D.I.Y. Outdoor Wedding Venue

Instead of trying to find the perfect wedding venue, Rachel Crockett and her family made their own.

By Ettie Berneking | Photos by Christine Bonnivier Photography

Dec 2014

Weddings can be stressful enough, but add to the mix two busy med school schedules and the desire to incorporate several D.I.Y. projects into the big day, and suddenly that taxing wedding just reached mission impossible status. 

Luke Nayak and Rachel Crockett got engaged after their second year of med school, and things were about to get really busy, but Rachel was throwing caution to the wind and brainstorming D.I.Y. projects for the big day. With the time crunch in overdrive, she quickly narrowed the list to a few simple tasks she could pull off with the help of her girlfriends and florist. Her favorite project: the delicate glass vases filled with peonies that hung from tree branches around where the ceremony was held.

“Most of the peonies were from my grandmother’s garden," Rachel says. I didn’t care about the rest of the flowers. I just wanted tons and tons of flowers.” And that's just what she got.

With the wedding location set in her parents’ wooded backyard, Rachel was looking for ways to add a touch of romance and charm to her tree-lined venue. Flowers were a simple and effective solution. “I love flowers, and spring is my favorite season, so this wedding encompassed all of my favorite things,” she says.

Despite Luke and Rachel's overflowing load of school work and barrage of exams, the family backyard was transformed into a sweet and romantic wedding venue. Her parents cleared out piles of brush and leaves, and a few trees were cut and cleared out. To create the arbor Rachel and Luke stood under during the ceremony, Rachel’s parents tied together two branches and strung them up with Rachel’s flower vases gently blowing in the breeze. The vases were collected from thrift stores and gathered from family and friends. The results were flawless and gave Rachel and Luke the outdoor wedding they had dreamed of. “It was perfect and beautiful,” Rachel says. Now each spring, she has even more reason to enjoy the colorful season as she celebrates her wedding anniversary with her husband.


• Glass jars
• Fishing wire
• Water
• Flowers


1. Pick flowers that are a little sturdier and won’t wilt quickly.
2. Tie a slip knot around the vase neck with the fishing wire.
3. Hang the vases. It helps to leave room between them, so they can gently swing without hitting each other.
4. Carefully add some water to each vase.
5. Finally, add the flowers.