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Surprise Harvest-Themed Backyard Garden Wedding

Megan McCarty Taylor Ellsworth

Just scrolling through the photos from Stephanie and Christopher’s wedding gives me the warm fuzzies. These images manage to encapsulate all of my favorite parts of the season. Tiny decorative gourds, gilded-looking caramel apples, hay bales reminiscent of the Sauvie’s Island pumpkin patch—it doesn’t get much more fall-inspired than this! For me, however, the most beloved part of the season is the shared intimacy with friends spent around a bonfire, savoring the final, bittersweet vestiges of summertime before the days bring the cold and the sun starts to set at 4:00pm. Beyond the adorable details, it’s this feeling that photographer Leah Flores captured in the gleeful faces of the guests in attendance, who arrived under the guise that they were attending a low-key backyard housewarming party, only to be surprised at the door by handwritten chalkboard signs announcing that they’d be witnessing their friends’ nuptials. If they weren’t mesmerized by the charmingly rustic fall details sprinkled throughout the backyard, one thing’s for sure—showing up to a surprise wedding is one memory they’ll never forget! Keep scrolling to see what the bride had to say about the intimate evening.

From the bride:

"Chris and I were planning on eloping for about a year of our engagement. I came up with the idea when thinking about celebrating the purchase of our new house. The idea just came to me and the more I thought about it the more I fell in love with the idea. This allowed me to keep my wedding small and stress free. I wanted the wedding to stay small and felt this created a fun atmosphere of excitement. I am so pleased with the way the surprised turned out, it was difficult to keep such a secret, but in the end it was very much worth the wait. I feel the surprise aspect of the wedding made it such an intimate and emotional ceremony, which is everything I dreamed my wedding would be.

I planned my wedding in about two and half months. I slowly over time put together the food menu: homemade pesto with tuna; garlic aioli turkey sandwich with Gouda; meatballs and goat cheese with crackers. I also made spiced apple cider which was served in small milk jars, purchased from Michaels, furnished with red paper straws.

My overall theme was focused around pumpkins and gourds, which I placed throughout my yard. The back drop and table cloth was unbleached muslin fabric. I accented the tables with burlap and placed curtain lights behind the backdrop. I also made a burlap sign that said "falling in love." I purchased my supplies from Craft Warehouse. I also created strings of ribbon, that looked similar to garland, draped along the drink table backdrop.

Overall, nothing was truly planned out - I slowly put together my theme throughout the two months based on different decorative items I saw. We gained inspiration from walking through antique stores - my favorite being Main Street Vintage in Vancouver - and of course, beloved Pinterest."

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