"I Love You More"
Jessica Lehry first met Eric Bishop during college, when both were attending the University of Tennessee. While both admit to having a serious crush on the other for a while, Jessica made the first move by admitting her feelings to Eric at a friend’s birthday party. Luckily, the feeling was mutual, and the two were soon inseparable.
Eric and Jessica had playful “arguments” about who loved the other one more, and they even had a running game to prove it. On a regular Monday night, Jessica returned from work and found a bouquet of flowers on her coffee table, and Eric standing by her couch. When she asked what the flowers were for, he simply replied, “To prove that I love you more.” While Jessica appreciated the flowers, she was more intrigued by the card he handed her. “Inside was a note that read, ‘I love you just a little bit more than you love me, and I always will. Love, Eric.’ And at the bottom of the card, it was notarized — signed and sealed on the 14th day of April, 2008!”
With a legally binding document, Eric had won their “argument,” but he was just getting started. He pulled a ring box out of his pocket, got down on one knee, and proposed to a shocked and wholly entertained bride-to-be. After responding “yes,” Jessica admired her beautiful new ring, and they called their families and friends to share the news.
Although Jessica and Eric began planning their wedding in the midst of the recession, and having both been laid off during their engagement, they were still determined to have the wedding of their dreams. “Luckily, we were able to pull it off with a lot of DIY and tons of creativity!”
Jessica started a blog, thebudgetsavvybride.com, to keep track of ideas and inspirations for the wedding and also to share ways to pull off a luxurious look on a small budget. For her dress, she commissioned a custom-made gown by seamstress Dena Bathgate, owner of Murfreesboro store A Special Touch. Dena created a one-of-a-kind of dupioni silk princess dress that perfectly suited Jessica, from the delicate sweetheart neckline to the perfectly placed pickups in the skirt. Dena also designed the bridesmaid dresses, in coordinating dupioni silk in varying shades of teal and turquoise. The groomsmen selected khaki suits with matching teal and turquoise ties, coupled with colorful argyle socks.
Jessica took the full do-it-yourself approach with the rest of her wedding planning, enlisting the help of her mother and friends to make hundreds of tissue paper flowers for the ceremony and reception. She also scoured coupon websites like RetailMeNot.com to take advantage of free shipping and discount codes for wedding supplies. For her centerpieces, she frequented thrift stores, collecting dozens of unique glass jars and vases. For catering, Eric and Jessica ordered Southern food from Miller’s Café in Christiana, treating guests to a full buffet, and they asked a family friend to make their wedding cake. For music, the couple hooked up a laptop to a speaker system, creating a customized playlist for the reception.
Jessica and Eric were married on May 2 at the historic Sam Davis Home in Smyrna before 150 guests. The ceremony merged contemporary with traditional, featuring a classic hominy given by their pastor, enhanced with excerpts of personal letters from the couple, creating a raw yet sweet, emotional experience.
Chris and Adrienne Scott for Evin Photography served as the event photographers. “I am so in love with our wedding photos,” Jessica admits. They opted to do a “first look,” which is a growing trend in wedding photography; by scheduling photos before the wedding, they were able to capture the “first look” on camera and free up post-nuptial time to spend with their guests.
Jessica continues to run her popular blog even though her big day is behind her. She also recommends local resources such as AshleysBrideGuide.com, Wedding 101 at The Factory at Franklin, StudioWed in Edgehill Village, and the variety of local bridal shows. “The Nashville wedding industry is a great group of people,” she says, “and you are sure to find what you are looking for!”