Meet Us In The Mountains
for a Refreshing, Relaxed & Practically Free Wedding
On a recent glorious fall day The Gilded Gown and friends staged an adorable faux wedding at Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg, TN. We wanted to showcase a no-fuss, simple and carefree wedding. The premise: a young couple texts and emails their family and friends to “Meet Us In The Mountains for a Hodge Podge Wedding.” Everyone is invited to bring a covered dish to share. and meet in a park for a casual, yet meaningful ceremony. Using thrift store finds, a relaxed attitude and the beautiful mountain setting we feel like we achieved a stylish, fun and basically FREE wedding. And if we can pull this off, anyone can!
The invites cost nothing. The location, a public city park, was free. Mynatt Park offers a covered pavilion for rent also, but we wanted to be outside. If you want a roof over your head it is a mere $25 for four hours. So far this wedding is proving cost effective!
We envisioned a cozy & carefree but also cute wedding. Since we knew the day would be chilly, we had a row of flannel shirts on hand for guests. Stacks of cozy plaid throws were also available. These items were all purchased from Community Shares Thrift Store on Chapman Highway for less than $15! Everyone looked so cute in their mismatched plaids. Theron McKenry, our “groom”, rocked an awesome Austrian Plaid Jacket from Goodwill on Kingston Pike. This vintage gem set us back a whooping $4.99. Our “bride,” Grace McRae Alexander, made the sweet chalkboard sign. If you want to plan a themed park wedding for yourself and don’t want to spend any money on decor, you can always ask your guests to bring blankets, flowers or props to enhance the style you are going for. People love to pitch in! We had a blast sourcing our plaid/flannel/vintage vibe items at local thrift stores!
Grace, who loves the Avett Brothers, took inspiration from one of their songs for her “wedding” day. The sentiment of their lyric “i brought you to the mountains to watch the clouds go by” perfectly captured the relaxed and loving feeling we wanted for the wedding.
The chalkboard heart was $1 at Community Shares Thrift Store on Chapman Highway. This simple sign tied to a tree with twine made a perfect photo backdrop. The blanket of fall leaves and crisp fall air added a festive feel to the day.
The guests all took pics of the day using their assorted Ipads and phones. The spectacular scenery & the beauty of the young couple provided some amazing shots. No professional photographer = FREE!
Grace personalized her stunning Justin Alexander gown from The Gilded Gown with a hair vine, feathers and twigs. Her bouquet was courtesy of the grocery store floral department, coming in at $3.99.
Our friends and family had a blast pitching in for the day. The lovely Cheryl McKenry, mother of the “groom,” helps Theron prepare for the ceremony!
All the guests brought homemade dishes, which were laid out on a hodge-podge plaid tablescape. The succulents were 3 for $12 at Whole Foods and served double-duty as table decor and bridesmaid “bouquets.” The vintage dishes were sourced at local thrift stores and garage sales for under $10.
One of the guests brought old-fashioned soda (from Cracker Barrel) displayed in a vintage Royal Crown Cola crate. So fun!
The food was simple and perfect for easy snacking. With everyone bringing something, the food costs were minimal. Plus the pot-luck atmosphere added to the sense of a community wedding. Everyone lent a hand and therefore felt invested in the day. Mesh food covers are a good idea if you have a food-laden table in the middle of the woods! Nobody wants bugs in the dip!
The desert table was particularly appealing as we had a cake and our brand new invention: THE DONUT TREE! This adorable station took just a few minutes to set up. We love our donut tree: a thrift store candle holder stacked with yummy Dunkin’ Donuts. The lovely, lovely fall cake was purchased for $20 from Whole Foods and displayed on a bed of moss and fruit on a wooden pedestal thrifted for just $2. The vintage cameras are also thrift store finds.
The wedding party was also fuss-free with no matchy-matchy dresses or tuxes. Everyone was encouraged to just show up with love in their hearts, comfortably dressed for a fun day in the mountains. Easy on the pocket books and low on the stress level.
We feel like a real couple could easily replicate this wedding with almost no expense. Which is kind of refreshing considering the amount of time and money that goes into a typical wedding. Even if you don’t have a fortune to spend, you can have a day to remember. What matters most is sharing the day with loved ones and creating memories for a lifetime. Love and laughter and sunshine. Majestic trees and babbling creeks. Commitment. Fresh air, Moss and the crunch of leaves underfoot. Hugs and support. The Mountains. Watching the Clouds Go By….These things are free….but priceless.
Heartfelt thanks to Grace, Cheryl & Theron, Todd, Joan, Jill & Uncle Ed, Suzanne, Morgan, Bef & BigLilWonder, Heather, Drew, Hannah & Mia, and Cassy & Rebel & Penelope!