First things first: Jessie and Matt can tell a story. You have to listen to them recount their love story on The Monti podcast story – it’s absolutely HILARIOUS. Then continue with this blog:
The rain held out last October for Jessie and Matt to tie the knot on her parent’s farm and childhood home in Hillsborough, N.C. I could go on and on about how fun they were to work with, but they took the time to reflect on their wedding for this blog so I will turn it over to them! Please enjoy Matt’s sarcasm as you read.
1. Why was it important for you to have your wedding on the farm?
JESSIE: The farm where I grew up obviously played a huge role in my identity. I brought Matt down for the first time when we’d only been dating for a couple months, in 2006. Since then he’s embraced the space too, swimming in the pond with my dad and our dog, Cleveland, helping cut firewood and haul it up to the shed, and enjoying the peaceful place my parents have created over the past thirty-six years. We knew it would be stressful, though, so we did consider several other venues, including ones in Buffalo, NY, where Matt is from. Ultimately, though, we wanted a place that we could “move into” during the entire process, truly relax in, and allow our guests to do the same without feeling they had to be rushed out at midnight sharp. We spent months working on the wedding, and my parents were amazing and generous in the help they gave us and the things they allowed us to do (even if they couldn’t quite “see” my vision for something at the time!). It felt amazing to be surrounded by people from so many aspects of my life in the place that first nurtured who I am, and has come to hold Matt in such a big way, too.
2. What did you learn about yourself and your relationship in the process of planning the wedding?
MATT: To be totally honest, after being together for 7 years, living together for 6 years, and owning a house together for 5 years (wait, we bought a house together after only knowing each other for two years? WHAT WERE WE THINKING!) we didn’t really have much to learn about ourselves. We knew I was the procrastinator and Jessie the planner. We knew Jessie had the bigger vision, and I need to keep my analytical curmudgeoness in check. We knew that we’d get stressed and anxious while talking and planning, so we had to institute agreements that would let us table a discussion until we both had a chance to think about it. The big surprise was how much our community was willing to help us make decorations for the reception, for weeks ahead of time, and to help us set up the farm the day before (and even the day of!). That community support of friends and family was humbling and reminded us of how extremely blessed we are. (Thanks friends! We couldn’t have done it without you.)
3. What was the biggest challenge?
JESSIE: The biggest challenge was probably just financial. And it was mostly a fun challenge, in areas like thrift-shopping for decorations and hand-crafting endless yards of fabric bunting with friends. It was harder in terms of big decisions like catering and rentals, and keeping the invitation list to a size that was affordable for those things. But we identified our priorities early (good food, free shuttles there and back, creating a space where people felt relaxed), so we kept coming back to those priorities. Other challenges were writing vows (how do you sum up your commitment in just a minute or two??) and making sure my parents were okay with everything involved with 135 guests and a couple dozen vendors descending on their home. But with good communication (and awesome parents), those things went very smoothly.
4. What advice do you have for other brides out there?
JESSIE: Go nuts with the Pinterest boards and such early on, if you want, and then stop. There are too many influences and you’ll start to lose your own vision. Focus way more on how you want things to feel, and let that guide the how-things-should-look piece.
Push for some things you really want, and let others go. There’s a grove of wide-limbed trees adjacent to where the tent was going to go, and I wanted to use the area beneath the limbs as an intimate space for a fire pit for s’mores and extra seating, and to fill to branches with twinkle lights. Everyone fought me on it as too much work, but I persevered, and it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole reception, and very well-used. On the other hand, there were plenty of little ideas that never quite got off the ground, and that was fine, too.
5. What was your favorite moment from the day?
MATT: I really dislike having to name just one thing, so how about you ask me my top 5 favorite moments. Well, thanks for asking, Justin. Here they are:
1. Watching Jessie walk down the aisle. This was the most radiant I’ve ever seen her, I had tears streaming down my face.
2. Hearing the wine glass crush under our feet, and everyone shout Mazel Tov!
3. Before the wedding being gathered with my groomsmen and women.
4. Toasts, especially my cousin’s (my best man), but all of them were very funny. We owe a big thanks to Jeff Polish of the Monti, who was our MC and offered story help to all of our toast givers.
5. As an engagement gift, Jessie gave me a 31-year-old bottle of Caol Ila scotch whisky (my favorite distillery). During the reception I took this around to as many friends as I could to share a private moment, a sacrament, and to tell them how much them being there meant to me.
6. What’s next for you as a couple?
MATT: Seriously? What’s next? We just got married! You’ve been nagging us about that forever, now we’ve got to plan the next thing? Won’t you ever just be happy with where we are now, Justin!? Oh right, and Jessie’s pregnant. We’re having a baby exactly 9 months after the wedding. Are you happy now?