Sean Joseph Gallerani & Josh Zepps
August 16, 2014
Concord, New Hampshire
The moment Josh Zepps popped the question to Sean Joseph Gallerani at the Conrad Koh Samui Resort & Spa in Thailand at the end of the couple’s vacation, Sean pulled out a napkin and began sketching their upcoming wedding.
“We knew we wanted it to be informal and different,” says Sean of his marriage celebration with Josh, founding host for HuffPost Live and contributor on MSNBC and The Today Show. “We’ve been to a million weddings and wanted people to walk away feeling like they had just been to a big, comfortable, gay party that was different and special.”
Their list of nuptial no-nos included clunky seats in perfect rows, long speeches, sit-down meals, and stuffy clothes that get taken off as soon as the awkward dancing begins.
“Josh and I often asked ourselves during the planning process, ‘What will people think about us when they walk away?'” Sean says. “We wanted people to understand more about our relationship than most weddings typically allow or provide.”
The idea for their informal backyard barbecue wedding—an occasion for guests to relax and revel in the couple’s happiness—came together almost immediately. With a successful career as social media manager at global marketing agency Deep Focus, Sean is no stranger to turning to the Internet for inspiration. “This was truly a Pinterest DIY wedding. I work in social media and live on the platform,” he says.
“We thought that hay bales, a jazz/rock band, lawn games and drinking games, no formal seating, a lack of a formal reception, and beer, whiskey shots, and messy BBQ food would force people to relax a bit more than at a normal wedding,” says Sean. Growing up knowing the value of do-it-yourself pride (Sean’s mom is an amazing baker, while his dad is the quintessential handyman), Sean was excited to make the wedding an exercise in DIY. “Or DIWYF (Do It With Your Family),” corrects Sean.
On a beautiful August day in Sean’s grandmother’s backyard in New Hampshire, 175 people (who rode in on golf carts) watched the couple exchange vows, looks of loves, and tons of laughter. “We tried very hard to make this entire experience non-traditional,” explains Sean, “because, well, we’re non-traditional.”
The save-the-date card was a whirlwind of the couple’s history leading up to the big day.
Wedding cake was purposefully omitted from the (hand-painted) menu; instead, guests could have their fill of 30 types of pies. “My mom and her best girlfriends went crazy with homemade pies—apple, blueberry, raspberry, chocolate cream, pecan, peach, strawberry, pear, and lemon meringue,” says Sean.
Lawn games played heavily into the wedding’s backyard party theme, and the kids (not to mention the adults) had plenty to choose from. Sean’s childhood rocking horse also made a cameo appearance.
Guests sat at picnic tables built by Sean’s father. They were decorated with flowers hand-picked on the morning of the wedding by Sean, his best childhood friend Brittany, maid of honor Sarah, and little sister Samantha. “We found them on the side of the road, in the backyard, near our homes,” Sean recalls.
A signature cocktail of sorts, the pickleback shot was a nod to a local Brooklyn bar dear to the couple’s hearts that serves a spicy version.
Each guest walked away with their own mason jar hand-painted by Sean. “They found their name, grabbed their drinks, and took it home,” he says.
Their nephew, Max, who had just learned to walk, strolled up to the couple with the rings during their speech.
The couple wanted to pay tribute to their cultural differences (Josh is Australian, and Sean is American) whenever appropriate.
The giant Jenga, Scrabble set, and cornhole boards were all built by Sean’s dad and brother.
Venue — Sean’s abuela’s backyard in Concord with views of the mountains
Band — The Strings & Things Band, a band whose members include Sean’s maid of honor’s stepfather, mother, and brother
Food — Pork-Eez Pig Roasts
Pies — Homemade by Sean’s mom and her best girl friends
Planner — A self-proclaimed Pinterest DIY wedding planned with the help of Sean’s mom Sally Gallerani and maid of honor Sarah Pike
Menswear — Pants and jacket from Zara, shirts from Banana Republic, shoes from Aldo, ties from The Tie Bar, and suspenders from Etsy shop HeySir
Rings — A secret that Josh is “taking to his cold dark grave”
Photographer — In DIY fashion, Sean acted as the photographer
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