5 Years Later – Our Wedding Day

Trey and I are going to be celebrating our 5-year anniversary this week! I can hardly believe it’s been 5 years already. I know there are some of you who have been reading this blog for that long, but I have a hunch some you may be a bit newer. So I thought it might be fun to put together a little post for you of our wedding day with links to all the DIY projects, and also some tips I want to share for anyone who may be getting married soon out there. I must confess, I LOVED our wedding and there isn’t a lot I would change, given the chance.

 Probably my favorite thing from our wedding (other than getting to marry my best friend, as obviously that was hands down the best part!) was my dress. My sister designed it and, along with a few other friends, made it for me. I know a DIY wedding dress isn’t for everyone, but I loved my dress SOOOO much. Since it was made for me, it fit perfectly and I felt was a good style for my body type. I felt so pretty in that dress. And it felt extra special knowing my sister and friends had created it for me.

You can read more about how my wedding dress was made here.

I put together a video about all my wedding DIYs and why I think DIY is so special.

My brother also had a hand in creating things for our wedding. I loved the letter pressed invites he designed. I still have the press from these hanging on our bookshelves in our living room. Doren also designed our wedding day program and reception menu/program.


I created this book for our rings to go in, that our ring bearer (our nephew, Ryland) carried during the ceremony. Trey and I met in college, and we were both philosophy majors. One of the classes we took together was philosophy of literature and we read Brave New World in that class. Or maybe I should say I read the book and Trey mostly would just ask me questions about the reading at the beginning of class. I am not sure he actually read the books (ha—I’ve outed you at last, Trey!).

Anyway, that was the inspiration behind this DIY. I still have this book in our living room. Of course you can’t read it anymore, but I have it on display (we own this book in paperback too). If you’ve never read Brave New World, it’s really good! Highly recommend.


My sister and our friends put together all the wedding day bouquets. I am terrible at floral design— like really bad. So I was thankful they did this. I LOVED how they all turned out. And we put together a post on tips for making your own wedding bouquets because it is a great way to save a little in your budget if you need. Great floral design is also totally worth the money if you have the budget, but it’s one thing we choose to just do ourselves.


We also had a pretty unique guestbook. We’ve had this displayed in both our homes over the years. I just rearranged things again recently though and I need to find a new spot to hang him—I still really love it!


Here’s my number one piece of advice to anyone getting married. Invest in your wedding photos!

We had an amazing, super talented photographer (hi, Sarah!). So that’s a big piece of it—find someone you feel comfortable around and whose style of photography you love. And then I totally recommend taking extra time to get great photos. We did some portraits on our wedding day (both of just us and ones with our family and wedding party). But we also chose to get portraits the day before as well. I know it’s not traditional and may not be the right choice for everyone—it’s totally up to each couple what they want to do. But I am SO thankful for the extra set of portraits we did because I love them so much and we never would have had enough time on our wedding day to get that many pictures together. Of all the photos Trey and I have together though I really do cherish our wedding photos so, so much. If you feel like you will be the same way, then it’s worth planning for and investing in.

You can see our wedding portraits here: One/Two/Three

We choose to have our ceremony outdoors (worth the risk of rain to me!) at my grandmother’s home, which is a small cabin on a pond out in rural southwest Missouri, about 45 minutes from where Trey and I live. This was logistically a little tricky because we had to have rented chairs delivered there. We also rented some canoes that we used as seating on the water’s edge, and we also had a port-o-potty rented for the day as well (TMI? Sorry, just a reality of having a big outdoor party).

I am super grateful my grandmother was totally fine with all the people and chaos the day brought. She didn’t mind but I still appreciate her attitude and willingness to let me get married at her home. It was perfect.


And here’s one other little tip or piece of advice I share often—wear a different dress to your reception if you need to. For some reason, I feel like sometimes gals are afraid to do this, like maybe they think it will seem high maintenance? I’m not sure. But dancing in my wedding dress would have been challenging, so I opted to change into a vintage dress that my friend Mallory had altered for me. Plus, it’s your day. If you want to wear two dresses, do it! Unless you’re a pop star performing a concert, I feel like this may be your only chance to have a legitimate wardrobe change if you feel like it, so I say go for it!

I loved our reception, which you can see more photos of here. Laura really set the whole thing up and she made it so beautiful. I am forever grateful.

I’ve linked to a ton of posts I’ve done on our wedding, so if you want to see more, feel free to click around (here’s our wedding video too). I could probably mention 10x as many little details, but I’ve already just typed out over 1,000 words for you to get through, so I guess I’ll stop for now. Thanks for letting me share as I celebrate 5 years with my best friend this week. It’s true that it gets better and better all the time. I look at these photos and I sincerely feel like I love Trey even more now than I did 5 years ago, which is just crazy. I can’t wait for the next 5 years together! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Our wedding photographer was Sarah Rhodes, other image credits are listed in the links to the posts.
  • Congratulations! Wishing you a very happy anniversary! May your next 5 years together be just as amazing 🙂

  • Congrats on your ani! I am an old follower and remember the post – was quite enchanted by your wedding day and everything you prepared for it!
    As for the dress – it is a true heirloom piece and actually the best gift one could receive from a sister!

  • I remember this! My mom introduced me to A Beautiful Mess YEARS ago and I honestly can’t believe I’ve been reading it for this long. It’s the only blog I regularly check up on (i.e. every day). I’m so happy for you two, Emma! Congratulations <3 If my future wedding turns out even half as pretty as yours, I'll be a happy bride (I just have to find my other half first, haha).

  • Love this post and your beautiful wedding! One argument I would make for staying in your wedding dress for the reception though: It’s the only day you get to wear the dress, and I wanted to get as much time in it as possible. I remember thinking right after the wedding day how sad I was that I wouldn’t have another chance to wear it! Those few extra hours and pictures in it were definitely worth it, at least for me! I agree with you, if you really want to wear a second dress, go for it. It’s your day! But also don’t be afraid to just dance your heart out in your gorgeous gown 🙂

  • What a great post! I’m loving all the more personal posts you both are doing and I really love hearing your voice as well Emma. 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary! I’m so used to your ombré hair that the blonde look really took me by surprise! It looks amazing though 🙂

  • Nooo, has it been five years?! Congratulations! I was a college student working at a summer camp when you got married – I remember pouring over your wedding photos on a break when I was biking the lake trail on my day off:)

    So fun… now instead of making fashion accessories or gifts from your blog, I mostly use your DIYs for my grown-up apartment furniture!

  • I made my own wedding dress too! I think it’s absolutely incredible that your sister made it for you. Your bond is truly inspiring. Also, I wish you and Trey all the best adventures and incredible life for the next five….. and 50 years. 😉

  • 5 years already! Oh, my! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
    I was around before that, time is really flying. I just realised it means that my own anniversary is this year, hahaha. Best! :*

  • As a long time reader, I remember your wedding day. I even remember your blog post where you introduced Trey as your boyfriend (not sure anymore if that’s here or on your personal blog), when he proposed to you on your 1st anniversary, your prenup photos, your gold and white theme, golden cookies. I love your love story and I actually have a secret crush on Trey. He’s so cute. But you are, too. Best of luck to you both. Please have babies already 🙂

  • I can’t believe it’s been 5 years…. I loved your dress. Happy Anniversary!!

  • Gah! I’ve been reading ABM since the beginning. I just got engaged last week and right away I did a search for your wedding and Elsie’s. Thanks for putting up the recap, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!
    Happy Anniversary! xoxox

  • Dude. 5 years!!!! Love you both so much and I loved your wedding day!! The beer down the aisle is still one of my favorite pics ever. 😂 Maybe for your 6th anniversary you can go somewhere truly exotic like Phoenix 🙏🏻😎

  • I still remember the post you wrote about your wedding 5 years ago! What a lovely wedding it must have been! I am getting married this September in Greece and it has been really nerve racking but exciting at the same time. I am also going to change to a shorter dress for the reception since we will be dancing salsa for our first dance and it wouldn’t be possible with the long dress. Also here in Greece it is very usual to have a photography session a week after the wedding so you can get a lot more pictures than you would on your wedding day. We will be getting our pictures taken in mount Pelion! Congratulations once again on your wedding anniversary and come to Greece!

  • Wish you very happy 5-year anniversary and many more to come. That is very great that your sister made a dress for you. Even my sister choose my engagement dress for me. Honestly speaking wedding pictures are superb. Just adorable

  • Thank you so much for sharing (but I can’t believe it has been 5 years, I have been following for much longer than I thought!). I am recently engaged and thinking about having the reception at a family members home and I am always so curious how people handle the bathroom situation!! It may not be the most glamorous part of the day but I really appreciate you sharing!

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