That morning, rain fell softly all around them, and filtered light streamed in through the treehouse windows. They read and relaxed; they talked and laughed together. Then Brian tied his tie and Jessica grabbed her bouquet, and they made their way down the path to meet the minister.

treehouse wedding

Jessica Hendrickson and Brian Sample walk hand in hand through the woods surrounding the treehouse in this image that truly looks like it was pulled straight from a fairytale!

Jessica Hendrickson and Brian Sample attended the same high school, but their romance didn’t begin until a few years later when they were in their early 20s. These creative introverts initially bonded on Tumblr over a shared love of drawing, which progressed to long emails back and forth, and then to a collaborative art project via snail mail. Jessica drew some of the piece, then mailed it to Brian, who lived only 25 minutes away. He added to it and mailed it back to her, continuing back and forth until the drawing was complete. Then, finally, they arranged a date, which would ultimately be the first of many.

Six years later, Jessica and Brian planned a trip from Louisville to Atlanta to see a live recording of “Comedy Bang Bang,” one of their favorite podcasts. While they were in town, Brian suggested a scenic drive to Kennesaw Mountain before meeting his sister for lunch. “While we were up there, I noticed that he was acting strange … really nervous,” Jessica says. “But then I saw this adorable little lizard, and I was completely distracted by it. It ran past me, and I was trying to find out where it went. When I finally turned around, I saw Brian holding my great-grandmother’s ring.” Though they had discussed marriage and she suspected a proposal was coming soon, Brian had managed to play it cool the whole trip, so Jessica was completely surprised to turn around and find Brian on one knee.

Obviously, she said yes.

treehouse elopement

How gorgeous are these rings? “Brian proposed with my great-grandmother’s ring, which had a ton of sentimental value but wasn’t really my style,” Jessica says. “We went to a local jeweler, Clater Jewelers, who took the diamonds out of the ring and helped us design a custom setting for them. They also did a custom shadow band for my wedding band, and they made Brian’s wedding band too.” A wonderful marriage of sentiment and style.

treehouse elopement

Perfectly bridal in blush, Jessica’s wedding day skirt and lace top combo is simply to die for.

treehouse elopement

The little books in which Brian and Jessica handwrote their vows are the absolute sweetest.

A romantic elopement was the perfect quiet and intimate option for this sweet pair, who found the idea of a traditional wedding overwhelming and a bit out of character for their more reserved personalities. “I was worried that if we had a traditional ceremony, I’d be too nervous to be in the moment and enjoy it as much as I should,” Jessica says. “We both felt that getting married was such a personal choice, and that if we were going to put the time and effort into planning this day, we would make sure it was exactly what we wanted.” A low-key, stress-free day was exactly what Jessica and Brian had in mind — a day special in sentiment, not in pomp and circumstance. “We just wanted it to feel like a really good day where we happened to get married.”

Nashville, with its fun atmosphere, cool aesthetic and close proximity to Louisville, was the perfect setting for their romantic elopement. They originally intended to find a botanical garden as the setting for the ceremony, but while planning, Jessica’s mind kept returning to a charming treehouse Airbnb she had visited a year earlier. Perched up in the trees and surrounded by two acres of wooded land just outside of East Nashville, The Fox House was the absolute perfect location. With approval from the property’s owners, plans for Jessica and Brian’s treehouse elopement were set in motion for May 12, 2017, exactly one year after Brian’s proposal. Soft colors, handwritten vows and a big, gathered bouquet spilling with greenery and pops of color would add special, personal touches to the day.

treehouse elopement

The grin on Brian’s face captures it all. This couple loved their low-key morning in the treehouse before their ceremony.

treehouse elopement

“It was so nice to spend our time getting ready together, talking and laughing, knowing we were about to be married,” Jessica says.

treehouse elopment

The lovebirds share a last sweet moment in their treehouse retreat before heading out to say their vows in the wooded oasis.

RELATED: Collective Retreats: Luxury in Unspoiled Places

treehouse elopement

The bride and groom, among the lush woods, stand ready to become Mr. & Mrs. Sample.

treehouse elopement

Jessica’s bouquet by Blooms by Essential Details is utterly jaw-dropping. “I knew I wanted it to be big and wild, with lots of greenery and pops of color,” Jessica says. Sprawling fern fronds and eucalyptus give the bouquet that gathered, organic look Jessica envisioned with a dramatic king protea bloom, pops of bright yellow craspedia and thistle, succulents and air plants to add texture and color.

treehouse elopement

When planning the elopement, Jessica’s mind kept returning to the treehouse Airbnb she’d visited in Nashville the previous year. This dreamy, light-filled house in the trees was the perfect backdrop for their intimate ceremony and provided a cozy place to get ready as well!

The morning of Jessica and Brian’s ceremony was completely calm and stress-free. They went out for breakfast and Brian dropped off his bride to get her hair done. They returned to the treehouse and spent a couple of hours relaxing and just taking in the moment. “One of my favorite things about the day is how relaxed our whole morning was leading up to the ceremony,” Jessica says. “It was so nice to spend our time getting ready together, talking and laughing, knowing we were about to be married.”

The minister arrived, and the bride and groom walked together toward a spot where blush-colored blooms climbed up an arch of branches blanketed in green moss. With the trees overhead and their minister as witness, they held hands and exchanged vows in a moment as special and intimate as they had dreamed. “Exchanging vows was probably the most special moment of the day,” Jessica says. “It was so nice to finally hear what Brian had written – his vows were so sweet and funny and perfect. I also loved reading mine to him and watching his reactions.”

treehouse elopement

Brian and Jessica met to say their vows in a clearing where blush-colored blooms climbed up an arch of branches blanketed in green moss.

treehouse elopement

I mean, does it get any better than this setting?

treehouse elopement

Jessica and Brian decided to elope because they knew that they’d likely be distracted or nervous in a traditional ceremony. Holding hands under the trees, it was just the two of them, promising to love each other forever.

treehouse elopement

“We wrote our own vows. It was so important to us that our ceremony was personal and intimate, and we wanted our vows to be that way too. I’m so happy that I was able to write my vows knowing that it would be just us speaking to each other with no audience. It made me feel more comfortable about being so sappy,” says Jessica.

treehouse elopement

You may kiss the bride!

treehouse elopement

Those just-married smiles can’t be beat.

treehouse elopement

“We live in Louisville but knew that if we were going to elope we wanted to do it somewhere out of town,” Jessica says. “Nashville is close enough that we could come home the next day for our reception, and it’s just such a fun city to visit.”

RELATED: When Someone From StyleBlueprint Gets Married … It’s Gorgeous!

treehouse elopement

“It was so much fun to go out in public all dressed up and just married,” Jessica says. “Lots of people congratulated us, and we even got a free slice of cake! I love that we got to experience our first day of marriage savoring that ‘just married’ feeling without having to go right into celebration mode.”

treehouse elopement

A rainy day didn’t dampen the happy newlywed vibes for these two.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds headed downtown in their wedding attire. They traipsed around town, soaking up those joyful just-married moments and pausing for some coffee and a slice of cake. “I love that we got to experience our first day of marriage savoring that ‘just married’ feeling without having to go right into celebration mode,” Jessica says.

The next day, the new Mr. and Mrs. returned to Louisville for a backyard reception that gave them a chance to celebrate their marriage with close family and friends in a low-pressure environment perfectly suited to them. “Even though our ceremony was private, we still wanted to be able to celebrate our marriage with everyone we love,” Jessica says. “I feel we got the best of both worlds doing it this way.”

The reception was a DIY dream with thoughtful, personal touches that combined to create a day that was casual, playful and personal. A pegboard doughnut wall, colorful selfie station and tiny gold cat figurines scattered throughout the decor captured the lighthearted side of Jessica and Brian’s personalities, while long tables draped with swathes of fern fronds and silver dollar eucalyptus, a lengthy custom Spotify playlist and the promise of an evening bonfire invited guests to relax and enjoy the celebration.

treehouse elopement

Jessica and Brian’s post-elopement reception in Brian’s parents’ backyard in Louisville was brimming with personal details. As self-proclaimed “crazy cat people,” gold cat figurines and paintings of cats were cleverly incorporated into the decor. And as the bride and groom have exchanged countless mixed CDs throughout their relationship, it seemed fitting that they compiled some of their favorite songs into custom mixed-CD favors for their guests.

treehouse elopement

Brian’s parents were kind enough to host the reception in their backyard. “They’re great hosts and have a beautiful home,” Jessica says. “Having our reception there just went along perfectly with the whole personal, low-key feeling we were after.”

treehouse elopement

At every place setting the bride and groom placed a traditional British party cracker, since they’re both half British. Guests were delighted to crack them open to reveal paper hats and jokes inside!

treehouse elopement

The bride and groom pause for a photo in front of their gorgeous handmade “selfie wall.”

treehouse elopement

Personal faves: Brian loves doughnuts, so they ordered a selection of glazed and chocolate iced treats from Nord’s Bakery for their doughnut wall, and Jessica works at Graeter’s Ice Cream, so an ice cream cart was a must for the reception.

treehouse elopement

Jessica and Brian are Mexican food enthusiasts, so, naturally, they themed their menu for the reception around some of their favorites. The Ramiro’s Cantina taco truck served tacos, quesadillas and nachos, which were perfectly complemented by signature drinks named for the bride and groom’s cats: Grapefruit Marga-Tinas (Jessica’s favorite) and Nathan’s Bourbon Slushies (Brian’s favorite!).

treehouse elopement

The bride and groom don their crowns to cut the cake.

treehouse elopement

Jessica and Brian hired a psychic to do tarot card and palm reading sessions for guests at the reception — such a fun and unique idea!

treehouse elopement

We love Jessica’s advice for brides: “It’s your day to do things the way you want. You don’t have to follow any traditions if it’s not your thing,” she says. “Also, trust yourself and stick to your vision. If you want to do something unique, but other people aren’t really seeing it, that doesn’t mean they won’t love it when it all comes together.”

As the sun went down on a May day in Louisville, Jessica and Brian ended their first full day of marriage sitting in the warm glow of the bonfire, surrounded by their beloved family and friends.

Thanks for sharing your love story with us, Jessica and Brian! Cheers to a lifetime of happiness!

red heart

RESOURCES

Jeweler: Clater Jewelers
Photography: Sarah Katherine Davis Photography
Bride’s attire: Jenny Yoo, via BHLDN and Nordstrom
Hair: Blowout Co.
Groom’s suit: Topman
Groom’s shirt and tie: Banana Republic
Cake: Sweet Surrender Dessert Café
Doughnuts: Nord’s Bakery
Ice Cream: Graeter’s Ice Cream
Flowers: Blooms by Essential Details
Venue: The Fox House
Catering: Ramiro’s Cantina
Psychic: Sharon Cassel
Music: Spotify playlist

**********

Read more romantic wedding day stories in our “Weddings” section!