Rustic Mountain Wedding at Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama, DIY Wedding Planning Ideas, Invitations Stationery & Details
I am super excited to hit publish on this gorgeous Pinterest-y Rustic Mountain Wedding centred around FUN, nature, the mountains & rustic forest vibes. Read on to to find out how Morgan & Scott planned their wedding at Oak Mountain State Park. Lots of vendor details in this interview, y’all – if you’re planning your own DIY wedding, read on to get tons of great tips from Morgan on how to do it all while not losing your mind & still being able to ENJOY your big day.
Location: Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama
We had the wedding at Oak Mountain State Park. We were able to rent a pavilion that had a field on both sides of it, so we used one field for the wedding and one field for the reception. Since we were just renting a pavilion from the state park, we saved a ton of money and paid under $200.
1. Please tell us a little about the two of you and how you met!
Scott and I met on MySpace when I was 15 and he was 16. We had mutual friends and eventually ended up at the same New Years Eve party after chatting online and texting for over a year. We had our first kiss that night, New Years 2007 and we were instantly best friends from there on out. We joined the Navy together in 2008 and didn’t actually accept that we were destined to be together until December of 2014.
2. The wedding – what was the theme that you had in mind and why?
I would say if we had a theme, it would just be FUN. We had an inflatable obstacle course, which was not just for the kids, lots of yard games and a paper airplane station for our departure. We are huge supporters of our state park, so we had our wedding at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Al. We tried to focus on bringing in as many local and family grown elements as possible, so we ordered pizza from a local pizza joint, Buck Creek Pizza, and rummaged through our parent’s houses for as many decor items as possible. We had our best friend, who also joined the Navy with us, officiate our ceremony. We had a lot of DIY projects and tons of trips to thrift stores and antique malls.
(Editor’s Note: This wedding was full of special touches, like this one below. Morgan says “Some of the bridesmaids held picture frames of loved ones who have passed away instead of flowers. It was extra special because they each chose who they would carry based on their relationship with the loved one, so it was meaningful for the bridesmaids too. From what I have been told, the photos were the beginning of the wedding tears when the girls walked down the aisle.”)
The Dress & The Ring
3. What did you have in mind when you were thinking about your look for the wedding?
I knew I wanted lace sleeves and off the shoulders. I wanted something classic that I could potentially pass on to our future children.
4. Where is the dress from?
I got the dress at a sample sale from Heidi Elnora and had a local dress maker design the lace top. It turned out just like I envisioned.
5. Did you always think you’d find something here, or was it a chance find? Tell me more about your story of how you found the dress!
I found out about the sample sale the night before the sale and I live 2 hours away from Heidi Elnora’s store. I knew that we had to be first in line to find the dress, so I woke up around 4am and hit the road to Birmingham. My mom and one of my bridesmaids joined me and we ended up being the 3rd in line. Since they only allowed 5 brides in at a time, it was perfect. After we found the dress, Heidi actually came in to congratulate me. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in buying my dress.
6. Can you recommend other similar stores?
I highly recommend finding sample sales. If you have local dress designers, check them out first. Like I mentioned earlier, we are strong believers in supporting local businesses. Plus it is way more personable when you can meet the person who designed your dress.
7. Where are the bridal accessories from?
Since the wedding was outside, I wore Kate Spade Keds. I was very glad I didn’t opt for heels because I wouldn’t have made it down the aisle without falling.
My garter was made by GadaByGrace.
My earrings were Scott’ birthstone, aquamarine. Sadly, I didn’t find a local or small business for those.
8. Where is your ring from? What’s the story behind it?
Scott bought me a diamond necklace the year before we got engaged for Christmas. Apparently, he was apprehensive about buying a diamond piece from an online jeweler, so he wanted to see how he liked their diamonds before he purchased my engagement ring from them. I had no idea that he was testing out diamonds for my engagement ring though.
My wedding band was my Nana’s and it was passed on to her from her aunt. We don’t have the exact age of the ring, but it is from somewhere around the 1880’s.
Wedding Details – Stationery, Cake, Signs, Decor
9. Why did you choose to go the DIY route?
One obvious reason was to cut cost, but I also find more beauty in unique things that are handmade. Part of getting married for us was enjoying the process of creating everything together for our wedding.
8. How did you use Essem Creatives Products & what was your experience like?
I wanted to create an invite that matched our personalities, but I was struggling to bring everything together in the design. We wanted an outdoor look with a touch of class. I started browsing Etsy for some design elements and the trees were just what I was looking for.
Editor’s Note: Featuring in this invitation design is our very own Rustic Forest Design Kit!
9. Where did you get your wedding stationery printed?
I used a local printer, Kemp & Sons.
10. What are your top tips for other bride-to-be’s out there on DIYing their stationery / wedding?
Don’t feel like you have to create everything on your own. Collaborating gives designs a unique perspective that you cannot achieve with just your eyes alone. I got input from a few of my fellow graphic design friends and my husband, who has no design background, also helped make decisions on the design. Also, if someone makes a suggestion and you end up not liking it, don’t change your design to please them. It is your special day and their feelings will not be hurt.
11. Please tell us about your main vendors (cake, decor, event planner, photographer, stylist, etc.!)
My mother-in-law’s friend baked the cake and I pressed the flowers for the cake.
I bought the flowers at a local nursery, Blooming Colors, a week before the wedding. Since I didn’t have much time for them to dry out on their own, I placed them in the microwave between paper and paper towels with tile pieces on top to draw the moisture out.
Most of the decor was done by me with the help of friends and family.
My mom bought over 100 gourds from a local man of craigslist and painted them white to place along the aisle and throughout the reception area. I put doilies and scraps of lace inside embroidery hoops and hung them throughout the area. My mother-in-law and I cut lots of wildflowers from the side of the road a few days before the wedding for flowers. My husband made the arbor from birch trees at his sister’s house. He also make the cedar cookie stand. We bought some letter ballons from Revelry Party Company to spell out our last name, which ended up being a super cute last minute feature. I also made garland from glass test tubes wrapped in a copper wire and placed a dry flower in each tube from Artistry in Florals.
I had a close friend function as the wedding planner the day of the wedding. I honestly underestimated how much a wedding needs a wedding planner, even if it is just for the day of the ceremony. Luckily, she was more than willing to handle absolutely everything and put out all of the fires throughout the day.
Our photographers were also friends of mine, who happen to be incredible photographers, and they went above and beyond their call of duty. Not only did they shoot amazing photos, they came to our rehearsal dinner and helped wrangle everyone together to successfully rehearse. Once again, I failed to realize how important a wedding planner can be for the day of and the day before the wedding. Thankfully, these ladies are wedding experts and they helped us get organized.
Our videographers were 65 South Productions.
I am lucky to have friends with such diverse skills. Two of my bridesmaids are hair stylists, so we were able to tackle everyone’s hair without hiring anyone extra.
General Bridal Advice
12. What are your top tips for bride-to-be’s in general?
It is really easy to get caught up in wedding planning and stress over making sure everyone has a good time at the reception. I tried to be sure that we focused our wedding on celebrating our relationship with people we love, rather than putting on a grand party to entertain people. At the end of the day, everyone had a blast, but it was because we put together a day that was all of the fun love that we share.
Remember that it is your day. Traditions are nice, but if it doesn’t fit you, make your own tradition. We opted out of the traditional unity ceremony options like the knot or sand ceremony and planted a tree with dirt from both of our childhood homes. We also opted to have a friend officiate our ceremony instead of our local pastor. Our day was extra special having someone up there with us that has known us since the very beginning.
Decide ahead of time where you want to invest your money in the wedding and accept that you may not be able to afford to splurge on everything you want for your day. We opted out of hiring a DJ and had a friend hook up his own speakers and play music from his phone.
If your wedding is outside, don’t forget about everyone being able to hear the ceremony. I realized last minute that we had a decent size guest list and the wedding was out in an open field. I didn’t want to hold a mic or have a huge mic in the middle of our photos, but I wanted everyone to be a part of our vows. We rented some wireless lavalier microphones from guitar center and put them on my husband and our officiant. It was enough to hear me without having to wear a mic too.