Nearly 10 years after the day we met and one day shy of 7 months after Joel proposed, we were finally about to tie the knot. But, it wasn't an easy ride. It was long and rocky. During our engagement, we had considered premarital counseling, but no one could explain how to tackle this life to us. We just had to jump and know that God was there leading us; no matter what! I had read in every premarital book on the market, counting one Joel and I read one together, but they didn't tell me how to prepare or even touch what we have endured or what we were about to call marriage. Regardless, we were so ready. We were ready for that day to be one another's for the rest of our lives. And ready for all the marriage and intimacy had to offer.
I couldn't sleep the night before, it was like a caffeine high. My poor sister was on bride duty and had to entertain me at breakfast as soon as the hotel in the small town of Greer, South Carolina started serving at the dark hour of 5 am.
I wasn't a bit nervous... just READY!!!
I handmade everything, from invitations to favors. I had poured my heart and soul into fabricating my wedding belt and bouquets. There wasn't an ounce of our day that didn't have our personal touch on it.
The dress: Oh the story of the dress... It rarely snows in South Carolina, but it did the day I picked out my dress in February. I was just going to "look" at David's Bridal. My sister and one of my mothers-in-law were with me. I found a few I wanted to try. I tried the first one on and it began to snow. Joel sent me a message in that moment telling me it was snowing and I was in disbelief. Sure enough I put on my red boots and I really liked the dress that I did not intend on buying, nor did I think it was what I wanted. I tried 4 or 5 on and decided to put my 2 favorites on again. The snow had stopped until I put that dress on AGAIN! It was my Gilmore Girls moment! I rang the bell and bought the dress! It was perfect.
The red boots and red barn: I had always known I wanted to be married in a red barn and red boots... elements of red were included, as the color red always reminded me of Joel's love for his Georgia Bulldogs!
The necklace: My locket had a photo of my great grandmother and my great aunt who had both passed who meant the world to me. The locket was an antique in gold with accents of coral and blue with a blue swallow pendant.
The belt: Well it speaks for itself. Also handmade. I just have to have a little color in my life!
The flowers: All of our flowers were hand picked and wrapped by me. I wanted silk flowers so I could cherish them forever and display them in our room. I chose a white sunflower as the centerpiece because Joel used to eat sunflower seeds when we were younger and they became my favorite flower. It had a pink and rhinestone cameo brooch to suit my old soul. I used pinks, ivory, and blues anemones, peonies, hydrangeas, and ranunculus flowers. My bridesmaids flowers complimented their dresses and the pinks in my bouquet. They had a single teal and white magnolia- my mom's favorite and bright pink peonies.
The girls: I had my mind set on polka dot, mint, an lace. And we found it! I wanted to buy our girls their dresses, because I know how ridiculously expensive dresses can be and how most bridesmaids dresses are never worn again. I wanted something to give them, and so these dresses made the perfect gift along with matching braided bracelets and rose stud earrings. We had planned on having them wear blush pink flats, but the night before we all realized they wanted to wear cowboy boots... and I was ALL for that!
The arbor: I made our door arbor and mason jar chandelier myself. I had this vision of what i wanted and worked hard to make it happen. I went to school for design and it is hard to battle not being able to accomplish whatever craft lingers around in my head!
The favors: For years I searched out random forks from thrift shops. If you know our story, you know that under the pastor we met, his motto was "hold on to your fork, the best is yet to come"... because after dinner... dessert is coming... so hold on... the best is yet to come. I tea stained tags and stamped them with that slogan and our names. We washed and dried each fork, tied the tags and placed them in painted baskets on each table and had our dj tell the story.
Elements of design: birds, feathers, baskets, mason jars, chandeliers, window panes with photos from our lives, bright colors, and mini lanterns.
A red Camilla flower for love and passion was placed in my hair by Joel's Mom that I had bought and placed in my hope chest long before Joel and I were dating.
My right hand lady... Miss P aka our flower dog! I have had Princess since the year after Joel and I met. She is now his dog more than mine.
Our ladies from the left: My best friend from high school Kennedi Garrison, Joel's sister and "Best lady" Danielle Cervantes, Joel's "Groomslady" best friend Shannon Thompson, My baby sister and Matron of Honor, me (duh), and my best friend from college Christina Spratt!
Our gentleman from the left: Joel's best friend from K5 school Justin Price, another of Joel's best friends from school and church Chris Scott, Joel (duh), my bridesman and partner in crime Adam Guthrie, my close spiritual friend Justin Brooks, and Joel's best man and Dad Joel Jackson I.
When we first saw each other! Oh all the stress was over... and I could just be... his bride!
Our first look, vow, and ring exchange. I was adamant that I wanted to private time with Joel prior to our wedding (as he and I would not have a moment alone until we were home later that night- especially when he was not able to speak). After pleading my case... he agreed!
Many may not know but we exchanged rings prior to our ceremony. Something special to us!
Our family and bridal party praying for us before the ceremony.
Our youth pastor Sammy Clary from when we first met led the perfect ceremony!
Joel and I wrote our own vows (Joel with the use of his computer and his eye gaze device) and his dad read his vows aloud. We had kept our vows secret until our private moment just before the ceremony.
Getting ready for our first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Jackson!
Our first dance... to watch the video please click here!
I let him have his cake and eat it too!
And then my sister.... well she did something beautiful for her big brother that he couldn't do himself!
My mom caught the bouquet! And Adam caught the garter! My mom married the following June and Adam is marrying that beautiful dance teacher of ours in the photo below next spring!
Line dancing taught by Katelyn (the navy dress with red locks)!
It was a beautiful day! It could not have been more perfect becoming one!
Now we are on the search for the perfect place to have red barn weddings all year round celebrating live, love, and marriage with other couples! What a special way to always remember our day!
Hope you enjoyed our day as much as we did!
Photo Cred: Laura Spratt (except for cake smash on my face and the black and white of us dancing- Lisa Sands)
Jackson Pine Farm