Not only is bride, Christine, a Snippet & Ink reader (we love that!), but she also did an amazing job of sharing all the details of her wedding to Jackson. Scroll through for pics from their beautiful day (including the DIY hashtag marquee letters – amazing!), and for their sweet story at the end. Congratulations Christine and Jackson!
Photography by Michelle Scott.
From Christine and Jackson:
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Jackson and I are both devout Catholics, and have never imagined getting married anywhere but in a church with a full Mass. Fortunately, we were already parishioners at Christ the King, Atlanta’s stunning Catholic cathedral—two reasons it was a no-brainer for our ceremony! Its stately limestone exterior, manicured grounds, and gorgeous stained-glass windows offered the beauty and formality we were looking for. It was so special to be able to attend church there during our engagement and imagine ourselves walking down that same aisle together on the big day.
Your ceremony in three words. Traditional, Joyful, Participatory
How did you go about planning your ceremony? While we didn’t care to deviate from the traditional structure and powerful vows of a Catholic wedding mass, we poured ourselves into selecting the scripture readings and music that resonated with us. We also involved as many family and friends as possible in different roles—our rehearsal alone had about 50 people at it!
Who officiated your ceremony? The legend of our officiant, Father Paddy, is well known among our family and friends for its incredible coincidence: I first knew Father Paddy as the cousin of my oldest friends while growing up on Long Island. Those 3 girls are more like my sisters (who naturally served as our matron of honor and bridesmaids), and I’d met Father Paddy several times through the years before being in all of their recent weddings when he officiated. A few months into dating, Jackson and I discovered that it was the SAME Father Paddy who has been a priest in Jackson’s home diocese since he was a boy…1300 miles away in Mississippi! So to say he was the obvious choice to marry us is an understatement. He generously agreed, which entailed flying from Ireland to be there. It meant the world!
What was your ceremony music? We had a string quartet, organist, and soprano cantor, whose angelic voice created a dreamy atmosphere in the massive church.
Prelude: Air from Water Music and Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (both Bach)
Wedding Party Processional: Canon in D (Pachebel)
Bride’s Processional: Prince of Denmark’s March (Jeremiah Clarke)
Offertory: Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
Communion: Ave Maria
Recessional: Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel)
What were your ceremony readings? Old Testament – Genesis 1:26-28, 31a // New Testament – 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a // Gospel – John 15:9-12
What were your vows like? We found a comfort and power in reciting the same vows spoken by generations of married couples before us.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? I was surprised to find that after all the anticipation, I had no nerves, just pure joy. Jackson and I sat on the altar holding hands and whispering to each other, looking out at the pews full of the important people in our life while listening to those powerful words binding us in matrimony.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Instead of one flower girl, we had a flower “parade” of the special little people in our lives, ages 3-5. They passed out white roses to each pew and had the entire church cracking up with their antics. We chose white roses because on our third date, Jackson showed me a neat trick at his grad school lab of freezing a white rose instantly with liquid nitrogen and dropping it so it shattered into a million tiny pieces (obviously, this is also the date I knew I would marry him!).
How would you describe your reception? As a contrast to the traditional and sacred ceremony, we threw an absolute rager for our reception with a very strict emphasis on fun and booty shaking. Things got kicked up a notch when DJ Zegi helped us surprise guests with animal masks on the dance floor—Jackson’s nickname for me is “Wolf,” so we needed some wolf representation in form of wild accessories! // We knew we didn’t want the celebration to end with the sparkler exit, so we transitioned to an after party at the crowded dive bar where we’d first met. It involved cheap beer, live jazz, and Jackson and I in our wedding attire on stage with tambourines.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? For all of our big wedding decisions, we applied the same rule that worked with finding each other: when you know, you know. For our venue, Summerour, we had that instinctive “This is it” gut feel that we came to recognize as our best guiding force in planning. Jackson had first noticed it in a magazine, but I went alone to see it the first time, and called him within 3 minutes to say we’d found our venue. Summerour sits atop a hill in a nondescript industrial-meets-residential neighborhood overlooking the Atlanta skyline. The hundred-year-old former factory was converted a few years back into a stunning space with an ivy-covered, Tuscan-style courtyard and preserved industrial details including original woodwork. It was historic and approachably beautiful.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Jackson’s a scientist and I’m an advertising creative, which, as it turns out, makes a pretty perfect combo for dreaming up ideas (me) and then figuring out how to actually pull them off (him)! This allowed us to infuse significance and personality to every single aspect of our wedding weekend, which wasn’t lost on our guests; our favorite wedding compliment was when friends noted “everything was so meaningful!” We looked at Snippet & Ink, Pinterest, and Instagram for wedding inspiration every day, and developed a very clear vision of what felt like “us” that we valued investing time or money in. We’ve both been fortunate to witness a lot of weddings—I’ve been in 11!— and while each is beautiful, all that research inspired us to keep in mind the aspects we appreciated and noticed most as a guest.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? After touching and funny speeches from my parents and our best man and matron of honor, Jackson stood up to deliver the final speech of the night. He surprised the whole room (including me!) by revealing there were envelopes of lotto tickets taped under the table for each guest—to sweetly give them a taste of the thrill he felt when he “won the lottery” by meeting me. No fortunes were won that night, but our guests loved being included in such a heartfelt moment.
What was your first dance song? When it comes to dancing, Jackson’s that rare combo of enthusiastic and rhythmically-challenged, so we’d secretly taken lessons for months to prepare and had a blast showing off our hard work! We kicked off the reception with a surprise choreographed dance to a custom mash up of Halo by Lotte Kestner, You & Me (Flume Remix) by Disclosure, and Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. The grand finale involved servers parading through the room with champagne bottles topped with sparklers.
Father/daughter or mother/son dance? My dad and I danced to “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong (a tribute to his nickname for me, Dollypop) and Jackson and his mom danced to “You Are So Beautiful to Me” by Joe Cocker.
What was your wedding menu? Dinner was served family-style to encourage guests getting to know each other: Field greens with strawberries, pecan pralines, goat cheese and sweet peppercorn vinaigrette // Port wine-braised short ribs with roasted carrots and parsnips // Seared salmon with sun-dried tomatoes, cipollini onion, spinach cream and fennel // Sweet onion polenta // Fried green tomatoes stuff with pimiento cheese with bacon marmalade // Asparagus with white truffle oil
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Dessert was a gooey “That’s S’amoré!” bar—s’mores being my favorite part of the camping trips Jackson drags me on. We also had a white chocolate with strawberry cutting cake designed after our invitation suite.
Did you have a signature cocktail? Since it was August in Georgia, we had an Atlanta icon, King of Pops, greet guests at cocktail hour with “signature” popsicles. Our other cocktail was a Morningside mule, named for our proposal spot. Bars were dressed with signs that read, “Let’s get Switzfaced!”, a play on our last name.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Escort cards were compiled into a framed black and white photo gallery I’d created with pictures of all 135 guests from over the years. Guests loved finding their picture at cocktail hour, sharing with each other and reminiscing about the memories captured.
I’ve always loved limbo slightly more than a normal adult should. So the moment I kicked my heels off—causing guests to duck so as not to get impaled by my flying stilettos—so I could get down under the limbo “stick” (formerly my dress’s sash) was a definite highlight, or should I say lowlight
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? In addition to my “something borrowed” diamond bracelet, my mom contributed 3 generations of love to my wedding ensemble: my great-grandmother’s handmade lace from 1885 was sewn into the tulle; a “something blue” monogram was sewn into my bodice on satin from my grandmother’s wedding dress; and lace from my mom’s veil was added to mine. I also had a sixpence for my shoe from my other grandmother, who had—optimistically—given it to me in 1995 to keep for my eventual wedding day! Big on tradition, 90-year-young Grandmommy also formally welcomed Jackson into our family at the reception with a drink from a 350-year-old cup that has been used at generations of family weddings. Jackson’s grandmother was too elderly to travel, but did send enough of her legendary poundcake for 60 hotel bags!
One final sentimental touch was the hankie wrapping my bouquet: it had been used by each of my best high school friends, monogrammed by the previous bride with the next one’s initials and given to her on her wedding day. Since I was the last of our six, my initials filled the final spot.
Jackson’s outfit was personalized, too: his made-to-measure tux from Billy Reid was my wedding gift to him, and he enjoyed picking out each detail, like the pelican-printed lining, a tribute to growing up on the Gulf coast. He also had the bottom of his shoes cobbled with our wedding date so he “couldn’t forget.” Even his cufflinks were meaningful: he surprised me on the altar by revealing they were silver wolves, after his nickname for me. At this point you won’t be surprised that our border collie was dressed up as well—though not bespoke, he had his own honorary groomspup tuxedo and enjoyed mingling with guests, especially any who dropped their hors d’oeuvres.
After our sparkler send-off, we were driven away in Jackson’s grandfather’s 1979 Mercedes, which he’d admired since childhood. It wound up being given to us that night as a wedding gift, and now we can’t bring ourselves to scrub off the well wishes that had been painted on the windows.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Jackson created the incredible 27-foot marquee sign of our wedding hashtag by hand over several months. It was a show-stopper that I think every guest took a photo of! He also hand-painted and wood-burned axe handles as custom groomsmen gifts. I spent a year sourcing necklaces in our blue and gold colors for all 11 bridesmaids to wear that reflected their personal style and hand-painted jewelry boxes for them to keep it in.
I also learned calligraphy and designed all our stationery: save the date, invites (complete with a fun “mad libs” RSVP card), escort card photo gallery, program, and table numbers, which each revealed a statistic about our relationship, e.g. table 8 was “hours it took Jackson to drive from Baton Rouge to Atlanta every weekend.” In lieu of a guest book, we had people write notes on postcards we’d collected during travels near and far.
After I couldn’t find anything that exactly matched the vision that’d been stuck in my head, I worked with a jeweler to custom design my rose gold wedding band. We had the same Avett Brothers lyric, “faith and promise,” engraved in our bands, which our florist also painted on the gorgeous hanging installation at the reception as a surprise.
Friends and family helped, too. My brother, a professional chef, made a sophisticated “grooms cake” interpretation of Jackson’s favorite dessert, petit fours. For our Friday night welcome party that featured a bluegrass band, a friend hand-illustrated invitations styled after collectable concert posters.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? “Party like a guest.”
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Wedding preparation is such a precious time—made much more enjoyable with teamwork. You might be surprised at how much your guy actually wants to be involved!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? If I say yes does it mean we get to do it again? No, but I surveyed friends after we got engaged for their advice, and the number one thing I heard was “I wish we’d had a videographer”—so we made sure to budget for that!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Negotiate everything! Even if they don’t drop the price, most vendors will add something of extra value. It can add up to major savings.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Most couples probably feel like they’re “meant to be,” but Jackson and I are blessed to have about as much proof as you could hope for! A year into dating, Jackson came across a picture from a concert he’d attended 15 months before we met randomly at a bar in Feb 2013. There I was, standing two feet behind him, unknowingly photobombing my future husband!
Five months after destiny brought us together in Atlanta, Jackson’s job brought him to Baton Rouge. Since we were long distance for all but the very beginning, once we were engaged we planned our wedding as we did everything else: over FaceTime. Jackson (who is the most thoughtful and romantic man I know) encouraged me to think of it as a special opportunity to keep us connected and strengthen our teamwork skills as we prepared for marriage. So we decided on every detail together, and learned to rely upon and respect each other’s unique strengths as we created a dream wedding that was a true reflection of us.