Meet Us In the Mountains for A Refreshing, Simple & @PracticallyFreeWedding!


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!


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Dip-Dyed Wedding Dresses are Really Cool!


Dip-Dyed, Ombre, or Hand Painted Custom Wedding Dresses are really intriguing! Perfect for the bold bride, these adventurous creations add color and personality to ordinary white or ivory bridal gowns.

Andrea, a stylist at The Gilded Gown, showed us this incredible, sunset-inspired wedding dress featured on


The dress is the amazing handiwork of uber-talented artist (and bride) Taylor Ann Linko, who embellished the hemline of her gown using a beautifully creative spirit and an airbrush. She details her experience perfecting her dress on her personal website. We adore her artistic imagination — which is evident in every detail of her wedding, from her cascading dyed hair to the glorious profusion of colorful wildflowers flanking the aisle! Taylor’s stunning creation is garnering all sorts of attention on social media. She will be offering her services to other brides who want an original look on their special day!


Dip-dyed dresses can have just as much impact with a single color.

Southbound Bride featured this gorgeous reworked second-hand Dior Bridal gown. The hemline was hand-dyed a rich yellow.

The fall-hued orange hemlines on these custom wedding gowns add incredible flair:



This bride worked in her color from the bodice down, leaving the hemline untouched. The purple is dramatic and personalizes the dress just for her:


Another option is to simply dye the underlying layers of a dress. We love the peekaboo flair on this one! Isn’t she pretty in pink?


A subtler approach is adding a rose gold to the bottom half of the gown. Super sophisticated!


A hint of blue on the skirt of this gown provides just the right counterpoint to the vibrant hot pink floral crown:


If you are interested in dip-dying your gown, The Wedding Scoop has a tutorial here. If you are nervous and want to practice on a test gown, you can always visit The Gilded Gown to find an affordable dress in our half price gown department.

DIY Dip-Dye Ombre Wedding Dress


DIY Paper Flowers aka Decor you can make from office supplies #PlayAtWork #DIYDecor #DIYWeddingDecor

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We love to make something from nothing. And by nothing, we mean things you probably have available right now whether you are at home, school or at work. So kinda free.

Do you have a stack of copy paper, tape and scissors? Or if you don’t have any copy paper, you’ve probably got a newspaper or magazine handy. ‘Cuz you could easily substitute those for the copy paper. No tape? How about a glue stick? That’ll work too. So from those simple items you can create an amazing paper flower. Cluster a bunch of them together and you can have yourself a luxurious and gorgeous display. {Please view our previous post about how we used these for a glorious backdrop of White Paper Flowers here!}

So these flowers can be made in any color or pattern depending on the paper you use. We used white for our bridal shop window. But you could easily make whatever you like to tie into your wedding or party theme…

The following tutorial is for one style of paper flower, but you can easily make different kinds by varying the shape of petals you cut out and also varying the sizes of yours as well.


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Looking for a spectacular bouquet? Consider carrying a brooch bouquet on your wedding day!

Brooch Bouquets

Gorgeous bridal brooch bouquets combine so many elements we love: Vintage pieces, DIY spirit, creativity, opulence and beauty! These lovelies can be composed of family treasures, special sentimental pieces such as Great-Grandmother’s earrings, vintage boy scout pins, and even odd bits of lace from a heirloom wedding dress. Each bouquet requires upwards of 50 jewelry pieces to build. So that means a treasure hunt of epic proportions for brides wanting an ever-lasting, artistic bouquet on their special day. Many brides enlist the help of family and friends to search out brooches and jewelry pieces from thrift stores, Etsy, Ebay, garage sales, estate sales and their own jewelry boxes.

There are tons of YouTube video tutorials on brooch bouquet making, such as this one:



And, this awesome and amusing tutorial from blogger Anne at Planting Sequoias:

Stunning Brooch Bouquet! Underside has draped pearls around a ribbon-wrapped stem.

Brooch bouquets can be customized in any color or theme and embellished with ribbon, fabric floral elements and greenery.


Not feeling the DIY, but love-love-loving the brooch bouquets? Lucky Day! We personally know a world-class brooch bouquet artisan here in Knoxville. Sarah Brobst of Sarah Brobst Designs is a talented artist with stunningly gorgeous work, AND she is the sunniest, friendliest person this side of the Mississippi River. I personally guarantee you can’t hold back a big smile whenever you are in her presence. Her work starts at $150 and up. She can build a bouquet from your materials or source them herself.  Sarah, is a self-described “one woman operation, filled with fun creativity and the drive to repurpose items of all sorts.” Her work is unreal, gorgeous, interesting, fun, and, well, see for yourselves….

Contact Information

Sarah Brobst
Tel: (865) 684-7466

Sarah also makes fabulous jewelry and sculpture pieces. You can find Sarah’s Designs at:

  • McClung Museum – Knoxville, TN

  • Knoxville Visitor’s Center

  • Ijams Nature Center- Knoxville, TN

  • Customs House Museum- Clarksville, TN

  • The Local Company- Johnson City, TN

  • Willow’s Dream- Asheville, NC

  • The Curiosity Shoppe- Black Mountain, NC


Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, Renew – Before & After Transformation: We made our chairs CUTE


We are firm believers in the philosophy of repurpose, reuse & recycle here at the Gilded Gown. It’s better for our planet, and our wallets.

Since we are always trying to upgrade the retail atmosphere for our beautiful Gilded Gown girls, we constantly look for ways to improve what we already have. (On a tight budget!)

This week we decided to tackle some of the dressing room chairs. They were ok. Brown faux-Chippendale-y with so-so ivory upholstery. Serviceable, yes. Inspiring, well….nope.

After scouring the large back rooms behind the store where we keep our layaway department, break room, storage area & sewing room we found some treasures!

We had some chalk paint from Walmart ( plus we found a bolt of cute blue fabric in the sewing room. Ding-ding, lightbulb! We began our mission to decide, commit & succeed!

Madison was visiting the store with her Mom and volunteered to help out. (Love her!) Score!

To start, we removed the cushions and recovered them with the updated fabric. A few pulls on the staple gun and that was completed.

Next, Madison tackled the first layer of chalk paint. We had to wait for it to dry.

Then she applied the wax finish.

The hard part was waiting for the paint to dry because we wanted to see the finished project!

Finally, the cushion was reinstalled. Voila! Yay! Waaa-hoooo! The most beautiful chair in the entire world.

Ok, maybe not the most beautiful chair in the universe, but we are pleased with the results. And we think it is infinitely more bridal-shop looking. What do you think?

We invite you to come sit in our renewed chairs while you shop for your next formal event or wedding.

Or, if you feel like it, come on over to help us with our next project if you are crafty.

The Gilded Gown, located in Knoxville Center Mall, downstairs near Sears. Open Monday through Saturday 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday Noon to 6 pm.

Madison Paints the Chair

chair transformation decide