With a relationship stemming from minor league baseball chatter on Twitter, it’s safe to say Jessica + Chris did not meet in the most traditional way. But, when it came to their sweet Southern wedding, tradition was deeply woven into every detail. My favorite detail is the Bible Chris’s mother carried into the ceremony — it was his late father’s, and it served as a reminder of his presence and his support for their marriage. What a lovely way to honor and remember him.
On a sweet note, I would be remiss not to mention that Jessica + Chris made their own peach preserve wedding favors with the help of Jessica’s mom and step dad! Says Jessica, “It was a great bonding experience, and we were so proud of the ‘fruits’ of our labor!”
We’re sending lots of thanks to Chris Isham for snapping J+C’s big day!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I went everywhere in Greenville looking for the perfect dress. I would find one that I really liked the shape of, but find something I didn’t like about the fabric, or vice versa. Finally we decided to drop in at David’s Bridal, where I immediately spotted the dress. I knew it would be mine before I even tried it on — the texture and flow were just perfect for me.
We decided to do a first look because it was really important for us to have just a few minutes alone together before the ceremony and the hustle and bustle of the reception. It was so nice to just take a moment to reflect on our love for one another. The huge grin on Chris’s face was priceless; it is one of my favorite wedding memories.
My mom, my five amazing bridesmaids, and my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law decorated the entire reception area the night before. A true labor of love! We used a mix of white hydrangeas, blush and white garden roses and baby’s breath for both the reception and the ceremony. The buds were arranged in hand-decorated mason jars and small vases to create a vintage Southern feel — simple, sweet, and comfortable elegance. We took fabric flower pieces from my mom’s veil and attached them to my bouquet as my something old; it was a wonderful way to carry a piece of her wedding day with me.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. A friend of ours, Johnathan, played guitar during our ceremony since access to power or a piano really wasn’t an option in the middle of a farm field. For the processional, he played an amazing acoustic edition of “Everlasting Light” by The Black Keys. Chris and I went to a Black Key’s Concert early in our relationship and have always loved this song. For the bridal entrance, we selected “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan and for the recessional, “Here Come The Sun,” by The Beatles. Our first dance was to “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. Chris and his mom danced to “I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack, and my dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. On our RSVP return cards we asked our guests to “Be the DJ” — such a great idea! Our reception music was an eclectic mix of music that kept everyone on the dance floor all night long. Plus it was great to see when a guest’s song came on and see them rush to the floor in excitement for “their pick.”
My cousin Evan, who ministers to college kids in Ohio with Campus Crusade For Christ, officiated our wedding. It was really special for me because we have grown up together (we are only six months apart) and he understood my personality and desire for a relaxed but meaningful ceremony. He wrote the entire ceremony and we made traditional vows. Evan did a great job relating to Chris and I and even added a personal touch by pulling in lessons he has learned from his own young marriage. Plus, he used his iPad during the ceremony, which was a nice touch for a couple that was brought together by the wonders of technology.
I love the relaxed atmosphere of this photo! It looks like Jessica, Chris, and their entire bridal party are absolutely enjoying the day! Not to mention that light is just dreamy.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was full of Southern charm. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and at home so that they could really enjoy themselves. Our guests rode up to the ceremony site on tractors — hay ride style! One of the most Southern details was the food. Our wedding was held on an organic working farm, so the dinner we served was farm-to-table style using as many ingredients as possible from our surroundings. We served crostinis with goat cheese and pepper jelly, a salad with organic greens, slider burgers with fresh greens and cheddar, corn lollipops, a mashed potato bar with all the fixin’s, and BBQ chicken over collard greens. Plus, every drink at the wedding was served in a mason jar with a paper straw. We had a fire pit in the reception barn where guests could warm themselves in a rocking chair or toast marshmallows for s’mores. We were all about Southern comfort and good ‘ol hospitality!
When you get down to the final weeks and days of planning, you’ve done everything you can do up to this point to make your day unforgettable. If things don’t turn out quite like you planned, just roll with the punches and don’t sweat the things you can’t change. Improvise and laugh about it — it’s not worth getting upset over. It’s your big day — savor every moment!
Y’all know I believe everything tastes better in a mason jar, and that lemonade looks like a great refresher from dancing the night away!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert.
Our wedding cake was alternating tiers of fresh organic strawberry cake and strawberry icing and chocolate cake with fudge butter cream icing with a vanilla butter cream that looked as though it had been iced right there at the reception. Our cupcakes were an assortment of four flavors: peach bellini, pumpkin spice with cinnamon icing, green tea, and champagne sparkle. The groom’s cake was a traditional red velvet cake, Chris’s favorite!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I can’t just pick one! Chris and I made our peach preserve wedding favors with my mom and step dad. We live near a peach orchard and pass it virtually every day. We thought it would be a great idea to make a yummy treat for our guests to enjoy. We purchased two bushels of peaches and spent an entire weekend slicing, prepping, boiling, and canning the old-fashioned way!
We always love a good father/daughter dance, but this photo of Chris and his mama dancing encompasses so much emotion!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Chris and I met on Twitter, but before you think that’s crazy please read on! We started communicating with one another periodically about small stuff in late 2009, talking about the local minor league baseball team, our distaste for speeding tickets, and the fact that we were both from Virginia and living in South Carolina. Eventually, that led to the need for more in-depth conversations, so we exchanged phone numbers and figured that it was time to meet each other in early 2010. We both knew that the other person could possibly be a serial killer (only kidding!) but we took a chance and found that there was a definite attraction. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Describe the proposal. One summer Saturday morning, I got up early and started getting ready to go look for treasures at a local neighborhood yard sale. Chris is not a morning person, so I was pretty shocked when he wanted to join me on my 7 am excursion. After a couple hours of looking at tables upon tables of junk, we made our way back to our apartment. All morning, Chris had been asking what I wanted to do for the rest of the day, and I replied multiple times that I had no plans. After being asked the question again, I was beginning to get a little annoyed. I turned to Chris and in a very annoyed and sarcastic tone grumbled, “You keep asking me what I want to do, clearly you have something in mind, so what do YOU want to do today?” He dropped to one knee and said, “I want to make it official.” My mouth dropped open and I immediately felt terrible about what I had just said. The rest is history! We were going to have a much more romantic engagement story, but I mistakenly ruined Chris’s grand plans by inviting one of our friends along for dinner the night the proposal was supposed to happen. But I honestly couldn’t be happier with our story… it is very “us”!
In what month did you get married? October 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Evan added 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13 to the wedding message at our request and my stepfather, Jim read Romans 12:9-21 during the ceremony.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am a very detail-oriented person and it was hard to narrow down the things I wanted to include in our special day. Eventually, I had to decide what mattered most and eliminate the all the piddly things that weren’t as meaningful to us.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our photography. I was especially picky about what I wanted to look back at years from now and see. After looking up every photographer in town, I just knew I wanted Chris Isham to capture all of the little moments during our big moment. His relaxed style was just perfect and he really made Chris and I feel at ease. We could have had a few of our friends capture the day for little to nothing, but this was the best choice we could have possibly made!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are excited for what is ahead! Shortly after we returned from the honeymoon in Jamaica, Chris interviewed for a new position and received a promotion at his company at the end of last year. I am in the process of preparing for and applying to graduate school programs and I just changed career paths. We are looking forward to settling into our new house and starting a family in the next few years.
Chris Isham is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!