Grey Wedding Dress, Given

Oh, you guys are just amazing. Amazing, I tell you. Every day you blow me out of the water. Brandi, who is giving away a lovely grey dress to a Team Practical member, picked AM as the winner. AM is, I-swear-to-god, getting married at Walden Pond, where Thoreau did much of his writing, and having a reception afterwards at their fixer-upper home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her response is amazing enough to get it’s own post:

Hello Meg, Brandi, and Team Practical,

I would love to wear this dress to my elopement, which will (hopefully!) take place at Walden Pond, sometime this summer or fall, and/or the post-elopement celebration of our marriage at our home in the Blue Ridge mountains. My fiance and I chose Walden Pond because (1) Thoreau’s writings, and his emphasis on self-reliance and simplicity, are at the core of the life we are building together, (2) the permit is only $17, (3) we want our marriage to take place where any loving and devoted couple may marry, and (3) other life reasons, explained below.

I have been reading this blog since July 2008, when I got engaged to my long time beau. I was planning a spring wedding with lots of family in Nashville, my hometown. I had even found a great, old pub for the reception. My Dad wasn’t always there for me growing up, so when he offered to pay for the wedding, it was a meaningful gesture. I was also thrilled because it allowed me and my fiance to buy a fixer-upper house together this winter, since we weren’t worried about wedding expenses.

In the middle of my plans for what I thought was already going to be a relatively practical wedding came the news of my Dad’s layoff. He lost his job in December and is now collecting unemployment. My fiance’s parents also lost a huge chunk of their retirement in 401k’s in recent months, so we’re not in position to ask them for help either.

Given all that’s going on, my wedding needed to be a little more self-reliant and a lot more simple…so we dreamed up a Walden Pond elopement/honeymoon combo we thought Thoreau might approve of. With a $17 permit, a justice of the peace, and no more than 20 onlookers (Pond rules!), we plan to elope in the late summer or fall (if we can wait that long!) We’ll each have two witnesses/dear friends as witnesses to an utterly simple, quiet ceremony in the beauty of nature. Our reception will take place at our new fixer-upper house in the Blue Ridge mountains (which will hopefully be somewhat more fixed by then!) sometime afterwards, complete with homemade food, a bonfire, and intertubing on the New River, which is just a few miles from our country house. Guests and family will be invited to camp anywhere on our five acre backyard, to help keep travel costs low.

The beauty of all these difficulties is that we now get to be even more creative and unconventional about the celebration of our marriage. So, in a way, these “difficulties” are the perfect excuse for letting us break rules and justify the lack of tradition to our parents…a true blessing in disguise. It would be an honor to wear your lovely dress at either the elopement itself or our homestyle Appalachian celebration afterwards, whichever is more practical!

See? Now don’t you feel especially blessed to be part of this community? I do. AM, please drop me a line, and I’ll put you in touch with Brandi. You are the proud new owner of a stunning grey wedding dress. From Team Practical to you.

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  • Aw! Thank you for sharing your meaningful and memorable wedding plans. And congratulations!

  • Love your blog! Very sweet.

  • What a wonderful attitude you have, AM. I’m sure you’re going to have a fantastic time.

  • *Again,* with the weeping at my computer.

    Wonderful wishes to you, AM. Deep and wide and sweet and lovely wishes to you.

  • what a wonderful wedding plan. getting married at walden pond and a homemade party in your backyard! i’m sure you and all your loved ones will enjoy it.

  • Walden Pond is a 17 minute drive from my house, and one of my favorite places on earth. Your wedding will be gorgeous- congrats!!

  • I used to “escape” to Walden Pond whenever college got overwhelming (ie – a lot.) It’s such a perfect place for a gorgeous, intimate, meaningful wedding. Congratulations on what sounds like a perfect first step for a marriage together!

  • Mel

    Aw. Very sweet!

  • BEAUTIFUL wedding plans!

  • This made me so happy to read today! Congratulations to the bride to be, and how nice of the other gal to donate the pretty grey dress.

    THIS is what a wedding is about, finding what is best for the couple, and turning bad situations into a lovely and wonderful occasion. I’m sure the wedding and marriage will be strong and great!

  • tears, i say. what a great post…thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed AM's story & the stories of many others who would love to spend a memorable evening in this elegant grey dress. I must say that the ladies wanting to wear it as a wedding gown or give it to a special person as a brideswoman's dress tugged at my heartstrings the most, too. Best wishes to the lucky couple. To the pond!

  • Oh my! That is the most amazing story. Truly amazing.

  • Anonymous

    I know this is way past when the post was made, but I'm going through the history and just got so excited because, like AM, I live in the Blue Ridge along the New River…hooray for other practical women in the area!