A Gorgeous Backyard Wedding in State College, PA (Heather and Christian)

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We are so excited to share this gorgeous Palm Springs-inspired backyard wedding featuring Heather and Christian!

A bride and groom walking and kissing. This was used in the backyard wedding in State College PA article.

Heather and Christian’s story:

Heather grew up in State College and grew up with a love of The Nittany Lions.

Christian grew up about an hour and a half away in Camp Hill with a passion for athletics (he played football for Penn State).

After high school, both chose to attend Penn State University. While in school, Heather and Christian circulated among the same group of friends, went to the same parties and bars and lived on the same street (Christian even had a crush on Heather’s roommate), but they never really knew one another. It wasn’t until a chance encounter a decade later while both were visiting home after moving to new cities that they connected.

Christian won Heather over with an official first date to a true PA staple, Hoss’s (It is hospitality) after Heather had mentioned missing it while living in the south.

And the rest is history.

Check out these gorgeous wedding photos from Garnet Dalia Photography:

a collage of detail photos for the bride
A bride getting ready
A bride getting ready
A bride and bridesmaids posing on a couch
Heather told her girls to wear any black dress that made them feel incredible.
A bride posing on a couch
What a stunning bride!
A groom getting ready
And a handsome groom!
Wedding ceremony details
Everything was black and white with neutral accents. The couple opted for Southwestern-inspired florals as a nod to Heather’s time spent in Texas— there was cactus! (Oh, the bride designed and made the ceremony arch backdrop and the giant welcome sign. You can see a full list of what the bride designed at the bottom of this post)
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Champagne wall 1
Check out this Champagne bottle wall seating chart (designed and made by the bride)
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You’ve gotta love a bride who opts for comfort and wears her slippers all day. We should all be Heather on our wedding day!
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Christian and the guys looking dapper.
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As guests arrived, they were treated to adult Capri Suns (A Rosemary Tom Collins and a Grapefruit Sangria).
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Check out these amazing choices on the Pittsburgh cookie table!
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A Few More Wedding Day Details

DIY by the bride

Heather designed these amazing details at her wedding:

  • Champagne bottle wall seating chart
  • Arch backdrop
  • Adult Capri Suns
  • Cake
  • All signage
  • Menu cards
  • Table numbers
  • Head table name plates
  • Ring bearer pillow
  • Beer pong stands

Follow Heather on Instagram to see some of the behind-the-scenes of her wedding and preparations (there is a tab called “wedding” in her story highlights section).

A last-minute location change

Heather and Christian were supposed to get married on the Penn State campus at Eisenhower Chapel, but when they arrived, they were surprised to find that the entire place was under construction and inaccessible for anyone with a handicap. Heather’s sister had broken her ankle a month before the wedding, was wheelchair-bound (along with her grandma), and would be physically unable to enter. At the last minute, they scrambled and moved the ceremony to Heather’s parents’ house (the reception venue).

Figuring out a new ceremony location in less than 24 hours is not an ideal situation to deal with, but Heather and Christian were not going to let anything stand in their way of getting married.

A few of the bride’s favorite details

My favorite little additions were a champagne bottle wall seating chart and an acrylic/ghost beer pong table for guests to play during the party.

We also had lots of signage + bar napkin inspo from Drake (Christian’s fave). We tried to keep the branding extremely consistent and cohesive. 

Let’s talk about the food

For food, the couple went for a RICH cocktail hour with a slew of hor D’oeuvres

Cocktail hour food included:

  • Bruschetta
  • Spinach and feta roll
  • Bacon wrapped asparagus
  • Blackened Grouper soft tacos
  • Fried lobster tails
  • Jumbo lump crab cocktail
  • Grilled New Zealand lamb chops
  • Prime beef french dip
  • Beef Teriyaki
  • Buffalo shrimp
  • Coconut Chicken
  • Chicken marsala w/puff pastry
  • Salmon w/puff pastry

Dinner menu:

  • Crab cake
  • Filet
  • Asparagus
  • Wild mushroom risotto

Heather and Christian’s specialty cocktail was a prickly pear margarita, again as a nod to Texas


  • Grilled Stickies and ice cream (a locally FAMOUS specialty of their caterer)

After dinner, Heather and Christian treated their wedding guests to a late-night snack, including a Philly-style cheesesteak cart and a Pittsburgh cookie table.

Here are the amazing wedding professionals who helped make the day so perfect:

If you are looking to plan your own backyard wedding, we put together a great article for you.

Here is the link to the article: Best Backyard Wedding Planning Guide

Plus, you can see more real PA weddings here.

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