We decided our wedding day in my backyard would be only for our families due to local regulations. However, we were able to set up Zoom for our other guests to watch from the comfort of their own homes.
May 30th came and the morning was so sweet. I got to see our family and my girls set-up my backyard beautifully to become the space for us to proclaim our love and promise our lives to one another. It was a beautiful Saturday and the sunlight shining on our backyard was stunning. As I helped set up, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the goodness of God- this was my wedding day. This was the day I got to marry the man I had spent six years of my life loving and now we got to promise that to each other forever.
After doing some setup and giving everyone responsibilities, I made my way down to my basement (where I had lived after college/before getting married) to get my hair and makeup done. The morning went quickly and soon enough my hair and makeup were done and all was set up: 2 PM had come. I was rushing to zip my dress and put my shoes on as my Henry had arrived with his family ready for the ceremony.
Once I was ready, I climbed the stairs of my childhood home and exited with my father to walk towards my future: my very soon-to-be husband. Excitement and tears filled the eyes of all of us at that moment as the beautiful “Can’t Help Falling in Love” played on my brother’s speaker. Finally, we joined hands and had our officiant, one of our best family friends, gather everyone in prayer. When we went through our vows there was not a dry eye. It was a moment everyone in my backyard had envisioned for years and years. After we had been proclaimed Mr. & Mrs. Harsel, we danced out and got to hug each one of our family members – it was one of the most special moments. We also got to say a quick hi to our 200+ guests joined in on Zoom.
After our ceremony, we quickly went to a local area to get some photos as newlyweds while people back home were lining up for a fun drive-by parade. We had over 45 cars full of our loved ones come and drive-by our home with champagne, balloons, and music blaring. I don’t think either of us could contain the joy on our faces as our tears filled our eyes. We felt loved beyond words that all of these people drove by to see us and celebrate us. We knew at that moment just how lucky we truly were and how blessed our marriage would be by these people
After our drive-by reception, we retired back to our trusty backyard for some family photos. Our fathers said some beautiful toasts and we had strawberry shots (a Stidham tradition) with our newly grown family. It was a beautiful moment that led into our first dance as newlyweds. Everyone circled as we danced to “Take the World” by Johnnyswim, the sweetest love song. We got to sit and enjoy some yummy tacos and take in the fact that we were finally married. Having just our family was the most intimate and special detail of all. We got to enjoy one another and every moment. Maybe this new intimate ceremony will become a norm after this pandemic, we would recommend to anyone. Our families loved it so much. We ended the night cutting our cake, whacking our piñata, and sitting around chatting about how crazy but beautiful this life is.
Was it sad not to have all of our people there for our wedding in person? Of course. But as the day came and went, when we look back we have nothing but joy about how our day was. We had all we needed and much more. The drive-by parade was one of the sweetest moments that we will cherish throughout our lives. We are extremely grateful for everyone who had a hand in our backyard wedding planning. It turned into the most beautiful day, better than any Pinterest board could ever be. We truly believe, if we could get through a pandemic affecting our wedding together, we think we can get through most else.