Choosing a venue is one of the first big decisions that a couple must make when starting their wedding planning, and it really sets the tone for the entire wedding day. Robyn and Wesley chose to have their intimate Jacksonville wedding take place at the groom’s parent’s house, which allowed for a day full of personal touches that were so very unique to them!
With a year of backyard projects behind them to get the property into party shape, they created an evening of rustic elegance complete with wood details, long feasting tables, romantic candlelight, and long, lush garlands, bringing their vision to life. With the help of their planner, Coastal Coordinating, and beautiful floral designs from Southern Grace Floral Designs, they were able to pull off a lovely evening of beautiful details and joyous celebration with family and friends.
Bethany Walter Photography captured every detail and special moment that made this couple’s wedding day perfect. We’re thrilled to share these images, along with Robyn and Wesley’s inspiration behind the design of their day.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding.
We really wanted our ceremony held under a big oak tree and loved the idea of the reception being under lights and chandeliers. We had discussed having the wedding at Wesley’s parent’s house when we first got engaged, but didn’t know how difficult it would be to pull that off. We visited about 8 different venues in the Jacksonville area and couldn’t find one that fit what we wanted (including our budget). In the end, we decided to just go for it and pull off a backyard wedding….and it came together far better than we ever could have imagined thanks to our vendors, family, and friends!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important thing was photography. We knew all we would have to remember the details of our day were our photos. So we wanted to ensure we had a fantastic photographer who was there to capture the whole day.
We loved the look of greenery running the length of the reception tables and splurged a little to get this look.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
- Getting ready – we both loved getting to spend time with our closest friends and family members while getting ready. That is a unique and special time that truly makes you appreciate the wonderful people in your life.
- Our first look – we had gone back and forth on whether to do a first look or not, but we are SO GLAD we went with it! Getting to share some intimate moments and get some of the butterflies out before the ceremony was much appreciated and an experience we treasured.
- Wesley’s grandmother dancing – Wesley’s grandmother, “Gran,” is a clogger and she LOVES to dance. Seeing her out on the dance floor clogging and breaking it down with one of Wesley’s groomsmen was priceless.
- The exit – we had borrowed an old MG for our grand exit car…we should have taken it for a few test drives before our exit; we couldn’t figure out how to get the lights to work and had to sit in the driveway for an extra 3-5 minutes while our guests helped us figure out the lights. It made for a good laugh.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
- Give yourself time – we had initially thought we would have a short engagement, but were VERY glad we ended up having a year and a half to plan! It’s not an easy process.
- Hire a day-of-coordinator…at least! Our coordinator was such a blessing. She truly did everything in her power to ensure that the day ran smoothly. She took a great deal of stress off of us both the month leading up to, and on wedding day.I cannot imagine how much of a wreck I would have been on wedding day without her.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – no one knows how your wedding day is supposed to look or go. If something doesn’t go according to plan, try not to worry about it – the only one who knows is you.
- Hold true to what you want – there are a lot of opinions and visions that come forward when wedding planning. Make sure you stick with the vision you want – others will understand and you will be happy you did!
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
Family and friends – both of our parents played HUGE roles in the planning process, whether it was reaching out to vendors or completing items on the checklist. Wesley’s mom was amazing at keeping things organized and keeping us on schedule during the planning process. On wedding day, there were different teams of family and friends that each had different roles, such as table and chair set up, decorations, and cake/cupcake pick up. Our wedding day certainly would not have happened without the hours of assistance put in by our families and friends.
We love the touches of elegance that this couple brought to this rustic backyard celebration! Are any of you planning a backyard soirée?
VENDORS WHO MADE IT ALL HAPPEN…
Photography: Bethany Walter Photography // Venue: Private Estate // Event Planning: Coastal Coordinating // Floral: Southern Grace Floral Designs // Catering: Executive Food Services // Videography: John-Williams Media // Wedding Cake: Luli’s Cupcakes // Rentals: Luxe Party Rentals // Hair: Taber Weeks // Photo Booth: Music and Photo Booths // Makeup: Haley Jean // Lighting: St. Johns Illuminations // Wedding Dress: Mori Lee // Groom’s Attire: Alfani // Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman