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.
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.
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.
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.
Get Emily’s look
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.
Get the bridesmaids’ look
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.
Get Terrell’s look
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.
Get the look
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.
Get the look
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.”
Photographs by Hannah Michelle Photography.