A DIY Wedding, With a Ceremony in a Pool

Jessie and Tristan

jessie tristan wedding tennessee bride groom cottage
Laura Dart

"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."

01 of 12

The Stationery Suite

jessie tristan wedding tennessee stationery
Laura Dart

The greenery around the cottage inspired the wedding paper suite, all designed and calligraphed by Jessie, who runs Hew & Co. stationery company.

02 of 12

The Engagement Ring

jessie and tristan wedding ring calligraphy
Laura Dart

Jessie's engagement ring, designed by New York City jeweler Catherine Angiel, and photographed atop one of the envelopes Jessie calligraphed in gold ink.

03 of 12

A Flower-Free Bridal Bouquet

jessie tristan wedding tennessee bride bouquet
Laura Dart

The bride's bouquet was crafted from different types of fragrant eucalyptus, which Jessie chose because of its soothing scent.

04 of 12

Too Cool for Pool!

jessie tristan wedding tennessee ceremony pool
Laura Dart

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.

05 of 12

Some Good Luck Rain

jessie tristan wedding tennessee child guest umbrella
Laura Dart

Letty, a young wedding guest, made good use of one of the umbrellas the couple provided.

06 of 12

The Processional

jessie and father wedding processional
Laura Dart

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.

07 of 12

Cozy in the Tent

jessie tristan wedding tennessee bride sisters friends
Laura Dart

The bride posed with her friends and sisters in the lounge tent adjacent to the reception tent.

08 of 12

The Seating Chart

jessie and tristan reception seating chart
Laura Dart

Jessie designed the seating chart herself, and had it printed locally on thick poster board.

09 of 12

Setting the Tables

jessie-tristan wedding tennessee table setting blue willow china
Laura Dart

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.

10 of 12

The Happy Newlyweds

jessie tristan wedding tennessee bride groom reception
Laura Dart

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.

11 of 12

The Favors

jessie tristan wedding tennessee favors blue boxes
Laura Dart

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.

12 of 12


jessie and tristan first dance
Laura Dart

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.

Music, Rachael and Hoot Hester (ceremony); Dan Penn (dinner and first dance); All in One (dancing)

Rentals, the 12th Table; Classic Party Rentals; Liberty Party Rental

Tent, lighting, staging, and flooring, Sperry Tents Southeast

Bride's gown, Bridal Couture by Ruby V, (404) 261-8866

Hair, Melanie Padula of Local Honey

Groom's tuxedo, H. Stockton

Groom's bow tie, J.Crew

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