Artsy Blue and Yellow Backyard Wedding by BriM Photography

self love handbook for plus size brides, self love for plus size brides

I love a good backyard wedding, it makes everyone feel so relaxed and comfortable.  And when guests are relaxed and comfortable they are sure to have a good time. And from the images, it looks like EVERYONE had a great time.  Plus the bride looked gorgeous in her wedding gown from Strut Bridal, a wedding salon specializing in plus size wedding gowns.  Check out a feature we did on them and their salon in our Summer Issue.

Andy and Joe

Bride’s full maiden name: Andrea Marie Hemphill

Groom’s full name: Joseph Edward McManis

self love handbook for plus size brides, self love for plus size brides

Wedding Date: 12.8.12

Wedding Location Peoria, Arizona

Number of guests: 100

Wedding Colors: Royal Blue and Sunflower Yellow

Occupations: Andy: Learning and Development Specialist at Financial Organization

Joe: Polish History Student at Arizona State University

How did the two of you meet?  Andy and Joe met at the Trunk Space, a local art venue run by Jason and Steph Carrico. Andy was there to meet a mutual friend, and future wedding videographer, TK, and ended up meeting the love of her life. The Trunk Space features local and national acts. Afterwards the group went next door to the Bikini Lounge, a local dive bar for a few drinks. Joe rescued Andy from some creep and the rest is history. Interesting fact: Andy and Joe were within 20 feet of each other more than 3 times over several years prior to meeting that night.

Describe your engagement: Joe proposed at their favorite restaurant. Andy could tell that there was a surprise in their midst, but was somehow nonplussed when he asked. She said YES, and the couple spent the night discussing how they envisioned their wedding.

The weather on your wedding was:  Perfect. High of 71, low of 44. Sunny and gorgeous. They had patio heaters on call but didn’t even need to turn them on. Later on in the night the father of the bride set up a small patio fireplace that some gathered around to share stories.

Describe your wedding flowers: Flowers were sunflowers and hydrangeas. The tables had grass and bottles with live blue and yellow guppies.


Describe your DIY décor, if any: Lanterns were bought online and wedding party added battery operated candles to 48 of them. DIY centerpieces made from sod, bottles, and plates. DIY programs printed by the mother of the groom, designed by the bride. Tablecloths and table décor by the Maid of Honor and Mother of the Bride. Father of the Bride handcrafted the patio and wedding arch three weeks prior to the wedding.  Guest book artwork, all painted by the bridal party the night before at the bachelorette party. Typewriter contributed by mother of the groom.

Describe your menu and your favorite part: Favorite part was not having to worry about the food! Heidi’s took care of everything! The lobster mac and cheese was to die for…Turkey-tinis & Carved Vegetables.

On-site chefs carve slow roasted turkey, served over mashed potatoes topped with gravy and cran-walnut relish

 Roasted whole vegetables carved to order served with a plethora of sauces

Tray passed hors d’oeuvres: Lobster Mac’n’cheese, mini hummus pizza, scallops in bacon, stuffed mushrooms, and bacon popcorn

Describe any unique aspects of the beverages you served:  Andy’s Sugar Cookie Mantinis & Specialty Beer brewed by Will Hemp

Your first dance song:  Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce

The thing that we would have done differently is? We had a lot of out of town members in our wedding party. We would have had them come out 1-2 days sooner if we could have to rehearse and work on final details together. Also, hiring a babysitting service to help take the pressure off of parents within the wedding party on the day of.

If we could have spent our wedding dollars differently, we would have:  We actually managed to accomplish this wedding for very little money. The family really pulled together to help reduce expenses. We did buy too many napkins and coasters and not enough cranberry juice. Wait- thought of something. We spent everything on the wedding and are doing a staycation for our honeymoon. We will be tourists in our home town for two weeks, because we didn’t save anything for the flights, hotels, etc. We invested some of the money we received in gifts in our future and starting a college fund and will have a more traditional honeymoon after we are more financially secure.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Hay Ride off to the photo site – the whole wedding party was taxied off in a tractor driven by the father of the bride to a neighbor’s field where pictures were taken. Dad honked his horn and did donuts in the street, and you could just see him glowing with pride.

The most unique element of the day:  The venue. The bride was worried about having a ‘backyard wedding’, but the details pulled everything together and the venue ended up being the biggest asset to the wedding. If asked to describe the wedding, no one would reply “oh, typical backyard wedding”. From the servers to the décor to the photobooth, the details made the venue and the friends and family made the day.

Describe your wedding cake and any other desserts: 6 unique cakes, each symbolic of a childhood memory or prior cake of the bride. The center cake design was chosen by Joe and the inside was rainbow in honor of couples who are not legally able to marry in the state of Arizona. The other cakes (clockwise from left) White chocolate with white bows; monogrammed J&A white on white; white with ruffles (like a tutu); yellow sprinkles, and white penguins and an igloo (replica of cakes for Andy’s 6th and 16th birthdays). All were made with love by her mother …someone’s mom must love the couple very much!

Your advice for other plus size brides:  Go to Strut Bridal! Ann from Strut made me feel the most beautiful I had ever felt! She helped set up my bridesmaids with dresses that made them feel just as beautiful as I did. I have found several stories of brides travelling to Strut from all over to find a dress. The dress makes the day and sets the tone of your life together. I met my photographer, Brianna Morris (Brim Photography) through Ann and even had an opportunity to be on the news with them! Also, don’t stress about losing weight for the wedding!  You are beautiful the way you are. Your fiancé loves you, your family loves you, and if you will look amazing on your wedding day! (Given you find the right dress and a great photographer). If you end up losing weight, make sure you have a good seamstress on hand and money set aside. Last minute alterations are not cheap and if they are, could cost you looking your best.

Three adjectives that describe the day: Fun, Off-beat, Unbelievable

What has surprised you most during the first few months of marriage?  It has not been very long, but I can tell that we are working well together. We talk more about what we can do to ensure we have a strong marriage. We didn’t expect marriage to fix anything, but will work to create our life we want together. I am surprised everyday that I am lucky enough to wake up to someone so amazing and am going to work hard to make sure we both feel that way every single day.

Vendors who made it possible!

Photographer: Brim Photography

Videographer: TK Campo Video

Wedding Planner: The Bride & Samantha Fritz

Caterer: Hiedi’s Catering Tempe

Florist: None

Cake: Mary Hemphill

Invitations & Calligraphy: Cathy Rogers

Jewelry: Etsy

Bride’s Attire {Designer, Style Name or Number}: Allure 8862

Where did you get the bridal attire? Strut Bridal

Bridesmaids Attire: Strut Bridal (Designer Andrew Adela)

Groom’s Attire: International Concepts & Vintage

Groomsmen Attire: Personal Collection

Ceremony Location: The Hemphill Manor (Home of the Bride’s Parents)

Reception Location: The Hemphill Manor

Transportation: Smart Ride

Music/Entertainment: Will Hemp

Rentals and Décor: Photobooth by Shutteryou

Officiate/ Minister: Jason Czerwinski (Owner of Trunkspace where we met)

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Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.
plus size self confidence
About the author
Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.