JENNA & BLAKE'S SAVANNAH WEDDING
April 27, 2013
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Residence in Savannah, GA
Photographer: Brandon Lata Photography
Growing up on the Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Sound, Jenna was certain the Lowcountry would play host to her wedding day festivities; and what better venue than amongst the sweetgrass in her parent’s backyard. With the nostalgia of childhood memories and the soft touch of the coastal breeze Jenna had grown to love, there was no better setting for the couple to say “I do”.
Planning & Design: Posh Petals and Pearls // Venue: Private Residence// Florist: A to Zinnias // Ceremony Music: New Arts Ensemble // Reception Band: Uptown Entertainment Band // Gown: Allure // Bridal Shop: Frills by Scott // Bridesmaids Dresses: Bari Jay // Lighting: JLK Events // Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Joseph & Feiss White Dinner Jacket from Men’s Wearhouse // Bar Service: Dottie Gaudry Bar Services// Cake: MollieCakes // Catering: Chef Nick Mueller & Co. // Rentals: Savannah Special Events by Ranco // Wedding Favors: Dreamweaver Photo Booth// Invitations & Programs: JLeslie Wedding Décor // Videographer: Siegel Films // Hair & Makeup: Spa Bleu // Officiant: Jason Martin// Rehearsal Dinner: Chart House // Rings: FP Wortley Jewelers
Tell us how you met:
Blake and I met while attending the University of Mississippi. He was a sophomore living the Sigma Nu Fraternity house, while I was a freshman. Since Blake’s roommate and mine were hometown friends, we were thrown together in several social events. The first night we were together at a Sigma Nu party was naturally full of dancing! Blake was a true southern gentleman and asked me on a dinner date later that week and have been together since.
Blake had asked my parents for permission and showed them the ring he had chosen in October, on one of their trips to Oxford. After they said "yes!" Blake began to plan away! In January, Blake went on a trip with my parents, and me to my favorite place Disney World. The first day, we went to Magic Kingdom. My dad suggested that the photographer take a photo of all four of us and then later just Blake and me. As the photographer got ready to take a picture of just the two of us, my dad whispered to photographer that Blake was about to propose just so she could be ready! Blake got down on one knee in front of Cinderella's castle and asked me to marry him, to which I said "YES!" He was sure to include two of my biggest passions; her family and pictures making it the perfect day and a fairy tale proposal!
How did you select your date + venue:
I am so blessed to have grown up in the Lowcountry and have always had an abundance of Southern pride. I’m amazed that the area can encompass so many diverse elements; the historic downtown, the relaxing beach, and the panoramic marsh and river views. I love everything about her Southern personality, charm and beauty. Living in such a romantic area, why not experience my most romantic experience here? The hard part was deciding which of those areas to choose for our wedding. I had always wanted some element of the wedding outdoor, but eventually we decided to do both the ceremony and reception outdoor. Our ceremony took place outside in my parent’s backyard on the Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Sound. I chose my parent’s house for our wedding because it encompassed our entire wedding wants in a location, while beaming of nostalgia. Whenever we made the decision to have our wedding at my parent’s house, the date options were completely up to us. Unlike other areas in the country, our date had to factor in the tide schedule. We loved the way the weather is during the spring, so we focused on March, April, and May. The spring can be beautiful here but it can also come with the annoyance of Gnats. We looked at dates where the evening would have an incoming tide, which brings along a nice breeze to counteract any chance of gnats. April 27th was the perfect choice! The tide was rising the entire ceremony and sun was setting right after cocktail hour.
Allure Bridal Romance- style 2455. Picking out my dress was a wonderful occasion. I went with my maid of honor, mother and father. Some people might find it unusual that I had my dad as part of the decision, but I'm extremely close with him and his opinion is one of the most important to me. Several years ago my mother was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia, Aphasia, and Parkinson’s Symptoms, which has impacted our family immensely. As my mother’s words fail and worsen over time, our faith in Christ has only strengthened! There are so many memories with my mother from our wedding that I’ll always remember, and hold near to my heart one of which being dress shopping! We went to a couple of stores in Savannah to look for my perfect dress. I knew I wanted a dress that was lace, romantic and southern to fit with our outdoor ceremony and reception. We found several that we liked but none that we loved. We went to another bridal shop and began to pull out dresses that fit the style I desired. It was about third dress I tried on there when I fell in love. It was unanimous. It was elegant, classic, the perfect dress for me! I'm emotional so I assumed there would be tears at some point but I was pleasantly surprised when they first came from my maid of honor! Soon, we were all in tears. Finding my dress was definitely and exciting experience but it will be a memory I hold forever because I had those closest with me there.
The Hair + Makeup:
For my hair I wanted an updo to showcase the key-hole back of the dress, but also something romantic and rustic. I had it pulled back with a braid one side. For my make up, I wanted something romantic and light with a bright red lip; the perfect southern touch!
The Accessories (Shoes, Jewelry, Veil):
I went with my mother to Statesboro, Georgia to a bridal shop to find shoes and veil, and ended up finding both as well as splurging on a gorgeous crystal sash since my dress was under budget! As any Southern bride would, I had my something borrowed, blue, old and new on our big day! My something old was a pair of diamond earrings from my husband's grandmother that she and his mother wore on their wedding day! She passed soon before our wedding day, so this gift was extra special. I was honored to wear them and can’t wait to pass them down to my daughter one day!
My bridesmaids all wore Bari Jay’s Bella Chiffon in Misty Blue. I had ten bridesmaids so I had originally wanted a neutral for them to wear, but I fell in love with this dress and color that I decided to change plans and I’m so glad that I did. The dress had a beautiful neck detail, so they all wore their hair up and carried a baby’s breath bouquet.
Groom + Groomsmen Attire:
We went with a classic southern look for Blake, choosing a Joseph & Feiss White Dinner Jacket with Black pants, and Black bow tie. Blake wore his Ole Miss cuff links I had given him as a Christmas Gift. The Groomsmen wore the same tux as the groom.
Ceremony Site + Details:
Our ceremony took place outside in my parent’s backyard on the Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Sound. I chose my parent’s house for our wedding because it encompassed our entire wedding wants in a location, while beaming of nostalgia.
Aesthetic + Color Palette:
My overall vision for the wedding was Lowcountry Rustic with a Southern Romantic flair. I couldn’t love the south anymore than I do, so I wanted to incorporate it in every detail possible. I love rustic elements in everyday life so I wanted that to be reflected in the wedding style as well. We used a lot of burlap and pastels.
I wanted the Décor to be southern yet rustic. We had classic elements like white linens, silver, and chandeliers, while also incorporating unique and rustic flare by using old barrels, State themed cornhole and personalized chalkboards. We hung a swing that I had painted which guests could enjoy that my father and I built. I made an 8 foot chalkboard backdrop that we had standing behind our cake. On one side I had painted both of our family’s names and on the other listed our entire wedding party! It made for a wonderful backdrop for pictures! I am a very hands-on person and loved creating and incorporating handmade details into our special day. Making items for our wedding actually inspired me to start my own wedding décor business I’ve named JLeslie Wedding Décor! Another southern element we had at the reception was the use of vintage china plates, each with a different pattern that I had collected over the years on each of our farm tables.
The Food + Beverage:
With the large number of guests we had per space, we decided to have food stations. Blake and I wanted to incorporate both of our backgrounds with dishes that reflected Georgia and Mississippi. For cocktail hour we served Miniature Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Basil Soup Shots, Petite Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Aioli, and Memphis Style Chopped Pork Barbecue Sliders with Memphis Style Barbecue Sauce, Sliced Sweet Onion, and Sweet Pickles. We had three dinner stations. The first served Miniature Fried Oyster Po’ Boys with Creole Remoulade The second served Marinated Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers and Buffalo Glazed Chicken Fingers with a “Comeback Sauce” in addition to Fried Corn Meal Breaded Cat Fish with Jalapeno Cheddar Hushpuppies, Lemons, Tartar Sauce and House Made 13 Pepper Hot Sauce. The third station served Buttermilk Grits “Martini Bar” with Poached Shrimp, Red Eye Gravy and Tasso Cream Gravy Bacon, Shredded White Cheddar, Sautéed Peppers, and Roasted Corn. We served a couple different late night food options for our guests to enjoy at the end of the night. We served Crispy Truffle French Fries with Basil Aioli, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup presented in Petite Paper Cones. Lastly, we served “Porky’s Barbecue Nachos” which were Hickory and Mesquite Smoked Chopped Pork over Crispy White Corn Tortillas dished up with Chipotle Barbecue, and Hot Cheddar Cheese Sauce, and Garnished with Pickled Jalapenos. These were an Oxford staple for us and they were served with Miniature “Ole Miss Flags” that Blake and I had to get official permission from the University of Mississippi to use!
For the drink choices, we gave our guests the option of sweet tea, lemonade, red and white wine, beer, and a signature drink called the Mason Dixon! The Mason Dixon is a delicious southern treat of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade served in a Mason Jar!
Our cake was a gorgeous square five layer almond vanilla pound cake with butter cream icing made by the fantastic Mollie Stone. It had a rough textured design, which I thought tied into the other rustic elements used throughout. It was topped with a beautiful Magnolia made out of sugar, which represented Mississippi, the place we met and found love.
We had many personal touches used throughout our wedding, one of which being the décor items that I made, and that my father built. The fact that the wedding was held at my parent’s house gave the whole day a wonderful family-feel! My cousin Jason is an ordained minister so it was really special to have him officiate our ceremony! My brother is a fantastic guitarist in his band, Futurebirds, so he played guitar as we took communion to Come Thou Fount. Also within the ceremony, Blake’s sister and cousin sang both of our hymns. My cousin Casey sang At Last for our first dance and blew the guests away! Another one of my favorite personal touches from our wedding day was when my parents danced at the reception. My father had asked me in advance if it would be okay for he and my mother to share their own dance to their song, “Unforgettable“ by Nat King Cole. Of course I said yes! I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. Our videographer even included it as one of our special dances on our wedding DVD. It was a moment that I’ll never forget!
My bouquet consisted of Juliet garden roses, cream stock, light pink ranunculus, coral prophy roses, peony, white lilac, chamomile, coral spray roses, and peach stock. Bridesmaids all carried baby’s breath and flower girls wore all white daisy head wreaths. Blake’s boutonniere was made of Peach ranunculus with peach hypericum accent, and groomsmen had peach ranunculus. The cross my father and I built that we were married in front of was delicately draped with a spray garland of greenery and white and light pastel blooms. Along the isle on the chairs we had hung mason jars of baby’s breath with twine. At our sweetheart table we had Bay leaf garland for backs of our bride and groom chairs with Bloom accents on top corners of each. On our 4 rustic farm tables we used an eclectic mix of silver candelabras and glass containers that held candles and loose accents of blooms, greenery and Spanish moss. We also mixed fruit elements into the arrangements with peaches, grapes, and pears. Our round tables had white linens with Magnolia greenery, garden roses, ranunculus, peony, stock, lilac, jasmine vine, queen anne’s lace, chamomile, and tulips.
The Invitations + Paper Details:
The invitations I designed and printed myself. I wanted them to be unique, yet southern. I used a classic calligraphy script but added a modern flare but turning the font on an angle. I added a hand-drawn calligraphy map of Savannah in each wedding invitation, which I thought personalized the wedding right from the start! Also, I made program fans for guests at the ceremony in case the Southern heat kicked in.
I have a love for pictures so I knew I wanted to have a photo booth! It was a great way for guest to have fun and let loose together and take home a keepsake from the day! For every picture the guests took, a copy was put in a special book for us too. Some of my favorite shots!
Late night snacks/special treats:
We served a couple different late night food options for our guests to enjoy at the end of the night. We served Crispy Truffle French Fries with Basil Aioli, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup presented in Petite Paper Cones. Lastly, we served “Porky’s Barbecue Nachos” which were Hickory and Mesquite Smoked Chopped Pork over Crispy White Corn Tortillas dished up with Chipotle Barbecue, and Hot Cheddar Cheese Sauce, and Garnished with Pickled Jalapenos. These were an Oxford staple for us and they were served with Miniature “Ole Miss Flags” that Blake and I had to get official permission from the University of Mississippi to use!
The Send-off/Getaway Vehicle:
We left our wedding through a tunnel of sparklers! It was gorgeous! Our friends and family lined up on a stone walkway that my father and I built for the occasion, which led to our getaway car. Our send-off car was my dad’s green ’74 MGB that he rebuilt. My brother drove us away in it so it was the perfect note to end on!
Best Piece of Advice for Brides-to-Be:
I would suggest to other brides to start as soon as possible with your guests list. It’s not fun but it will make the rest of the planning easy! I would also suggest getting your paper stylist to address envelopes for your thank you notes when your invitations are ordered so that you don’t put it off! There are only a couple of things I would have changed if I could do it again. We were rushed tacking wedding party pictures and I didn’t think to get individual shots with each bridesmaid and groomsmen! I wish I had. Also I think we would’ve liked a farewell brunch!