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Jessica and Brett Turn a Large Wedding at The Mill at Lebanon into an Intimate, Timeless Affair

Friday, July 15, 2011

There are plenty of times when a bride is lost in ideas and becomes overwhelmed. But, Jessica and Brett knew that they were inspired by vintage flavors. So, they pegged their theme early on. The Mill at Lebanon offered the atmosphere needed to capture the couple's timeless style. And since Jessica is a photographer herself, she knew how important it was to have all the special moments remembered on film. So they chose Michael Howard Photography to capture every detail of their sassy, chic wedding day.

We especially love this wedding because Jessica is our beloved "bridal model".  If you've been to any Nashville bridal show/fashion show, you've probably seen her rocking the runway.  She's gorgeous and full of life.  In fact, when we saw her wedding featured on Michael Howard's blog, we thought she was modeling.  Turns out it was her real wedding and we couldn't wait to share it with you. 

Jessica and Brett were able to create a very intimate ambiance while hosting 300+ guests!  That's not easy to do.  We hope their approach gives you some great ideas, whether your guest count is large or small.


Jessica + Brett
Ceremony/Reception Venue ~ The Mill at Lebanon
Guest Count ~ 300
Budget ~ $10,000 - $20,000

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Our style:

We love the vintage feel to things, but I think we have a more classic, timeless style over all.

How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?

Our venue, The Mill at Lebanon really offered the vintage feel that we like so much, so once we had that nailed down it was all about enhancing the space with details. I chose yellow and chocolate as my two main colors and that kept with the vintage feel, but we used it in a more bright, fresh way to brighten things up. We also used a faux fireplace that was at The Mill when I saw it for the first time in December. We decorated it with candles as well as the aisle and kept everything warm and soft for the ceremony. Instead of a guest book we had everyone sign one of our favorite records, Coldplay Parachutes. It kept with the vintage theme & now we have awesome artwork for our home! Instead of doing a unity candle, we did a salt ceremony. This dates back to biblical times when people would use the salt to make a covenant with each other. We combined our individual grains of salt, we each had our own pouch, into one unity vial, symbolizing our united life. Our commitment to one another and to God cannot be broken unless we can separate our salt from our spouses. We also wanted to find a unique way to memorialize our family that had passed without making it super sad , so we used a small branch with butterflies on each branch to represent them.

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Why did you choose The Mill?

We were looking for indoor, vintage looking venues that could hold 300+ people. The Mill was referred to us by a fellow bride who had a similar issue, finding a venue that could hold that many people that wasn't a hotel and didn't break the bank. Once I saw the location and knew it met the requirements, we were sold!

What were some things that stood out?

I really loved the feel of The Mill and it's 100 year old history. Also a big plus was that we had several different rooms to choose from, I loved that we could have our ceremony upstairs in the loft to keep things more personal and intimate, and the reception downstairs in the bigger area where we could have all the fun stuff. At that time no one else had done the ceremony and reception the way we had chosen so I thought it was really awesome that you could choose so many different ways to have your wedding so they wouldn't all look the same.

The Mill at Lebanon may seem out there to some brides.  What made it "worth" it for you?

One of the things that really helped me to make up my mind was that they were having a special during Christmas time where you could get two rooms for the price of one. So, we were able to get the upstairs loft and the downstairs area for one great price and that totally made it worth it! Also, hearing all the guests say they loved the wedding and how unique it was made me feel like I had made the right choice. Was it convenient for your guests given it's distance from Nashville: Yes, the distance worked out fine for us. My husband grew up in Mt. Juliet so there were several guests that lived only 20 or so minutes away. For the rest of our guests it was about 30-45 minutes, but since we had the ceremony and reception all in the same place it made things easier on guests who traveled farther away. Also, for our older guests there was an elevator and convenient parking to help with getting them in and out of the wedding with ease.

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What was the favorite aspect of your wedding?

Well, my favorite moment was when my mom and grandmother walked me down the aisle to my soon to be husband. It was such a beautiful moment, my mom and grandma had walked and guided me through life and now they were walking me toward one of the biggest decisions of my life so far. Our favorite aspect was taking time to see each other before the wedding, just the two of us for our first look. It was the most personal time we got to spend together until the wedding was over.


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Where did you splurge? Where did you save/DIY?

I would say we splurged on our photography/videography and it was so worth it! Since I am a photographer as well, I knew the importance of having someone we trusted to capture our day. Having worked with Michael before, I knew that we were making a good investment. Some of our family thought it was a little expensive at first, but after the wedding when they saw the images they all totally got why it was so important to us and they wouldn't have it any other way. My savings came from working at a bridal shop for 5 years and having an amazing boss that wanted to make sure our wedding day was beautiful! I saved on my dress, tuxes, bridesmaid dresses and accessories. One other thing that we didn't really splurge on but was one of the best investments was our week of wedding planner! Amber with Planit Nashville was amazing! She did everything leading up to the week of the wedding and on the wedding day we didn't have to worry about anything. Her assistant even went and bought my mom shoe inserts when she mentioned that her feet were hurting! We were super impressed by her and very thankful that we made that investment, which wasn't that expensive at all!

Wedding Vendors:

Wedding invitations // Get Relish
Dress designer // Mikaella, purchased at Cherished Memories Bridal & Formal
Men's attire // Jims Formal Wear
Bridesmaids attire // Forever Yours
Bridesmaids hair accessories // A Headline of Fluff & Fringe by Jessica Frame (custom made hair pieces for each girl)
Hair // Beka WIlson, my aunt Becky is a professional hair and make-up artist, she works in the print and film industry and came home for the wedding to make me beautiful!
Makeup // My aunt along with a dear friend another amazing professional, Sharla Pruitt helped to make me and our entire wedding party look amazing!
Officiant // A very close friend, mentor and pastor, Justin Lett
Ceremony musicians // We are blessed to have talented friends - Mark Walter, Jennifer Whiteaker and Phillip Smith sang and played "House of God Forever" by Jon Foreman during our ceremony.
Caterer // Chef Penelope- she was fantastic and so reasonably priced!
Baker // Hermitage Bakery created our wedding cake and my Grandmother made her special banana pudding as the grooms cake because Brett is not a fan of cake
Florist // Fresh by CaryAnn
Photographer // Michael Howard, this was the first wedding decision I made because I knew Michael would capture our wedding day perfectly!
Videographer // Michael Howard Video, Andy was the videographer and his team went over and beyond our expectations, we are SO glad that we decided to do video, we will cherish it forever.
Reception musicians // We had our friends play our first dance song, which was "I Have and Always Will" by Dave Barnes, then a DJ (not a company, just an individual who did that on the side) played the rest of the music for the evening.

Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?

There is not much that I would change! I loved our wedding day.  One thing that was more of a headache than it was worth were the wedding programs. We tried to make them ourselves, but made a mistake with the paper that ended up costing us more money in the end. So, I would have just gone without them, most people probably just threw them away after the wedding.

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In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?

Remember that your planning a wedding for one day, but that your planning a lifetime together.

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Special thanks to the wonderful couple, Michael Howard Photography and The Mill at Lebanon for allowing us to feature this wedding.

About the Author:

Grace's avatar

I have a long list of loves. I love a hand-written letter, pictures of elephants, the color green and orange juice. But nothing trumps my passion and my fascination…writing and weddings. When I came across ABG I quickly realized that I wanted to be a part of their journey. I couldn’t be more appreciative for the chance that she’s given me. I’m crossing my fingers, looking for four-leaf clovers and embracing any good karma coming my way…I’d like to stay awhile.

See more posts by Grace »

send Posted on July 15, 2011 | Filed under: Real Nashville Weddings,

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