During This Stunning Backyard Wedding, the Bride and Groom Zoomed in Family from Sri Lanka and Jamaica
Michigan-based newlyweds Saroopa and Cedric Taylor knew almost immediately—after they had an “instant connection” in April 2019—that they wanted to spend their lives together.
Follow Topics for more like this
Follow for more stories like this
Last winter, even before Cedric had officially proposed, the couple started making wedding plans. Saroopa bought her wedding sari in January, and the couple notified their respective families across the globe (he’s from Jamaica, she’s from Sri Lanka) that they were gearing up for a summer wedding so everyone could begin making travel arrangements.
Then… COVID-19 hit. All preliminary plans immediately broke down, proposal included. (The engagement ring Cedric had chosen actually got stuck in a closed jewelry shop!) The worst setback of all? The couple knew their parents wouldn’t be able to come to the U.S. to see them say “I do.”
With a wedding on hold, Cedric and Saroopa switched their focus to buying their first house together, purchasing a four-bedroom ranch in May, and getting to work on painting, installing fresh carpet, and decorating with the mid-century modern style they both love.
Meanwhile, their loved ones encouraged them to still get married ASAP, even in their absence. “We received the same understanding and support from our parents,” Saroopa says. “It was very emotional for both sides, but they all said don’t wait, just proceed, because they knew that we are happy together.” So, in mid-July, Cedric and Saroopa once again began planning a wedding, scheduled for Aug. 13.
Both initially imagined indoor nuptials, but ultimately realized that an outdoor option would be the safest and most practical. That’s when their venue search turned much closer to home—to their backyard. “We really didn’t want to think of the backyard first, because it honestly wasn’t in the greatest condition or shape,” says Saroopa with a laugh, citing four years’ worth of fallen leaves and a dead tree stump.
And so they divided and conquered over the next month: Cedric took on the house exterior and yard, while Saroopa worked with vendors to plan an intimate-meets-elegant celebration.
And yes, Cedric eventually secured that ring! He proposed at the couple’s home—and soon-to-be ceremony spot—on Saroopa’s birthday, just 10 days before their event. “It was cozy, it was nice, and it just happened in our own place,” Saroopa says. “It was very, very special.”
Cedric’s sister and her husband, both architects, also had a huge hand in actualizing Saroopa’s rustic, natural vision. They drove up from Florida with their children a week before the big day just to help take on decorating duty. “I had an idea in my head as to [what] the backyard setting should be like,” Saroopa says. “Then, when they came in, they just transformed it.”
On Aug. 13, largely thanks to their stellar support system, a WiFi extender, and socially-distanced seating, the couple successfully pulled off their at-home celebration with 17 in-person and seven virtual guests who tuned in via Zoom on Saroopa’s cell phone. The groom’s father logged on from Jamaica, while Saroopa’s brother set up a viewing party for her family back in Sri Lanka (at 2:30 a.m.!).
Cedric sported a tailored suit from his closet, and Saroopa stunned in her previously purchased white sari from Suta, with a jacket hand-sewn by a family friend, a Visions by Fariha makeup look (a surprise from Cedric), and an updo by her 16-year-old niece.
Officiated by the couple’s close friend, the ceremony incorporated Cedric’s Anglican upbringing with an opening prayer, scripture reading, and vow exchange, and Saroopa’s Buddhist faith, including tying their index fingers together with a golden thread to symbolize their union, lighting an oil lamp, and eating milk rice. Even the guests’ welcome bags seamlessly melded their cultures, with goodies like a popular Jamaican soda and a Sri Lankan ginger tea—as well as custom face masks, sewn by Saroopa’s aunt.
The festivities, captured by Allie Siarto & Co. Photography, concluded on a sweet note as the newlyweds cut into their floral-adorned confection made by a close friend of the bride, the owner of Cakes by Hash. As an extra safety precaution, no food was served on site to friends and family; instead, Morton’s Fine Catering offered meals in to-go packs, and the couple handed out take-home mini cupcakes that Saroopa had baked.
In the end, planning a wedding in the midst of a pandemic meant the couple could really concentrate on “what’s most important,” Cedric says. “The people that were there came away feeling really good. They witnessed something that was just so authentic and precious.”
Not to mention, it’s forever elevated the sentimental status of the newlyweds’ new home. “Every time I look into that backyard, I relive that moment,” Saroopa says.
As for their advice to engaged couples in similar situations? “Have talented friends,” Cedric jokes. “Find a stunning photographer,” Saroopa says. “After all the hustle and rush is over, there hasn’t been a day that I have not watched our preview slideshow.”
The Apartment Therapy Weddings vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Crate & Barrel.