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Backyard Celebration

20 months of planning a dream wedding in Spain and within a couple of weeks, it all began to fall apart. We found the most romantic venue, a villa on an old vineyard situated on the countryside of Barcelona, which would house 40 of our closest friends and family members for a 3-day wedding celebration.
The flights were booked, the menu planned, the photographer scheduled and we had 40 guests that were eager to take off with us. We even turned our guest bedroom into the “wedding closet,” holding decor for the ceremony and party with clothes that we were refusing to wear until our wedding getaway and African honeymoon.
When the pandemic hit, we had some slight hesitation about what the coming months of travel would look like. We were asking our guests from all over the country and of all ages to join us in a country that was already being hit hard by the pandemic. But we stayed as optimistic as we could.
As the days crept on our conversations began to turn, and we soon realized that calling off our Spanish wedding was simply the right thing to do. Of course, looking back now, there is no way we would have ended up in Spain in the middle of June, but back in April, this was a heartbreaking decision for us to make. We immediately notified our guests and began the long process of reaching out to all the vendors to see what our options could look like in the future. We put too much work into planning this celebration and were not willing to give up on it. Luckily for us, the stars aligned and we were able to move every aspect of our wedding, from the villa to the photographer to musician and caterer and of course the much anticipated African honeymoon, one year ahead. We were shocked at how it all worked out, but our optimism paid off.
Lance and Milo in their new backyardLance and Milo in their New Backyard. Of course, this pergola from Lowe's was a favorite piece as it helped anchor the outdoor dining space. 
Two months before what was supposed to be our June wedding, we had the thought that maybe we could fly somewhere domestically to celebrate the weekend that should have been. Then, flying for leisure didn’t seem like it was going to happen. Then in May, we were thinking about taking a long road trip up to Cape Cod for a weekend in June. But once again, that idea soon fell apart as beaches opening in the region seemed to be uncertain. We eventually came to the conclusion that we would just stay at home for our should-have-been wedding weekend. Not the most exciting idea, but everything else just didn’t seem to be panning out. 
Then, on a day in Mid-May, we received a message from Lowe’s (yep, the home improvement store). They came across this Instagram post detailing how we had to call off the wedding and asked us to reach out to them, as they “had something up their sleeves.” My fiancé thought it was spam and I recommended reaching out to find out what it was all about. After speaking to the Lowe’s marketing team, we learned that they were working on a piece for backyard weddings and celebrations and basically asked if they could throw us a wedding in our backyard on June 19th, the day that was supposed to be our wedding in Spain. We went back and forth for days wondering if we wanted to do this and they teased that a “celebrity designer” would be helping out with this project, which of course, made our ears perk up even more so. It was such a unique opportunity, but we knew our plan was to still get married in Spain with a larger wedding party and we didn’t want to take away from that moment. After speaking with the most thoughtful marketing team at Lowe’s, we decided to move forward with this and look at it as a backyard celebration. We realized that this would be an amazing way to always remember June 19, 2020 - a backyard makeover complete with an intimate dinner with our parents, siblings and nephews. 
Bobby Berk of Queer Eye
Lance and Milo chatting with Bobby Berk, view the full video on Lowe's
A week after our first conversation with Lowe’s  (and some legal documents signed) and plans began to take shape. We notified them that our backyard was in rough shape. We were also in the middle of a kitchen renovation and just happened to throw all of the lumber and cabinets into our backyard. We had put so much work into our house since moving in, but the backyard was that project that just kept getting pushed to the side. It was no problem for Lowe’s though, and they could see the vision along with us. Let me tell you - this was such a wild span of a few weeks to describe. Lowe’s asked us to go shopping on the website for tables, chairs, and decor that we would want to use on the 19th, and every day after that of course. I mean, how cool is that? They began scheduling a team to come out and clean up the yard, along with a landscaper who was going to bring our vision of a pea gravel patio to life. None of it was seeming real, that is, until our video call with Bobby Berk. We had a dress rehearsal over video chat and a few days later, Bobby Berk surprised us with a video call! Being huge fans of Queer Eye, and myself looking at Bobby as a business role model, we could not get over the fact that we were speaking to him. He was so nice. He was so conversational. He was so casual. And he got our vision right away for creating a little Mediterranean escape in our backyard. Understandably so, we had to keep this all hush-hush (I know our neighbors and friends were all wondering what was going on with us...)
Me being me, I of course created a mood board with the Lowe’s products we picked out to show Bobby. It was full of warm woods and natural earth tones. It was the biggest compliment that Bobby loved our selections. And with some design advice from him, a few days later he sent some more product selections from Lowe’s to finish off our vision. 
Pea Gravel Patio
Al Fresco Dining
Al Fresco Dining from here on out. When we came up with the idea to create a Mediterranean inspired space. These Toscano chairs paired with the cedar extendable dining table from Lowe's were exactly what we had in mind.
Just after that, Lowe’s sent out a team of “Red Vest Heroes” to clean up our mess of a backyard. And y’all, we were a little embarrassed at what a mess we had amassed in the backyard from our previous home projects. And a week after that, a local landscaper showed up to lay mulch, plant some hostas and gardenias, and most excitingly, lay the pea gravel patio that would be the foundation for all the products we picked out from Lowe’s. To say our minds were blown from this experience is an understatement to say the least. You know when you watch makeover shows on tv and a space seems to be transformed in no time, that’s what this was like! And soon enough, the pergola was being constructed and tables and chairs assembled. 
June 19th arrived and we began putting the final touches on our backyard and setting up the tablescape for our catered dinner. When we picked out some of the smaller decor items from Lowe’s, like the neutral linen napkins and textured outdoor pillows, I knew exactly which Post House products I wanted to pair with them for the tablescape, our sage striped candle and cane back fabric, which I used as a table runner and as pillows in the space. 
Outdoor Dining Table
Outdoor Dining with our Cane Back Fabric in a Table Runner and Pillows
Milo’s parents just arrived from Minnesota and mine were making their way from the Upstate of South Carolina. It ended up being such a magical evening. It may not have been the day in Spain that we originally hoped for, but with all the events that had occurred, we could not have planned a better way to celebrate the day that was supposed to be our wedding. And that’s exactly what June 19th was for us - an intimate, backyard celebration with a few family members. We’re still planning to have our “official” wedding in Spain, we just have to wait one more year now, but until then, we’re soaking up our little Mediterranean oasis of a backyard. 
Catering by Honey River
We decorated the table with items we found from around the house, including the mint julep vases and iron candle holders with fresh flowers from a local store. We included these mercury glass candle holders from Lowe's, which put off the perfect amount of glimmer as the night went on. 
Thanks so much to Lowe’s and their team of Red Vest Heroes for pulling this off, Stephanie of Southern Stitched Photography for the dreamy photos, and Honey River Catering for the delicious dinner.
We’ve been over-the-moon to see our backyard celebration featured in the following publications: Brides, House Beautiful, AOL, The Insider and People. Click the links to read more about our celebration and others.
Don't worry, there will be many more photos to come of the night! 
Outdoor Dining Area
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