One of the most incredibly beautiful brides we've ever seen is Jenna, an international sports journalist for Fox Sport who is currently based out of London. Jenna kindly shared with Kisses & Cake all the aspects of planning her spectacular 5-star wedding. It was timeless, elegant and utterly romantic... something dreams are made of!
How did your husband propose?
We were living in San Francisco at the time and he took me down to Carmel Valley. We spent the weekend at The Carmel Valley Ranch. I love horses and have a horse back in Australia. So Ben, my now husband, organised a ride at Stonepine Estate. We went riding and then Ben said he had organised a light lunch at the restaurant. I had no idea. I was really confused as Ben and our host walked us through the restaurant and out the back door, through the garden, across a small pond and into a gorgeous private outdoor pavilion, which was set up with champagne and lunch. We were seated, before our host left us alone. Ben then made this funny noise with his breath, before rising, walking around the table and then dropping to his knee and asking for my hand in marriage. At the time I had no idea, but our host was hiding behind a tree taking photos of the entire event.
Did he have a ring?
Did he have a ring?? Yes he had the most amazing engagement ring I have ever seen. I still catch myself staring at it.
Did you have a special way to ask your friends/family to be in your bridal party?
We sent our bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girl a card and small gift, asking them to be a part of our special day.
Tell us about your ceremony.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, but living in San Francisco, it was vital that we chose a venue that would help us plan and create the day of our dreams, the dreams I had since I can remember. It was important to us to have the ceremony at the same place as the reception.
The Verandah’s, Terrara House Estate was that venue. A stunning historic country wedding venue of timeless elegance.
Walking down the aisle was one of my favourite parts of the day. Seeing the faces of all those that I love and care about in one place together. My mum and dad both walked me down the aisle as I am exceptionally close to my mum and of course wanted my dad to also give me away. As we got close to my husband to be and the four groomsmen, Ben broke down and began to cry. I remember calling out to him ‘I love you Ben.’
How did you select your celebrant, minister...?
As I mentioned Ben and I live abroad and adore our families. Besides making speeches, we wanted to include them in the ceremony, so we decided to have my sister and Ben’s brother marry us. We had them practicing and writing the ceremony months in advance, but managed to keep it a secret. No one knew and it was an added surprise to both our families.
Venue / Destination
Which reception venue did you select and why?
As I mentioned above, we chose The Verandah’s, Terrara House Estate. When we first saw Terrara we knew we had found our place. The entire property was divine. The food was amazing.
Planning an international wedding has many challenges. What were the hardest parts to coordinate (e.g. food tastings, communication)?
We were extremely lucky as Terrara took care of everything, and my mum, sister (maid of Honour) and my mother in law helped with the food and wine tastings and were on the ground if Terrara needed anything. I also decided to come back a month before the big day, so I was there to make the final, and usually most important decisions.
Bridal party Styling
Tell us about your dress, shoes and accessories and how you found them?
As I was living in San Francisco my mum and mum in law came over for two weeks to go shopping! The whole experience was just so special.
My dress was by Oscar De La Renta. It was one of the first I tried on and I knew it was the one. So that was the easiest aspect of the wedding. It was an ivory strapless gown, made from embroidered guipure lace. At the back it had a silk taffeta draped bow. It really was the dress of my dreams. I felt my dress was so special I opted for very simple nude Christian Louboutin’s.
In terms of jewellery I kept it also very simple. As I mentioned we went shopping in San Francisco and I found a stunning pair of diamond drop earrings. I was extremely lucky, and very spoilt as my mother in law bought them for me.
Were there any challenges with bringing a dress overseas?
This was quite challenging. With the lace, the bow, and beads my dress weighed 11 kilograms. Because I opted to fly home a month before the wedding, I was alone, as my husband could not take the time off work. So it was up to me to transport it home to Oz. I flew United and was very fortunate as they helped me with it, taking it from me and hanging it in the first class closets. While I did not want it out of my sight, I had no choice, better there then on my lap or up above.
How did you coordinate and choose your Bridal Party outfits? What were the challenges?
I had four bridesmaids and a flower girl. The girls sent me their measurements. I knew I wanted my colour to be aubergine, so I went in search for dresses. As everything is so much cheaper in the US I wanted to buy the dresses there. I found them quite early on at a Bridesmaid store called And Something Blue. They wore aubergine, long, one shoulder dresses by Dessy, while my flower girl wore an ivory dress by Dessy, which we added an aubergine bow at the back to tie into my lace Oscar de la Renta gown. They all wore matching nude heels. And crystal Samantha Wills earrings.
Invites & guests
What challenges did you face with coordinating your invitations and guest list?
My brother in law is a graphic designer and he kindly offered to do our invitations, thank you cards, table seating charts and the whole shebang. He saved us thousands, god love him! And he is a very talented man! I do have to add he is a perfectionist so we did send a lot of e-mails, okay thousands but it was worth it in the end!!!!
We’d love to know which suppliers you used to plan your big day and a bit about your experiences working with each of them.
Terrara took care of most things, which was one of the many aspect we loved about the venue. Obviously the food, the cake and the flowers (which were out of this world). Ben and I, and our closest family also stayed at the venue, which was really great. After the wedding we were able to sit around and reflect on the entire day.
Tara Newhouse did our make-up and a woman named Gaye did our hair. We were so impressed with both of them that my best friend (one of my bridesmaids) also used Tara and Gaye, as did my sister. So it was really special having the girls get us ready at two more weddings.
I must make special mention of Rosie, the property owner and florist. Never have I seen more stunning flowers as I saw on my wedding day. As I mentioned, my chosen colour was Aubergine. I envisioned my Bridesmaids holding white peonies, and I, in my ivory gown, carrying a bouquet full of aubergine flowers. So I searched high and low for a flower that fit the requirements. Finally I came across the Black Baccara. I excitedly phoned Rosie and told her my findings. She had heard of them, but had never seen them. She kindly told me it may not be possible and to come up with a second option. I decided I too would carry a bouquet of white peonies.
The day of the wedding I was surprisingly calm. Ben and I had been together for almost nine years and I always knew we would be married eventually. My mum organised a champagne high tea, while we all got ready in the stunning salon at Terrara House Estate, while the boys were next door in the converted stables. After hair and make up was finished, we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the time before the ceremony. This is when Rosie surprised me with the most amazing bouquet of Black Baccaras, and to top it off, she had made an urn for the registry table with matching flowers. They were stunning.
Themes, Colours & Inspiration
Tell us about your theme and wedding style? Where did you find your inspiration?
Having a horse for most of my life, I am a country girl at heart. So we went for a country style wedding. I even wanted to ride Oban (my horse) sidesaddle down the aisle, but my mum would not allow it… haha!
What were the must haves in your wedding?
Good food and wine. And great music.
What did you love most about your reception styling?
The flowers were spectacular.
Did you have anything made where you live locally and bring it with you?
I had a few favourite websites and blogs, were I got some great ideas from. One particular idea I got from a website, was, instead of having a standard guest book, we bought two white mounts and had them out for people to write a message, advice or their fav memory. We have them both hanging above our beds with two wedding photos framed inside. Every night before I hope into bed, a message will catch my eye and remind me of our special day.
What tools did you use to make sure the day ran smoothly e.g. run sheets, budget charts?
We had two close family friends MC for us. They were both exceptionally organized and made up a personal Run Sheet, which was followed and made for a very smooth running wedding.
Was there anything you wished you had done differently?
I can honestly say, our wedding day was everything we wanted, and we have both agreed there really is absolutely nothing we would change!
Any tips for brides?
Try and enjoy the entire process. The lead up to the big day should be enjoyed. Relax, that is another big tip I would give. Have someone you can trust take care of the small details and try to have fun.
I would also advise on the day, every hour you and your new husband should take a minute to wander off together and look out at your guests, as they are what makes the day memorable too.
What were some of the unique elements to your wedding (e.g. activities, games, food stands)?
As the band played we had canapés and cocktails after the ceremony, where guests could mingle and play croquet and giant chess. After an hour and a half, guests were moved into the main marque, where a three course meal with wine, champagne, beer and spirits was served. What was so unique about the meal was it was served on platters in the middle of each table, so guests could chose what they wanted and eat as much as they liked, because, once a platter was nearing empty, a waiter would come out and replace it. So no one went hungry. If you liked steak, you could have two pieces, same with the chicken and fish. In case there were still some hungry guests. Once dinner was finished the bar opened, where cocktails and spirits were available. At 10pm supper was served. A platter arrived, with a leg of ham, fresh bread rolls and salads galore, accompanied with a cheese platter. Cognac was also served for those brave guests.
Our band, The Escalators played all our favourite songs as guests danced until there shoes came off. They had a bag full of funny hats and masks, which were offered around to guests to put on and pose for photographs. It is amazing the change in people when they put on a hat.
Towards the end of the night I was still left with one more surprise. Without me knowing, Ben had been rehearsing for the past month or so, 500 Miles, by The Proclaimers. Just so you are aware, Ben is not a singer. A friend grabs me and tells me to get to the front of the dance floor. I had no idea what was going on and before I knew it, Ben was at the microphone, with the band and a giant mitre (Pope hat) on his head, singing 500 Miles. The entire wedding was up on their feet, chanting and singing, and eventually putting Ben and I up on shoulders as we danced the night away. It was the perfect way to end a day I had dreamt about since I was a little girl.
Did you have anything special coordinated for guests over the wedding period?
Because our wedding took place down on the South Coast of NSW, and we had guests traveling from around the world, we made a weekend of it. The day after the wedding we invited our guests to a recovery brunch, which ended up a fabulous day/night. It was really nice to see everyone again in a more relaxed environment and talk and reflect about the day before.
Where did you have your honeymoon?
Our honeymoon was in Ixtapa, Mexico. We stayed in a small town called Zihuatanejo. It is an old World Mexican fishing village talked about in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. We spent 10 magical days at the Capella Resort.
Did you plan it yourself or use a travel agent?
Ben, my husband surprised me with the destination, planning the entire holiday.
Where is your dress now?
I sold my dress online on Pre Owned Wedding Dresses. I wanted someone else to enjoy it as much as I did.
Would you do it all over again? If so, is there anything you’d do differently to make the process easier?
I would do it again, and I would not change a thing!!!!!
We Can Help You Plan Your Wedding
If you need help and advice on how you too can plan your own extraordinary destination wedding remotely, please contact K&C for some consulting time. We also offer coaching on how you can work effectively with all-inclusive suppliers/venues to make your day and planning process as smooth as possible. Particularly useful for those who don't have much time, budget or family in their chosen wedding destination.