the hike to take photos," says Meagan. "We had a trip to Europe planned just a few weeks later, and I thought for sure he would propose while we were there. He caught me off guard by proposing earlier, and it was a complete surprise!"
Meagan and Matt planned a 150-person wedding for August 22, 2020, but by March of that year, they recognized that they would need to change their plans due to COVID-19. The pair initially expected to push off their summer ceremony until fall or late winter, "but even those options left us with a nervous feeling in our stomachs," says Meagan. "Ultimately we decided that a micro wedding was the best option for us because it allowed us to have all of the things that were most important to us—having our closest family members there and being able to walk down the aisle and say I do!"
A friend of Matt's grandmother offered a new location—her photo-ready backyard in Laguna Hills, California—and the couple began tweaking their plans to accommodate a guest list of 18 friends and family. They were able to keep several of their original vendors, and they customized the rest of the day with small changes to the color palette and overall design. "Finding a place was the most difficult part of pivoting our plans, but as soon as we landed on this house, all of the details started falling into place," says Meagan. "The hardest part was definitely making the decision to get married on our original date and postpone the big reception. Once we made our decision, we stuck with it, and I'm so happy we did."
The couple's original aesthetic—a "bright sunset-inspired color palette with lots of modern details"—received some subtle changes for the smaller event. "I wanted to do something a little softer to reflect the intimacy of the micro wedding and the backyard venue, but keep some of those original colors and design elements," says Meagan. Cream-colored invitations with taupe printing from Minted were wrapped in rose-colored ribbon and sealed in gray envelopes. "They invoked the same classic and timeless feel we were going for, and the dusty pink ribbon was definitely was a nod to the wedding color palette," says the couple.
One of a Kind
Meagan wore the sequined lace wedding dress from Made With Love she had chosen for the couple's larger wedding. The square neckline and bodice boning first caught her eye on Instagram, but a visit to the boutique sold her. "I never saw myself in a traditional ball gown or lace dress, and this dress felt so unique when I tried it on," she says. "It was the first dress I tried on that I actually felt like myself in!"
Diamonds and Pearls
Though she planned to wear a pearl headband to secure her loose waves, Meagan changed her mind just before the wedding. "It just didn't feel right!" she says. Instead, she chose pearl drop earrings from Cloverpost that she ordered just a few days before the ceremony, and Vrai diamond studs—a wedding gift from Matt. "I know I'll cherish them forever," she says.
Man in Black
Matt chose a classic black shawl lapel tuxedo from Ted Baker; he added monogrammed cuff links with the couple's initials and wedding date, and a watch Meagan designed and engraved for him. "He insisted on wearing a real tie-it-yourself bow tie, and taught himself how to tie it that morning," Meagan says. "It looked perfect!"
At First Sight
Meagan and Matt planned their first look under a majestic tree in the front yard. Matt felt "weirdly calm" while he waited for Meagan, but, he says, "as soon as the photographer and videographer lined me up for the moment, I had no idea what to expect." With no clues about Meagan's dress, he turned around in surprise as she approached. "During the first look, I felt so happy and overcome with emotion!" he says. "After, I was just excited and ready to marry my best friend. There were no more nerves—just excitement and happiness!"
Together at Last
Meagan also felt a sense of peace during the first look. "I was so nervous, but as soon as I walked outside and saw Matt standing with his back to me, I just got excited," says Meagan. "I hadn't seen him in a couple of days, and I just couldn't wait for the wedding to start! After the first look, I felt so much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony."
Beauty in Bloom
An oversized white-and-peach bouquet from Inessa Nichols Design included peonies, protea, strawflower, roses, zinnia, asters, and fern. "We landed on this soft sunset color palette, and I love how timeless the details turned out," says Meagan.
The backyard of the private home Meagan and Matt chose for their event included space for an elaborate floral arch that anchored the ceremony. "The asymmetrical floral arch stole the show!" says the couple. "Our florist also added white flowers down the aisle. Everything felt so organic and looked like it was growing out of the ground."
Fathers Know Best
Meagan and Matt asked both of their fathers to lead the ceremony, leaving Meagan to walk herself down the aisle. "Our dads co-officiating was really special for us," says Meagan. "They had only met a few times before the wedding day, but they pulled it off perfectly. Matt's dad, Jack, choked up every time he had to say the words 'husband and wife' and 'marriage.' It was great comedic relief, and just so sweet—he had everyone tearing up!"
Saying "I Do"
The couple wrote two sets of vows—one for the ceremony, and one just for each other. "We wrote personal vows that we gave to each other to read while we were getting ready, and then separate vows to read together during the ceremony," they say. "We're both prone to tears and were nervous about crying too much. The personal letters were the perfect way to say everything we wanted to say to each other without worrying about reading them out loud, and then our joint vows represented everything we wanted to promise to each other."
Husband and Wife
After the ceremony, the newlyweds shared a private moment together before joining their guests to celebrate—one of their favorite parts of the day. "We were able to just soak in our first few minutes as husband and wife!" says Meagan.
Raising the Bar
The bar menu included OneHope wines and the couple's favorite Beymo brews. "We also had a neon sign made that said 'You're My Golden Hour,' which reflected our overall theme and our love of music," says the bride.
Three of a Kind
The couple sat their guests at long wooden farm tables dressed with light-colored runners. Upholstered cane-back chairs, bright flowers, pale pink candles, and overhead string lights created an elegant al fresco dining area.
A variety of materials and textures on the table, from colored glassware and metal goblets to fresh fruit and flowers in the centerpieces, gave the space a carefully curated, welcoming feel. "We did a mix of medium and small centerpieces in our sunset color palette, cheesecloth table runners that I found on Etsy, crystal candlesticks with rose-colored taper candles, and mismatched table settings with stoneware, vintage gold flatware, and mixed glassware," says Meagan. "I love details, so picking out things like plates and glassware was so fun for me!"
For Meagan and Matt, choosing the menu from Colette's Catering was one of the simplest parts of planning the wedding. "I knew we had to have their goat cheese medallion salad, with honeycomb and roasted beets, and mini ahi tuna tacos," she says. They added Matt's favorite side—potatoes gratin—to entrées of chicken and broccolini.
Meagan and Matt created a custom monogram with their shared initial that they incorporated throughout the day—on matchbooks, napkins, and cups, and on Paddywax Candle Bar candles they gave as favors.
Not willing to let the fathers do all the speaking, Matt and Meagan's mothers took over the job of welcoming guests to the reception. "Our moms gave a joint toast as we all sat down for dinner that was so meaningful and definitely brought us to tears!" says the couple.
A Sweet Finish
A two-tier white buttercream-frosted cake from Plumeria Cake Studio included lemon cake with vanilla buttercream filling and chocolate cake with raspberry filling. "We ended up serving both," says Megan, "so everyone got two rounds of cake!"
Photography, Sanaz Photography
Event Planning, All You Need Is Love Events
Catering, Colette's Catering
Flowers, Inessa Nichols Design
Videography, 618 Studios
Cake, Plumeria Cake Studio
Rentals, Archive Rentals
Bride's Gown, Made With Love
Bride's Accessories, Schutz shoes; Cloverpost pearl earrings; Vrai diamond earrings
Hair and Makeup, Page Beauty
Groom's Suit, Ted Baker
Menswear, Generation Tux
Favors, Paddywax Candle Bar
Monogrammed Bar Supplies, For Your Party
Neon Sign, Weon Light
Rings, Oscar's Design Jewelry
Wholesale Flowers, Fifty Flowers