Jonathan and Rebecca had been good friends since they were ten years old and started dating when they were 14. They went to different high schools, but were always together. When it came time for college, they both attended University of the South at Sewanee. Inevitably, Jonathan proposed to Rebecca in Abbo’s Alley, their ceremony location and a botanical garden that is almost a century old, located on University of the South at Sewanee’s campus. Sewanee University is located one and a half hours south of Nashville and is one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
For years they planned the day they would marry, and when the day came, it was the ultimate DIY and eco-friendly wedding.
Rebecca’s wedding dress was purchased for 25 cents at a garage sale back when she was 12 or so. She said the man who was selling it bitterly said something along the lines of, “Good riddance” when they paid him for it. Rebecca wore the dress through her years growing up in school plays, for Halloween, and to costume parties. Jonathan’s mother altered the dress for the wedding and also made the groom’s and groomsmen’s ties from fabric chosen by Rebecca and Jonathan. Additionally, the couple and their friends raised funds by playing music and singing downtown on ArtCrawl nights with a sandwich board that said “Help Us Pay for Our Wedding.” Almost $1000 was raised, and it went to paying for their wedding rings, license, and the bridesmaids’ J. Crew dresses.
The American Legion Hall was rented for $100 for a whole four days! This gave Rebecca and Jonathan’s team plenty of time to transform the hall from Spartan decor to dream-wedding decor. The reception hall was decorated in white Christmas lights, white paper Japanese lanterns, and white painted tree branches (the French do this at Christmas time). White tablecloths covered every table (there were four long rows of tables, as well as the couple’s table, where the groom & bride and the best man and maid of honor sat, and four buffet tables). Jonathan, Rebecca, and Rebecca’s Mother spent months before the wedding shopping at the monthly First Saturday Goodwill Half-Off Days, numerous thrift stores, and yard sales looking for bargains on hundreds of dishes, punch bowls, cake stands, carafes, silverware, wine glasses, and white tablecloths to serve and outfit their reception. They paid 50 cents to $1 for most of those items, and many of them were different pieces, giving each guest a unique dinning setup.
Rebecca and Jonathan sang “their” song to each other (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys) with the help of a few groomsmen on guitar and trumpet. Rebecca sang “Everlasting Light” by The Black Keyes and played ukulele for Jonathan, and Jonathan performed an original song for Rebecca on guitar.