Married Out Back
This lovely garden wedding keeps it all in the family
Photographs by Erica Fabrizio
For JoAnn Kish’s daughter Kendall, the decision to hold a backyard wedding was initially based on logistics: All the possible venues were already booked. The decision also fit with the bride’s homebody personality. “Kendall has a real connection to the house,” says Kish, who herself grew up in the Wilton Road cape and moved back in 1982 when Kendall was born.
Two additions later, the now-expanded house and adjacent barn became the sentimental setting for the ceremony this past September. “With so much history, this really was the perfect place,” says Kish.
Scaled-down, backyard weddings are trending, fueled by a passion for organic farm-to-table lifestyles and a desire to move away from expensive extravaganzas. Planning a “simple” backyard wedding though can be daunting. With a lot of work, help from friends, and a bit of luck, Kish successful executed “a true homegrown wedding” for Kendall and fiancé Nick Schmidt.
Some of the wedding actually was homegrown. A talented gardener, Kish grew all the flowers for the ceremony. She began a continuous cycle of seed planting because she needed full blooms for the big day.
Kish hired All Seasons Rental for the reception tent and seating, Vivid Events for the music, and Tom Devine of Ciao Catering. As fate would have it, when Kish met with Devine, the date she wanted was the only one available for months.
Parking can be an issue for a home wedding. Kish, however, owns an adjacent lot, which accommodated cars for the 120 guests. Her husband Jim and future son-in-law Nick, both electrical contractors, rigged lighting so guests could find their way at the end of the reception.
While scouring thrift shops for vases, Kish bumped into Dawn Hettrich of Dawn Hettrich Design who built the arbor and decorated the tables. She hired Pat Fisher and Liz Preville of The Porch to arrange Kish’s flowers for the centerpieces and bouquets. (Photo below.)
Erica Fabrizio, who went to school with Kendall, was the photographer.
The ceremony, performed under a birch arbor, was officiated by a justice-of-the-peace friend, Betsy Thompson of Cellar XV. The cocktail hour took place under the patio pergola, with the bar in the 1800s barn, where Kish’s grandmother raised chickens. An old horse trough held cold beer.
“You collect things for a reason,” says Kish, a realtor with William Pitt Sotheby’s.
The reception, including lawn games, went well into the evening. “You want to let your neighbors know there’s going to be a party,” she says.
For those planning a backyard wedding, Kish advises: “Have confidence in your ability to coordinate but most important, feel good about the space.” Because, after all, there’s no place like home.