Jenny + Jonathan tied the knot this past summer at one of Nashville’s most sought after wedding venues, the beautiful Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. They enlisted the talents of Evin Photography to capture the couple’s wedding day and as usual, she did a great job. Jenny looked stunning in her strapless gown that she paired with a pewter sash and a birdcage veil while her groom looked dapper in his tux. What really caught my eye about this wedding is the way Jenny + Jonathan look at each other…you can just see the love. Jenny was kind enough to provide us with a a little added insight into their special day…
Tell us a little bit about how you met your husband. How long have you known each other? Where did you meet?
My husband and I both grew up in Tennessee, had common friendships, and were involved in summer camps and church youth groups together. However, we did not actually interact or become friends during that time. It was not until over a decade later that we got reacquainted, deciding to have a friendly dinner to catch up on old times which lasted long into the night. We talked and laughed nearly every waking hour for that weekend that I was in town visiting my family, and by the 3rd day (Labor Day), I knew I had met my future husband. And I was not the only one who felt that way…He began looking for an engagement ring by the end of that week. 2 months later we were engaged, and 7 months after that, we married!
How did he propose? How long were you engaged for?
The proposal was incredible. Because I had not been able to spend very much time with my family due to my college studies out of state, Jonathan incorporated my family and all of my favorite things of TN into one amazing day. He flew me into Nashville, had my mother and sister greet me in a limousine which took the three of us to the spa for massages, manicures, and pedicures, and had our lunches paid for at my favorite Italian restaurant. It is noteworthy that at each location there were roses and romantic hand-written notes waiting for me. In each of those notes, which I will cherish forever, he told me of his initial affection for me, his growing devotion, and expectations of a happy life together. He then had the limousine take me to meet my father at our favorite dessert place for coffee and cake (our father-daughter time when I was growing up) and on to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the location of Jonathan and I’s first date. There he greeted me with an armful of roses and led me to a beautiful location overlooking a pond where a violinist came out from behind the trees to play what would become the song to which I walked down the aisle. On one knee, crying, he proposed and I happily accepted. Jonathan, being the romantic that he is, wanted to marry almost immediately, on my next school holiday break (only a month away), but I persuaded him to wait until all my courses were finished and I could move back to TN. He agreed and the wedding planning began.
How did you choose your venue? What elements drew you to it?
Cheekwood was an obvious choice for us, as it was the site of our first true date as well as the location of the proposal. Additionally, we both love the scenery there and felt it was just what we always envisioned for our weddings. He wanted something with beautiful scenery and deep-rooted history in the area, while I wanted something that is as natural and untouched as possible for an outdoor ceremony.
Your wedding was filled with gorgeous details. Did any have special meaning? What was your favorite?
We did not incorporate a theme, per se, into our wedding. However, parts of our personal histories and loves were to be seen everywhere. We both love music, and Jonathan seems to be able to play any instrument he touches, so we picked our music carefully and had musical notes on the invitations, programs, etc. We also have the same initials (my maiden name is Morris), so our cake and the dance floor were monogrammed with JM. And finally, we both love (a little too much I would say) good coffee, so we had a special coffee bar set up for our guests. Small details that together help describe us as a couple.
What’s your favorite picture from your wedding?
I love the picture of us standing under an arbor in our ceremony clothes. Jonathan is so handsome and I am so happy. However, I also love the silly one of us making faces at each other, because that displays our playful nature so well. What we do most together is laugh.
Tell us a little bit about your menu.
Within each of our families are diverse tastes, some persons who are a bit more adventurous with food and others who do not venture out from the familiar. We did our best to cater to each type of person, offering an herbed beef tenderloin with roast asparagus and a fruit and feta salad, as well as battered chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and cornbread. I felt that the two choices would be comfortable enough for any guest, while allowing something a bit more gourmet for those who were interested. As a side note, there is nothing I love more than lamb, so initially that was on the menu. However, one of my guests expressed fear in having to eat “sheep,” so it was quickly removed from the menu and replaced with the chicken. That still makes me smile.
Out of the entire day, what was the most memorable moment?
I had many amazing moments with my husband on that day, but much of our time together seemed to go by so quickly that much of it is a blur in my mind. (Thank goodness for the photos and videos!) But I would have to sat the most memorable moment is when I was waiting alone in my dressing room to be met by my father. My bridesmaids had already left to line up to walk down the aisle and it was nearly my turn to get into position as well. My father came in and told me, with tears streaming down his cheeks and a shaky voice, that the song playing later that evening for our father-daughter dance was one he had picked out when I was only 5 years old. He said it was his commitment to me to be the best father he could be, to always take care of and protect me, and to hand me off one day to a man he deemed worthy. He believed Jonathan to be that very man. And I will say, in all honesty, that my father was exactly that kind of father. The song is “If I Could” by Ray Charles. I began crying as we danced on the third verse. Here are the lyrics:
If I could – I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes.
Give you courage in a world of compromise.
Yes, I would…
If I could – I would teach you all the things I never learned.
And I’d help you cross the bridges that I burned.
Yes, I would…
If I could – I would try to shield your innocence from time.
But, the part of life I gave you isn’t mine.
I watched you grow – So I could let you go…
If I could – I would help you make it through the hungry years.
But, I know that I could never dry your tears.
But, I would – If I could…
Yes, if I live – in a time and place where you don’t want to be,
you don’t have to walk along this road with me.
My yesterday – won’t have to be your way…
If I knew – I would try to change the world I brought you to.
And there isn’t very much that I could do.
But, I would – if I could…
Oh, baby, Daddy wants to protect you.
And help my baby through the hungry years.
‘Cause you’re a part of me.
And if you ever, ever need, I said a shoulder to cry on,
Or just someone to talk to, I’ll be there. I’ll be there.
I didn’t change the world.
But, I would – If I could…
Looking back on your engagement and wedding, is there any advice
you would give to brides in the planning process?
I suppose as far as advice goes, I may not have much to offer that others haven’t already readily given. I will say that the best choice I made was to remain relaxed and not have anxiety over the details. Little things may go wrong, but they create the best memories. Your marriage will not have perfection, so your wedding doesn’t need it either. It just needs to express who you are as a couple. I let my bridesmaids wear the dress of their choosing (within our color scheme) and the groom/groomsmen wear flip-flops. That is what they wanted to do, so it made the wedding exactly what it was supposed to be. The only other advice I would give is do not settle for prices quoted to you. Our wedding was beautiful, amazing, but cost less than we were quoted from every vendor because I did not accept their initial price offers. The mark-up is huge for events such as these. Do not be the bride that becomes a doormat and accepts what she is told at face-value. Be savvy and strong. I was and do not have any regrets (and saved hundreds of dollars).