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DIY Tennessee Wedding

DIY Tennessee Wedding

When we say this next wedding is handmade, we mean every.single.bit. Bride Rachel made her own wedding gown from lace curtains, made the bouquets and boutonnieres, and her sister made all the food for the day. Josh and Amber of Ulmer Studios captured the day magnificently, including a stroll to see some nearby baby horses! Keep an eye out for the getaway where the guests soared paper airplanes towards the newlyweds as they made their exit.

bride groom holding hands

From the bride, Rachel: I wanted our wedding to be different from the traditional wedding because traditional just does not represent my husband and me. Both of us are pretty laid back and we wanted a wedding that allowed us to be ourselves and our guests to be themselves. In order to do this, we incorporated many things that would represent who we are. We knew that we wanted our venue to be somewhere that people would feel comfortable, so we chose a barn in which the owner allowed us to decorate and setup how we wanted. One of the other ways we incorporated a laid back feel was in our and our wedding party’s attire. I chose to design my own dress so that it would fit my style better than a dress from a bridal boutique. I’m not a seamstress by any means, so with the help of my wonderful mother, who can sew, we were able to take a plain sweet heart dress, I purchased online, and turn it into a dress that I loved. We altered the dress so that it would be more form fitting and purchased lace to create the look that I wanted.

jewelry on bridal sash
bride walking by horse

The most unique part of my dress is that the lace is actually a curtain I purchased from K-Mart! We looked at several fabric stores, but were unable to find the pattern I wanted, so my mom began looking at lace curtains and found the exact pattern that I had in mind for my dress. I knew that I wanted to incorporate something of my grandmother’s, so I used one of her brooches and pinned it to a braided belt. For my shoes, I knew that I wanted something a little vintage-ish, so I had purchased a pair of cream oxford type heels from Modcloth which went perfectly with my dress. We also wanted my husband’s attire to match his personality, so in order to do that we actually just went through his closet and chose pieces that would match with the colors I had chosen for the wedding and to go along with a newly purchased pair of skinny jeans and tie.

bride walking by horse
clock teal wedding decortulip reception centerpieces

lace wedding bouquets

As for the wedding party’s attire, I wanted a combination of the style of the wedding and each member’s style. In order to do this, we shopped for outfits that each member would want to wear after the wedding, but were in the color scheme of the wedding. As far as the decor goes, I wanted both a natural and a vintage feel. In order to do this, we interspersed lace and wood decor throughout the ceremony and reception.

bride lace hair accessory
bride lace hair accessory

bride and groom outdoorsgray tulle bouquets

tan wedding shoes

For the ceremony, I made the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages from lace, burlap, sticks, and wheat tops. I gathered sticks from my yard, and purchased the other items needed from Joann’s. My inspiration for this was wanting to be original. After looking at a lot of wedding websites, I knew that I wanted to create something that I hadn’t seen before. For the reception, in order to incorporate both the vintage and natural look, I used lace table cloths, a mixture of vintage serving platters along with vintage coffee mugs for our coffee/hot tea/hot chocolate bar and then slabs of wood that my dad cut and made into tiers for the display of the pies and our wedding cake. Our wedding cake was just a small cake since we served pies, cake pops, lemons bars, salted caramel chocolate bars, pumpkin donut holes, fruit, and trail mix to the guests. The cake topper was an estate sale find. My sister baked our cake, but we hadn’t been able to decide on a cake topper until my dad found these two little owls at an estate sale and I knew they had to be on top of our cake to represent my obsession of owl figurines, which just so happens to be a family obsession on both sides.

mismatched brown bridesmaids dresses

bride lace dresspink reception centerpieces

barn wedding ceremony

individual mini piesowl cake toppers

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Other things that we did to create a wedding that represented us was to make portions of the ceremony and reception that portrayed what was important to us,and what we liked. For the ceremony, we knew that we wanted God to be represented in it. He is everything to my husband and I and we wanted to represent that to our guests. In order to do this, we wanted the unity portion of our ceremony to show that He brought us together. At first, we had a hard time deciding how to do this until Alex researched unity ceremonies and found the unity braid. The braid has three strands representing God, Alex, and me. While we braided strips of lace, burlap and yarn we had one of Alex’s favorite worship songs (Divine Romace by Phil Wickham) playing and then once we braided the belt we asked the guests to join us for a moment of worship until the song ended.

ribbon altar backdrop

bride and groom by treesmug wedding favors

bride and groom first dance

For the reception, we had family and friends perform songs for us to dance to. As a surprise to me, Alex, my brother-in-laws and sweet friend surprised me with a performance of “Kiss the Girl” from my favorite Disney movie “The Little Mermaid.” It was the best surprise ever and really made our reception represent us.

paper airplane getaway

Wedding Vendors (Lebanon, TN):

Wedding Venue: Private Residence / Wedding Photographer: Ulmer Studios / Wedding Dress: Made by Bride / Bride’s Shoes: ModCloth / Lace Bouquets and Boutonnieres: made by bride / Wedding Caterer: Kendra Uhl, sister of the bride / Officiant: James Ulmer, father of the bride

View Comments (15)
  • Paper jets for confetti!! WHAT a great idea. Waaay easier to pick out of your hair than rice…

  • Hello-

    I love all of your pictures! What a gorgeous wedding!! Where did you get your owl cake topper??? It is so adorable! Thanks!

    • Hi, Elise! 🙂 I posted a reply in the comment section below, because I overlooked that I could reply to your comment directly.

  • What a great way to make their day meaningful. The bride and groom put so much heart into their day! Wow! And I love all the details captured by Ulmer Studios. Gorgeous photography.

  • Hi, Elise! 🙂 My dad bought my cake topper from an estate sale, so I can’t tell you an exact place where they would be available, but I did some research for you. The figurines have the name George Good 1975 stamped on the bottom. I was able to google that and several sites came up with his figurines for sale. I didn’t see my exact owls, but Etsy and E-bay had a baby version of mine that looked like it would match mine perfectly, but it had already sold. Maybe you can keep an eye out for a pair on either of those sites or some antique stores. Hope that helps!

    Thank you everyone for the kind words! 🙂

  • what a sweet wedding!! LOVELY details (that cake topper is TDF and LOVE the paper airplanes) and Ulmer Studio rocked it as usual 🙂

  • Hi Rachel!
    Thanks for your prompt response! I really appreciate you doing some research on that! I definitely would love to have something like that on my special day. My friends and family would all say that I have a minor addiction to owls! I will definitely keep my eye out!
    Thanks again! 🙂

  • Hi Steph,
    my husband bought his vest from Buckle. 🙂

  • Hi! Thank you for posting your beautiful pictures. I adored your owl cake topper and it inspired me to find one just like it! I had everyone on the hunt for them, and yesterday I got them! My friend from childhood found them at her dad’s house (they originally come as a set of four). Her mother who died of cancer 3 years ago collected the figurines. This is such a perfect and beautiful way to honor her memory on our day.

    Congrats on your lovely day and marriage and thanks for the inspiration.


  • Rustic, simple, beautiful wedding. Love the cake toppers. They are too cute!

  • I love the owl topper!! I’m going to try to find them too!

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