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DIY wedding

How to throw a DIY wedding.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

The abundance of desserts prepared by many of the wedding guests�from cake balls to Rice Krispies treats to pecan pies�was displayed on cake stands Ashley and Mark made using found vintage plates super-glued to glasses and goblets turned upside down.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Taking inspiration from BHLDN but searching for a more affordable alternative, Ashley scoured Etsy for handmade pennants and pom-poms to adorn the tent. She found pennants at etsy.com/people/jumpupanddown and pom-poms, which she custom-ordered, at etsy.com/people/sevyndesigns.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

As soon as they settled on the picnic concept, Ashley hit thrift stores every week in search of baskets and white blankets. While the couple live in Andersonville, a neighborhood chock-full of vintage shops selling just the kind of supplies they were seeking, she stuck to her budget and stayed below the $8 mark for each of the 18 blankets and baskets by finding them at thrift shops.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

They found tons of mason jars in the storm cellar at the house. At each blanket, they tied each jar to a post with floral wire and twine.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

For party favors, the couple presented two trays of 100 miniature potted plants. Ashley used clippings from two plants�A Mother of Thousands from a friend�s wedding a few years ago as well as Hens and Chickens from Mark�s mom�s house�and cared for each of the babies over a part of the year until the wedding.

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Jennifer Bastian

Ashley and Mark Furrow's wedding photos

Ashley Furrow jokes that she called in a bunch of favors to get the wedding job done, and to an extent, it’s true. From a pal who played the double-duty role as wedding photographer and bouquet maker to a nearby farmer friend who sold hay bales on the cheap for seating at the wedding ceremony in the woods, Ashley and her husband Mark’s August 2011 wedding was a community effort.

Starting with the wedding website by Mark and the invitations by Ashley, the couple took it upon themselves to not only mastermind but also execute most of the wedding prep. Ashley gives inspiration credit where it’s due—largely Urban Outfitter’s wedding site BHLDN as well as a handful of wedding blogs—and explains how, beginning in April 2011, the couple spent every other weekend at Mark’s mom’s house outside of Kalamazoo where they got married.

“We wanted to incorporate the land itself,” Ashley says. “It used to be a horse farm, and it’s still pretty rural compared to where we live in Chicago. We wanted to capitalize on that.”

The place required a fair amount of “patching up” for hosting a wedding—namely replanting and repainting—but the makings of the perfect rustic look were all there: the barn house, the wishing well, even the multicolored Adirondack chairs by the pool.

The couple set their wedding budget at $5,000 and went to town. They sourced items normally costing at least $1,000 for far less: Ashley found a vintage-y Vera Wang on Recycled Bride for $500 and had it altered to a perfect fit with local alterations company Stitch of Bliss for $200. She asked friends and relatives to pitch in on dessert; Mark’s cousin played square-dance caller for the entertainment; and they saved on linens and table rentals by using picnic blankets and hay bales. The one aspect where they were willing to splurge: catering. “If we were going to buy that much food, I wanted to make sure they were happy chickens sourced locally.”

Was it worth it? “It was nice to do this as a couple,” Ashley says. “It was a really fun labor-of-love project to do together.”

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