Margaret & Josh are two of the kindest, sweetest people you’ll meet. What Josh has in quiet, sarcastic humor, Margaret balances with giddy exuberance for pretty much everything! Together they make a perfect blend of fun! They love to hike and explore, and Josh proposed to Margaret on one of their favorite hikes in East Hampton, CT.
For their faerie backyard wedding, they originally had decided on White’s Memorial Conservation Area, but the pandemic put a bit of a damper on those plans when the venue had to cancel all their booked weddings for 2020. But Margaret and Josh weren’t going to let Covid-19 stand in the way of their love. They instead enlisted the help of their family and friends to pull off an epic DIY affair in the stunning backyard of Josh’s parents’ home. The property is nestled in the woods of Litchfield and featured a small pond, wooded trails, a gorgeous flowered ceremony site and a treehouse with a zipline for some fun photo ops!
A lot of this wedding was DIY, with Margaret and her bridesmaids doing all their own hair, makeup and flowers. Josh’s parents created the entire ceremony setting themselves with potted plants and an archway made with tree branches sourced from their property, which they completely rehabbed after a hurricane hit just days before the wedding! All three of the wedding cakes were also baked by family members, with a friendly competition about which one would be “the one” to be cut for the ceremony. All the music for the dance floor was carefully curated by Margaret and Josh with Spotify playlists and the reception emceed by one of Margaret’s bridesmaids.
How did you meet?
We met on Tinder, but quickly learned we share close mutual friends – thank goodness the internet came through for us when our friends didn’t.
What is your proposal story?
Josh took me for a walk at one of my favorite parks, then got down on one knee and asked if i would spend a “wifetime” with him.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding.
Margaret’s only wedding goals (besides marrying Josh) were to have beautiful pictures and not run out of food. We had initially planned to get married at White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, but due to the coronavirus pandemic our reservations were cancelled about two months before the wedding date. We were very lucky Josh’s parents graciously offered to let us use their yard for the wedding instead.
It was very important to us to have our wedding officiated by one of our friends. Other people had a lot of ideas about whose pastor or business partner or neighbor or whatever would be a good officiant, but we decided very, very early on that we wanted Tom to do it. He’s always been incredibly positive and supportive of us, and we thought he would do a really great job (we were right). That might actually be the first “wedding decision” we officially made.
Tell us about your attire choices.
The star of the wedding, attire-wise, was Josh’s paisley shirt. Six weeks before the wedding, Margaret asked Josh what he was wearing, and he went glassy-eyed with horror. He had forgotten he needed wedding attire. However, filtering the Men’s Warehouse website by “paisley” quickly presented the only possible solution.
The most important piece of the bride’s outfit is one few people will ever see, but underneath the bridal gown there was a vintage, steel-boned hoop skirt borrowed from her grandmother.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
We decided, before even getting engaged, that photography was the most important wedding expense for us. We wanted to have beautiful pictures, and wouldn’t forgive ourselves if we’d cut costs on photography only to be disappointed with the results. We’re very happy with our choices here!
The place we cut costs the most is flowers. Rather than ordering bouquets from a florist, the bride and maid of honor went to the craft store to buy fake flowers and hot-glued the bouquets themselves. The total flower cost was less than $80.
A close runner up in savings would be music. We did rent a sound system, but we didn’t have a DJ or band. We spent the last month before the wedding workshopping Spotify playlists for the cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. The dancing playlist was finalized at 11:00PM the night before the wedding, and we have no regrets.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
One of the bridesmaids had her boyfriend deliver about 30 bagels to the bridal party 45 minutes before the ceremony. We were all dressed, had taken a bunch of pictures, and got to enjoy a few minutes of cooling our heels while drinking champagne and eating bagels. It was amazing.
The official “end of dinner”/”start of party” was a swing-dance to Mambo No. 5, starring a bridesmaid and groomsman who had met at a swing dancing club.
Josh’s favorite part of the wedding, collectively, was the last hour or so of the reception where the remaining guests were just cutting loose and having a good time in the presence of friends, family, and music.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Bouquet materials were acquired at 70% discount at the craft store, and hot-glued with love by the maid of honor.
The flowers at the ceremony appeared mysteriously the morning-of, courtesy of the groom’s parents. Two came in green pots, and two in white, so the father of the groom spray-painted the white pots green and no one was any the wiser.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We had three cakes and also 60 cupcakes. We’re monsters.
We didn’t actually want any cakes at all. We wanted only cupcakes, and lots of them, in lots of flavors. But whenever we told anyone this, they would light up and announce, “Oh! But I can make you a cake!”
So the three cakes were:
1) A lemon-raspberry cake, made from scratch by an over-achieving bridesmaid.
2) A cherry chocolate almond cake, made by the mother of the bride. This was the same recipe her sister had made for her wedding in 1987, and featured a vintage cake topper from the bride’s great grandmother’s wedding.
3) A funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting, provided by the groom’s family. Every member of Josh’s family demands a funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting on their birthday, so it was a great way to round off the cake table.
4) Chocolate cheesecake mini-cupcakes from Cake Gypsy. We definitely didn’t eat and entire tray of these the day after the wedding.
What did you do for favors?
Over-achieving bridesmaid strikes again. She graciously provided 120 home-made jellies, in 3 flavors, as well as learned how to make homemade maple sugar candy for the occasion. She had the labels on the jellies commissioned for the occasion by an artist in Maine.
The jellies went into little gift bags with scented hand-sanitizers.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
The mother of the bride made matching face masks for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as complementary face masks for the bride and groom. However, not knowing how big everyone’s faces would be, she made a small, medium, and large mask for each person – so 3x as many masks. Thanks, mom!
When she wasn’t churning out masks, the mother of the bride was also working on a top-secret wedding quilt, which is featured in our accessory photos.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
The groom’s family took over the dance floor to sing along to Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen (a family favorite).
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Planning a wedding is the worst, but having a wedding is the best.
Stay focused on what’s important to you. So, so many people will have opinions about what you “have to do” for your wedding, and you don’t have to listen to them. It’s your wedding, so there’s exactly two people whose opinions matter.