Wedding Planning

An Austin, TX Autumn Backyard Wedding from Offbeat Bride

Are you having a DIY wedding? Get inspired by these thoughtful details created by this bride for a beautiful backyard wedding.

Monja and Todd got married at Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden and then held their reception in their own backyard. Monja is a stationer, so the custom stationery, from their wedding invitations to their custom wedding logo, was all made by the bride. Almost every inch of this wedding was customized with fabulous design and thoughtful DIY projects.

 Check out these gorgeous photos from Whitney Lee Photography

Did your wedding location and date hold a special significance for you?

We’re outdoorsy people and wanted our wedding to be held in a beautiful, natural environment. We chose to have the ceremony under the majestic live oak trees at the Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin.  For our reception we wanted a home-grown feel, so we opted to have it in our backyard. We undertook a daunting landscaping project to create a beautiful space.

Tell us about the details of the day.

Just about everything was DIY. We really wanted our wedding to feel like it was us and incorporated as many handcrafted elements as possible. We were married in October; we love the colors and feel of autumn and used that to guide us in wedding decor: mason jars for drinks, canning jar vases, lots of burlap and jute, centerpieces with little baby pumpkins and gourds and cranberries. The pathway to the backyard was lined with shepherd’s hooks with hanging candlelit mason jar lanterns. Todd proposed while playing our favorite board game, Carcassonne, so we crafted our cake toppers to be in the shape of the wooden game pieces, and painted them to match our outfits.

Being a stationer, I wanted to have a lot of paper elements at the wedding. I designed the invitation suite (save-the-dates, invitations, rsvp cards, thank you notes) and all of the other paper products at the wedding: vow cards, ceremony and reading booklets, programs, menus, reception signage, our wedding banner. Todd is an avid rock climber, so we incorporated the figure-8 rope knot in our ‘wedding logo’, it worked as an ampersand and in the ‘we’re tying the knot!’ context. But it wasn’t just about the decor, we also wanted our ceremony to be meaningful, so we wrote it ourselves. Rather than be married by a stranger, we asked our friend if he would become ordained and officiate the ceremony for us. He was amazing!

What was the most meaningful part of your day?

We are relatively new to Austin, so most of our guests were from out of town. It meant a lot to us that so many were able to travel here to be with us on our special day. But, truly, the entire day was meaningful: we celebrated the life we’ve had together and the life we will have together with some of the most special people in our lives.

Does it get any more meaningful than that?!

Did anything funny or out of the ordinary happen?

My name, Monja, comes from an old and obscure 60’s song. Todd surprised me after dinner with a personal rendition of the song complete with backup vocals, guitar and ukulele accompaniment, and a swanky Motown dance groove. What made it more surprising is that the song is in German!

Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding?

Focus on the details well beforehand and then just let it all go and enjoy the day. Know that all of your planning will totally pay off and you will have an amazing day!


Photography: Whitney Lee Photography
Venues:  Mansion at Judges
/Zilker Botanical Garden/Monja’s back yard
Stationery: Uptown Whimsy
Aprons: Aletha Art