There are many things that can make a wedding Southern: the locale, the details, the traditions, you name it! I particularly love how Jennifer and Zachary chose to focus on sweet Southern hospitality! Vital to the heartbeat of the South, hospitality can turn any event into a meaningful celebration. With welcome boxes, wool shawls, hot hands, handkerchiefs, and more, I know that guests felt welcome and completely at home, just like Jennifer and Zachary had hoped. With friends and sorority sisters-turned-wedding vendors on hand, community is one more great aspect of the South that these two embraced on their beautiful wedding day.
Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this gilded day with us!
We met in graduate school in Oklahoma City in 2010. At first, I didn’t really talk to Zac. I was very focused on school and sat toward the front of the classroom. Zac sat behind me and later told me he thought I was cute, smart, and motivated, but he was sure I was in a relationship. Once I was confident my grades were in order, I began to notice him. As the semester progressed, we started talking more and spending time together. One day before class, he blurted out, “Let’s go to the Thunder game.” That was our first official date!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to see each other before the wedding and have some time to enjoy the moment alone. We loved walking hand and hand in the gardens, taking in the beautiful evening light and the willow trees, flowers, and trails near the water.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern part of our wedding was the effort we made to make our guests feel welcome and at home, no matter where they came from. From welcome boxes to wool shawls, hand warmers to handkerchiefs, we focused on Southern hospitality.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Both Zac and I found comfort in hearing and repeating the vows that have been lovingly spoken by couples for hundreds of years,
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My mother hired OCU’s string quartet for our ceremony. Zac and I did not want to walk down the aisle to anything traditional–we love to laugh and we wanted to make people smile. We decided to walk down the aisle to “Don’t Stop Believing.” After the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “We are the Champions.” It was great to watch everyone’s faces in the crowd as they recognized the songs.
I fell in love with Coles Garden the first day I went there. It had a gorgeous garden area for the ceremony and a wonderful indoor and outdoor reception area. I really wanted café lights and Coles provided the perfect place to dance under the stars.
Katie from Birdies, a fourth generation florist, designed my wedding flowers. I was on the dance team at OU with Katie, so she was the first person I thought of! We did a mix of ivory, white, and blush flowers with greenery for my bouquet, and I loved that it wasn’t too traditional. Our guests loved the details Katie used to create a casual, yet elegant, look at our reception. She hand-painted lanterns gold and designed wreaths to surround them, created a wall of flowers on the welcome table, and arranged vines and nosegays for the port bar and the sweetheart table.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cakes were made by my good friend and OU sorority little sister, Olivia. I really don’t like the taste of fondant, but I love how it looks on cakes. She came up with the idea to do displays with a cutting layer for my cakes, as well as sheet cakes with whatever icing I preferred. The main wedding cake was decorated with stunning metallic gold and ivory finishes and topped off with delicate paper flowers. The two groom’s cakes paid tribute to Zac’s loves of hunting and OU. Guests were served their choice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, chocolate cake with buttercream and chocolate ganache, and vanilla bean cake with strawberry filling. For a late night snack, we had a s’mores bar designed by the caterer, complete with marshmallows on a stick, warmed chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. Guests were sent home with cake slices of their choice in gold boxes with whimsical wooden forks.
Tell us all about the proposal! Every year around Christmas, Zac and I go somewhere to look at the lights. The night we exchanged gifts, before we went to celebrate with our families, was an icy one. Zac’s first gift for me was had hand warmers–he said he had planned to take me on a helicopter ride over the city to look at the Christmas lights, but had just received a call that flights were grounded because of ice. He was upset, but I told him we could go out to dinner instead. We went to a restaurant by the lake, and after dinner, we walked out to the lighthouse, where he proposed. He said he was originally planning to propose while we were flying over the Christmas lights. I know he was upset it didn’t go as planned, but I still thought the night was magical! Even though we didn’t go on the helicopter ride, his proposal in front of the lighthouse in the rain was just as romantic.
When did y’all get married? November 1, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I always loved that my 83-year-old grandparents still held hands. When I first read “The Art of Marriage,” by Wilfred Arlan Peterson, the words spoke to that kind of love: “In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It’s never being too old to hold hands.” Our officiant did a touching reading of the poem during the ceremony.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, my mother gave me the lace trim from her wedding dress and we wrapped it around my bouquet. We then pinned on my grandfathers’ enamel police and military badges for my something blue. He is no longer with us, so that was my way of having him there with me in spirit. My parents gifted me with a new diamond necklace and a silver sparrow charm, designed to honor my close friend and bridesmaid who passed away unexpectedly before the wedding.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We got our friends involved. As a wedding gift, one of my bridesmaids made our guest book. My sorority sisters and good friends made the invitations and cake. It was a great way to showcase my friends’ talents and build their portfolios, and we were both so proud of how well everything turned out. It was better than we could have imagined!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax! Planning a wedding should be fun, but it can get stressful. Try not to lose sight of what is important. It is easy for friends and family to chime in and suggest what they think you need to do or add to the wedding. Just remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is how you and your husband picture your wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have enjoyed being a newlywed couple, and we are ready to start a family!
Photographer: Amanda Watson / Planner: Camden Chitwood / Venue: Coles Garden / Florist: Birdie Blooms / Cake Baker: Olivia Abel / Caterer: Catering Connection / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions / DJ: BTP Productions / Calligraphy: Sooner Calligraphy / Illustrations: Lana’s Shop / Paper Products: Melinda Russell Designs / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Chelse Lasher / Makeup Artist: Blo Bar / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groomsmen’s Ties and Vests: Custom by Lihn’s Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Photo Booth: The SNL Photo Booth / Ceremony Musicians: Oklahoma City String Quartet / Cigar Roller: The Leaf 405 / Coffee Catering: Cafe Evoke