Nicci and Neal’s wedding was a culmination of budget-friendly, do-it-yourself crafting and planning for a quirky rustic elegance theme. Not to mention a perfect marriage of some of Pantone’s hot colors for 2017. So if you’re considering any of these for your own wedding theme next year, be sure to check out how a touch of gold can tie together Pantone’s Greenery, Pale Dogwood, Kale, Primrose Yellow and Cranberry red in a beautiful array of jewel tones for a fall or winter rustic elegance wedding theme!
Nicci and Neal wanted their wedding to reflect their love of hiking and camping together, so they chose their venue at Natchez Trace State Park because it was the site of one of their earliest camping trips together as a couple. Located just outside Memphis, TN where they call home, the cabin-type venue offered a perfect woodsy vibe, complete with giant wood-burning fireplaces to keep their December wedding warm and cozy.
Nicci says, “For the decor, we wanted sophisticated, romantic rustic with a little bit of quirk and color, an emphasis on nature and naturally-found objects, and items we could use again in our married life rather than throw away or never use again. We are fairly practical and very crafty people, so almost all of the decor was handmade by us. We were also on a budget. It was more important for us to spend money on our future than on our wedding.”
By folding paper in various colors into fans and then painting the edges with gold, they created a beautiful and unique backdrop for their vows, outlined in evergreen drapes. They utilized some apple cider jugs two-fold – first to make homemade moonshine for the party and then by strategically painting parts of them gold to use as rustic centerpieces. The bride even painted gold mountains on the aisle runner she made to remind them of the Appalachian Mountains where her groom proposed. And check out the adorable gold-painted animal figurines that add a little wooded whimsy to the décor!
And we can’t fail to mention the stunning bride’s look – a lace sheath dress from DreamersAndLovers, with a fur stole that was a thrift-shop find, tied together with delicate jewelry and lace headpiece/veil made by the bride. Thanks to Jacquie Redd Photography for capturing this beautiful affair!
From the Bride:
Neal and I are outdoorsy people. One of the very first outdoor experiences we had as a couple was a weekend camping trip at Natchez Trace State Park. Nothing fancy – just a nice, quiet and pretty place close enough to home to escape, build a fire and live in our tent for a few days. When thinking of a place for our wedding, we checked all over Memphis, but everything was so expensive or not our style. We wanted the place we got married to have some special meaning to us. Eventually, it dawned on us to check Natchez Trace State Park. Turned out they had a gorgeous, all wood recreation hall with a stage. It was perfect – fit the budget, was close to Memphis for local friends and family, had special meaning to us, and was rustic, warm and cozy. AND they had two massive, wood-burning fire places, which were great for our December wedding. And we loved the “churchy” feel of the place – not to mention the surrounding nature.
So for the decor, we wanted sophisticated, romantic rustic with a little bit of quirk and color, and an emphasis on nature and naturally-found objects, and items we could use again in our married life, rather than throw away or never use again. We are fairly practical, and very crafty people, so almost all of the decor was handmade by us. We were also on a budget. It was more important for us to spend money on our future than on our wedding. So, for example, the vases we used were actually cleaned out cider jugs and recycled jars, painted with gold accent to make them fancy. The contents of said jars was used to concoct one of our reception beverages – a spiced and spiked apple cider “moonshine.” And the greenery in the vases was cut from our neighborhood park .
The aisle runner was a large piece of fabric I luckily spotted and purchased at a thrift shop and painted with tiny gold mountains (because Neal proposed to me in the Appalachian Mountains the year before). The fans were hand-folded and made by us, as were the paper streamers and pom-pom strands. For the altar, we purchased two evergreen camellia plants, with the intent of planting them in our yard to enjoy for years to come (and I’m happy to say they are thriving at our new home – haven’t killed them yet!). All the other plants (rosemary bushes and winter flowers) were given to guests to plant in their own gardens.
As for the specific colors and textures, we chose cream and gold for class, and coral pink, burgundy, evergreen and mustard-yellow because we felt the jewel tones were very wintery, yet still vibrant and fun and not too stuffy and boring. For texture – lace for old-timey romance, satin for elegance, and natural wood for rustic.
Snags and advice: If you decide to DIY your wedding, be sure that you absolutely LOVE to make stuff, or at least work within your ability for an enjoyable experience. Recognize when a task may be better suited for someone else. Otherwise, frustrations and stress could run high. Anything you don’t like to do and/or make, delegate to someone who does (family and friends are great for this and are usually more than happy to help!). Or, decide to support people who craft as a living by purchasing items or custom pieces from them instead. Be sure to allot yourself plenty of time to set up your venue – the day before if at all possible – so you can enjoy your special day. OR have friends and family help if you know time will be an issue. One snafu from our wedding – the van containing all of our decor arrived a couple hours later than planned.
We had planned to set up the venue the day before, before our rehearsal dinner, but alas, it was not to be. Instead, we stayed up WAY too late, after the rehearsal dinner, to set up. Neal and I went to bed as very tired people, and couldn’t sleep well. I think we were all a little frustrated from that experience! Also – be aware that if you do have family and friends as helpers, they will most likely shower you with love and help – so much so, that I highly recommend organizing tasks BEFORE you set up to avoid confusion and the feeling of inundation. And also – don’t sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Tough for me, a perfectionist at heart 🙂 Remember the reason for the decor (your marriage!), not the decor itself, to put yourself at ease.
For a touch of whimsy, we bought plastic toy animals and spray painted them gold. The ones that we kept are now Christmas ornaments we hang on our tree every year. And for the centerpiece of our cookie spread (we are NOT cake people – cookies are our favorite), we bought a quirky, porcelain bear and cat couple. The bear was Neal because a bear chased him while we were hiking the Appalachian Trail the year before, when he proposed, and I was the cat because, well, I’m an old cat lady. It came from MelaboWed. Anything we didn’t make ourselves, we tried to buy from other crafters and folks on Etsy. Here’s a list of stuff we got from other makers:
Photographer: Jacquie Redd Photography
Wedding dress : Dreamers And Lovers
Garter : Lucy Bridal Boutique
Fresh white pine garland from Sugar Mountain Wreath
Hand-crocheted doilies from DoilyWorld on Etsy (apparently no longer a selling member)
Wooden acorn box for the wedding bands from Cattails Wood work
Flower girl crown from Sunshine and Carousels
And a few other things we made and/or bought:
The veil, made by me
The jewelry, made by me
The invites, designed and made by me (using a personal photo we took while on the AT as the backdrop)
The fur shawl, an awesome vintage find from a local thrift shop
Bridal shoes, metallic pink booties from Anthropologie
Bouquets, made by me
Cookie stand wood slices, made by Neal
Lace table cloths, a mix of vintage/thrift shop finds
The vintage suitcase for our “leave-an-adventure” table, from my great aunt