ATTENTION: SOCIETY HAD SURPASSED THE NEED FOR EXPENSIVE VENUE WEDDINGS. Just kidding. You do you. Big wedding venues are incredible! But Covid has given me almost nothing but backyard weddings this year and I’m beyond in love. There’s something so calming about getting married in a place that you feel comfortable in, that you spend time in, that you love in. Meleane and Dustin decided to downsize their wedding and host it in Destin’s parents backyard in Albuquerque to make the perfect 2020 wedding.
There’s no rush of a compact, busy schedule, there’s no employees bustling around, there’s no pressure to make sure everything is perfect. I truly hope that lowkey, small weddings like this are around to stay even when the pandemic is finally gone. The intimacy of them cannot be matched.
Anyway, on with the story! Mel and Destin are the most incredible people. I met them for the first time on their wedding day but it felt like I had known them forever. Their kindness and welcoming spirits made the whole day feel light and stress-free. You can just sense how much their family and friends adore them. When a couple has a support system like this, you know they’re set for life.
When I arrived, Mel did at the same exact time, coming out of getting her hair and makeup done by the legendary Genica Lee. I’ve worked with Genica several times this year and she makes everyone she works with look like royalty, while still looking like themselves! Genica is the queen of Albuquerque wedding makeup.
I found the ceremony location all dressed up in flowers and linens, with plenty of Covid-friendly things to keep everyone feeling safe. They even gave out customized masks as favors! Nothing beats a practical wedding favor. Jordan almonds, your time is over. So sorry. 2020 is about function over form.
While waiting for the ceremony time, Mel started writing up her vows while Destin spent time with THE BOYS. These guys had some of the best beers New Mexico has to offer. Was this professional, working girl a bit jealous? Yes, yes I was. While the girls were makeup-ing, Mel was writing, the guys drinking, and Destin was throwing on his fantastic maroon suit, their families were hard at work making the most delicious foods to feed their guests. Guys, there is absolutely nothing that compares to a homemade meal at a wedding.
Also, make sure not to scroll past Daisy, the adorable pitbull. Can we add “5-Star Ring Bearer” to the list of talents pitbulls have? These dogs are the best. Daisy herself has the world’s cutest dog smile.
As the ceremony got closer, Mel gave out gifts to both sets of parents, boutonnieres were pinned, and tears were shed. There was no holding back genuine emotions at this wedding, and I love to see it.
The ceremony was the sweetest thing. Daisy killed it at walking those rings up the aisle. The vows were heartfelt and made the top half of my mask a bit damp (stop making me cry at weddings, people!). Mel and Destin even involved their parents in a prayer circle, truly tying together the families into one.
The first thing I said to the couple after the ceremony was “hey you guys wanna frolic in the neighborhood?” And then we sprinted out into the streets! Just goes to show- any location works. Having people beep and yell congratulations out their car windows just adds to the excitement. We had a blast out there! And with Albuquerque showing off mountains at almost every angle, even a wedding in the backyard can be an adventure.
The reception that followed was so lovely. I heard some of the best speeches of my career, punctuated by both fits of laugher and streaming tears. Mel and Destin are so cared for and so loved and it shows.
My favorite part? When both Mel and Destin’s dads donned some Hawaiian shirts. This is true family unity right there. Normalize Hawaiian shirts at weddings!! And dads being dads, of course.
I have grown so much to love weddings like this in 2020. And I adore the couples that choose them. Mel and Destin are such a shining light of a couple and I’m so thankful to have met them. I’m beyond honored to have documented their wedding day. Bring on more backyard Albuquerque weddings!
To book your own amazing backyard Albuquerque wedding, click here!