A Secret Garden Wedding Complete With Dreamy Dress + DIY Details
July 18, 2016
Al FrescoWeddings in Historical VenuesOutdoor Weddings
Tucked away in a secret garden, a beautiful Bride says "I do" to her college sweetheart, surrounded by DIY details she created herself, from the watercolor invitations to the programs, signs and more... no, this isn't a fairytale, it's real life and Sawyer Baird's pretty pics prove it all. Simply Charming Socials planned and coordinated all the beauty and our Vault as the happily ever after - see it all here!
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From the Bride... Austin and I met during our sophomore year of college, when some mutual friends brought us together and things went swiftly from first introductions to becoming an inseparable crew of about 10 people that would spend nearly every weekend together from then on out. A year after we met we were dating, and five years after that Austin was down on one knee on a gorgeous spring day in Whistler, B.C., asking me to spend forever with him. Our relationship has been defined from the start by our mutual love for spontaneity, fun, and adventure – and that’s exactly how we wanted our wedding day to feel too.

The vision I had for our big day was a combination of discovered, natural beauty, and soft, romantic details. I’ve always loved the idea of an outdoor wedding and was totally willing to travel (something we love to do anyway) to find the perfect venue. I wanted someplace naturally beautiful without a lot of man-made elements or forced decoration. The second I stepped through the gates of Dunaway Gardens, I knew we had found it. The old stone amphitheater and secret-garden-esque feel of the place had me swooning! It felt like discovering some old and long-forgotten grounds of an European estate, only they were actually tucked away in a sleepy Georgia town. It was perfect.

I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I always knew I’d have a hand in creating the smaller details of the day. I especially wanted to tackle the wedding paper myself, and while it was a huge –and at times daunting– task, I’m so glad I took it on. I’m not a “traditional” (read: paintbrush and pen) kind of artist, but I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and create something unique and meaningful for our invitation suite. So I experimented with a vision I had in mind and sought out guidance from some talented friends before ultimately going with a hand-torn and individually painted set in a vibrant green watercolor. I think Austin probably thought I was crazy for staying up into the small hours of the morning for weeks and converting our whole living room into a giant drying rack, but when all was said and done, they came out just as I’d envisioned. I loved going through and pairing each suite, sealing and embossing inner envelopes, addressing with traditional ink and pen and even tracking down an assortment of vintage stamps from a local collector I’d found. It was a huge labor of love, but I had so much fun doing it.

The little details have always been what I enjoy the most, so I made sure we left a personal touch on every aspect of the day, from the program fans that highlighted must-see areas of the gardens (thanks to the illustrative talents of a dear friend), to a number of signs that lead our guests through the day with subtle jokes sprinkled throughout as payoff to those who actually read them. My amazing mother helped package our succulent favors in little clear takeout boxes with black pebbles and finished with the same wax seal we’d used in the invitation suite. We made custom painted hangers for each of my bridesmaids and gave each of them vintage handkerchiefs with their initials on them (to use in case of happy tears!). My parents also gifted me with an old handkerchief of my grandmother’s (she’s 92, still quick-witted as ever, and absolutely my spirit animal). They had it embroidered with a sweet message that almost immediately made me want to smear teary-eyed mascara all over it.

Over all, the day was everything I could’ve wished for. We were surrounded by our closest family and friends in a beautiful place to celebrate our love for each other and the start of our next great adventure together in life – and that’s just about all you can ask for!
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Wedding Dress, Bridesmaids' Dresses
Bride's Shoes
Groom's Attire, Groomsmen Attire
The Black Tux