A DIY Wedding, With a Ceremony in a Pool
Jessie and Tristan
"Looking back, I never understood why people say your wedding day is so stressful," Jessie Pickren says. "At ours, it was pouring rain and freezing, and almost nothing went as planned, but we were surrounded by so much love, we just felt lucky." Jessie and her groom, Tristan Warner, are pros at seeing the beauty in things: She runs stationery company Hew & Co., turning simple paper into works of calligraphed art; he's a contractor and carpenter who crafts raw lumber into custom furniture.
Their introduction came when both were living in New York City. "He's big and burly, but also sweet and smart," says Jessie of Tristan, whom she met at a restaurant where she was working and where Tristan was friends with the owner. Despite their initial awkward evening of drinks ("I left abruptly in the middle of it because I was so nervous," Jessie explains), he returned and asked her out, "and that was that!" she says. After becoming engaged in Jessie's backyard in Brooklyn, the pair wanted to build a fresh life together in Nashville, a city they'd fallen in love with on a road trip. They purchased a 1967 cottage on four acres overlooking the Cumberland River, and decided it was the perfect wedding venue, too. "We always love having people over, and we wanted to get married in a place we feel comfortable in."
The only problem? The cottage was the ultimate fixer-upper, with flood damage so severe that hornets and carpenter ants were calling it home. "We camped out on the property for two months, fixing the place up to get it ready in time," Jessie says.
The all-hands-on-deck reno was worth every ounce of sweat when 165 guests arrived to watch them marry on October 3, 2015. The couple let the lush landscaping set the tone for their nondenominational ceremony, accenting the greenery with muted brasses, creams, and golds. As a wedding gift to each other, they hired one of their favorite musicians—Dan Penn, a 75-year-old soul singer whose songs have been sung by Aretha Franklin—to play, after reaching out to him via a post office box posted on his website. Afterward, they felt they didn't need a honeymoon. Says Jessie, "It was just so exciting for us to finally be in Nashville, starting our new lives together."
The Stationery Suite
The greenery around the cottage inspired the wedding paper suite, all designed and calligraphed by Jessie, who runs Hew & Co. stationery company.
The Engagement Ring
A Flower-Free Bridal Bouquet
The bride's bouquet was crafted from different types of fragrant eucalyptus, which Jessie chose because of its soothing scent.
Too Cool for Pool!
Guests assembled inside and around the pool-turned-ceremony-site, which was decorated with Jackson vine and ferns. Bags of birdseed and programs were placed on each seat.
Some Good Luck Rain
Letty, a young wedding guest, made good use of one of the umbrellas the couple provided.
The bride's father Terry walked her down the aisle to a bluegrass version of Eric Donaldson's "Cherry O Baby", under the canopy created by a cottonwood tree that grows straight out of the pool.
Cozy in the Tent
The bride posed with her friends and sisters in the lounge tent adjacent to the reception tent.
The Seating Chart
Jessie designed the seating chart herself, and had it printed locally on thick poster board.
Setting the Tables
Jessie collected "Blue Willow" china for the reception, a family-style feast. Jackson vine, rosemary, and a variety of brass candleholders dressed up the farm tables.
The Happy Newlyweds
Jessie wanted a "simple, classic" gown but couldn't find the right fit in stores. So she designed her dress herself and had it made in four-ply silk crêpe de chine.
For wedding favors, the bride's mother and a family friend assembled navy gable boxes filled with Goo Goo Clusters, a Nashville treat since 1912. The tags were letterpressed with a pattern Jessie drew.
Day-of event coordination, Lindsey Campbell of Lulu & Mayme Weddings and Events
Catering, Jo's Custom Cakes and Catering
Flowers, Consider the Wldflwrs
Photography, Laura Dart
Stationery, Hew & Co.
Tent, lighting, staging, and flooring, Sperry Tents Southeast
Bride's gown, Bridal Couture by Ruby V, (404) 261-8866
Groom's tuxedo, H. Stockton
Groom's bow tie, J.Crew