As I opened today’s submission for the first time, I saw the image directly below—captured so beautifully by Phillip Van Nostrand—and I balled my fist up and hit my desk several times with tears rolling down my face. Pure emotion pouring out of me and exactly why this celebration of life and love will go down as one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever had the honor of editing. Jacqueline Events & Design tells the story below so graciously. Beyond the dress, the flowers, the details… this, my friends, is truly what weddings are all about.
From Wedding Planner, Jacqueline Events & Design… On October 5, 2018, at 11:00am, Devan Roughton and Haden Shibley became Mr. and Mrs. This is a wedding that will forever define my career. For what you don’t realize is that this wedding was actually scheduled to occur on February 23, 2019. The mother of the bride, Kayla, had lived with ovarian cancer for many years and was very strong when we started this process just one short month earlier. However, on September 27, I answered a call from Devan as she softly explained that her mom had taken a turn for the worse overnight and would be put on hospice at home immediately to live out her remaining days. While sweet Devan thought that her mom wouldn’t be able to enjoy her wedding day, I reassured her that all hope was not lost. I told her that we in fact could allow her to have her mom at her special day and I cast a vision for what became October 5. We had eight short days to pull together the most memorable wedding of my career. Only two vendors had been previously booked, venue and band, and both allowed us out of our contracts and we started from scratch.
When discussing goals and objectives of the client, it is simple – to get married and have the mother of the bride in attendance. To gather the closest friends and family members of the couple in a celebration of love and life. While many of our clients may focus on the more fleeting things of life, this client understood what their special day was really to be about. It truly was the wedding of the year for the Jacqueline Events team.
Devan Roughton was full of pose and grace throughout the entire process. Haden Shibley was the rock she needed and the support system for all decisions made. When discussing where they could get married in eight short days, there was truly only one option – the family home. Her mother was not able to travel and in an effort to accomplish the number one objective, we would have to make the home work. When the decision to move the wedding date abruptly came, I started with a site visit to spend time with my bride. My focus had to be about not compromising what she had dreamt about for her wedding day, while keeping in mind the ticking clock that we were up against. Each day of planning started with a text to Devan asking how her mom was doing. Always afraid that the answer may be that she passed last night. This was my relationship with my bride. It was beyond traditional, it was special and coveted.
Devan’s family owns an art gallery next to their family home and from the minute I walked in the door, I knew it was the perfect location for the 50 person ceremony. It was the history and future of their family. If walls could talk, they would share happy memories that were made of a family working together. We were able to give them another happy memory in the mist of sorrow. While the wedding was planned in eight short days, every detail was thoughtfully orchestrated for the perfect wedding. When working with ministers, we understand that there is a standard script that may be followed. Not this wedding! The minister, Nicholas Costello, wrote a custom ceremony and message just for the bride and groom. It was tailored to the family’s art heritage and how paintings reflect love and life. At the end of the ceremony, the mother of the bride chose to recess down the aisle. It was after this moment that she personally greeted every guest. This was a happy moment and one that was somber. This was the goodbye moment for many friends, it was their final opportunity to speak with Kayla. It literally took every ounce of strength that she could muster up to speak with everyone and take photos with the happy couple. Upon the conclusion of these activities, prior to the reception starting, Kayla left the party and went back to her room where she lived out her remaining days.
After the ceremony the celebration continued with cocktails on the patio and poolside. Brunch was served in the transformed living room. Read below and enjoy all of the special details and learn how the wedding was seamlessly produced.
This wedding will be one that I will always remember. It meant putting aside the perfect wedding timeline, putting aside what we know weddings to be, and giving the couple all that they needed. After living this special day with the couple, I feel as though we will forever be bonded. One week later, Kayla passed with the happy memories of her daughter’s wedding. It was something she talked about up until her passing. That is why we do what we do. That is why we listen, design, and plan the details. It is to make a lasting impression on a family. For this, I am very blessed. This is a wedding unlike any other that will ever occur – it is truly the wedding of the year.
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VENUE: When discussing where Devan and Haden would get married in eight short days, we selected a location that was personal and sentimental. We selected their family home. The home consisted of an additional art gallery structure on the side of the property. This would become the ceremony location. The home itself served as the reception location. When designing the wedding, we aimed to compliment the space and not compete with it. The home was built with an Italian villa design and filled with valuable antiques. As you can imagine, the artwork was exquisite. Therefore, the white lush floral desired by the bride was a beautiful landscape for what was already existing. Every inch of the home was used for a different experience. The guests flowed from one space to the next with ease. Guest parking was overseen by a valet service and guests ascended up the stairs to the art gallery. Upon the completion of the ceremony, guests spilled out onto the patio and around the pool. This is where the first dances took place and the cake was cut. After cocktail hour was enjoyed by all, the doors were opened and guests filled what was once a living room. Transformed into an opulent brunch setting, guests remained in this space until a final farewell was given.
Many challenges were faced and overcome within these locations. First is the actual space available. While our sweet bride felt that no one would attend the wedding with this short of notice, everyone said yes. We had 100% attendance resulting in 50 people. However, an obvious space to seat them wasn’t available. We overcame this by looking at rooms in the house not as they were currently setup, but imagined what they could be. We transformed the art gallery into a ceremony through removing furniture and creating an altar out of the fireplace. For the brunch, we looked at the living room in a new light. Removing all living room furniture, we maximized the space with two long family style tables. This also allowed the party to feel intimate and made everyone feel special by being seated together. The second challenge we ran in to was the stairs. This was a twofold issue. First was navigation of load in. Catering was able to create ramps that were used to roll their food carts up into the home. The second issue was how we would move the mother of the bride into the art gallery for the ceremony from her bedroom. While she could walk with assistance, the trek was too far to make at once. We overcame this issue by carefully watching the timeline and starting her move early. She went to different rooms in phases and would gather her strength in between. It was truly exhausting for her, but worth it all when she saw her daughter walking down the aisle.
FOOD + BEVERAGE: The time of the ceremony and wedding was designed around the couple’s favorite meal, brunch. They love having brunch together and we felt it was the perfect meal to share with their family and closest friends. Bringing on Wolfgang Puck Catering to pull off this feat in one week was a simple choice. We knew that they could customize a menu to the liking of our client.
Catering details started as soon as the guests exited the ceremony. They were greeted by an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. Mini quiche lorraine bites, french toast sticks, smoked salmon pizza, and deviled quail eggs were enjoyed by all. In sentimental fashion, the wine served at the wedding was from the wine cellar in the family home. This paired with a mimosa and aperol spritz where passed on trays as they entered the cocktail patio. The aperol spritz delivered a punch of tangerine while the mimosa served up a soft yellow palette for the trays.
Once guests entered the home, the real feast began. A three-course brunch was customized for Devan and Haden in two short days. The first course was a caramelized fig and manchego salad served on a gold fleur plate that completed the preset chargers from Top Tier Event Rentals. Displayed on the table was an assortment of muffins and breakfast breads on white cake stands. It elevated the food from being displayed in a bowl and created dimension on the table design. The second course was the favorite of the couple and one that was not the easiest choice for large group service. All guests received an eggs benedict on a gold rimmed plate and sides were served family style in white bowls. The sides consisted of roasted potatoes, applewood smoked bacon, and fresh fruit. We loved the component of a plated main dish with passed family sides. It reiterated the formality yet closeness of the party. For the third course, guests enjoyed the cake that was previously cut by the couple. They couldn’t choose between three flavors, so we did them all. This was a celebration of love and life after all. Vanilla, snickerdoodle, and chocolate cake served on a white braided dessert plate capped the perfect meal.
PRINTED MATERIALS: While working with couples, we say that to be formal in tradition you should send a printed invitation in the mail. However, what if you don’t have the time? Guests at the wedding of Haden and Devan received something even more special, they each received personalized phone calls. These calls invited them to a day of celebration of love and life.
At the ceremony, the bride wanted to break tradition and not have programs. She felt since it was an intimate gathering of family and close friends there wasn’t a need for that formality. However, for their guest book, the couple chose a beautiful coffee book titled Earth From Above. It is something they now display in their home and enjoy the notes of sentiment left throughout the pages.
As guests entered into the brunch portion of the morning, the custom designed menus by 5by7 Designs also stated their place cards. On the top of each card was the name of the guest written in orchid colored cursive font. This allowed them to know where to be seated and what they would be served throughout the culinary experience.
DECOR: Seeing the beauty of the home, we desired for the décor to highlight and not compete. The bride wanted her favorite color purple to be represented along with her mom’s favorite flower which was an orchid.
For the ceremony design, we brought in gold chairs that accented the gold frames already found on the artwork displayed in the gallery. A lush floral runner was placed on the mantle with draping orchids. A beautiful work of art was on the mantle accented with the glamorous floral. It was truly a magnificent piece. To the right of the mantle we placed the crystal unity candle on a lucite pillar so that it did not demand attention and distract from the floral. The room was filled not only with chairs, but with beautiful piano music played by Luana Stoutmeyer. For us, design isn’t just floral, it is what the senses experience throughout an entire event. The sound filled the room with warmth and celebration.
When designing the cocktail hour, we wanted to be respectful of the furniture that was already in place and chosen by the mother of the bride. We added accent floral pieces to the patio furniture. A guest book table was adorned with a textured white linen that allowed guests to sign at their convenience. In addition, we placed the cake in cocktail hour. Since the guests would be seated and remain seated once entering the home, we wanted the cake to be adored during this time. For the cake table, it was covered with an orchid purple velvet linen that served as a foreshadow for what was to come. A crystal cake stand was selected for the glamor and height it allowed. When designing the cake, we incorporated a replica of the lace from the bride’s gown. This is a gown that will forever hold a special place in my heart because it is the day that I had to take off my traditional planning hat and play the role of friend and mom. When we realized the wedding was being moved, we knew the bride’s previously ordered gown would not arrive in time. After the site visit, I took the bride to a store that had the opportunity to overnight gowns to us. The bride fell in love with this silhouette and lace which she ended up loving more than her original gown. We bought it on the spot and it was in her hands the next day. It was a special memory and one that played a role in the design.
The design for the brunch portion of the wedding celebration was created with community in mind. The guests moved into what was typically the living room for brunch. All furniture was moved out and two long tables were designed to seat exactly 50. It was important to the couple that everyone know how special they were to them and they wanted that reflected in the seating arrangements. It was two family tables full of love. The layout was constructed of 24’ runs of tables. This maximized every inch of space available in this room. It was the largest room we had to work with and we made it an ideal setup. The room was adorned with large white floral pieces that contained draping orchids. A floral runner continued on the table intertwined with candlelight. All of this beauty was supported by a soft oatmeal velvet linen from Nuage. In selecting this linen, it was important to us not only that the color was perfect but that the texture was something the mother could rest her arms on if she was to join. It was soft to the touch of fingertips. The napkins accented the bride’s orchid purple color she desired in the design. Folded on the plates, the napkins sat underneath the custom designed menu cards. The menu cards served as a place card as well and coordinated with their orchid text. The accent metal was gold and could be found in the chairs and flatware. Gold highlighted some of the antiques and artwork already found in the space. It was a flawless compliment.
UNIQUE SUPPORT ELEMENTS: While the original wedding included the special elements of lighting, staging, and A/V components, this was different. When the wedding was moved to eight days away the couple turned their focus to what was truly important, the commitment they would make before God and their parents. Unique supporting elements for this design went beyond what could be viewed, to what was felt. It encompassed all senses. The sound filled the space with warmth and was customized with their favorite songs. The smell was that of orchids and draping floral. The taste was that of the couple’s favorite brunch foods. The touch was of soft velvet for the mom’s comfort. The sight was not only the amazing décor, but that of a young couple overjoyed with their special day. Although it was not the original plan.
ENTERTAINMENT: One of the obstacles was space. Keeping this in mind, we chose to select a solo pianist that would be able to move effortlessly from ceremony, to cocktail hour, and into the brunch reception. Luana Stoutmeyer was the obvious choice and she poured her entire heart into this wedding. In order to set the scene for how emotional of a day this was for all involved, Luana played the processional for the parents to walk in to. After seeing the mom struggle to make it down the aisle and her daughter walking in looking like an angel, she began to cry. There were many tears shed that day by all vendors involved. This is what makes this wedding so different from those we experience on a monthly basis. While the design is still stunning, it is about the heart that was poured into this wedding that truly makes it a wedding of the year.
Luana met with the couple the day before the wedding and played their first dance songs for them to hear. They were overjoyed and very excited for the next day, their wedding day. What they didn’t know is that Luana had gone the extra mile and hired a vocalist to perform for their first dances. As the couple became the center of attention and began dancing to The Promise, a vocalist filled the air. What made the moment even more magical was that while the mom couldn’t attend the first dances due to the exhaustion of the ceremony, she was in the room directly above the pool and was able to experience the moment through sound.
Photography: Phillip Van Nostrand | Event Planning: Jacqueline Events & Design | Floral Design: Haute Floral | Wedding Dress: Reformation | Cake: Annie's Culinary Creations | Catering: Wolfgang Puck Catering | Wedding Venue: Private Estate | Beauty: Simply Beautiful By Meg | La Tavola Chairs: Top Tier | Linens: Nuage Designs | Menu/Place cards: 5 By 7 Designs | Piani: Luana Stoutmeyer | Valet: Gold Crown Valet | Veil: Arte Latica