When my husband and I got married, we literally threw convention to the wind. Trying to plan a wedding on a small (almost nonexistent) budget, we decided to have our wedding outdoors, down by the river at a local park. Although the weather is usually scorching hot at that time of year, the day we got married (August 26) was unusually mild, although a bit windy. I don’t think the temperature ever rose about 80 degrees that day. After a short wedding ceremony and lots of wedding day jitters, our family and friends stayed around for a potluck picnic.

We couldn’t afford anything fancy, and knowing how much our families enjoy getting together for picnics and barbecues, we knew they wouldn’t at all mind pitching in. My husband’s aunt made a beautiful wedding cake for us, my mom brought the sandwich fixings (hoagie rolls, lunch meat, and cheese from Costco), and everyone else brought stuff to drink, salads, chips, and desserts. Everyone pitched in to help and we all had a great time. My aunt and uncle even brought their brand new motor home for us to change our clothes in. After a wonderful lunch, cleanup was a breeze, and my husband and I were off to the mountains for a quiet weekend alone.

By Rachel Paxton

Photo by Matthew Blassey Photography