Shelby’s Wedding Gown Preservation in Tennessee
“It felt as if every moment in my life where I struggled, fought, or felt lonely was all worth it to be in that moment.”
-Real Bride Shelby
- AWGS member Oakwood Cleaners, based out of Nashville, TN, cared for Shelby’s wedding gown.
When and where was your wedding?
Wedding day was June 17th, 2017 at Meadow Hill Farm in Columbia, TN.
Who is the designer of your wedding gown?
The designer of the gown is actually JCPenney. It is my mother-in-law’s wedding dress that she bought in the 80’s. She was kind enough to offer it in case I had a hard time finding one that I would love, which I did. From the moment I saw her dress, though, I knew that it was the one. We did do quite a few alterations with her blessing (and insistence) to fit more of our style, but it ended up being the dress of my dreams (even from JCPenney, haha).
Tell us about your wedding day!
Our wedding day, I can honestly say, was the best day of my life. Most people worry, feel stressed, rushed, pressured, but ours was anything but.
From beginning to end, everything went as smoothly as one could truly hope for. I know that sounds a bit too good to be true, but it was.
Not only was the venue we had absolutely fantastic, from helping with set-up to giving us assistance with our guests, but the vendors (mostly comprised of our friends) were on time with quick and quiet set-ups.
Our friends and family were huge helps throughout the day and night. I think because not only is our love for each other deep, but it’s deep for our friends and family and everyone could feel it. Everyone was in a joyous mood so nothing could bring anyone down.
It is so funny but one of the most memorable moments of my wedding day is when I was completely alone waiting on the ceremony to start. Jess and our bridal party and parents were all in the barn ready to go out while all of our guests were ready.
I was on the opposite side of the barn completely alone.
I don’t know if other brides ever had this moment but I was happy, scared, curious, nervous, and also peaceful. It felt as if every moment in my life where I struggled, fought, or felt lonely was all worth it to be in that moment.
I also clearly remember the ceremony starting. I finally went into the barn where behind those doors every single person I loved was waiting on me. ME!
I do not like being the center of attention and so I was slightly terrified at this moment. I remember the doors opening and the first thing I saw was my dad standing waiting on me. I couldn’t see anyone else, just my dad.
When I finally made it to him it was as if I was dreaming. We turned the corner and I couldn’t bring myself to look up yet.
It took me longer than I expected but I finally looked up and saw Jessica.
All the nerves fell away instantly. She looked beautiful. It immediately brought tear to my eyes. I struggled with who I was and who I was “supposed” to be for so long that in that moment it all felt worth it. I saw her and my life felt like it finally fell into place and I finally made sense.
Seeing her staring back at me, she saw ME. The real me; the baggage, the struggle, the fight, and the love. I felt as though I was seen as my true self by all of my family and friends for the first time, which doesn’t make much sense– yet it made all the sense in the world. The girl I was walking to made me feel like me and in that moment, everything was perfect.
The other favorite moment of that day was being able to share how I felt about this amazing woman, my soon to be wife, in front of everyone.
I had to share mine first and I was so excited to tell her everything I felt. I got a little too excited and toward the end of my vows and instead of saying “every day I love you more,” I said “every day I love me more.” In the moment I laughed and everyone laughed, it was actually quite funny, and most people thought I did it on purpose! That moment stayed with me though, not because I was embarrassed which I honestly was, but because I realized what I said was true. I do love her more every day but what I hadn’t realized until then was that I love myself more every day thanks to her as well.
Another moment that I loved was when my in-laws finally saw the dress, my mother-in-law’s dress. Now, I have to admit that I am the luckiest girl in the whole world for having the in-laws that I do. I fell in love with them as soon as we met and I truly feel as if I have gained a family.
Wearing her dress was honestly the biggest honor I will probably ever experience. They saw the dress before the ceremony and watching their expressions, and even tears, was more than I could have ever dreamed of. I honestly cannot even begin to put into words the way I felt in that moment.
Decoration Theme: The decoration theme for our wedding was what we like to call Tennessee Rustic Minimalism.
We had a beautiful outdoor ceremony with a variety of our favorite flowers (sunflowers, lilies, succulents, etc.) as well as ones we hand made out of the pages of some of our favorite books, which mean a great deal to us.
The post-ceremony cocktail hour was in a beautiful, tree-laden court yard with hanging lights, whiskey barrel tables, flowers in Jack Daniel’s bottles (my wife’s favorite) and hand-crafted signs (made by our amazing friends). The reception was held in a beautiful rustic barn with vintage hanging lights, long barn tables stacked with books, candles, and flowers.
Wedding Party: Our wedding party consisted of my sister and all of our best friends.
The Venue: The venue for our wedding was Meadow Hill Farm in Columbia, TN. It actually was the first and only venue we went and looked at. From the moment we pulled up, we knew it was the one. Jenny, the owner, was outstanding, I can’t thank her and her husband enough! They were so warm and welcoming and hands on, which isn’t usually typical (from what we’ve heard from our other friends in the area). They had such lovely options and advice, they helped us every step of the way with any questions that we had. The day of they were there from (before) set-up all the way until the last member of the party left and were ready to help at any second. They truly helped make our dream day come true.
Photo credit: Ryan Musick
AWGS member: Oakwood Cleaners