I’m so excited to share Jana Jackson’s beautiful wedding on the blog today! Jana’s wedding reception was full of unique details that you’re sure to love. A huge thanks goes to Jana for sharing her special day and words of advice with us. The photography is by Kelsey Hawkins Photography.
How would you describe your wedding decor/theme/vibe?
Simple elegance and romance. We wanted our wedding to be elegant and romantic but have a personal, maybe a touch of informal, appeal. We are very close to our family and friends, and we wanted that closeness to be reflected in our wedding. We wanted our guests to feel as is they were involved in the wedding, too, not just the wedding party.
How did you find the perfect wedding dress?
I thought I had found the perfect dress online! I found a bridal boutique that sold the dress and made an appointment to try it on. (Brandi Michelle’s Bridal Boutique.) I wanted my wedding dress to be modest without having to add additional layering to make it so.
This dress I found was perfect. . . . I tried it on and when I looked in the mirror, I was disappointed. I tried on several others that I liked before the shop owner brought out this dress that was way too large for me. She told me to just try it on and trust her. I did not like the look of it on the hanger, but I tried it on just to humor her.
When she finally had the dress pinned to fit me and I saw the dress in the mirror, I fell in love with it. It was modest without any additional layering. I loved the fitted style of the dress, with buttons all down the length of the back of the dress. The train was a perfect length, too.
I thought it matched the theme of our wedding: simple elegance.
What are some of your favorite/special memories of your wedding day?
We had so many people working to make our wedding day and reception special. The weather was the coldest it had been all winter the week of our wedding, and there was snow and ice on the ground. Despite all of that, our friends spent hours at the church every night of the week working to clean, set up, decorate, etc. I have never felt so loved by my family and friends than I did the week of my wedding.
Having so many of our family and close friends be part of the wedding ceremony was a highlight for me. My dad officiated the wedding after walking me down the aisle. It was perfect. His life-long friend, Chester Mitchell, also officiated the ceremony. Bro. Mitchell and his wife, Marion, have been like family to me, and it was such a treasure to have them in the ceremony. He and Dad made the ceremony so personal. Dad shared a reading he had written about us and our future. He compared our lives to a painting we would paint together, and he admonished us to carefully choose the colors (emotions) we would use to paint our futures. It was beautiful and poetic.
I loved our wedding music and singers! There was a moment during the ceremony where our wedding chorale sang “Made A Way,” and our family and wedding party gathered around us and prayed. That was a special moment for me and one of my favorite moments of the day.
My sister worked so hard to make my wedding perfect. She and I are very close, so having her standing by me as maid of honor was both comforting and emotional. She helped me stay calm and relaxed, but we couldn’t look at each other without crying.
My brother made a couple of videos teasing me about the amount of work I had delegated to him. He–all in good fun, of course–called me out on my “Simple Elegance” theme by saying the things I had asked him to do were anything but simple. I’ve re-watched and laughed about it several times!
Were there any funny moments or things that didn’t go according to plan?
I forgot my bouquet! I set it down in order to get my dad in place to walk me down the aisle and forgot to pick it back up! Luckily, my uncle retrieved it for me during the opening prayer, so I had it in my hand before the prayer was over and I walked onto the platform to join my groom.
Your reception was very unique; tell me about that.
I loved our reception! I wanted something very non-traditional for our reception. We didn’t even serve a traditional wedding cake! My sister made 300 cakes in a jar that had our wedding logo on the front. This served as a wedding favor/wedding cake that our guests could eat at the reception or take with them.
We wanted our reception to be like an elegant street fair. Again, we are very close to our family and friends and wanted our reception to reflect that casual, family feel. We wanted to be able to mingle and talk with our guests, and we wanted them to be able to visit with one another, as well.
To accommodate that, we had two food trucks set up inside our gym. One served Mexican food; the other was an ice cream truck. (I’m addicted to ice cream trucks!) We hung string lights throughout the gym to give it a street fair vibe. We had tables covered in white tablecloths with white chair covers, and beautiful floral arrangements–some large and small–on each table with several candles. We used real florals: cedar, eucalyptus, roses, magnolia, and hydrangea. We also had a coffee barista who served hot coffee and hot chocolate to our guests.
Our reception was probably my favorite part of the day. When I walked into our completed reception, I was amazed at how stunning it looked. . . . It was exactly what I had envisioned! (Thanks to Julie Tucker, Bev Dietrech, and Kayla Ellingsworth for making it happen.)
Any advice you have for future brides?
Plan and delegate. Pick people that you can trust with each part of the wedding and delegate tasks to them. That will save you time and energy, plus their creativity and ideas will give you inspiration and help with decision-making.
Don’t make decisions based on what you think other people want, but make them based on what you want. That was hard for me to do at first.
Let people show they love you by helping with the wedding. On the day of the wedding, try and go with the flow as much as possible. Enjoy the day and soak it all in. It will be over too quickly.
Also, appoint someone to be in charge of decisions/troubleshooting during your wedding day. Make sure everyone involved knows who to report problems and address questions to once the wedding begins. This way, you can have the day free to enjoy and soak it all in, while someone else is handling all of the logistics.
Photography | Kelsey Hawkins Photography