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Allen and I have been working in the wedding industry for a number of years now, so we’ve seen a whole range of wedding budgets from very thrifty to completely over-the-top regal. As a young couple ourselves, we especially like seeing how resourceful couples can be when it comes to imagining the wedding of their dreams at a budget that isn’t a nightmare. Liz and Warren’s backyard wedding in Thousand Oaks is a beautiful example of making a wedding unique, meaningful and affordable!

Diagram of the Heart

Liz and Warren are actually high school sweethearts! Their love story began back in 2011 when they walked into their first high school anatomy class of the year. (Anatomy, I know–it’s like they were living a romantic comedy!) Liz was a junior and Warren was a senior. The way Warren tells it, he tried to say hello and was promptly ignored by Liz. She remembers it differently and swears she didn’t hear him! True to his nature, Warren took his sweet time to ask Liz out. When he finally plucked up the courage to do so, he instantly decided that they were meant to be together. He even changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship” moments after their first kiss!

But Warren’s vision of their future together was accurate because eight years later he proposed! Liz and Warren’s proposal was exactly what they wanted it to be: short, sweet and done together. This idea of mutually proposing is one we see a lot now. Although this might surprise older generations, making a decision to enter the marriage together and not keep proposals elusive allows for lots of intimacy. It’s sort of like starting the next step of your joined lived together right from the beginning. For Liz and Warren, keeping it simple was the way to go.

Thousand Oaks Backyard Wedding

Just like the proposal, the backyard wedding and reception focused on meaningful moments, intimate details, and celebrating the love Liz and Warren have for not just one another, but their families and friends. The venue was Warren’s parents’ front yard. His parents still live in his childhood home which added a beautiful sense of history to the ceremony. The backyard itself was lovely and because the couple was going for a more natural theme, the plant life surrounding the location and the succulent arrangements on the table really complimented one another.  The mood was simple while still being very elegant.

Another way that Liz and Warren made their backyard wedding meaningful and affordable was by involving their family and friends in every part of the planning, ceremony, and reception. A friend made the beautiful ring-case holding both wedding rings in the picture below. Friends also provided alcohol, including a specially brewed beer made with honey from the hives that Warren’s father raises. Liz and Warren kept the wedding size small and it’s clear those who made the guest list are wild about the couple. And they were ready to have a great time! Liz’s favorite part of her backyard wedding was the reception, full of dancing and revelry.

Photographers’ Highlights

For this wedding, Allen and I have the same favorite memory. We were actually invited to dance by Liz and Warren! Sometimes couples like to invite their photographers into the fun. We are happy to join for a moment before we go back to our cameras, as the photographic evidence below proves. They were also incredibly gracious. Warren’s father thanked all the vendors by name and everyone at the backyard wedding truly felt appreciated.

Tips for Your Wedding

  • Start planning early! This was Liz’s biggest tip and it’s easy to see from her simple, elegant backyard wedding that planning was really in place. Setting up a private venue like a backyard also can require more coordination so the earlier you start, the better. There’s a lot of moving parts that go into the ceremony and reception that big venues often handle. But doing it yourself can be easier, more fun, and give you a lot more control over the final look.
  • Think of the season. The autumnal vibe of the flower and succulent choices beautifully contrasts with late afternoon sunlight in November in Los Angeles. And an outdoor wedding probably wouldn’t have been possible in most other locations. We Los Angelenos are so lucky!
  • Get out of the box when it comes to venues. Not everyone has a gorgeous home perfect for a backyard wedding, but thinking creatively about locations near you can lead to unexpected spots! Especially if your goal is affordability, considering unique spots can allow for saving, while still paying homage to your unique love.

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Vendors: 

Venue: Private Residence

Band/DJ: DJ Danny

Flowers & Decor: Greenwich Floral Design

Hair & Makeup: Dani Phillis

Bride’s Outfit: Brides for a Cause

Groom’s Outfit: The Black Tux

Officiant: Diedre Parmenter

Rentals: DJ’s California Catering

Wedding Cake & Toppers: Lightpaper – Etsy

Invitations: Kelcey Bower

Wedding Rings: Staghead Designs 

Favors: Homegrown succulents

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