Although their guest list numbered 350 and their bridal party was nine to a side, Shawn Johnson and Andrew East were determined to keep their wedding, held, April 16 in Franklin, Tennessee, a personal affair.
“We weren’t trying to put on an elaborate wedding or have a wow factor,” Johnson, 24, told PEOPLE. “We wanted it to be quirky and traditional and we wanted it to represent us.”
For wedding planner Sara Fried of F te Nashville, throwing Johnson and East’s perfect wedding was a welcome challenge.
“They’re both very thoughtful people and not showy, so we had to make the wedding very elegant and intimate and nothing over the top,” Fried said.
From the private farm setting amid rolling green Tennessee hills to the farmhouse tables and family-style food, “everything was very relaxed,” Johnson said.
Guests dined on mini fried chicken and waffles, buttermilk biscuits, polenta dusted salmon and short ribs at tables adorned with vintage lace and greenery and lit with exposed bulbs hanging overhead.
“Rustic elegance was what we were going for and it wasn’t overdone,” Fried said.
Johnson’s choice of dress and jewelry were both simple and sentimental. She wore her mother’s original wedding ring along with her own white gold band, which features seven diamonds as a reference to the holiest number in Christianity.
Before the festivities began, the couple exchanged meaningful wedding gifts.
“Shawn is so loving and thoughtful,” East told PEOPLE. “She took the time to put together a collection of mementos that were special to us: tickets to MLB and hockey games we had been to together, the Cubs tickets from the game where we got engaged.”
The former Olympic gymnast put the mementos, as well as poems the two had written to one another while they were dating, into a scrapbook for East, a long snapper who recently signed with the Oakland Raiders.
“She is a great gift giver,” East said.
Johnson also received a special present from her husband-to-be.
“It’s a tradition in my family for the groom to present the bride with a string of pearls,” said East, who wooed his new wife at the reception with a wedding serenade. “So I gave her those along with a hand-written letter.”
The gift – and her new husband – is “just perfect,” Johnson said.