This Jekyll Island affair? It’s yet another reason that proves choosing the right venue is so, so important. This stunning Bride + Groom chose Crane Cottage which couldn’t have been more perfect for their Gilded Age-themed soiree. And with plenty of DIYs and decor inspiration (including the SMP Weddings book!) the resulting imagery from Concept-A Photography is timeless beauty at it’s best.
From the beautiful Bride…Crane Cottage on Jekyll Island, Georgia, was the first location that Adam and I thought of when we started planning our wedding. He’d taken me to Jekyll Island for my birthday one year, and I clearly remember feeling as though we’d stepped into a movie, it was all so perfect. I love our venue because of its history and the natural beauty that surrounds it- enormous oaks with Spanish moss, the river on one side and Atlantic Ocean on the other. The Jekyll Island Club has also been called “the Millionaires’ Club” because it was originally built as a turn-of-the century winter retreat for families such as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Morgans, and Pulitzers. The Club Hotel and surrounding “cottages” have been so well preserved and maintained that it was easy to feel like we’d stepped back in time. For that reason, I chose decorative touches with a Gilded Age theme- blush heritage roses, peonies, and dahlias; dotted-swiss vases hanging from shepherd’s hooks along the aisle, and carried the pale pink of the floral design into a post-Victorian-era color palette of grey, cream, and blush. My Marisa dress had an antique feel to it but my amazing seamstress, Holly, played to the art-nouveau styling of the time by customizing the neckline. She used the intricate beading on my Rivini veil to create a beautiful neckline and little flutter or cap looking sleeves.
Our venue really was the centerpiece of our wedding. We almost didn’t need decorations. And surprisingly few of our friends and family had ever heard of it, even though it’s only an hour north of where we live (Jacksonville, FL). The comment I got the most that weekend was, “this place is amazing, how did you find it?”
The best part of having our wedding at Crane Cottage was that we were able to hold every event in and around the cottage. The “cottage” was actually the most expensive private home built on the island at the time by one of the Club members, with 14 rooms, a sunken garden, and an interior courtyard. Our parents, the wedding party, and a few close friends stayed at Crane Cottage while the rest of our guests stayed at the Club Hotel next door, or at another nearby hotel on the island. Our rehearsal dinner was held close to sunset on the west-facing front lawn of the cottage, overlooking the River across a wide expanse of lawn, flowering shrubs and oaks strewn with Spanish moss, and it was absolutely gorgeous. To welcome our arriving guests, we hosted a party on Friday evening at the “Rah Bar”- a very authentic indoor-outdoor bar situated over the water on a huge, old dock across from the hotel.
The wedding ceremony itself took place outdoors on the grounds adjacent to the Cottage under a giant oak- the oldest and largest on the island- that provided an amazing canopy of hanging Spanish moss. As we recessed back up the aisle, everyone threw cones of dried lavender and rose petals in the air. The cocktail hour was held in the Crane Cottage garden, which is also where we had taken our bridal party photos earlier that day. (It’s so stunning that it’s usually where wedding ceremonies are held at Crane). Then finally, the reception was held in the outdoor courtyard at Crane Cottage where columns of incredibly fragrant jasmine happened to be in full bloom! I remember thinking it couldn’t be more beautiful or perfect.
When you spend months and months planning a wedding it’s really exciting to see it all come together in real life. I’d looked through books, magazines, and blogs (including a copy of the Style Me Pretty Weddings book!) It’s so helpful to see real weddings and pick out elements you love (and don’t love) and then tie them all together. My bridesmaids (who wore Annabelle by Jenny Yoo) each chose a different way to tie their dresses, and my mom created belts for them using some bulk beaded fabric trim purchased on Etsy. Leading up to the wedding I’d gone back and forth about the whether the colors of their dresses would work (they were all in grey except for my sister, who wore blush) but seeing them all put together was breathtaking. Those dresses were one of my favorite things about the entire wedding! We took pre-ceremony photos in the garden and the palette was gorgeous – the pale greys and blush and my dress against the green. Halfway through the photos we looked up and our friends were hanging out of their window cheering at us. I loved it! It was so special to have everyone so close all weekend.
We wrapped up the weekend with a lovely Mother’s Day brunch in the Grand Dining Room in the Club Hotel. Having our wedding at Crane Cottage, surrounded by our favorite people all weekend, with everything a short walk away, could not have been more perfect! Post wedding we were floored by how beautiful our photos, by Concept A Photography, turned out. We had a day after session thrown in, so we really got to use every part of the grounds, and we went to a driftwood beach with huge trees that we climbed into. Though we’d expected the photos to be amazing, we weren’t as sure about our videography since we were using a student from the University of North Florida (where I work). We were amazed at how well our videography turned out. Jonah Roberson, our videographer, gave us a highlight video that was better than anything from the established videographers I’d looked at in our entire region. We were able to save a lot of money by using students from the local university for both the videography and the string quartet.
Here’s a list of everything we DIY’d. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our very talented families!
Inspiration for several of my favorite DIYs came after I saw a banner (Martha Stewart) created from fabric printed by Spoonflower. I created a monogram which we made into a banner that hung at the head table, a guest book by printing the monogram onto fabric and wrapping/stapling it around a block of wood (which is now hanging up in our house instead of being stored in a bookcase), a large menu banner that featured hand calligraphy by our calligrapher, Farin, who we found on etsy. The menu ended up being 6’ long and was on display during the cocktail hour.
My aunt sewed the ring-bearer’s pillow using beading and pieces of satin from my grandmother’s wedding dress, my great-grandmother’s brooch was pinned into my bouquet- it was my something old, my mom made belts for the bridesmaids out of trim we bought from Etsy – they were gorgeous, at a fraction of the cost of the actual belts being sold on Etsy and at bridal stores, my mom also made the delicate blush table runners, my sister made amazing heart-shaped cookies frosted in pink and white, imprinted with our initials, that two of my cousins wrapped in translucent bags and tied with ribbon for everyone to take home after the reception, Adam and I stamp-embossed our monogram onto guests’ welcome boxes using his sister’s embosser and a custom stamp I got from the etsy shop “Blinks of Life”
Inside each gift box was a bottle of our favorite champagne- Wycliffe- that we re-labeled as “Woodruff-Kane Wedding Champagne”. The labels were so identical that a server accidentally poured us the Woodruff-Kane champagne instead of Wycliffe at the reception! Instead of a photo booth we had an old polaroid camera and some black and white film from The Impossible Project which people used to take photos of themselves. They then swapped the photos for their escort cards. I bought a cardboard “A”, “C”, and “&” from a craft store along with some fake flowers and hot glue gunned the flowers to the cardboard letters, then ran a string through the letters and hung it over the door to the cottage. My stepdad brought lots of bulb lights that we’d gotten for the engagement party and hung them around the courtyard which added a beautiful soft glow once it got dark. I had a topper made for the groomscake by The Canine Couture. They used photos of our lab, Lulu (who wasn’t at our wedding) to create a very Lulu-looking sculpture out of clay. Now we have that as a keepsake instead of a fondant topper that would’ve been thrown out. The table numbers were pictures of Adam and I at each age (Table one was 1 year old, etc).
Photography: Concept-A Photography | Videography: Jonah Roberson | Floral Design: Straton Hall | Wedding Dress: Marisa 898 | Ceremony Venue: Plantation Oak | Reception Venue: Crane Cottage | Shoes: Zara | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair: M. Schaefer Hairdressing | Calligrapher: Seaworthi | DJ: Skip Kelly Productions | String Quartet: University Of North Florida String Quartet | Antique Car: Martin’s Wedding Transportation | Assorted Jars, Vases, Decorations: Save On Crafts | Day-of Coordinator: Beth Vanderberg | Fabric Items: Spoonflower | Flower Girl Dress: US Angels | Jeweled Hair Comb: Hair Comes The Bride | Makeup: Nicole Kaleel | Seamstress: Holly Smith | Tuxedos: Michaels Formalwear & Bridal | Veil: Rivini