Tess and Jared

A hop skip and a jump over the oceans today to a sweet as sugar Southern inspired wedding that will have you beaming from the sweet details, the gorgeous outdoor ceremony and the trust that the couple have in their faith and the way their wedding day unfolded.

The story of their life together goes a little something like this. “We met when we worked together at an geriatric care management company in Orlando, Florida.  I was 18, Jared was 20.

June 24, 2003, was like any other Tuesday that Jared experienced since he had moved to Florida to “find himself”.  Tuesday mornings held the weekly staff meetings at The Cameron Group, a geriatric care management company in Orlando, where he was employed.  Over the last 5 months, Jared had developed a true appreciation for mornings and routines.  Little did he know that this weekly routine would change his life forever.

An eighteen-year-old who had recently graduated from high school, Tess was not accustomed to the workplace, nor was she used to waking up so early.  It was her second day of work at a job which her mother’s friend had kindly given her, and she was instructed to go to the office’s staff meeting.  She was nervous to take on something so foreign, yet so life-changing, that she could hardly contain her anxiety. That is, until, she saw Jared. In the midst of trying to absorb all of the updates in the staff meeting, Tess’ nerves soon settled when she saw Jared doodling aimlessly, with the most lackadaisical attitude.  How hilarious, she thought, that this felt like the most important day of her life, while he thought nothing of it.  The irony brought a smile to her face.

It was through those weekly staff meetings that Tess and Jared’s relationship blossomed.  Those meetings were always filled with  work stories, teasing, and uncontainable laughter.  Jared and Tess began to look forward to those Tuesday mornings, as it was the only time they would ever spend together.

It wasn’t until Jared started an internship for the 2004 Presidential Campaign that the two realized how much they meant to each other.  Upon his return from a six month absence, Tess jokingly told Jared how much she missed him on Tuesday mornings.  From then, everything changed.  Tuesday morning staff meetings turned into Tuesday breakfasts and Tuesday study sessions.  It was during one of those study sessions when Jared broke the news:

“This morning I told my father that I couldn’t marry you,”  Jared said.

“What? Why?” she questioned.

“If we got married, your name would be Tess Hess,” he explained.

To Jared’s shock, Tess replied, “I would marry you for that very reason!   Tess Hess would be an awesome name!”

In Jared’s eyes, her reaction sealed the deal.  By August 2005, Jared finally got the courage to ask Tess out on a date.

She said maybe.

Why would she want to ruin a friendship that brought her so much joy and laughter?  It was a scary thought to lose such a friendship, but it didn’t take long for her to decide that it was worth the risk.

We’ve been together, in every stage of our young lives, since August 2005.  We went to college together, graduated together, started our careers together, moved to DC together, and are now ready take the next step to be together, forever.”

Photos today are by Tab McCausland Photography. I love Tab’s classic, unfussy style. She captures things just as they are – the beauty, the joy, the romance. The tiny details and the big ones. Such a beautiful way to view a wedding day!

Tess and Jared held their wedding day at Cypress Grove Estate House. Tess explains “We had our ceremony and reception at the Estate at Cypress Grove.  The Southern estate home was built in 1925 on what used to be a Southern plantation.  The mansion overlooks Lake Jessamine, and is surrounded by moss-covered cypress trees.  The backyard also has a gazebo overlooking the water, as well as a lattice decorated amphitheatre.   Our venue helped inspire us to follow our dream of having a Southern themed wedding.”

Tess wore a gown with a sweetheart neckline from Paloma Bianca and carried a bouquet of pink peonies by Flowers By Lesley.

Tess’s gorgeous bridesmaids wore black gowns from Ann Taylor.

Fate played a role in the couple’s wedding day. Tess explains, “We couldn’t start our ceremony because the groom’s uncle, one of our readers for our ceremony, was late.  Initially, I was upset at the delay, until I later found out that God’s timing is better than mine, because it had started to rain, without my knowing.  My bridesmaids and wedding coordinator hadn’t told me it was raining outside with the hope that it would eventually blow over.  Thankfully, it did, right before I walked down the aisle to meet my groom.

My mom walked me down the aisle, which was especially touching to me considering my father passed away when I was eight.  My mom and I were both in tears as we walked together, in remembrance of my father and her late husband.  My mom is my hero, and I could not think of anyone better to send me off to my husband.

I walked down the aisle to a bluegrass version of Canon in D, played by our live bluegrass band, the Barnstorm Quartet.”

The ceremony had many favourite memories for Tess. “The ceremony that we created to represent our different backgrounds, but common faith. During our ceremony, Jared mistakenly responded “I will” instead of “I do” and was reprimanded by our officiant.  The crowd got a pretty good laugh.  When it was my turn to respond to the same question, I responded “I DO!” with great emphasis.  Our guests thought it was hilarious, especially when Jared responded “You can see how this marriage will work”.

Tess explains, “We had four ringbearers, two of which carried actual rings down the aisle.  One of the pillows had our promise rings that we had given each other after six months of dating, and the other pillow had Jared’s late grandfather’s wedding band attached to it.  It felt like it represented our past.

I absolutely loved our programs, and all of that went in to them, including a special tribute to our family members who are now longer with us.”

Tess and Jared made the signage for their sweet Southern refreshments which included sweet tea  and not-so-southern unsweet tea.

Tess remarks “Many of our guests were from up north, and had never been to an outdoors reception.  During dinner, they all talked about the full moon that they could see from their dinner tables, and how it’s a sign of good luck.  They, as well as we, thought it was the coolest thing.”

Prestige Printing created the stationery while Cristina Milles planned the wedding day for the couple.

Jared’s mother made over 900 cookies from scratch for the couple’s cookie bar.

Tess explains the wedding theme. “We decided early on that we wanted to have a Southern-themed wedding in order to capture all of the things we really love.  On our wedding day, that meant getting married at a venue that captured the Old South.  It also included amazing Southern comfort food.  During the cocktail hour we served pink lemonade vodka martinis,  freshly fried pickles, grilled cheese with tomato soup shooters, mini cheeseburgers (the groom’s favorite), and iced tea out of mason jars.  For dinner, we served cornbread, freshly-grown salad,  shrimp and grits, and bourbon-glazed salmon, accompanied with sweet potatoes.  Our guests RAVED about our food, saying it was the best wedding food they had ever had!

Our cupcakes by Serendipity Sweets (the bride and groom’s favorite) and the variety in flavors, including vanilla, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, and chocolate.”

The first dance was long planned. Tess explains, “The night we got engaged, we were so excited to start planning our first dance that very night.  We were browsing through our iPods in the car on our way home from our engagement dinner, when Jared hit the play button on “Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin.  By these first few lyrics, Jared and I were both in tears: “Oh Heavenly Day/All the clouds blew away/Got no trouble today/With Anyone/The smile on your face/I live only to see/It’s enough for me baby/It’s enough for me/ Oh Heavenly Day/Heavenly Day/Heavenly Day.”  We knew this would song would sum up our emotions of the day.

In the months leading up to the wedding, we became increasingly concerned about the prospect of rain ruining our entirely outdoor wedding.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t it be kind of cool if it did rain just a bit before our ceremony so that we could say ‘all the clouds blew away’ just like in the song for our first dance?” Oddly enough, right before our ceremony, after being sunny all day, it became cloudy and started to drizzle.  Thankfully, the rain ended right before I walked down the aisle, but it made our first dance and song so much more meaningful to us.”

DJ Jay Edwards kept the guests on the dance floor.

Congratulations Tess and Jared! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Tab McCausland Photography for sharing today’s images!

Photos by Tab McCausland Photography