Jessica and Jason marched to the beat of their own drum when planning their pretty backyard wedding at The Cordelle. And boy oh boy did it pay off! Rather than being all about the details, they focused on making the day laid-back and authentic. The day included an indoor ceremony with handwritten vows and an outdoor party. It also came with personal moments with everyone in their wedding party, a lavish aesthetic with a homey feel, and a “zero pressure” mindset with loads of laughter. This and much more made for one incredibly beautiful celebration and Meghan Melia Photography surely knew just know to capture it the essence of it all!
Jessica + Jason
Guests ~ 125
What was the vision for your wedding?
Jess: We wanted our wedding to feel like a family reunion, but elegant. One of the best compliments we received was “your wedding felt real, it didn’t feel like you were putting on a show”. To us, that really spoke to what we wanted to accomplish. Our vision of the day wasn’t focused on the actual backdrops and details, but instead on how we and our guests felt. We wanted our wedding to feel authentic, romantic, and laid back – I’m proud to say we accomplished that.
What was your theme and what inspired it?
Jess: Think Studio 54 meets Father of The Bride. My overall theme was centered around the idea of throwing a lavish party in my parent’s backyard. It was important that the overall vibe was very homey and relaxed while providing exquisite decor. It was a mix of eclectic, vintage, boho, and classic.
Can you share any special moments or highlights from your wedding day?
Jess: First looks: I decided to do one-on-one first looks with my parents, siblings, and bridesmaids. For me, it was important to take time with each individual instead of walking out to the entire group like you see on Pinterest. There would be no other time during the day to have quality time like that, and it was a priority of mine to share that with each person. Everyone I chose to do this with continuously supported me during my lowest lows and celebrated me during my highest of highs. I wanted each “reveal” to feel authentic to each individual relationship, and celebrate them accordingly. It was beautiful and emotional – a moment that I’ll look back on with extreme gratitude. Ceremony: The officiant was my youth pastor growing up, and he also led pre-martial counseling for Jason and I for a year leading up to our wedding. It was so special to have someone up there with us who truly knew us as individuals and as a couple. We also made the decision to write handwritten vows, a decision we knew was a no-brainer from the start of planning. To be able to share our own words of commitment and adoration toward each other really spoke to our own personalities in a way that highlighted our differences and similarities. The vows and words might’ve been different, but the message of commitment was the same. It was a way for us to be authentic to ourselves while showcasing our unified vision of marriage. Dinner: We had our dinner out on the lawn with our favorite food, pizza, and tacos. We threw on a custom playlist and the vibes were simply immaculate. It felt laidback and everyone really let their hair down. I walked around barefoot with a drink in hand sharing laughs and tears with my best friends and family. Jason and I also did a sweetheart table, and I’m so glad we did. It was beautiful to have time, just us two, to chat and love on each other while having the view of all of our favorite people right in front of us. It was my favorite time of the entire day.
What are some tips you can share with other brides planning their weddings?
Jess: 1. Do 1×1 first looks with those you love most. 2. Don’t do something on your big day strictly for the photo op or because you think you should, do it because it’s authentic to you and your partner. 3. Don’t open the door to other people’s suggestions unless you really need them. If you have a vision and direction for your wedding day then keep it to yourself. You don’t want to involve anyone else opinions, because they can potentially steer you away from what you truly want. 4. Be honest with your vendors, this isn’t the time to hold back just because you think you’ll hurt their feelings. But, please do so politely. 5. Choose your wedding vendors wisely. At the end of the day, they’ll be the ones executing your vision. You can’t choose a vendor and expect them to fit your mold if it doesn’t align with their portfolio. Vendors either have or are willing to do exactly what you want, just do your research to find the perfect fit. 6. Shit is going to happen, that’s what a wedding planner is for. 7. Do not invite your photographer to your “getting ready” time. Enjoy some quiet and quality time with your bridal party the morning of. I promise you, the photographs of you getting your makeup done will just go to waste. Put together a playlist, eat good food, and enjoy the process of getting ready with all of your girls! 8. Put time and effort into your seating chart. Think of it as curating an experience for your guests – it’s worth it to know they’ll be eating dinner with those they know or will get along with. 9. Write personal vows. Either recite them during your ceremony or privately with your partner. It’s a beautiful thing to write personal words of commitment to the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. 10. Have an honest conversation about finances with your family if they’re willing to help pay for the wedding, Be respectful of this budget, and talk with your partner about what is possible to provide yourselves if you go over budget…you will go over. 11. Breathe! You can hold onto as much stress and nerves leading up to the big day, but the moment you wake up just relax. All of your hard work has paid off, not it’s time for you to enjoy it! 12. On the morning of your wedding, wake up early and have some alone time. It’s the only time during the entire day that you can truly be alone with your thoughts. You can pray, sit outside, listen to music, or simply have a cup of coffee. Just take time to get centered, in whatever fashion that is! 13. This wedding is about you and your partner, nobody else. Let the decisions, vibes, and overall experience speak to that. 14. In the weeks leading up to your wedding, everyone is going to be blowing up your phone with a. million questions. I suggest creating a doc for the weekend/wedding timeline, and specific details for three batches of people: wedding party, family, and guests. This will be a saving grace. 15. Remember, your wedding is just a day. No, it shouldn’t and won’t be “the best day of your life”. I mean, we’re talking about forever with your partner – that’s too much pressure and beyond unrealistic. But, your wedding can be pretty damn spectacular if you choose. Remember, only you can dictate how you feel – focus on the love you share with your partner and those surrounding you!