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Real Weddings: A Low-Key Party Rich With Romance

Nov 14, 2019

by Julie Schneider

In our Real Weddings series, we share stories of recently wed couples who used Etsy to source items for their celebration, and learn more about how they planned the day they said, “I do.”

When you’ve loved someone for a long time, you settle into your own comfy little groove, and for Emily and Terrell Allen, nothing could be more romantic than that. The couple, who met through college athletics nine years ago, made their commitment official in 2018 on a crisp, early-spring afternoon in Auburn, Georgia, with a wedding that honored and underscored the beauty of their enduring, easygoing relationship.

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Weaving together a mix of soft textures and warm hues (think rose gold and brass accents, glowing candlelight, lush tablescapes, and a palette of rich jewel tones), they created a celebration that was at once laid-back and decidedly dreamy. Terrell’s uncle officiated, and his cousin sang a John Legend song as the couple walked down the aisle. In the farmhouse-inspired venue, 110 of their closest family and friends watched the pair exchange vows.

Emily and Terrell's reception, glowing with candlelight

Assembling the elements for their dream day was a process that Emily describes as simple and low-key. She and Terrell each took charge of the parts of planning that best suited their interests. Emily, the owner of a brand design agency and Etsy shop Amavi Studio, attended to the visual details, while Terrell, the director of a youth basketball program, handled the food and music. “We knew we wanted it to be relaxed and casual, just like we are,” says Emily.

Together, they singled out the traditions that suited their vibe as a couple and skipped ones that felt too formal. Lightweight bohemian wedding dress? Check! Seated four-course dinner? Pass! Instead, they hired a taco truck to serve up seven types of tacos, all-you-can-eat style, and everyone could sit wherever they liked. Guests piled into a retro mint green van-turned-photo booth to smile for the camera under twinkling string lights. And the dance floor was always full. “We both say it was the best day of our lives,” says Emily. 

To throw a party that perfectly reflected their partnership, the couple turned to Etsy for personal, just-right touches. “Being a small business owner myself, I knew that I wanted to support other small business owners throughout the wedding,” Emily says. Here’s what they picked.

The bride and groom lean in for a kiss on their wedding day.

For the bride and her squad

“I wanted a dress that was easy to move in, without a lot of underwire and structure,” says Emily, which led her to Dreamers and Lovers, a bohemian-inspired Etsy shop that offers a try-before-you-buy system—a big plus for brides like Emily who don’t love the fuss of an in-person fitting—and custom sews each dress to the measurements of the bride. From the privacy of her own home, Emily tried on, and ultimately selected, an elegant backless ivory lace wedding gown with cap sleeves and a flowing train. Opting out of the veil tradition for the ceremony, she wore a boho-glam headpiece, with delicate chains that swept across her forehead. For the reception, she switched things up and rocked a vibrant floral crown fashioned by her florist. 

Emily's backless lace wedding gown from Dreamers and Lovers, hanging on display
SHOP: Backless lace wedding gown from Dreamers and Lovers, $1,547
Emily's mother buttons the back of her dress
Emily puts on her bridal heels
A portrait of Emily and Terrell on their wedding day
SHOP: Ivory lace wedding gown from Dreamers and Lovers, $1,547
A collage of photos showing Emily hugging her mother, walking down the aisle with her father, and embracing Terrell during their first look
A black and white portrait of Emily and Terrell on their wedding day

Get Emily’s look

A collage of Etsy items hand-picked to match Emily's style
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Silk bridal bouquet from Holly’s Flower Shoppe, from $115; art deco rhinestone studs from Emma Katzka Bridal, $98; burgundy flower comb from Lola White Shop, $23; boho hair chain with crystals from Hushed Commotion, $175

To accompany her, each of Emily’s bridesmaids picked her own dress in either forest green—her favorite color—or tan, instead of strictly matching. “We wanted everyone to feel natural,” Emily says. As a token of appreciation, she gave each bridesmaid a slender bangle imprinted with the words, “You are my person,” along with a few other little personalized gifts that she hand-picked for each of them.

Emily and her seven bridesmaids

Get the bridesmaids’ look

A collage of Etsy items for bridesmaids
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Velvet wrap bridesmaid dress from Coralie Beatrix, from $125; thistle and eucalyptus dried flower bouquet from Davia Floral Design, $120; mismatched bridesmaid dresses from Coralie Beatrix, from $99; personalized stacking bracelets from Zenned Out, from $38

For the fellas

Terrell’s show-stopping burgundy velvet suit jacket was a focal point of the day. “He loves fashion,” Emily says. “He tried on a bunch of different things, but when we saw that jacket, we were like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s perfect.’” Paired with a classic white button-down shirt, a skinny floral tie, and black slacks, the jacket helped shape the palette and textures the couple used to design the occasion as a whole. Terrell’s five groomsmen echoed his look with coordinating floral ties and sharp black suits.

A reflection of Terrell putting on his tie in the mirror
A black and white portrait of Terrell dressed up on his wedding day
Terrell and his five groomsman
Emily and Terrell recess down the aisle after their I dos, all smiles

Get Terrell’s look

A collage of Etsy items hand-picked to match Terrell's style
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Skinny floral tie from Etsy, prices vary; men’s red velvet blazer from Principal Vintage, $138; dried eucalyptus boutonnieres from Wild Rose and Sparrow, $19 each

For the invitations

To save money on some of the details (and put her own creative energy to use) Emily decided to do the couple’s invitations by hand. Using her stationery-making skills, she created custom save-the-dates with hand-deckled borders and edged them in rose gold foil the same shade as her wedding ring. For the invites, she selected a high-quality handmade cotton rag paper from local Etsy shop Rag Papeterie, and lettered them with her own loose, free style of calligraphy. “I wanted them to reflect our overall relaxed vibe to guests, yet still feel really thoughtful and put together,” she says. Emily also DIY’d event signage that matched her invites in color and style. Finally, as a surprise for each of their parents, she hand-wrote keepsake thank you notes that she and Terrell gave them during their families’ first looks.

Emily and Terrell's wedding invitation suite
A collage of paper details from the wedding day
An acrylic name sign that Emily designed for her wedding day reads "The Allens"
Emily's mother reads a framed, hand-lettered note that Emily presented her as a gift during her first look

Get the look

A collage of Etsy paper, signage, and wedding gifts
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Handmade cotton paper and envelopes from Rag Papeterie, $19 for a pack of 10; personalized keepsake note from Amavi Studio, $136; custom acrylic name sign from Mulberry Market Design, from $65

For the decor

To show that a laid-back love story can still be ultra-romantic, Emily dialed up the drama in her decor picks, layering together metallic accents and loads of lush, natural textures in a moody palette of scarlets, plums, and forest greens. Gauzy cotton table runners from Linen Lark adorned the sweetheart table where Emily and Terrell dined, as well as the aisle they walked down, for a soft and welcoming feel. The pair exchanged vows under an arbor twisted with greenery that Emily and her dad built together. On tables swathed in dark fabrics and leafy garlands, burgundy and white candles flickered with an ambient glow atop brass candlesticks worthy of a fairytale feast. 

The supple, cinnamon leather of their guestbook cover was stamped with a custom message for the travel-loving couple: The adventure begins here. Guests filled the pages with activities—like river rafting or backpacking in Australia—with the idea that Emily and Terrell can follow the suggestions as they journey through life together. “It gives us something fun to look back on and check off the items as we go,” Emily says. The first one they crossed off? Skydiving—a bucket list item they tackled for their first wedding anniversary earlier this year.

Emily and Terrell exchanging vows in front of their friends and family
Emily's bouquet in close-up detail
A collage of decor details from Emily and Terrell's wedding day
The dessert table, set with cakes and a donut stand, is accented by a trio of eucalyptus hoop wreaths on the wall behind it
The couple's sweetheart table awaits them, adorned with gauzy fabric and bundles of eucalyptus

Get the look

A collage of decor items from Etsy, hand-picked to match the style of Emily and Terrell's wedding
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Eucalyptus hoop wreath from Nova Wreaths, from $39; brass candlesticks from Mighty Vintage, $114 for set of two; gauze table runners from Linen Lark, from $8 for 45 inches; wedding arch garland from Bloomers Trading Co., from $79 for 3 feet; leather guestbook from Claire Magnolia, from $76 (plus extra for personalization)

Wedding planning advice from the bride and groom

During the planning process, there were times when Emily and Terrell’s casual approach was met with skepticism from loved ones. “But I’m glad we stuck to our guns,” Emily says. “It made the day something special.” The key was staying focused on elements that would make their day feel joyful and singular. “Don’t compromise your vision,” Emily adds. “Your wedding is supposed to celebrate your story and your love.” Following your heart might even work out even better than you expected. “We didn’t know people would love the taco truck, but that’s pretty much what people talk about now—how amazing the tacos were. So be original, and just own it.”

Emily and Terrell pose in front of their mint green van-turned photobooth
Emily and Terrell enjoy a private moment together away from guests
Emily and Terrell have their first kiss as husband and wife
A collage of details from Emily and Terrell's reception, including the mint green van-turned-photobooth, the taco truck, the cake, and a photo of Emily and Terrell eating dinner at their sweetheart table
Emily and Terrell raise their hands in celebration of their I-dos
A collage of guests dancing at Emily and Terrell's reception
A black and white photo of Emily and Terrell from behind as they recess down the aisle

Photographs by Hannah Michelle Photography.

Shop Etsy weddings

Ivory Lace Bohemian BACKLESS WEDDING GOWN. simple and elegant wedding dress with open back and long elegant train. Cap sleeves. Ivory Lace
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