Tropical Garden Wedding

What a charming day at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel! Jaclyn and Brendan were such a fun and sweet couple to work with and we are so excited to share a bit of their big day with you. Don't miss their answers to our questions...especially about how Brendan asked Jaclyn to marry her! So sweet!

                 Meet Jaclyn + Brendan

- You two seemed to do an excellent job of sharing wedding planning responsibilities -- any advice you'd give other couples on how to do this? Any advice you'd give other couples about keeping a healthy/growing relationship through the wedding planning process?

Brendan really wanted to be involved, and he was great at keeping on top of following up with everyone and asking the right questions. I started to get stressed out with trying to make sure I was keeping up with everyone, but he stepped in and helped out a ton! He has a more patient personality. Jaclyn – My advice would be to make sure both people are involved from the beginning and to listen to what the other person wants to add as their own touch to the wedding. Both the guy and the girl have a right to make this day about what they both want, but that also takes trust. What I mean by that is being okay with giving some things up and knowing that they are not going to manipulate or take advantage of trying to get their way. We didn’t do that and it helped a ton! You can also pick one or two things that are absolute must haves and give your partner at least one veto point. J Brendan – I would say just talk it out and find out what is important to each other and find something that will make both of you happy. Also, find things that each of you are good at or passionate about and try and help in those areas. I’m usually very diligent in gathering information and communicating with multiple people. I was able to gather several options or get Jaclyn the information we needed so that we could talk about things and make a decision. I would also say that you should remember that at the end of the day the wedding is meant to bring you together, while there may be some things you disagree on or you may want things done differently, you are planning the wedding because you want to spend the rest of your life with that person and these little things are not that important in the grand scheme of things

- How did you meet your husband/wife? What is your dating and/or proposal story?

Brendan and I met when we worked for the same company, but we got to know each other better when we started playing on the intramural sand volleyball team. I had a crush on him the entire summer that we were playing together and I did a great job hiding it. He ended up asking me out on our first date to get sushi in the fall and we’ve been together ever since then. Our proposal story is quite a funny story in hindsight. It was important to me that Brendan asked my dad for permission. I wanted him to have that important conversation with my dad because I believe it is important for a man to hear how special a daughter is to her father, and to understand that he will always be around to protect her. I was also a daddy’s girl growing up so I knew my dad would want to be a part of giving me away in that respect. Brendan ended up asking for permission over Thanksgiving and planning a proposal for Christmas. I obviously had no idea it was going to happen when it did and I was glad that I wasn’t anticipating that it was going to happen. All the events that surrounded the actual proposal are quite funny. We were in Chicago to visit his family, and at that time he was waiting for the ring to be delivered from our jeweler in Celina, OH to his family home in Chicago. He was supposed to sign for the package, and it was a day late, so he was already sweating. He did eventually get the ring, and none of us thought it was odd that he signed for a package and then ran straight upstairs. J He was planning to ask me on Christmas Eve, to take me to a Santa house while walking around to look at lights, and then to meet his family for dinner to celebrate. His plan was for us to leave for dinner about 45 minutes early. When he asked if I wanted to leave I didn’t want to offend his parents so I said we could just wait, we had seen lights the night before, and it wasn’t even going to be dark out yet. Once we got closer to dinner, he asked if we could leave about 15 minutes beforehand. However, his dad asked if we could drive his sisters to the restaurant (Brendan is sweating even more at this point, trying to get me out of the house and not succeeding… it is also to be noted that his family had no idea either!). Brendan, his two sisters, and I all get in his car to head to the restaurant, and he starts driving really fast to get us there earlier than his parents. I think his sister or myself even made a comment about his speed. Once we got to the parking garage and were right beside the Santa village he tried to get his sisters to get out of the car. This is the best part. Right at that moment a Justin Bieber song comes on the radio and we all want to stay and listen to the song so we can dance in the car; to Brendan’s chagrin. He is now 5 minutes away from dinner starting, and trying to frantically come up with a backup plan in the car. His parents arrive and at that point the Bieber song is over and we all get out of the car. We are walking towards the restaurant they always go to for Christmas Eve dinner and Brendan pulls me aside to go take a picture by the Santa house while his family continues into the restaurant. We take a few selfies, and I’m beginning to turn to walk away because I feel like we’re behind and I don’t want to upset his family for being late. Meanwhile he’s saying all these sweet things that I’m just not hearing, he grabs my arm and pulls me back around as I’m trying to go to the restaurant, and when I turn around he is on one knee. I was in shock, trying to rack my subconscious to remember what he was just saying, and then I hear him say ‘Will you marry me?” In my moment of shock I think I’m just staring at him and then I get really excited and say yes and give him a hug. All I can remember is being so surprised and then how quiet it was around us. There was no one in the courtyard where he had just proposed. We stop hugging and then I ask if his family knows, thinking that they are just inside the doorway waiting to come out. He says that they have no idea so we walk inside the restaurant and I push my hand out and say that we got engaged. His sisters freak out and his mom stands up to hug me. Meanwhile his dad is distracted by reading the wine menu and asks why they are all hugging us, they just saw us five minutes ago. Then his sister says, ‘They just got engaged!,’ he looks up, puts down the wine menu, and then swings his arm in that air and says ‘Champagne!!’. And that is how we got engaged!

- Are there any particular items that were part of your wedding day that have an interesting story behind them or hold important meaning/value to you personally?

The pearl necklace I wore was a graduation gift from my Aunt and Uncle. When I got it as a gift I pictured being able to wear it on my wedding day, and I was so glad that it fit perfectly into the feel and design I wanted for my big day!

- What was your favorite moment(s) of your wedding day? 

Jaclyn – The part of the day that I enjoyed the most was the ceremony. It was the first time I felt like it was just Brendan and I, I was through all the butterflies from getting ready and anticipating our first look, and I was just focusing on him. It was hard to keep it together, but it was easy to feel the full meaning and the impact of the vows we were promising to each other together. I can remember feeling calm, feeling full of joy and love, and just focusing on being present.

Brendan – My favorite part was the first look because I finally got to see how beautiful Jaclyn looked. We also were able to talk for the first time that day. I was anxious with excitement all day looking forward to the ceremony and the reception but when I saw her all I could think about was how happy I was.

- If you wrote your own vows -- would you mind sharing them below:

We did not write our own vows, but we did write love letters that Tray, our officiant, used in the ceremony. Below is the verse we chose for the ceremony and the excerpts from the love letters that were used by Tray. Verse: Colossians 3: 12-14 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Love Letter excerpt from Jaclyn: I love how we work together in everything. I love how we communicate with compassion and patience; although that took a lot of time to smooth my rough edges. I love that you taught me how to trust a man with not only my heart, but with my life. You have a kindness that I’ve never experienced before, a kindness that has softened me and taught me more about how to look at the world from a different view. I always thought people would try anything to get what they wanted; they would bully and manipulate, and that I needed to fight for myself. This view of people kept me from connecting, it made me always mistrust intentions and mistrust people. You taught me to trust with everything by showing me that you were in this for us, that you wanted me to get everything I desired, and that you were willing always to fight for what was best for us. I never knew there were men that could treat someone as well as you have with me. You are strong, grounded, gentle, kind, loving, positive, compassionate, trusting, and loyal. I listen to your words and I watch your actions and they always show me how to be better. You don’t know how amazing you are to me, and I haven’t been able to express this to you in a way that I think is good enough to show you all the time how lucky I am. I was afraid for so long that I wouldn’t find anyone, that my lack of girly-ness, my strength, and my serious nature would always be a deterrent. I know that I scared you before we started dating, but thank goodness you got to know me when my walls were down. I like to say it was the volleyball pants that won you over, but I think it was more than that. Ha!
Love Letter excerpt from Brendan: On our wedding day I look forward to seeing you for the first time because I know you will be the most beautiful bride. I am so excited for this day for us because it marks the next step in our adventure together. I have been so blessed to be able to find a partner like you that is so caring, loving, intelligent, adventurous and beautiful. You push me in so many ways to do things that I have never done before and I love you for that. I know that our future will be filled with love as well as great adventures. I look forward to us growing our family and to traveling with you to see the world together. I love you so much and I am lucky to have you as my Bride to be. When I think about the memories we share though, I realize it’s not just the big events like trips to Florida and Nashville that I love so much. I love the little things too. I love waiting with Kermit for you at the window at the end of the work day. I love giving you a big hug when you come in the door and comforting you at the end of the day. I love just being able to cuddle with you and Kermit on the couch. I love so much about what our little family has already become and what I know it will continue to be in the future.

- What are your favorite things about being married so far?

So far not much is different since we lived together for a few years before we were married! However, I am trying really hard to get used to my new last name. I will say that one of my favorite things so far has been planning the rest of our lives together; what kinds of things we want for our life, talking about kids, and where we want to have our adventures.


Planner/Designer/coordinatior: Ashley Reed, Owner/Lead Planner - Sweetwater Events TN

Getting Ready Location: Opryland Hotel

Ceremony Location: Delta Pavilion, Opryland Hotel

Reception Location: Hermitage Ballroom, Opryland Hotel

Officiant: Tray Tankersley, Director of Discipleship, North Metro Church, Kennesaw, GA

Invitation Designer: Minted

Caterer: Nelson Walters, Catering Sales Executive, Opryland Hotel Catering Services

Floral Designer: Caprice Palmer, Enchanted Florist TN

Cake and/or other desserts: Opryland Hotel Catering Services

Dress Designer: Hayley Paige

Bridal Shop: Amanda's Hyde Park Bridal

Groom's suit: Kenneth Cole

Bridesmaid dresses: David's Bridal

Getting ready robes: SandyWatersStore 

Groomsmen's suits: Kenneth Cole

Bride's shoes: Vince Camuto

 DJ: Nashville Party Authority - Blair and Angel

Makeup Artist: Leslie Ellis - Locks by Leslie

Hairstylist: Leslie Ellis - Locks by Leslie

Wedding Rings: Jones Jewelers - Celina, OH

Any other Jewelry: Givenchy Pearl Drop Earrings (Macys)