When planning an outdoor wedding in the South, the weather is always a tad worrisome–we even have a tradition for keeping Mother Nature at bay! Cara and Jerrit managed to throw a Southern soirée in perfect weather, but what they hadn’t thought of was airplanes flying overhead during their ceremony. Good thing most Southerners have never met a stranger, because a family friend in attendance was married to an air traffic controller. When that first plane flew overhead, he sneakily called the air traffic control tower near the venue and requested that all planes due to fly over Robert E. Lee Park in the next half hour be diverted! Talk about Southern hospitality, y’all!
P.S. You have to see Jerrit’s “groomal,” as he coined it. I love when couples have fun with tradition!
Thanks to Ryan Price for sharing this beautiful day with us!
I spent a lot of time with the ladies at Stems of Dallas figuring out how to mesh my understated old world romance vision with Jerrit’s rustic aesthetic. In a mock arrangement Stems created for us, the girls included a few little foliage twigs, which Jerrit had pointed out, saying “I like these sticks.” That ended up being a running joke with the girls at Stems, but it also ended up being the idea that tied everything together. At our ceremony, they weaved floral-dotted greenery through four of the support columns and across the top to frame the area that would be our altar. I think the ceremony flowers were my most favorite decorative aspect of the entire wedding. Jerrit, being a beer-loving Southern boy, decided he really wanted hops boutonnieres. The dried hops had a beautiful golden color, so the girls at Stems added some to my bouquet as well, which was was a gorgeous and a personal detail that I loved!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I LOVED wedding dress shopping! I was only in Dallas for the weekend, so we had many appointments booked at various Dallas-area bridal boutiques. At the first salon, I tried on a few lovely dresses, and then put on a stunning La Sposa gown. Once the woman helping me fanned out the double-layered chantilly lace train and handed me a mirror, the tears began to well up. I kept all of my other appointments and certainly found other dresses that I thought were beautiful, but the La Sposa gown was still in my mind. That salon was closed on my final day in Dallas and I had to fly back to New York the next morning, so my dad found another salon that carried La Sposa gowns. He called the store, and convinced them to squeeze me in, last minute, to try on the dress. I knew it was the one the second I walked out of the dressing room when both of my parents and I started to cry.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Though getting married outside is beautiful, you can’t control all of the elements, and one element we failed to realize could be an issue on our wedding day was airplanes. I never really noticed them until our rehearsal, when over the course of an hour, about 20 planes flew overhead, leaving or landing at Love Field, and it was surprisingly loud. I prayed that night that we would magically not have any airplanes fly over Lee Park between 5:30 and 6 on our wedding day. At the ceremony, right after I took my place next to Jerrit, a plane flew overhead and I thought, “Oh God, please no.” Literally, not one more plane after that! The next day, I found out that one of my mom’s best friends from college is married to an air traffic controller. When that first plane flew overhead, he very discreetly called the air traffic control tower at Love Field and requested that all planes due to fly over Lee Park for the next half hour be DIVERTED! I couldn’t believe it…apparently we have friends in high places!
We wrote our own vows and they were stunning. We were amazed that even without writing them together or seeing each other’s vows prior to the ceremony, we somehow wrote vows that were perfectly in sync. We both mentioned how silly we had felt starting online dating profiles, and referenced our sub-par Mexican dinner first date. In the earlier part of our relationship, Jerrit told me that his youth pastor (who officiated our wedding) gave him some of the best advice he had ever gotten: if you love a woman, you have to work to make her fall in love with you again every day. In his vows, Jerrit promised me would do just that. Jerrit also regularly tells me that I’m his favorite, so he concluded his vows with, “You’re my favorite today, tomorrow, and all the days of our lives.”
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our main goal in choosing a venue was to have ceremony, cocktails, and reception at one location. With the majority of our friends being from out of town, we figured it would be easiest for everyone involved. We chose Arlington Hall because it matched us, our personalities, and our vision. I love antiques, and we are fairly laid back as a couple, so we wanted a venue that felt home-y. We also wanted to get married outside. Arlington Hall is beautiful and elegant without being overdone or super formal. Jerrit particularly loved the idea of bringing all our New York friends to Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas.
I think there are a lot of elements to weddings in the South that we don’t even realize are Southern traditions–Jerrit and I were shocked how many times we had to explain the concept of a bridal portrait to folks up here in New York! I did, in fact, have a bridal portrait taken and displayed at the reception. Jerrit also decided that in the interest of equality, if I got a bridal portrait, then he was entitled to a groom’s portrait, or “groomal” as it is now coined. He took his buddy and fellow photographer, Jon, out to a stable in Hudson Valley, wore his wedding suit, put his old tobacco pipe in his mouth, and took a rather majestic (and silly) photo on horseback. It was a highly anticipated detail amongst our vendors and a true testament to our silly personalities.
Along with our delicious wedding cake by Frosted Art Bakery, we had mini pies, as an homage to my grandmothers, both of whom are deceased, as our wedding favor. I have such vivid memories of both grandmothers baking, and wanted to pay a tribute to their memory and the true Southern value of expressing love and hospitality through food. We had four different flavors: cherry, pecan, lemon chess, and chocolate, which were the four main flavors my grandmothers used to bake. My mom’s mom, Grandma Moeller, made cherry pie every time we visited her house because it was mine and my brother’s favorite, and she often baked pecan pie with the pecans from the tree in her front yard. Lemon Chess is my dad’s favorite, so we often got that from his mother, Granny Massey. My favorite story is chocolate pie, which was a staple at any family gathering where Granny Massey was present. Granny Massey was never able to get the recipe proportions quite right, so the pie filling never fully set. It tasted delicious, but was also always runny. Every time Granny made the pie, she would exclaim, “Well, I just don’t know what happened–it’s just never done this before!” That pie has remained a little family joke for as long as I can remember, garnering the nickname “Chocolate Soup Pie.”
Before you go, take a peek at Cara and Jerrit’s wedding film by Candelight Films!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jerrit and I met in New York City four years ago on OKCupid, though neither of us were actually expecting to meet someone there. Jerrit was sick with the flu when he joined, and I heard from a girlfriend that she was going on a lot of dates and getting a lot of delicious meals, so I thought, “What the heck?” A few weeks later, I was dating Jerrit, and we ceremonially deleted our online profiles together. After a couple of messages back and forth, Jerrit and I discovered we grew up less than 10 miles from each other in Dallas and agreed to meet for Mexican food in the city. By our third date, I was totally falling for him. A couple months later, Jerrit was trying to teach me to drive a stick shift, and ended up stalling the car in the middle of an intersection. I threw a fit, gave up, and refused to continue driving, so Jerrit drove me home. He made a little joke, which I took seriously, and, again, got all pouty. Jerrit laughed and said “Oh, I’m just joking! It’s not that big of a deal. I love you.” We both froze, jaws on the ground, and seconds later, after he had pulled it together, he said “Well, I do.” It took me far too long to say it back, because I was still trying to catch my breath, but once I finally got the words out, I knew I was going to marry the boy who had just accidentally told me he loved me.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jerrit is a wedding photographer and he has shared his love of photography with me over the course of our relationship. I find that since we both enjoy taking beautiful photos, we never remember to actually take photos of the two of us doing stuff together; something I complain about. For Christmas 2012, I was on tour with “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” so Jerrit gave me a gift certificate for my favorite vineyard on Long Island and said it was “something for us to look forward to when I got home”. Six months later, when I finally got to return to NYC, Jerrit and I planned a day trip out to Duckwalk Vineyard on the North Fork. He suggested we buy a few glasses of wine and some cheese and crackers and set up a little picnic. Jerrit set up a tripod and camera so he could appease my lack-of-photo complaints. After his glass of wine (which he downed rather quickly, I noticed), Jerrit asked if I could focus the camera for our photo shoot. I leaned over to look through the view finder, and I saw the beautiful vineyard, Jerrit on bended knee, and the words “Marry Me” written in the sky. I burst into tears, and somehow, I managed to squeak out a “yes.” Jerrit then took me back to the restaurant where we had shared a romantic dinner the first time we had visited the vineyard. Jerrit had made a series of audio and video recordings telling me the details of all his steps in the process and how he was feeling during each of those milestones, which was super romantic and heartfelt memento to remember that special time in our lives.
When did y’all get married? October 18, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Jerrit and I did some pre-marital counseling with our officiating pastor before the wedding. He had us do this questionnaire that he calls the “pre-marital SAT,” which was super interesting and a great guide to our future union. We each had to answer the hundreds of questions separately, and both sets of answers were then compared and broken down into areas of agreement or disagreement. Through a series of skype sessions (since we’re in NYC and Mark is in Florida), we talked through each and every topic/question we disagreed on, or if one of our answers stuck out as maybe needing to be discussed. It was an awesome platform to identify and begin discussion in areas where we might not see eye to eye, as well as a safe way to have what could be very difficult and vulnerable conversations. Jerrit and I also started working with a financial planner during our engagement so that we would have a plan for how to approach finances once married. Combining bank accounts and incomes was certainly something neither of us had even come close to before, so working with someone who is not only a financial advisor, but also a friend, was a great way to start those discussions.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Married life is so much fun! After just a few months, we already feel like we know one another so much better. We laugh often and talk about pretty much everything, so we are most excited about continuing to deepen our friendship and love for one another. We’ve also talked about starting a wedding planning/photography company together, so it could be exciting to build a family and a family business.
Photographer: Ryan Price / Videographer: Candlelight Films / Planner: Kay Watson / Ceremony Venue: Lee Park / Reception Venue: Arlington Hall / Florist: Stems of Dallas / Dessert Baker: Frosted Art Bakery / Caterer: Food Glorious Food / Lighting: Beyond Lighting / Band: IDT / Paper Products: Southern Fried Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Denia” by La Sposa / Bridal Salon and Veil Bridal Boutique of Lewisville / Hair Stylist: James DeFrange / Makeup Artist: Jacqueline Barnett / Bride’s Shoes: Emmy Shoes of London / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Transportation: Premier Transportation String Trio: Serenata Strings