a beautiful backyard wedding

When our friends Leryann and William got engaged back at Christmas, they’d planned to have a beach wedding in Puerto Rico. But then covid happened, and they had to pivot: this time to a stateside wedding. This past Sunday morning, they married … in our backyard!

The wedding was a delightful mix of homemade and traditional, formal and relaxed.

Leryann’s parents, Chiro and Lery, were able to come from Puerto Rico, and a few, local friends rounded out the small gathering.

Ellie was the flower pony. My older son’s friend took photos. My older son filmed the wedding, which was live-streamed to all their friends and family in Puerto Rico: this took a bit of technology gymnastics, especially when it came time for the toasts and blessings and we had to jump back and forth between listening and speaking, but it all worked out. My niece made the waffles for the brunch, and my younger daughter’s friend was in charge of serving the food. And I officiated.

Back in the spring they were remaking their wedding plans — and struggling with the strain of dashed dreams and the stress of planning a wedding far from home in the midst of a pandemic — we’d offered our place for the wedding and then I added, “And I could probably marry you, if you want.” A friend of mine had gotten a one-time license to officiate a wedding awhile back, so why not me? They’d jumped at the idea.

A quick online search revealed that in order to be a one-time civil celebrant all I needed to do was fill out a basic form (name, address, intended date of wedding), provide a copy of my driver’s license, and write a check for 61 dollars. There was a trip to the courthouse to drop off the paperwork, and then a second trip to pick up the official documents and take the oath, and that was it.

I had no idea marrying someone was so easy! And so much fun!!

William and Leryann planned and organized the whole wedding themselves, from choosing the menu for the waffle bar brunch and buying all the ingredients, to bringing the blankets for people to sit on, to making all the signs and decorations, to writing the wedding ceremony.

Leryann was able to include the moments that were so important to her: her father gave her away, they had their first dance on the clubhouse porch, the wedding godparents were able to give the first toast over Zoom, and her mother sang a song.

And there were other moments, unplanned ones, that made the wedding feel all the more relaxed and fun-loving. My younger son had to run inside to fetch the forgotten jars of sand mid-ceremony. I dismissed Ellie as planned (we were worried she’d cause a distraction by rearing or pooping) and then immediately changed my mind because she was being so good. People waited patiently while we worked out the technology glitches, reminded me when I forgot to pause so the servers could hand out the flutes pre-toast, ran over to silence the dogs when they barked, and laughed when the flower “girl” nibbled the back of my dress.

A backyard wedding might not have been their original plan, but Leryann and William handled the challenges with tenacity and grace, turning it into the sweetest, most joyful little wedding you ever did see.

Congratulations, you two. We love you!!!

All photos, except the one of people milling about and the last, were taken by Theo Yoder

This same time, years previous: three shining dragon eggs, Sunday, putting up walls, four weeks down, three to go, in which a pit bull bites my butt, zucchini fritters, the quotidian (7.14.14)Saturday nights.


  • Gloriel

    This is beautiful. I loved reading this blog about Lery’s wedding. Just by reading this made me imagine myself there. (Although I was also on Skype) Beautiful!
    I am so happy for them. It was a beautiful wedding. God bless your beautiful union and it is amazing to see friends help out in such an amazing time.

    -Gloriel Rodriguez Ruiz

  • mommychef

    Wow, so beautiful! My sister's a pastor who can say that she "married her brother", "her cousin", and "the kid she used to babysit" so…just be careful with that whole ordination thing! It can lead to some funny conversations!

  • Anonymous

    What a beautiful couple! What a beautiful wedding! I love the flowers so much. Congratulations to Leryann and William. -Anna

  • beckster

    I love how people have adapted to make things that are so very important for them happen during this pandemic. Sweet!

  • Mama Pea

    Lovely. So sweet. You made a wonderful memory for them. The first wedding in your backyard, huh? Hmmmm, something for your kids to think about in the future!

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