Jessica and Arthur are a world travelers who have lived all over the globe. Their love story is an unlikely one, involving a chance meeting, thousands of frequent flier miles, medical school, and a move across the world! Their gorgeous wedding in sunny Florida was an opportunity to invite friends and family from far ends of the earth to join in one place for the celebration of marriage. We absolutely love Jessica and Arthur’s story, as told by the bride, and shot by the ever so amazing photographer, Justin DeMutiis.
What made the wedding special and unique?
We wanted a unique, special wedding to match our non-traditional story. Arthur and I met five years ago on Koh Tao, a small island off the coast of Thailand. I was backpacking around the world before starting medical school and had been away from home for almost five months. Arthur, who was a paratrooper in the British Army at the time, was on leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was on a quick jaunt to Thailand, traveling with another soldier (who would later be our best man). We met, hit it off, and told one another that we’d try to stay in touch, even though I lived in New York City and Arthur’s home base was in Wales, UK. He visited New York City seven months later after he returned safely from Afghanistan, and the rest was history. Three years, hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles, and an uncountable number of Skype calls later, Arthur left the army and moved to NYC, where I was finishing up medical school. Eight months later, he took me to a hidden, secret beach on a northern corner of Manhattan – that reminded us both of Koh Tao – dropped down to one knee in the rain, told me how nervous he had been for months thinking of this moment, and proposed. My answer, of course, was yes.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
One of my favorite parts of planning was anything that had to do with fashion. My bridesmaids all loved their long Jenny Yoo dresses in hues of dusky purples and blues, and I thought they looked incredible. My Anna Maier – Ulla Maija gown was actually the second I tried on, and although I tried on a few dozen more after it, I should have just stopped then because I knew nothing was going to top it! Since my gown had champagne silk tones and a more sleek silhouette rather than the typical wedding gown, I chose a cathedral length veil with a blusher to make it feel a bit more bridal for the walk down the aisle. I also added a Jenny Packham headpiece for some vintage flair, and for jewelry I wore a ring that has been in Arthur’s family since the turn of the 20th century, as well as diamond art deco drop earrings from the 1930s that I found last-minute in an antique market in Buenos Aires. Arthur had a suit custom-made from Bindle and Keep, a haberdasher in Brooklyn, NY, and our groomsmen wore Zara suits. The ties were a very last minute find, and a total steal, from Dessy.
What were some touches added to make it personal?
Despite us both having roots all over the world, Florida was the natural choice for our wedding. We both have family there, and it’s where I grew up. When we first started planning our wedding, we sat down and talked about the things that were most important to us. First, we wanted all of our guests to have a stand-out, amazing time. Second, we wanted our loved ones to walk away from the night thinking that the wedding really “felt” like us as a couple. We had a blast planning and were very involved in every decision. We hand-picked (and, in some cases, chased down by calling alcohol distributers in multiple states) the craft beer, wine, and liquor, pulling from our favorite microbreweries and from wine regions where we’d traveled together. We both love food and wanted whatever we served to be memorable, so we worked with our caterer to create a unique but crowd-pleasing menu, including a nod to where we met (pad-thai noodles in takeout containers as one of our appetizers).
When it came to dinner, we wanted an intimate, festive, rustic vibe. I found these fantastic banquet-style farmhouse tables from a company that specializes in vintage furniture. They had made the tables out of repurposed farm wood from Tennessee. The meal courses were all served family-style on big platters, so that everyone would hopefully bond as they shared. And since Arthur has a big sweet tooth, we had to have an epic dessert bar, including mini-tiramisuis in mason jars, cookies and milk, a self-serve Irish coffee bar, and a delicious cake topped by our “spirit animals”- a dolphin and a bear. We also truly believe a good band playing live music is the most fun dance setting, so right after we got engaged we quickly booked a popular Florida band – and sure enough, they were a huge hit at the wedding, with everyone from grandparents to groomsmen hitting the dance floor.
After the reception we ushered our guests to a bar down the street for the after party, where everyone from our groomsmen to grandparents partied the night away and continued the epic celebration.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
When it came to the details and decorations, I had a strong vision of what I wanted and wasn’t afraid to push for it. Fortunately, I worked with amazing vendors and a great wedding planner who were totally game to step outside the box, even when it sounded a little crazy – like when I kept wanting the flower arrangements to be “more weedy” or when I requested that the catering staff wear jeans and suspenders to add a bit of hipster flair! When we saw it all come together on our wedding day, everything looked exactly how I’d envisioned it, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Arthur and I met on the road, and travel has been a very important part of our lives as both a couple and individuals, so we weaved in a travel theme. Guests put cards in a vintage suitcase and signed a globe instead of a guestbook. Under the guidance of our officiant, Arthur and I wrote our entire ceremony ourselves, including a passage using travel as a metaphor for our relationship. Writing the ceremony was definitely the hardest thing we did for the wedding, but it turned out to be one of the most special parts of the day. Standing up in front of our friends and families, hearing words we had carefully and lovingly written to give our loved ones a context for our relationship – future, present, and past – was one of the most special moments of my life. We received dozens of compliments from our guests on the heartfelt, personalized ceremony, including the cheesy parts – such as a Nuremburg wedding cup that we drank out of simultaneously, as the legend required, and the exchange of Welsh love spoons, which was the first gift Arthur ever gave me.
Vendors: Photographer: Justin DeMutiis // Venue: Casa Feliz // Coordinator: Jackie Ross, Table 6 Productions // Videographer: Lucky Lemon Films // Band: phase5 // Caterer: Arthur’s Catering // Ceremony musicians: Classern String Quartet // Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals // Floral: Botanica // Lighting: Kaleidoscope Event Lighting // Cake: Anna Cakes // Officiant: Rev. Henry Ellis // Hair and Makeup: Kylelynn Weddings // Clear Tent: Party Time Rentals // Photo Booth: Our DJ Rocks