A Totally Charming Backyard Wedding in Los Angeles

See how one couple planned an elegant, modern celebration at the groom's family home

Updated 01/19/17

Photo by Sargeant Creative

After meeting at USC in November of 2012 and getting engaged in June of 2015 in the hills of Los Angeles, it’s no surprise Jennifer Yu and Alexander Hylard-Penfold chose to have a Los Angeles wedding. “We actually ended up having our ceremony in Alex’s parents’ neighbors’ backyard, then moved to his childhood home for the reception,” says the bride. On May 28, 2016, with 125 guests in attendance, the pair gave new meaning to a backyard wedding, throwing an elegant and modern affair with an international guest list. On the big day, this foodie couple treated their guests to an indulgent menu, a stunning setting, and a killer dance party. Take a peek at this springtime celebration, photographed by Sargeant Creative, and see how Jennifer and Alexander totally raised the bar on backyard weddings.

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

Jen’s custom Shin Bu Bridal wedding dress was perfect for the occasion. The bodice was illusion mesh topped with beading and floral lace, while the skirt had layers of soft, flowing tulle. “Dress shopping was my favorite part of planning our wedding,” she says. “I loved trying on all of the different shapes, sizes, and styles of gowns.”

She paired the gown with Stuart Weitzman heels, side-swept curls, and a bouquet of cream and blush peonies, David Austin roses, dahlias, and lush greenery.

Photo by Sargeant Creative

Alex and his groomsmen wore custom blue suits, which they finished with lavender ties to match the garden vibes during the ceremony. It’s hard to believe this gorgeous setting is tucked away in a suburb of L.A.!

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

“We wanted something that was modern and flattering, that didn’t look like typical bridesmaids’ dresses,” says Jen of her ‘maids’ choice of light blue halter gowns with low cut backs by Nouveau Amsale. Their bouquets featured smaller combinations of the same blooms Jen carried down the aisle.

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

The ceremony took place beneath a lush arch of magnolia leaves studded with roses and dahlias. “We wanted to keep it simple, with white chairs and an beautiful arch behind the priest, to let the stunning venue shine,” says Jen.

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

During cocktail hour, guests sipped Moscow Mules as they nibbled on a custom menu that Jen created with the couple’s caterer. “He even foraged in the Hollywood hills for some of the ingredients!” the bride says. The passed bites included buttered brioche topped with duck prosciutto and Rainier cherries, local rock cod crudo with blood orange and arugula, and five spice-braised beef on scallion pancakes. Dinner took place beneath a tent draped with sheer fabric and hung with chandeliers.

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

Tables were topped with champagne linens, surrounded by gold Chivari chairs, and set with mother of pearl utensils. The centerpieces mixed cream, blush, and peach peonies and roses, accented with fresh kumquats. Dinner was served family-style and included a farmer’s market tomato and burrata salad, lamb tagine with apricots, roasted red snapper with salsa verde, and jumbo asparagus with cherry tomatoes and lemon basil. At each seat, the couple set a small box of Maldon sea salts in a bag that read “May Life Never Be Underseasoned.”

Photo by Sargeant Creative
Photo by Sargeant Creative

“Alex and I love to dance, and are the ‘drinking buddies’ amongst our friends,” says Jen. “Our DJ played a mix of hip hop and global house music, and after the reception ended, we headed to Koreatown for late night karaoke. About 55 of us sang our hearts out until 3 a.m.! Needless to say, my dress was destroyed, but those memories will last a lifetime.” And her advice for couples planning parties of their own? “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything will work out in the end, and no one will even notice those little details!”

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private residence || Bride's Wedding Dress: Shin Bu Bridal || Jewelry: Van Cleef & Arpels || Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nouvelle Amsale || Engagement Ring & Weddings Bands: Timeless Gems || Flowers: Larchmont Florist || Invitations & Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Red Shoe DJs || Catering: Louis Pechan || Cake: Sweet & Saucy Shop || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Photographer: Sargeant Creative

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