After Jessica and Zach got engaged, they sweetly joined Jessica’s parents on a trip to DC to celebrate their wedding anniversary. One of their excursions there was to take a walk on the grounds where her parents held their wedding ceremony, the National Cathedral. Naturally, they were so smitten with the gardens and the buildings that once they found out the Gothic-style cathedral was now hosting wedding receptions in addition to ceremonies, the New Yorkers jumped on the chance to get married there. Jessica wanted an “elegant and ethereal” day so with the help of Caroline Dutton Events and Kate & Lilly Floral Design, they drew inspiration from the Bishop’s Garden on the grounds. With Audra Wrisley capturing all the pretty pale pink roses, peonies, greenery, and everything in between, the duo said their I do’s and partied the night away in one of the most amazing venues we’ve seen.
In their own words
How did you meet?
Zach and I met in college at Wake Forest University. We were both on the same bus headed to a steeplechase horse race in South Carolina. During the race, it started pouring and there was mud everywhere. He offered to carry me on his back to return to the bus, but I guess I jumped a little too high on his back and we both fell over in the mud. We looked at each other awkwardly, ended up on separate buses home, and then didn’t see each other again until after summer break. We saw each other again and both pretended the mud incident never happened… soon after that, we started dating.
What is your proposal story?
Since moving to New York after college, we loved going out to the North Fork of Long Island. Zach planned a weekend escape there in March and proposed on the beautiful grounds of The Old Field Vineyards, a charming family-owned vineyard and winery. Before popping the question, he dramatically threw his wine glass on the ground so he could grab the ring from his pocket… I guess our only regret is that he wasted some perfectly good wine!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
For us, the ceremony was really important. We wanted our ceremony to reflect our integrated belief system, including the variety of faiths represented by our families, guests, and the Washington National Cathedral. With the help of our close family friend and celebrant, The Reverend Margo Walter, we planned the perfect ceremony for us, including a song sung by my sister, a reading from one of our closest friends, and an original poem written and read by Zach’s uncle.
After that, our next priority was to keep our guests on the dance floor for as long as possible, which was 100% accomplished thanks to the Atlanta-based Celebrity All-Star Band! The thing we decided to give up was the getaway car… we ended up ordering ourselves an Uber at the end of the night.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Too many to count! One favorite memory was when our celebrant gave us “Love Goggles” to put on during our ceremony to remind us to always think and look at one another through a loving lens, even when times get tough (she said it much more eloquently than that!).
A second great memory was when my sisters decided to re-write “Sisters” from White Christmas and perform it as their Maid-of-Honor speech, feather fans and all. Zach’s sisters also re-wrote and performed an original, acoustic version of Hotel California for their toast at our rehearsal dinner. Both performances were hysterical… we had no idea how talented (and daring) our family is!
Another great moment was when our band separated the men from the women for a dance off toward the end of the night. Zach and I were the tie-breaker. He is usually known as the one of us to win spontaneous dance-offs, but I was feeling rather competitive so I decided to include a backward somersault in my moves. Despite all the layers of my gown I somehow managed to land right side up, clinching the win, hair fully intact. :)
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Zach and I are so lucky to have two rockstar families. We really relied on our parents and siblings throughout the entire planning process and could not have made it through the big day without them. So our advice is to seek planning advice and support from those you trust the most!