We are super excited to share this beautiful DIY country wedding today. The bride sent us a lot of information – including their super sweet engagement story. We figured instead of us going on and on, we’d get right to the good stuff!
From Jenna: Andrew and I started officially dating in the fall of 2009. We bonded over apples and mangos, hay barrels and sunsets, train tracks and fields, bicycles, music, and dreams of world traveling. Andrew became my best friend, and I feel more loved by him than anyone. I feel that he knows me better than anyone ever could, and I trust him completely. This is how I knew I wanted to marry him and live my life with him! The night we got engaged, we picked up dinner to-go from our favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Grit, and drove a ways out of Athens to find a good spot to have a picnic, as we would frequently do together. We picked a random field (though he had secretly already picked it out before-hand), and when we pulled up to it, I saw the picnic already set up in the distance…
We both took off running towards it, and as soon as we got to it, he couldn’t wait so he got to one knee and asked me to be his wife. I remember looking down and seeing the ring he had picked out for me laying on a piece of red flannel in his hand. It seemed so surreal. You spend your whole life wondering what this moment will look and feel like. There we were in the middle of an open field, surrounded by tea light candles and a beautiful sunset. Of course I said yes, and then we spent like 20 minutes just running around the field screaming and jumping up and down. Neither of us could eat because of the excitement, so we just talked and dreamed about our future together and watched the stars come out until we headed to a friends house for a small get together. I remember feeling like it was Christmas. All of the sweet messages I got from friends and family throughout the next couple of days… it was so special. It was simple but in one night my whole life changed. It was such an unreal but incredible feeling!
What inspired me the most about our wedding was simply nature. Being outside is when I feel most connected to the world, to myself, and to God. Not getting married outside didn’t really cross my mind. So we tried to keep everything simple, rustic, earthy, and family oriented. I have always wanted to walk barefoot down the isle, and I never have envisioned myself wearing a veil- so I decided to wear a flower head-wreath instead. That combined with Andrew’s constant bouquets of fresh picked wild flowers throughout our dating relationship, and it kind of molded into our “theme.” It honestly happened by coincidence that our invitations I loved and picked out happened to have a floral wreath, much like the one I wore on my head. So it all seemed to come together.
Finding our wedding venue was the hardest part in our planning process. I have always wanted to just get married in an open field, but I knew we needed a “rain plan” so we spent hours browsing online for old restored barns. We love living in Athens, GA and wanted our out of town guests to enjoy the city during our wedding weekend, so we wanted our venue to be close to home. I had a few friends get married at Tucker Plantation over the last several years. Their ceremonies and receptions were held in the main building on the property, and I thought it was beautiful but I wanted something more casual, and I wanted to be unique. As our desired wedding date got closer, we decided to check out Tucker and see what they offered. We found out that they had an outdoor ceremony site, which wasn’t used as often. The site was at a huge and beautiful tree, surrounded by nothing but field, hay bales, and trees. When we saw it, even in the dead of winter, we were in love!
My bouquet consisted of wild flowers that Andrew picked for me the morning of our wedding, mixed with a little baby’s breath. I wanted our wedding day to be special, but also to feel normal and like us, so I needed these little personal touches. It wouldn’t have been like me to go through a florist and have fancy bouquets and centerpieces. I didn’t want to change myself just for the sake of “wedding culture,” especially not on the one day that we get to truly celebrate who God made us to be! To continue with the earthy/flower theme, I wanted an actual “garden” as the table centerpieces. A family friend lent us some wood, and my dad and brother built the flower boxes, then some of my bridesmaids helped by filling them with fresh soil and flowers on the morning of the wedding. I still have most of the boxes and plan to use them as decoration in my house for years to come.
I also wanted the gift for the guests to be something they could use and hold onto, but also something with meaning. I filled little bags with wildflower seeds because planting seeds and watching flowers grow parallels the process of a healthy, fruitful relationship- the patience and nourishment it needs to grow, and enjoying and reflecting in the beauty of what it becomes! One of my favorite little touches was placing those bags in the wheel barrow that my dad used when I was little. I have memories of him pushing me around the yard in it- these are the kind of little things I tried to keep in mind as we planned out the wedding details!
We did not have a ton of décor, because the building our reception was in was already so beautiful. Pretty much everything at our wedding was DIY, or borrowed from someone else. As far as décor, though, we kept it simple and let our beautiful surrounding speak for itself!
Advice for Future Brides:
-Know that everything will work out. Planning can be really stressful, especially when things don’t happen the way you want them to. It took us until 3 months before our wedding to actually find a venue, our recessional song didn’t play because the sound system overheated so we and our bridal party walked back down the aisle to nothing but the sound of people clapping and laughing (awkward!), our band cancelled on us 5 days before so we had to scramble to find another, one of my bridesmaids had to go to the ER during my reception because of an allergic reaction, and the hundreds of mason jars that I literally spent years collecting to use as decoration at my wedding? I completely forgot to bring them to Tucker and didn’t even realize that they were still sitting in a box at my old apartment, packed and ready to go to the wedding, until we got back from our honeymoon. Just accept things will go wrong and that it’s okay! Maintain the gratitude you feel for the person you are marrying and the day that you two get to have, and it will overshadow all of those little things. Eventually you will look back and laugh at the mishaps. What’s important is that you are beginning your new life with the person that you love most!
-Utilize your resources! People are happy to give to you and to be a part of your special day.
-Also, find ways to honor the special people in your life at your wedding. You always hear “it’s all about the bride,” which it is your day, but you wouldn’t be there without those special people. Make sure they know you’re grateful, and it will fill you heart with even more peace and joy! The moments at my wedding where people really felt the love are the moments that are so close to my heart now.
-At the end of it all… you get to be at the best party of your life, you don’t have to clean it up, and you get to go on vacation where everyone continues to share in your happiness. Enjoy it and savor every moment of this wonderful once in a life-time experience!
One of the biggest things that I was looking forward to was definitely our exit. We had floating paper lanterns for our guests, and got to spend time lighting them and watching them float away. Our mothers lit the first one together, then us, then all of our guests did. I loved spending those last few minutes with everyone instead of making a run for it. It was truly the most magical ending. Everybody was mesmerized and speechless, watching arm in arm as the lanterns floated away in the sky. We lit the last one, and shared a kiss, before making our way into a restored 1930s black London taxi (which Andrew had seen on our street a few days before the wedding and asked the owner if he would mind letting us borrow!). I think the floating lanterns really were the perfect ending to our magical day! That was a lot of things… but I couldn’t chose!!