Real wedding: Ashley + Dusty

So I don’t know where I’ve been the past few months since having the blog, but I’ve only recently discovered Our Labor of Love, a photography studio in Atlanta, and just love them! I’ve got a couple of wedding to showcase that they’ve shot with commentary of the day by the brides themselves! I’ve been endlessly amazed at their creativity and know you will be too…..

THE BRIDE: Ashley Summerlin, 25, Graphic Designer
THE GROOM: Dusty Meaders, 27, Systems Analyst
THE DATE: October 20, 2007

THE SCENE: The reception and ceremony both took place in a photography studio called Studio 900 in downtown Atlanta. The ceremony was in the “gallery,” a room painted in all white with concrete floors. Then the reception was down the hall in the studio with a huge graffiti wall, brick walls, and a cyclorama wall. 150 Guests.

CEREMONY SITE: The ceremony took place inside and the space was an all white room, with concrete floors and two big garage doors on one wall. We had 150 chairs set up in the room with the aisle down the middle. On every other aisle was a flower arrangement. I purchased some small sized plastic containers and spray mounted the blue and crème fabric we used throughout the wedding onto them to create flower holders. Then Little Sparrow Floral Design came in and added the red carnations. I made “reserved” signs for the first row for our parents and grandparents hung with baker’s twine. The only other décor were these Chinese lanterns covered with cupcake liners that I made and hung with baker’s twine near the front of the room. Every chair had a letterpress program, guest info form to fill out, which was later used to form the guest book, and a packet of circled confetti that Dusty hand punched himself.

RECEPTION SITE: The room where the reception took place had an awesome graffiti wall that was done by local Atlanta artists. The other walls were brick and the floors concrete. There was a cyclorama wall where our guests got their pictures made. We were able to use a HUGE letter “a” light sculpture that was used for an Akon photo shoot the week before. We had flower arrangements throughout the room. On one wall was a “prison line-up wall” that our guests loved and we ended up doing our family portraits on. Our theme for both the ceremony and reception was bespoke, handmade, modern, and vintage. Dusty and I made almost everything, from the invitation wedding boxes to the confetti packets, and we enjoyed every minute of it. It made the wedding that much more special to us.

GOWN: My wedding dress was a Suzanne Ermann. It combined both modern and vintage styles, which was the idea we wanted to carry throughout the entire wedding. The dress was a light crème with a variety of fabrics (tulle, lace, and satin), textures, and shapes. My favorite part of the dress was the hoop on the bottom.

ACCESSORIES: The shoes were red suede Chie Mihara mary jane’s that I purchased off ebay. I loved the vintage look that they had, plus the way they stood out underneath my dress. I decided not to wear any jewelry because I liked the idea of having only my wedding rings on.

HAIR AND MAKEUP: I wanted my makeup really natural because from day to day I usually don’t wear that much. My hair was back and loose in a unique wavy concoction.

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: My gift to my two bridesmaids were their dress and shoes. The dresses were purchased from the Betsey Johnson. The fabric was red and white thin stripes. The dresses had straps, and came up to just over the knee. There was a red bow in the middle of the chest. They kind of reminded me of candy striper dresses. Their shoes were red mary jane’s that were purchased online from Anthropologie.

FORMALWEAR: Dusty’s gift to his two groomsmen were their suits, shirts, ties, belts and shoes. The suits were chocolate brown and had a unique stitching on them. We purchased the suits from the store Zara. The shirts were red and white striped Ralph Lauren Polo. They wore brown and crème Chuck Taylors, and Nautica wool ties that were chocolate.

CEREMONY PROGRAMS: The ceremony programs were consistent with all the wedding stationery and had the same look and feel. They were letterpressed on Crane’s Lettra in Pearl White with chocolate, red, and pool blue ink colors by Dolci Odille ( In addition to having the normal order of ceremony info, we stapled a ticket to the bottom of the program to get people interested in the Smilebooth that will follow the ceremony at the reception. It also had a link to our website on which they could view the wedding, honeymoon, and Smilebooth photos. The programs were placed in the seat of the chairs along with the guest book pages that the guest were to fill out.

FLOWERS: The main flowers for the wedding were Red Celosia, Red Carnations, and Red Dahlias. We also had Red Vanda Orchids and Viburnum Berry to add some special touches. We provided vases we purchased from IKEA and the florist made them look beautiful with the unique flower arrangements. The pool blue and crème fabric that we used throughout the wedding was used on the handles of the bouquets, and the stems of the corsages and boutonnieres.

CATERING: When Dusty and I go to other weddings, the only thing we ever want is cake…and what goes better with cake than ice cream! So, that’s what we decided on, cake and ice cream. We had Ben and Jerry’s cater. We had sweet cream & cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry, phish food, mango mango, and vanilla fudge chip.

MUSIC Ceremony and Reception: Dusty and I are not big dancing people, especially when 150 people are staring at us, so we opted to not have any dancing at the wedding. We had an ipod playing some of our favorite songs on a playlist throughout the reception. For the ceremony we had two songs, one going down the aisle and one coming back down the aisle.

ENTERTAINMENT: We had Our Labor of Love’s Smilebooth at the wedding. It’s like a photobooth, but more modern and interactive. Our guests loved it and had a lot of fun even after the wedding looking at the pictures online. Dusty and I used the pictures from the Smilebooth to put on our letterpressed guest book pages that each guest filled out.

CAKE: The cake was a simple four-tiered white cake with butter icing. It was the best tasting cake Dusty and I had ever tasted!

FAVORS: We had a candy bar for our guests. “Thank you for coming to our wedding” was letterpressed on glassine bags, and then we provided blue and red round stickers to close the candy bags once filled. We had a sign hung with bakers twine above the candy bar that said “thank you for coming to our wedding.” We also made labels for each candy container that were tied with baker’s twine.

TRANSPORTATION: Dusty and I made confetti packets with glassine paper and punched out circles that Dusty spent hours punching for me. We put the circles in the glassine paper and sewed the edges with a piece of paper attached that said “Throw at Ashley and Dusty as they walk back down the aisle as husband and wife for the first time.” We waited until all our guests left, so we didn’t really have an official sending off.

We started off with a budget of $5,000… but it broke.  We did the wedding for around $13,000.
The main expenses were the photographers, my dress, the attire for the wedding party, and all the wedding stationery… although I was able to do the stationery for a lot less since I did it myself. The only décor that we had were the cupcake liner balls, and the floral arrangements. We bought the vases at IKEA which saved a lot. I was able to find the cupcake liners and chinese lanterns online in bulk, so that was very cheap and helped out a lot. So… If we had gone cheaper on the attire, we probably could have done the wedding for about $8,000 because of all of the DIY stuff.

[images by Our Labor of Love]

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