An Intimate Wedding at the Groom's Family Ranch in Oklahoma
Jessika and William went to the same high school in Kansas City, Missouri, but he was a few grades ahead and, according to the bride, much cooler than she was at the time. So their paths didn't cross as teenagers. It was years later, at a Christmas caroling party that they had a memorable exchange. She made a point to give Will her number by the end of the night.
A relationship started, but he was living in Denver, and then Indiana, and then Waco, so they did the long-distance thing for three years, traveling back and forth to see each other as often as possible and even venturing to fun new places, too (Nicaragua was one notable spot as that was the trip that made Jessika realize William was the guy she'd spend the rest of her life with). They spent countless hours on the phone talking about their families and friends, making music, and making plans.
On the third anniversary of the day they'd officially met, Will proposed outside the Kemper Art Museum, and the newly-engaged couple then returned to the same annual holiday party where it all began. Nine months later, they went to another special spot to become husband and wife—a ranch that has been in Will's family for generations, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There were only 35 guests (10 of whom were family) at the destination wedding on September 30, 2017. "Our wedding was meant to celebrate love between us, but also to acknowledge those people connected to us at the closest level," says Will. "The people that have seen us grow together as a couple. And we wanted everyone to share our experience in a special way."
Friends stayed on the property in glamping-style tents before the big day while family filled the estate's rooms. The rough and casual setting was juxtaposed against the elegant refinement of the property, and the entire celebration was a true reflection of the couple's relationship. With help from Sarah-Allen Preston Designs, the theme and color palette took a cue from the original Spanish and Italianate design of the house that played such a part in the big day. All in all, the black-tie event would have made both Davey Crockett and F. Scott Fitzgerald equally proud.
Married at Home
The wedding took place at a home built by the groom's great-great-grandfather, who was an oilman that put down his roots in the area in the early 1900s. "It holds a really special place in both of our hearts," says the bride. "I couldn't imagine getting married anywhere else. We have spent a lot of time playing music, swimming, and wishing on shooting starts there."
The Stationery Suite
The stationery suite was designed with a vintage, luxury vibe that was inspired by the hand-painted motifs inside the home. Handmade paper with rose gold foiling was wrapped with silk ribbon and a custom wax seal. An itinerary booklet incorporated a drawing of the house, while the response card boasted the couple's monogram (which first appeared on the save the date). The pieces were designed by Sarah-Allen Preston Designs with calligraphy by Loveletter Studio, and then printed by De-Plume Stationers.
All non-family guests slept at a glampsite erected on the property. Eleven Stout Tents were furnished with real beds set near shower rooms and coolers with extra waters and beers.
Jute welcome bags were filled with white waffle robes embroidered with each guest's initials, a towel tied with leather cord, flip flops, a silky sleep mask, a glamping survival kit with hangover remedies and a bug bracelet, bottled water, Sugarfina green juice gummies, a letterpressed Oklahoma print by Hammerpress, and a welcome booklet with the history of the couple's relationship and the property, along with a map to the stars and of the grounds.
Will sported head-to-toe Brooks Brothers for the black-tie wedding, which was a fun juxtaposition with the open plains and at-home setting. Jessika wore a Limor Rosen wedding dress—strangely enough it was on the initial Pinterest board the planner put together. It was the first one she tried on. She added a slightly darker tulle skirt by Rebecca Schoneveld to made it feel a bit more in line with the rustic, outdoor setting and took it off for the dancing. Her veil was her "something borrowed" thanks to her sister-in-law.
A Beautiful Bouquet
An Elegant Updo
"I know that Will likes when I wear my hair up, and I didn't want to be messing with it the day of, so I wore it up," says Jessika of her updo. Plus, she wanted to show off the neckline of her dress. Ash Franke pulled her hair into this loose and low hairstyle, leaving a few face-framing pieces down in the front. The bride's future in-laws gifted her a pair of vintage diamond-and-pearl earrings in an Art Deco setting to wear.
The Bridal Party
Fan-style programs with rose-gold grommets and the same wax seal used on the invitations outlined the ceremony and kept guests cool. They were displayed on the family's sterling silver trays.
The Ceremony Setup
The ceremony overlooked the lakes on the property. "It has a beautiful and tranquil atmosphere," notes Will. "We named it Wedding Lake." Cedar trees were brought in to match the surrounding ones, and to anchor the space without competing with the views and existing natural beauty. Hay bales covered in linen were used for seating. "It was gorgeous with the wind blowing across the lake, and felt so perfect to be surrounded by our closest friends like that," adds the bride.
Here Comes the Bride
Jessika was escorted down the aisle by her father, as a string quartet played Correli Adagio, from Concerto Grosso No. 8, Op. 6 in G Minor. "I was super nervous, so I told my dad to distract me with small talk," says the bride. "However, the moment we stepped out of the car and I was finally able to see Will after going the whole day without seeing each other or talking, my nerves melted away."
Both ring bearers (Will's nephews) carried a bronzed baby bootie with the rings inside. They were the older one's first pair of cowboy boots, and they happened to have been preserved a few weeks before the wedding. Sarah-Allen Preston (who is not only the boys' mother, but also the one who planned the big day) suggested they be used instead of traditional pillows, particularly since they matched the coppery accents throughout the big day.
Tying the Knot
The ceremony was personalized with a reading of First Corinthians by the groom's sister, and one of Jessika's sisters and one of the best men performed a duet of "This is Why I Need You" by Jesse Ruben (there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd). The father of the bride then played an Irish folk ballad on the guitar as the couple lit a unity candle. They wrote their own vows and also exchanged the traditional ones.
Rice to Toss
Rice was packed in small glass vials with a "toss" tag tied on with baker's twine. As the newlyweds recessed to the string quartet's version of "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, guests showered them with the rice. "It was the perfect, old-school exit to the sweet ceremony," says Jessika.
Raising the Flag
The couple's married monogram was printed on a flag as a surprise orchestrated by their mothers. During cocktail hour, their fathers raised it on the flagpole together.
The men in attendance wore tuxedos and the ladies stuck to soft tones. This made everyone feel like they were included in the bridal party. Both the mothers of the bride and groom (shown here) wore Needle & Thread dresses.
Cocktail hour took place in the front yard. Will's signature drink was a Mount Gay Southside complete with lime juice, simple syrup, and mint; and Jessika's was a light jalapeño margarita.
The group proceeded up the front stairs of the house and inside to find their seats. Two tables held all the guests—the existing dining room furniture was used for one, and rentals supplemented the second setup (where the bridal party sat) in the great hall. The string quartet played from the living room, which opens into both dining areas. Plenty of candles added intimacy and warmth, and the centerpieces were kept low so that conversation flowed across the table. Wine bottles were set out for a dinner party feel. An installation of greenery hung over the table in the great hall.
The Place Settings
The same handmade paper used for the invite reappeared in the form of rose-gold-foiled menus and tasseled escort cards. "We wanted a different and luxurious accent to hold the place cards to the menus, and tassels (which are also prevalent throughout the house) were the perfect piece," says Jessika. They rested atop ornate terra cotta chargers from Casa de Perrin and stoneware plates with an Old-World feel, with white linen dinner napkins embroidered with the wedding motif in ivory. Family silver was used here and there, making it feel even more like an elegant dinner at home.
The meal began with a green salad with blueberries, gorgonzola, and candied pecans; a lump crab cake with chipotle aioli and pineapple followed, along with braised beef short ribs with horseradish potatoes.
An assortment of cakes from a local bakery were set out on an antique sideboard decorated with flowers similar to the tables' centerpieces.
The First Dance
"You Send Me" by Sam Cooke played as the newlyweds shared their first dance. Jessika had removed the overskirt and danced the night away in her Limor Rosen wedding dress. Late 90s tunes and hip hop from the early 2000s kept everyone rocking until the wee hours (seriously, 6 a.m.) by the pool.
Photography, Liz Banfield
Event planning and design and Stationery design, Sarah-Allen Preston Designs
Catering, JT Catering
Flowers, Ever Something
Videography, Betsy Dutcher
Stationery printing, De-Plume Stationers
Calligraphy, Loveletter Studio
Music, Bartlesville Strings
Bride's gown, Limor Rosen
Bride's tulle skirt, Rebecca Schoneveld
Bride's accessories, Stuart Weitzman shoes
Hair and Makeup, Ash Franke Styles
Bridesmaids' dresses, Joanna August
Mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses, Needle & Thread
Groom's tuxedo, Brooks Brothers
Ring bearer's attire, The Best Dressed Child
Tents for glamping, Stout Tent
Candles, Creative Candles
Embroidery, Erin Turner Embroidery