This New York Couple Threw Their Ceremony in Their Front Yard—and Their Party in the Back

outdoor portrait Ashley & Tim
Jainé Kershner Photography

Ashley and Tim didn't have to think twice when deciding on a new venue after their initial wedding plans were derailed due to the pandemic. "We got married at our new home!" Ashley exclaims. "We moved into our house in May of this year and knew that with flat yards on both sides of our house, it would work perfectly to have the ceremony in the front and then the cocktail hour and reception in the back. It was very special to be able to get married at our first home together." The pair originally planned to celebrate at a country club in May 2020 with their 200 guests. "The ceremony was going to be on the lawn overlooking the mountains and Hudson River, followed by a reception in a tent with farm tables, white flowers, and candles," says Ashley. "As COVID restrictions were put in place throughout March and then continually extended, it became clear to us in April that we were not going to be able to have the wedding we originally planned."

Shifting gears made the couple focus on their priorities and think about what they really wanted for their big day. "What it boiled down to for us was that we wanted our closest family and friends to see us get married, and that a more intimate setting was just as special as an elaborate wedding," explains Ashley. It took the pair about six weeks to plan their new event without the help of a planner or designer, utilizing many of their original vendors. "Even though it was a lot of work to reschedule, our vendors were very flexible and worked with us to make sure that our vision still came to life at our home," says the bride. Another aspect that didn't change was Ashley's meaningful big-day look. "I lost my grandmother a year and a half ago, so it was important to me that I incorporate [some of her things] into my wedding day," she says. "I wore earrings shaped like a flower and a ring on my right hand that are made out of diamonds from her old jewelry. I carried a vintage Judith Lieber clutch that also belonged to my grandmother."

Ultimately, the couple realized much of their original vision of a clean, classic aesthetic, a green-and-white color palette, and plenty of candlelight—just on a smaller scale, and at a venue that was even more personal to them. "There is only so much we can control in this uncertain time," says Ashley. "We were able to make that vision come to life in a smaller—and arguably more special—setting. And we have no regrets about that!"

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Bride in White

outdoor portrait Ashley
Jainé Kershner Photography

The bride customized her beaded, embroidered Anne Barge mermaid wedding dress with ornate spaghetti straps and white buttons down the back. "I knew that we were not going to have a larger celebration in the future and, given that my dress was not a large ball gown that may have looked out of the place in our new venue, I decided to wear my original dress," she says.

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Beads and a Bouquet

Ashley's bouquet
Jainé Kershner Photography

Ashley's all-white bouquet was composed of garden roses and magnolia blossoms; satin ribbons and a strand pearls held it all together.

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Footwear Finery

silver wedding shoes
Jainé Kershner Photography

Her sparkling silver Miu Miu shoes with inset crystal details featured a chic block heel, which made navigating the grass a breeze.

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A Beauty in Blue

outdoor portrait Ashley & sister
Jainé Kershner Photography

Ashley's sister, who served as her maid of honor, wore a strapless gown by Aidan Mattox in a stunning shade of sapphire.

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A Fabulous First Look

Ashley & Tim first look outdoors
Jainé Kershner Photography

The couple's first look took place at the picturesque school where the bride's mother works. Getting his first glimpse of Ashley on their wedding day was an all-time highlight for Tim. "There was a lot of anticipation and excited nervousness in that moment, which turned into pure joy the second I turned around," he says. "I loved being able to have time to ourselves and take photos with just our photographers."

Tim wore a blue three-piece tuxedo from Suit Supply and accented the bespoke tux with a black leather watch by Ulysse Nardin (a gift from Ashley on his 40th birthday) and gold knotted cuff links that belonged to the bride's grandfather (who was unable to travel from Florida to the wedding).

  • 9 Tips for Making the Most of Your First Look
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Beautiful Backdrop

outdoor weeping wisteria floral arch
Jainé Kershner Photography

In lieu of a traditional floral arch, the altar was marked with an open backdrop of birchwood swathed in weeping wisteria, calla lilies, and long white orchids, courtesy of their florist, Ruth Ridgeway Designs.

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Safe and Stylish

platter of masks with vase of flowers
Jainé Kershner Photography

White masks embroidered with the couple's initials were offered to guests at the entrance to the aisle.

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Safe Spaces

aerial shot of outdoor wedding ceremony
Jainé Kershner Photography

Ceremony seats were positioned mindfully, with social distancing in mind.

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Stirring Recitations

Tim reading ceremony vows
Jainé Kershner Photography

During the service, the duo exchanged vows they wrote themselves. "I am so happy that we did, because it was the most special part of the day to me," says Ashley. "Each of us got to express in our own words and ways what the other means. Being a book lover, I included a quote from one of my favorite authors, while Tim—more of the comedian in the relationship—got to throw in a few jokes."

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All Smiles

outdoor wedding family portrait
Jainé Kershner Photography

Post-ceremony, the couple posed for a few portraits with their families.

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Lovely Lounge Area

outdoor wedding lounge loveseats and coffee tables
Jainé Kershner Photography

The couple transformed a section of their backyard into a chic lounge for the cocktail hour, complete with cabanas, couches, and comfortable chairs.

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Secure Apps

platter of wedding appetizers
Jainé Kershner Photography

Miniature glass cloches kept a bevy of passed appetizers protected prior to the reception and helped minimize contact.

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A Scenic Delight

wedding tables with greenery and white floral centerpieces
Jainé Kershner Photography

The couple brought in a clear canopy that allowed attendees to see all of the trees that surrounded the house. Swags of greenery and arrangements of dried pampas grass added an organic touch. Wooden chairs surrounded exposed farm tables that were set with sophistication aplomb on the couple's patio.

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Glorious Greenery

white floral and greenery centerpiece on wedding table
Jainé Kershner Photography

Greenery runners dotted with white blooms ran down the length of the tables; candles placed at different heights added a romantic glow.

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Clean and Classic

place settings silver plates
Jainé Kershner Photography

Place settings were kept minimal in style, which spoke to the couple's vision for a clean, classic look. "We used silver charger plates and white napkins accented with a little bit of greenery on each one," says Ashley. "The tables were connected end to end in two rows, so instead of doing a seating chart, we opted to place an acrylic cut-out of each person's name on their plate."

Both Tim and Ashley are food lovers and enjoy trying new restaurants, so dinner—which was catered by Thomas Preti Events to Savor—was an important aspect of their big day. "This was the part of the planning that I was most involved in, especially when it came to the tasting," says the groom. A salad of burrata with heirloom tomato, stone fruit, Persian cucumber, micro arugula, and aged balsamic set the stage for the menu to come, which included plenty of vegetarian options.

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Tiers of Joy

black and white photo Ashley & Tim cutting cake
Jainé Kershner Photography

The couple cut into a three-tier wedding cake iced in white with gold accents; Riviera Bakery created the confection and added sugar flowers as the finishing touch.

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No Need to Guess

Ashley & Tim first dance outdoors
Jainé Kershner Photography

Tim and Ashley chose "Second Guessing" by Florida Georgia Line for their first dance. "Both of us loved it as soon as we heard it and would dance around our living room singing and dancing with each other to it," says the bride.

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Ashley & Tim dancing
Jainé Kershner Photography

Photography, Jainé Kershner Photography
Flowers, Ruth Ridgeway Designs
Stationery, Minted
Officiant, Hillsong New York
Bride's Gown, Anne Barge via Kleinfeld
Shoes, Miu Miu
Clutch, Judith Leiber
Hair and Makeup, Beautini
Maid of Honor's Dress, Aidan Mattox
Menswear, Suit Supply
Watch, Ulysse Nardin
Music, Total Entertainment
Catering, Thomas Preti Events to Savor
Cake, Riviera Bakery

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