A Creative COVID-19 Wedding on a Basketball Court

Elwanda Tulloch

If you scrolled through TikTok recently, you may have stumbled upon an epic transformation of a backyard basketball court into a dream bohemian wedding venue (if not, watch it here, stat!). While mesmerizing, what’s even more impressive is the amount of time it took for the DIY project to come […]

If you scrolled through TikTok recently, you may have stumbled upon an epic transformation of a backyard basketball court into a dream bohemian wedding venue (if not, watch it here, stat!). While mesmerizing, what’s even more impressive is the amount of time it took for the DIY project to come together—one month, to be exact.

Like many, Breanna Wallin and Chris Arneson abandoned their original wedding plans in the wake of COVID-19. “In the middle of June, we decided to flip our plans and go full steam ahead with creating our own wedding venue on our close friends’ basketball/tennis court,” says the bride. The wedding date? July 18, 2020, exactly four weeks later.

In the middle of June, we decided to flip our plans and go full steam ahead with creating our own wedding venue on our close friends’ basketball/tennis court.

“We had a vision of a romantic elegant boho wedding,” Breanna describes. To make that happen, the couple enclosed the space with 10-feet-tall white walls and covered the floor with white vinyl. From there, they dressed the room with floral arrangements and other décor details in shades of white, cream, champagne, gold, and tan. By the time Breanna and Chris were ready to walk down the aisle, it was hard to believe the wedding was in a backyard, let alone on a basketball court!

The quick transformation was made possible by wedding planner GariAnn Hedquist of Tin Sparrow Events, who Breanna refers to as the “glue in the entire planning operation,” adding, “[she] made changing venues and building a venue in a single month a possibility.” Of course, in true COVID wedding fashion, guests were seated at tables strategically placed six feet apart and were gifted custom face masks as favors.

Read on for more of Breanna and Chris’s unforgettable day, photographed by Alex Lasota.

Photo by Alex Lasota

Guests were invited to the backyard soirée with modern stationery that hinted at the elegant day ahead.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

In addition to following other safety protocols outlined by the state of Washington, the couple provided their guests with custom wedding masks. Their names were printed on each mask, along with their wedding date.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

Clad in matching attire, Breanna prepped with her bridesmaids the morning of the wedding. While her bridesmaids wore robes that mimicked their champagne gowns, Breanna wore her bridal best in an all-white robe with sheer sleeves from Robed With Love.

While this couple felt comfortable taking photos with their wedding party, it’s also OK to skip such intimate moments given the current climate. Many are opting to get ready alone, wear masks when around others, and/or take photos from a safe distance.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

I had so many people telling me to go with a different style than I had envisioned for the ceremony, but I am so glad I stuck to what I knew I wanted.

Photo by Alex Lasota

“I knew I wanted something extremely simple and elegant for the ceremony,” Breanna says of her search for the perfect wedding dress. She ultimately chose a figure-hugging silk gown with a plunging neckline and open back from A&N Luxe Label. “I had so many people telling me to go with a different style than I had envisioned for the ceremony, but I am so glad I stuck to what I knew I wanted.”

Photo by Alex Lasota

Another reason why she fell in love with her minimalist gown? “It paired perfectly with the veil and earrings I had chosen from BHLDN,” she says.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

Gorgeous florals were a large part of the day’s décor, so the couple tapped Simplified Celebrations to bring their boho vision to life. To start, Breanna carried a large bouquet of white, pink and tan roses mixed with sprigs of greenery and pampas grass.

Photo by Alex Lasota
 Photo by Alex Lasota

Finding bridesmaid dresses was a simple task for Breanna: As soon as she saw these satin champagne gowns from Fame and Partners, she knew they were the clear winners!

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

Her crew also carried smaller versions of her own bridal bouquet, which added hints of color to the muted dresses.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

In what Breanna describes as a “sweet and special moment,” her father walked her down the aisle. The intimate exchange before heading to the altar left both of them in tears.

Photo by Alex Lasota

Looking at the couple’s custom wedding venue, it was nearly impossible to tell that it was once an outdoor basketball court. Chris, along with Breanna’s father, spent four weeks building the entire space themselves. “We build out 10-feet-tall walls around the entire basketball court, painted them all white, and rolled out 4,000 square-feet of white vinyl flooring,” describes the bride of the ultimate wedding DIY project. From there, Sash Weddings brought in gold chiavari chairs, bisto lighting, and draping to finish off the space.

While the couple had a guest list well under the 100 allowed in their state at the time of the wedding, they went ahead and set up extra chairs so guests could choose to sit further apart and in the “pods” of their choosing.

Photo by Alex Lasota

When it was done being built, what I loved the most about it was the romantic feel it had. It felt intimate and like it was ours, which it was because we custom built it to fit our vision.

“It took vision and a lot of hard work from our family and friends,” she adds. “When it was done being built, what I loved most about it was the romantic feel it had. It felt intimate and like it was ours, which it was because we custom built it to fit our vision.”

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

Isaiah Ojeda built Breanna and Chris’s bohemian wooden wedding arch, which was decorated with white, pink and gold flowers, dried palm leaves, and pampas grass.

Photo by Alex Lasota

They also designed a custom neon sign touting their new last name. “We wanted everyone there to feel so welcomed and we wanted our love to be on display,” shares the bride.

Photo by Alex Lasota

The bride and groom tasked their five nephews as ring bearers for the ceremony. Each carried a sign highlighting a key date in Breanna and Chris’s love story, from the day they met to the day Chris proposed!

It was an adorable show, but Chris says the most special moment came when Breanna began walking down the aisle. “I had not seen her or her dress at all before the wedding,” he says. “I was brought to tears with how beautiful she was and how blessed I was to be marrying her.”

Photo by Alex Lasota

Since the couple transformed their pastors’ backyard into their dream wedding venue, Breanna and Chris asked them to officiate the ceremony as well. “We both have countless memories at their house and with them, so to be in their backyard with them marrying us, was surreal and extremely special,” expresses the bride. “They are family to us. We are so thankful for them and for how well they love us and have cheered us on as a couple.”

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

After exchanging personal vows, the newlyweds made their way down the aisle to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

Following the ceremony, Breanna replaced her minimalist wedding dress with a romantic A-line gown by Berta. The stunning reception gown boasted floral appliqués and champagne tulle.

Photo by Alex Lasota

No matter what happened, at the end of the day we were going to marry each other. Love truly does always win.

Photo by Alex Lasota

As a couple planning their wedding in the midst of a global pandemic, they cited the most stressful aspect was all of the unknowns—with rules and regulations regarding weddings changing constantly. To cope, they reminded themselves that “no matter what happened, at the end of the day we were going to marry each other,” adding, “love truly does always win.”

Photo by Alex Lasota

Breanna and Chris mixed bohemian, modern, and romantic elements in their wedding signage. Their lucite welcome sign was positioned next to an abundant arrangement of florals similar to the wedding altar.

Photo by Alex Lasota

They also created an Italian soda bar during cocktail hour where guests could make their own raspberry or peach flavored drinks. Later, everyone tasted tacos from local caterer Chapala Express.

Photo by Alex Lasota

Breanna and Chris also did away with a traditional photo booth, opting instead for guests to take their own photos throughout the night on disposable cameras (as to avoid congregating in a photo area).

Photo by Alex Lasota

Round tables were scattered more than six feet apart across the basketball court. Each place setting was marked with a champagne linen napkin while floral arrangements and gold candles served as centerpieces. As with the ceremony seating, guests were also encouraged to sit with their families and “pods” at dinner.

Photo by Alex Lasota

Their first dance proved to be quite romantic. Chris’s sister and a close friend sang “Falling Like the Stars” by James Arthur as they danced under the lit bistro lights. “I could have stayed there in that moment forever,” Breanna remembers.

Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota
Photo by Alex Lasota

The couple cut into a petite buttercream cake for tradition but encouraged guests to enjoy an array of individually wrapped cookies from Our Cookie House.

Photo by Alex Lasota

Looking back, the couple counts the wedding toasts as another highlight. Breanna says, “Along with our bridesmaids and groomsmen giving us the sweetest toasts, we asked our parents to say a few words as well,” she says. “Hearing our parents love, hearts, and thoughts about us and our wedding day had us cry and our hearts oozing with love and joy.”

Photo by Alex Lasota

The night came to a close with a confetti exit—and because of coronavirus, the newlyweds opted for a stateside honeymoon. Looking back, they say planning a wedding mid-pandemic reminded them of the most important part of any wedding: the marriage! “Remember the end goal,” Breanna says. “The end goal is marrying your very favorite person in the world, while the details and décor add so much magic to the wedding day, the reason it all is happening is because you are in love! So focus on that love, work as a team, and let your love inspire and create the beauty of the best day of your life.”

Editor’s Note: In the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that this couple decided to do what they felt was best for them based on the individual guidelines of their state and the information available at the time of their wedding. For more up-to-date guidelines, check the CDC and your state’s website.

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