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Real Wedding | Ave + Sam

Tell us a little about yourselves! 

We are both in our late twenties and from the Midwest. We met in high school when Sam moved to my town and we've been together for over ten years. We  always struggle with where to start because we met so young, there is a lot of  background there. We're both similar in that we are a bit introverted in large settings, thinkers, more on the creative side but we're also very different. Sam is in film and I'm an interior architect and we have recently relocated to Philly.

Why did you decide to get married where you did? 

Cost, style, feeling. I'm not super bridal in the traditional sense (a true Anti-Bride) where I wanted a big wedding, the thought made us both very uncomfortable. We never really considered having a traditional ceremony, so we broke our wedding day into two parts - a morning brunch/"ceremony" with family and an evening  cocktail party with friends and family. This also allowed for a big chunk in the middle of the day for us to relax at home and take our time getting ready.  

We hosted the brunch at our house and had the cocktail party at a local restaurant/bar. We host a lot and all of our friends stay with us often, we had  shared so many memories in our home, it just felt right to spend our day there.  We were pretty much both on board to host the brunch/ceremony in our backyard  nd spend the day at home getting ready for the reception. We knew we didn't want a formal dinner, we just wanted a small spot to really celebrate and float  around and dance, so a late night bar always felt right, after doing some calling  around and digging we landed on The Vault.  

How many guests did you have?

For the morning brunch we stuck to family but it still was still pretty big for us. There were 70 people. For the evening celebration we had about 115.  

What was your budget? 

Everything was done under 15k, which seems really low compared to the average weddings these days. It's something that's important for me to share because weddings can be what you need them to be. Everyone's situation is different and everyone has different priorities. For us, even if we would've had all  the money in the world, this wouldn't be the place we would have chosen to spend it. 

Tell us about your outfits! 

I wanted to be pretty casual and relaxed for the brunch. I went with a pair of satin trousers and a loose knit vest. My hair was up, I didn't have makeup or shoes on. I just wanted to be fresh faced and comfortable. Sam wore a casual outfit as  well, trousers and a t-shirt. We told our guests "backyard brunch".  

For the reception we were more elevated; Sam was in a proper suit and tie and I decided to wear a satin skirt and a strapless corset. My sister in law really helped me find what felt right. I wanted it to be different but still very simple and Sam wanted a suit that was classic and didn't feel trendy so he opted out of any colors.  

What was the most important aspect for you in terms of planning your wedding?

Just sticking to our guns, especially when it came to doing the ceremony the way we wanted to. I really wanted to be seated with the guests, not standing, terrified of eyes on me. We wanted it to be special so two of our best friends married us,  but they gave more of a toast to us rather than going through the traditional ceremony. It was important that our family heard about our love and the life we are creating, not the same ceremony speech they have heard so many times before.

Though we do love aspects of tradition, this particular thing didn't feel quite right for us. It was really nice - everyone was seated, eating brunch and  listening to the toast and we felt very relaxed and incredibly touched by their words. We really wanted everyone to feel included and comfortable and I think we found a way to mesh the two.  

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate? 

It was important that it was all as personal and thoughtful as possible. The cocktail napkins at the bar included something handwritten from Sam to me on the night of our engagement. Sam's family cooked the brunch we served that morning , so our kitchen was bustling and busy. It just felt like a holiday! We hosted a quick cocktail hour at our house with our closest friends before heading off to the venue. My best friend Eden did the florals for the brunch. Small things that made it feel like the ultimate weekend. We made time for these little pockets of celebration within the day that we will cherish forever.  

Any tips for couples getting married?

Just be creative and don't be afraid to question everything you think you "need" to do. Maybe you do need to do it! But maybe you don't. For example, a seated dinner didn't feel right for us as we just wanted to celebrate at the reception, so we completely opted out but we did have late night tacos catered as a surprise right before the evening ended. 

Are there any vendors you would like to tell us about?

Terrah Garner, who designed and handmade my ring. She was incredible. I really only wanted a gold band but had a stone of my Great Grandma's that she helped me repurpose into something that I love.


Fallan and Trey, our best friends who married us went absolutely above and  beyond. Everyone laughed and cried and was moved by their words. And Tricia Miller, our photographer who followed along and made us feel heard as we reconstructed the wedding day.

Photographer: Tricia Miller @triciamiller | Ceremony Location: Private Residence, the couples home | Reception Venue: Tom Tom Room The Vault @thevaulttulsa | Celebrants: Trey and Fallon, friends of the couple | Flora: by the Bride and Eden, a friend of the couple | Rentals: Komplete Event Rental | Makeup: Hannah Hudspeth @sheetfacedesthetics | Hair: by the Bride | Catering + Beverages: Bar by The Vault + Late Night Tacos by Elote @elotetulsa | Cake: Gyovanni's Sweet Treats @gyovannissweettreats | Ave's Skirt: Dissh @dissh | Sam's Suit: Nordstrom @nordstrom | Engagement Ring: Catbird @catbird | Wedding Rings: Terrah Garner @terrahgarner (Ave) + Populent @populent | Ave's Shoes: Aldo @aldo | Sam's Shoes: Nordstrom @nordstrom / Dr. Marten


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