Growing up with an affinity for the beautiful Fox Theatre, a unique wedding venue in the middle of Atlanta, GA it was a no-brainer for bride Jessie to have her wedding there. And if the wedding itself didn’t have enough details bursting with personality (for the record, there was plenty!) the venue, too lent plenty of architectural detail and history to a day that was nothing short of magical. Read on for the details! via Sharon Theresa Wheaton, an Atlanta wedding photographer.
Can you give us an overview of the event? We wanted to have a wedding that was unique and “untraditionally traditional”. We felt that many weddings seem to go through the motions but rarely do they truly represent the character of the couple. We decided to let our wedding reflect who we are and tailored everything to fit our personalities. We knew we wanted to have fun as active participants and not just meeting and greeting, we wanted to blow our guests away and we wanted to really focus on the meaning of the day and be careful not to ignore the reasons for being there in the first place. We wrote down every wedding tradition there was (from the processional to the father daughter dance to the exit!) and gave it a twist or a tweak. We thought logically about these things and what made sense, what people hated about them (single girls really don’t like being called out!) and how to improve them into something new. What we got was a much more natural flow of events and kept our guests more entertained by not knowing what to expect next.
Continued: We also felt that the ceremony needed to be overhauled and not rushed through in a five minute “I do, me too” whirlwind as we had seen in many recent weddings. We knew we wanted something spiritual but not religious, but wanted it focused around us more so that guests really saw and felt why they were all there. Our attitude from the beginning was that the reception, honestly, is an expensive party for the guests saying “thanks for being in our lives” – it’s not about us and let’s make it really a party. The second thing was that the ceremony was our part of the day and should be treated accordingly. I was terrified that people would be offended by the unique ceremony, but our guests loved it, and many people took us to the side to say so!
What inspired the theme or style? My long time obsession with the 1920’s (my bachelor’s is in history so I geek out for this stuff!). I love the indulgence and decadence of the economic boom. The women’s lib movement aspect with rebellious women cutting there hair into bobs and wearing the shorter skirts. The gritty underbelly of our society with prohibition in full swing – from speakeasy’s to jazz and the rise of mob culture – all shaping who we are today. Movies that inspired me were Chicago, Cabaret, Atonement (bridesmaid dresses) and of course, The Great Gaysby. Even though Cabaret and Atonement were set in the 40’s, there were elements I drew from them that felt more “roaring twenties”. I also watched a lot of Chaplin movies to get the feel for what things actually looked like. Architecture and Art Deco themed buildings and publications helped inspire the artwork of the stationary. Our wonderful friends and family inspired the event itself, I wanted them to all know that they were at our small (for an Atlanta wedding!) wedding for a reason, because they meant something to us, and to throw a party in their honor, and one that hopefully they’d be entertained at and enjoy. And my quirky and chaotic brain filled in the gaps!
What was the most memorable moment? Between the dancers, the flappers, the rapping and my dad and Nick singing, you’d think it would be one of those! While those were quite memorable, It would have to be when the officiant was reading our letters we wrote to each other and how I felt right at that moment. There was so much to plan, to do, to order, to make, to arrange, especially in the last two weeks, that we were running on adrenaline and fear alone. It was so stressful -add to it his family in staying with us from England and my dad’s family with us from Boston- and our anxieties about getting it finished overthrew the excitement for the day. The day of was a mad panic to set up (it took the whole family!) and it didn’t give us any time to relax so we were still anxious when it started. When we got it going, I felt a wave of relaxation and I totally clicked into the moment. I realized how happy I was, so happy that it surprised me! I had planned every moment of the day but I didn’t plan for how I’d feel, and it was such a wonderful surprise. I thought I’d cry, I thought I’d be nervous about speaking, or cry at the service (I had at all the run throughs!) but I never thought I’d feel like that. A visceral awareness of sheer joy and absolute happiness. It was the feeling that I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be. That’s my moment.
How did you meet? We actually met online! Nick had moved here from England about two years before, and I was a couple weeks shy of starting law school. We were both on Match.com and not having much luck. Embarrassingly, my little cousin and I watched “P.S. I Love You” and by the end of the movie (after we stopped sobbing!), we had the oh-so-mature idea to look for Irish accents as a characteristic on guys’ profiles. Nothing came up. After a long pause, my cousin, in her best 16 year old valley girl voice says “like, English accents sound pretty much like Irish accents, right?”; she was not right, but I typed it in anyways. One match. Dang. I said hello anyways. He started his reply back with a joke and did in every following email as well. It got my attention, I thought it was cute and geeky and certainly different. We agreed to meet a couple weeks later at a bar in the Marietta Square called Hemingways. I saw him and it creeped me out because he seemed so familiar! It was so easy and so natural. We debated the origins of punk music here vs England, we chatted politics and I was so impressed by his knowledge of our current events in politics at the time. It went so well, and I felt so comfortable with him… I bailed. I left! I made up an excuse that I had a family thing the next day and had to get to bed. We walked, chatted some more and made plans to see each other again in a couple days. I sped over to my friends house that lived nearby and walked in, plopped on his couch with a blank look and said, “… I’m getting married.” Most gals would be thrilled or ooey-gooey over meeting a guy and “knowing”, but I had ZERO intention of getting serious in law school, much less the Saturday before! So yes, sometimes the cliches are true. I thought i knew the first night I met him, it freaked me out, and three and a half years later I was proven right. And he still sends me jokes when he texts.
Tell us about your wedding gown, and what your wedding party wore: My gown was hand made by my mother and was a twenties inspired champagne/pink dropped waist gown. The skirt flowed when I walked and we went in the opposite direction of the typical big puffy skirt. A knee high medium crinoline was added underneathe to emphasize the movement of the dress and when I walked, all 26 feet of skirt billowed about. I loved it, especially how it was anything but white! The girls wore a floor length Tiffany chiffon and silk gown in jade green that had a hint of iridescence. The neckline was strapless and the material criss crossed down the front to add a formal detail. The skirts flowed when they walked as well, and they had built in boning and were made so well that everyone looked amazing in them.
Describe your wedding in one to two sentences: “Putting on the Ritz” with vintage glamour, a personalized love story and non-stop entertainment surprises for guests that broke all the rules for what a wedding should look like. A black tie affair so personalized that the celebration reminds you of why a marriage should be celebrated, and a blast back to the past where you understand why they called it the “roaring twenties”.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give? The DJ was so communicative with Nick and I, I could not thank him enough! We had so many timing issues for entertainment and we were so relieved to have him work with us. He also knew how picky I was in party music and what I feel gets a party going or brings it down, and he came to me every so often to give me his next few songs coming up and I’d okay them or change it around and add to it. He never got annoyed and was so helpful in making sure we were all happy and on schedule. His energy was great, the dance floor was full the whole night and he was so kind and patient.
What was the best wedding advice your received? Mostly people told me to stop over thinking things or that I needed to stop with the ideas. I didn’t, because I had a vision of what a 1920’s wedding truly ought to look like, and since most DIY tips online do not have ideas for formal weddings, I knew I had to make them up on my own. So ironically, the best advice I got was me ignoring what people told me to do. I stuck to my gut instincts and went with what I knew would be best. People said flappers were weird, boas were tacky and “what do you mean you’re not throwing the bouquet!?”. They all worked perfectly and all the nay-sayers said so after the fact. I think if there is something out there that you want, even if a bit wacky, but you know that it fits, it’s done tastefully and and it mixes up the usual monotony of your average wedding then go for it. Side note, also, people kept telling me over and over that the day goes by so quick and you won’t remember it (usually while telling me to stop planning a detail). This freaked me out, because why work SO HARD and not even remember it or enjoy it! Granted not everybody had a glue gun in their hand as much as I did, but I took note and made a conscious effort to be aware of the day. I saw it all, I took the time to have a private moment with “my room” (I’ve been obsessed with the Fox since I was 7, that day being there was literally a dream come true) just to soak it all in, look at the finished product that was just weeks before were still pages in THREE binders! So yes, that was good advice, be aware of it all and enjoy and remember the big day. That, and don’t forget your favors!
What were the honeymoon plans? What were the honeymoon plans? We’re applying for Nick’s green card so couldn’t leave the country. After weeks of stress, anxiety and chaos, we just wanted somewhere casual and fun and didn’t want to have to make big plans. So we had a list of a couple places we’d like to go to and literally just planned on deciding after the wedding. Our families stayed the weekend after the wedding, and after his family flew back to England, we got up the next morning and decided to head to New Orleans for a boozy, bluesy, spooky honeymoon. We booked a hotel on our phone in the car and blind luck got us a balcony on Bourbon Street! I’d been before but he never has so we spent the week touring (my history geekiness allows me to do our tours instead of buying them!) and relaxing and reflecting on the wedding. It was just what we needed before we started our next project of moving in to our new house together! We are planning to get to that big trip after his green card is granted.
Photography: Alternative Life Photography | Venue: The Fox Theatre |Caterer: A Divine Event Catering | DJ: Black Tie Events (DJ Ralphie) | Florist: Boukates | Hair: Brushworx | Officiant: Rev. Dawn Smith-Camacho at Seventh Sense Productions | Videography: Hi-Def Entertainment | Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: Wedding Angels | Prop Rental : All About Props | Cake: Publix