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Real Nashville Wedding: Quirky, Vegan Couple Wed on a Budget in Colorful, Non-Religious Ceremony

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jennifer is an offbeat, Nashville bride.  She and now-husband David are individuals who wanted to be sure that every aspect of their wedding spoke to their values and personalities.  They searched for a rare wedding venue that would suit their budget and their desire for a non-religious ceremony.  They doled out DIY tasks to the BrideKicks (aka bridesmaids) and had their grooms wear their favorite frocks in lieu of rented suits.  

Don't be afraid to do things your way.  It's your day - go classic, modern, big, small, colorful or muted - whatever makes sense for your wedding vision, budget, personality and style.  

At Ashley's Bride Guide, we believe there is only one rule:  You can't go wrong when you are true to you.  I hope that you enjoy seeing Jennifer and David's quirky, Nashville wedding as much as I did.


Jennifer & David
Wedding Date ~ May 4, 2013
Ceremony & Reception Venue ~ The Anchor
Budget ~ $10,000-$20,000
Guests ~ 100


quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

My Wedding Team


Planner | Sarah Willard of Music City Events
Photographer | Nashville wedding photographer - Wedlock Images
Gown | Ouma by Monique Sandoval (on Etsy, based in Phoenix, AZ)
Bride’s Accessories | Hairband: Amore Treasure on Etsy; Necklace: Scarlet Begonia; Earrings: Blue Nile
Groom's Attire | Pants: Banana Republic. Shirt: J Crew
Groomsmen's Attire: Own; Ties: TieRack (gift from groom) 
Bridesmaids’ Attire | ModCloth 
Hair | Leah Eddmenson at Parlour and Juke
Makeup | Seriously Foxy – Sylvia Fox
Stationery | Glosite: Invitations and website 
Programs | Bride 
Caterer | Savor the Flavor 
Cake Artist | Julia from Scratch 
Floral Designer | Belles Fleurs Designs
Reception DJ | DJ provided by The Anchor (Ryan Adams) from pre-made Spotify playlist
Rentals | Music City Tents and Events
Lighting | DIY Uplights
Coffee Bar | Beve

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

modcloth bridesmaid dresses

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

modcloth bridesmaid dresses


My Wedding Details

Was yours a destination Nashville wedding or do you reside in Nashville?

We live here in Nashville.

I've never heard of The Anchor.

We were supposed to get married at the International Garden at Scarritt Bennett but it rained all week and was 44 degrees the day of the wedding, so we moved the ceremony to The Anchor. It ended up being a great move!

I have NEVER seen a wedding dress like yours!  Was it custom made? 

Thanks! I had a really, really hard time with the dress at first. I looked at probably a thousand dresses and nothing made me happy. I was set on having something light, tea-length, and colorful and was striking out left and right.

I was scouring Etsy and found a vendor (Ouma, mentioned above) that looked really cool. Her designs were very airy and feminine but structured enough and customized. She also did ombre dyeing, which I love! So I put down a deposit with her in December. My husband had a work conference in Sedona, AZ in February so I contacted Monique and asked if I could come by her shop while we were in Phoenix traveling to Sedona. She was so awesome and nice! She did the measurements at the shop and I got to see a bunch of her work up close. It was a really lovely experience and I felt like she ‘got it’ completely. I was very, very happy with the dress.

I love that you had the courage to do something really different.  What inspired you to go that route with your gown? 

At every wedding I've attended, I've witnessed people stepping on the wedding dress! Even after it’s bustled! It made me cringe because those dresses are not cheap. Also, our budget and my personality really did not permit me to spend a ton on this category. We had other priorities (mainly food) and I just felt uncomfortable spending over $500 for a dress I wouldn’t wear much (I think the dress landed at $450). I also didn’t want to have to ask a friend to help me pee all night. I just wanted something easy, pretty and colorful.

While there are a LOT of dresses on the conventional market, I did not feel like I saw very much variety in designs. Just finding something short was essentially impossible, and when you factor in the price point you really eliminate anything conventional. I did go to the White Room and try on stuff. It was fine. The saleswoman was really very good. She took all the feedback I gave and brought back only what was in my budget. (At the time we went to the store, I used $1,000 as the budget so I could even justify being there.) She did a great job of listening to what I wanted and showing me options. At the end she was pulling from their non-bridal stuff because there was nothing left to look at in bridal. There was one dress that had a pretty cool skirt and even though they could cut it to a tea length for me, I was on the fence about it. However, I didn’t like the stiff, bulky top or the cost after alterations ($1,300!).

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding


How would you describe your style as a couple?

Casual quirky. I like to dress to impress but on a budget, and I like to look a bit set apart from trends. Dave does basics really well but then will go for one seriously unconventional touch in an outfit. We both go for quality over quantity.

How did you incorporate that style into your wedding (e.g. décor, colors, details or even picking the venue)?

We were very overwhelmed by the wedding industrial complex. It was immediately stressful to navigate after we got engaged. (Sarah was a great help in this area!) We picked three words to guide our wedding choices - quirky, intimate and colorful - and that helped a lot. At any point of consideration we could say, "does this fit/relate to quirky, intimate and colorful?" And if the answer was no, then it was out. It helped a lot to have a framework to operate within that was simple to execute and reflected us.

Dave was the color guy. I pulled a bunch of pretty color blocks off Pinterest and showed them to him. He picked the one he liked best (purples and greens) and that was what we used.

I was the detail person. I would find something neat and run with it (hello, cranes!). Also, having fabulous vendors really helped. I could convey a concept or a feeling (quirky, colorful and intimate) and then the vendor could filter that through and come up with amazing stuff. The best example is Belle Fleurs. I am flower dumb and was really kind of dreading it, but they responded SO WELL and had wonderful options. It was a great experience for me and I think they liked playing around with different kinds of things than they normally got to work with. 

What was the story behind your cake?

XKCD is a comic strip on the internet that Dave and I are both fans of. I had looked at a million cakes and didn’t like any. Finally I came across an XKCD themed cake and sent that to Sarah as an example. Sarah told me that Julia didn’t do exact replicas and I was a little bummed but we kept the appointment. At our cake tasting with Julia she showed us her drawing and I almost started crying! She had gone through the XKCD website and found a different cartoon that she really loved and had done an interpretation of for the cake. As it turns out, the cartoon she picked is our favorite; I gave Dave a framed print of it for Valentine’s Day one year that hangs in our bedroom. So she really knocked it out of the park with that one! (Also, the cakes were ridiculously delicious!)

We wanted to have two cakes so Dave went to town on the groom’s cake, making it the equivalent of a caramel macchiato in cake form. It was really tasty! I found zombie Lego bride and groom to use for toppers. Much cheaper than anything else I could find that I liked!

Did you have a vegetarian menu?

We had a vegan menu. This was important from the beginning. We eat a plant-based, whole-food (PBWF) diet (it's easier to say vegan but PBWF is more accurate) and knew we wanted the catering to reflect that. Savor the Flavor was really great about working within those constraints. We had a tasting with them and it was so, so good!

What was your (or your guests’) favorite aspect of your wedding?

I heard a lot about the cranes, the food, the coffee and the cakes. In the end there were about 1,300 cranes all over the place. I made most of those, with Dave making the remainder. I love them, and the fancy ones are hanging in our bedroom from the crown molding. It’s lovely to wake up to everyday. We had Beve do an espresso bar and it was really cool. They guys dressed great, made great coffee and were super cool in general. 

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

Our three big items were wedding planner, catering and photographer. Those three items took half the budget but were worth it. Sarah was fantastic, responsive and such a great asset. We love food and knew we wanted to do well here. And the photographers were awesome. We got a ton of really beautiful shots that we can cherish forever. We would not change a thing!

We saved on booze by doing beer, wine and champagne only. Our good friend brewed two different beers for us (Belgian and a Kolsch) which was a huge gift. We went super budget on the wine with Bota Boxes and inexpensive champagne. I think the venue was a steal for what we got out of it.  We didn’t do other things like a videographer or transportation. Cutting down or out areas that were of low value to us (programs, invitations, etc.) allowed us to spend more on items that were of high value (paid for bridekicks dresses, etc.). We both personally used a lot of things we already had clothing wise and encourage our wedding party NOT to buy anything new for the ceremony. I borrowed about 70 mason jars from friends for the centerpieces to avoid renting them.

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

I think the wedding turned out better at The Anchor than it would have at the Scarritt Bennett garden so I suppose not booking the garden! We would have saved a little bit of money there.

Soon after getting engaged I found that many people had so many opinions they wanted to share with me on the subject of the wedding! I think I did an ok job navigating that but certainly got better as time went on. Nodding, smiling and saying, “I’ll think about that, thank you!” in a genuine way was a valuable skill.  I am trying to repay that to friends getting married now by not offering unsolicited advice and simply responding positively to any details they share with me.

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

A wedding planning haiku:
Go your own way – joy!
Mind the budget, mind the fun
Relax, enjoy, wed

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quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

quirky eclectic nashville non religious wedding

About the Author:

Ashley King's avatar
Ashley King

Hey - I'm Ashley! I started to give Nashville brides, or folks planning a Nashville wedding, a local resource for inspiration and resources. Hope to see you at a bridal show soon! Until then, Find me on

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send Posted on January 17, 2014 | Filed under: DIY & Budget Wed Finds, Real Nashville Brides, Real Nashville Weddings,

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