This Bride is amazing. Yes, she is gorgeous, and yes her wedding is not only beautiful but fun – but this stunning lady also happened to plan her Georgia wedding all the way from Abu Dhabi. Yes you read that right. And that gorgeous dress she wore? She picked it out a week before her big day. So long story short, my figurative hat is off to this talented Bride, and I’m pretty sure yours will be too. See all the pretty images from Liana Photography here.
From the Bride… Carnival of Love. One that is not based on status, perks, social clubs, prim and proper, formal or any of that other stuff that sometimes gets in the way of a meaningful and happy wedding. Just a carnival of love. This has been the phrase to sum up our courtship. I first met Quincy while walking to work with him smiling at me and saying “You wanna get married?”….. It has summed up our lives together so far. We randomly decided to move to Abu Dhabi…. And it was only right for it to sum up our carnival/country themed wedding in Madison, Georgia.
Now I have seen many weddings and even many themed weddings, but none compare to the DIY talents, love, long distance planning and friendships that were manifested in our one special day, which was also our one year anniversary (this was supposed to be a surprise, but it turns out I told more close friends than I thought! Oops! So much for that grand announcement). We arrived back in the US only two weeks before the wedding and we had to hit the ground running immediately.
Our wedding day was as perfect and unperfect as our love for each other and while everyone urged us to submit our photos to someone, I was hesitant at first because too often people use these wedding blog platforms to brag about their fairytale stories, wonderful loves, lives and careers when all I want to do is to show our awesome pics, highlight our wonderful vendors and offer the background behind every DIY project and idea, to help brides begin to truly explore their creativity instead of falling in line with what everyone “expects” a wedding to be.
We wanted to have a carnival wedding because we love to have fun. I love cotton candy, my husband loves games, so it seemed perfect. We chose the location because although both of us are from big cities, we love the calm and quaintness of the country. Our wedding day included a bingo game, spiked strawberry lemonade, popcorn, peanuts and other carnival treats, and we wanted everyone to have fun and not be so stuffy. The ceremony was officiated by my father’s sister, in my father’s absence, since he passed away in 2006. My stepson was my husband’s best man, my sisters were my maid and matrons of honor, my best friend walked me down the aisle, and my closest friends served as my Golden Girls, who all sat in the front row during the ceremony. Our reception included almost all of the down south comfort foods, mini hot dogs and hamburgers, strawberry lemonade, sweet tea, beef brisket, mac and cheese, baked chicken, and funnel cake as dessert.
The story of Jessica and Quincy starts in Brooklyn, New York. From there, we got married in Manhattan, took our love abroad to Abu Dhabi, and began planning a wedding that I hoped would be all that I envisioned, down to the wedding date being on our one year anniversary…I’m such a planner! A wedding which started out being located in Greensboro, Georgia (where my mother’s family is from), and ended up in Madison, Georgia, which is literally the next town over.
What made this day special was all of the little touches and details. As the bride I had many DIY projects, which included the save the dates, reception menus, wedding fan programs (which included the wed lib game on the back), the carnival ticket centerpieces, our bunting at the entrance, our puzzle piece guest book, the photobooth frames, the seating place cards, mini pinwheels for every guest and the bingo cards. Our wedding favors; personalized mason jars stuffed with roasted peanuts, added such a nice touch to the table decor. We wanted the guests to remember the little things from their childhood that brought joy to their lives. The little things. Knowing that on that day we were also celebrating one year as husband and wife was a blessing as well. It felt like a true celebration and that we had already put in a little work, so this party was a treat for our accomplishment as a couple.
This turned out to be probably one of the most tedious projects I have ever worked on, as I am a true micro-manager and I always tend to insist on doing EVERYTHING myself. With this planning, so many things that I thought I desperately needed to make our wedding day perfect, did not happen in the end, but I learned to let go, trust my husband, friends and family and let things fall together, and they did (one example of this was going to see our venue for the first time and finding out the caterer we had selected was located right next door!) From the wedding invitations, to the bridesmaid dresses that my sisters thought looked like couch covers, to the food, decor, and picking out my wedding dress a week before the wedding, it took a lot, but was all worth it, and quite budget friendly, might I add.
I also chose to have what I called Golden Girls instead of tons of bridesmaids. I have way too many good friends and although I only chose my sisters and best friend from high school to serve in my bridal party, I still wanted these ladies to be recognized. They were asked to wear yellow dresses, the same color as my bridal party, and red shoes, the same color as my shoes. They took on various roles throughout the wedding day, from hosting our wedding bingo game to leading our sorority sweetheart song!
Photography: Liana Photography | Cinematography: Liana Photography | Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin | Event Design: Variety Works | Event Planning: Bride + Variety Works | Ceremony Venue: James Madison Inn | Reception Venue: Variety Works | Invitations: Tyra Nicole | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Traffic | Makeup: Erin Marshall | Hair: Suite Lavender | Favors: The Knot Wedding Shop