I Do: Kathrin + Luke | A Self-Uniting Backyard Wedding

backyard wedding

Being a wedding photographer is an absolute blessing, but one of the challenging parts is rarely having an available weekend to join your favorite people in celebrating life’s milestones. Birthdays. Barbecues. Showers. Anniversaries. Weddings. It’s never easy turning down family and friends and RSVP-ing “no.”

When one of my favorite people in the entire world — Kathrin, also known as her nickname counterpart, “Cubby” — told me her potential wedding date, my heart sank. It was a Saturday in September, so I knew I was shooting a wedding that day. But it made me smile that she picked the same day I got married last year. Soul sisters, indeed.

When I told Cubby I wouldn’t be able to make it, she told me if I couldn’t be there, she’d rather pick a day when I could. Wha-wha-wha-what? Insert me almost ugly crying at her sweet text here _______. I felt like the luckiest lady ever.

The wedding took place at Luke’s parents’ backyard in Philadelphia — one of the most perfect settings I’ve ever seen. Backyard weddings have a special place in my heart since Pete and I got married in our own backyard. There’s something very personal about having a handful of guests listening just a few feet away as you exchange vows.

I asked Cubby if I could bring my camera along because I really wanted to capture moments for them to look back on from their wedding day. One of my favorite things about being a photographer is sharing details that might have gone unnoticed since time sneaks by at warp speed when you’re surrounded by people you love.

So I tried to do just that.

Cubby and Luke performed an absolutely beautiful self-uniting ceremony, which means there was no officiant. Pennsylvania is one of a few (awesome) states that recognizes self-uniting marriages because of its Quaker origins. This type of wedding requires the signature of two witnesses in place of an officiant, so I felt pretty darn special to help make things official by lending my not-so-stylish signature.

I try to not make this a habit at weddings, but I teared up so much behind my camera during the ceremony that my glasses fogged up. They fogged. up. Sigh. Their vows were so sincere and sentimental, I couldn’t be happier for them.

Cubby keeps describing the day as “perfect” whenever the day comes up in conversation, and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for inviting me to your perfect day, I adore you crazy kids.

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To my sister from another mister: Congrats on marrying your soul mate. I feel so grateful to have been there and will never forget it. Thanks for being one of my favorite people ever ♥

backyard wedding

venue: backyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // cupcakes: Danielle Jefferson // florals: DIY arrangements; flowers provided by Love ‘n Fresh Flowers // wedding dress: Free People

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5 Comments
  1. Onki

    THANKS SO MUCH SHANNON for letting me be part of it by your

    WUNDERFUL pictures, even though I could not have been with you guys

    *Kisses to Cubby*

    Reply

    • cubby

      You were there in spirit!

      Reply

  2. Nadira

    I just stumbled upon this while I was doing a google search for self-uniting licenses (my fiance and I are getting married in Sept). The pictures are amazing and the love/ happiness on your faces is so evident. Everyone looks so comfortable and relaxed- absolutely love it! Our wedding is small and will be outdoors at Valley Green Inn, but if I would have thought more about it, we should have scaled back a bit more and done something similar to yours. I’m sure our day will be great as well- so glad you shared yours!

    Reply

    • catchcubby

      Thank you! <3 It was absolutely perfect for us. I am sure so will your wedding be for you. The self-uniting part was the best because we wrote our vows and it was as personal as can be, with many many tears. 😉

      Reply

  3. CraftyEsq

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing a recap of your self uniting wedding! We also had a self uniting wedding ceremony, and yours was one of the recaps I read when we were in the planning phase. Self uniting was the perfect choice for us, and we were able to blend some traditional elements with some more unique ones. Several of our family members had readings, and it was all incredibly touching and VERY emotional (nearly everyone who read cried… except me, actually… I was too nervous!) In case it is helpful to anyone else who reads this and is considering self uniting, I posted our full ceremony script on my blog. Anyone can feel free to use/tweak/whatever! http://thecraftyesquire.com/2015/11/19/our-self-uniting-wedding-ceremony-script/

    Reply

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