June 27, 2015, a day that will not be forgotten. Erin and I (Bethany) are still so humbled and honored to have been a part of the wedding of John Luke Robertson and Mary Kate McEacharn, and we are SO appreciative of the support shown by our community and friends as the episode aired last night. Wow. What an experience. We would like to share a little of the story with you guys - be warned. . .this may take a while to get in all the "thank yous":
We really enjoy wedding planning, especially when we have "freedom" with styling and design, so when we met with Mary Kate and her mom, Shari, and realized that what they wanted was a "beautiful, fun" wedding (however we could make that happen), we were thrilled. When we first visited the site, the Robertson's gorgeous farm, our excitement grew. Pictures cannot do justice to how amazing the space really is, and we quickly began planning some different ideas to make this wedding extra special and perfect. We just cannot thank the McEacharns and the Robertsons enough for trusting us and allowing us to have this opportunity.
Fast forward many months (past the hundreds of phone calls, emails, revisions, vendor lists, contacts, more revisions, more phone calls, meetings. . .all of the behind the scenes stuff that wedding stylists and coordinators do) and we realized that we had landed the most incredible "OAK Team" ever. We looked for vendors that had personality, unique styles, talent and a passion for their job. And, boy did we find them.
We didn't have to look far to find the floral designer for the wedding party flowers, the outdoor centerpieces, and the wedding arch! Korie Robertson gave us the name of one of their personal family friends, Amanda Jerkins, owner of Amanda Jerkins Design in Nashville, TN. Mary Kate and I worked together to create a palette that would really "wow" both in person and in pictures, and then Amanda and her team completed the tedious process of flower selection, design and construction to make it all come to life.
A large part of this design was centered around a vintage style, mismatched seating arrangement for the wedding ceremony. It took a little bit of planning to find the perfect layout, in the perfect place on the farm, for that time of year and day. This part of the design also is what gave us the most heart attacks, as the furniture we HAD to use could only be used if there was no rain. . .and you guessed it. . .it was raining when we woke up that morning and the day carried a 100% chance of more rain. This led me to do something I RARELY do and pray that there would be NO RAIN on this wedding day, and, I kid you not people, the radar literally broke up in front of our eyes and the rain all just disappeared. Thank you God for the AMAZING day that followed (see pic below).
Some of the most amazing people we met through the process were the ladies at Pursuing Eden. Kristal, Deadre and the Pursuing Eden team were the perfect fit with our OAK wedding family. Located in Longview, TX, the ladies provided ALL (yes, that is ALL) 200 mismatched wooden chairs, all of their wedding benches, quilts, a very large selection of vintage sofas, chairs, side tables and some very enthusiastic, hard working crew members to transport it all (notice the "tetris" style packing on our trailer in the above picture). Even though Texas was dealt some major "blows" with rain this summer, these ladies were always encouraging and willing to provide anything "extra" we needed throughout the planning process.
After the panic of the rain on the wedding day began to subside, we got EXTRA busy setting up (we had a REALLY cooperative, amazing team of OAK employees busting their rears to help us all day and night). While all the details were VERY important, we did have one guy in particular who helped in really LARGE ways to make the reception area beautiful. Ben Johnson, of Alpha Tent is one of our favorite tent and rental vendors, and he provided us with some GORGEOUS sailcloth tents. Because of the number of guests invited and the means of transportation necessary to move all guests from the parking area to the wedding site, we set up a "pre-ceremony" tent full of food, games and even a mariachi band (a surprise from Willie to John Luke and Mary Kate). The tent had clear sides, a sailcloth top and was air conditioned. A LOT of very hard work went into this construction (thanks Ben!!!). Along with that, we had a couple of 20x20 tents and a 20x30 tent for "lounge areas" in the reception, all provided by Alpha Tent. One reason we love sailcloth is the way it reflects light at night. Even though we don't have a great picture, the large tent was incredible at night and provided a neat "glow" to set off the reception site. (The X back chairs are also a rental from them!)
Really with any wedding day, the hours between 7:00 am (or earlier) and ______ (fill in start time) take about 20 minutes to complete. Pretty much, we wake up, start working and BAM, it's wedding time before we know it. This day was no different. The tents were up, the furniture was placed and all of the vendors were arriving, looking to us for direction. It's. SO. MUCH. FUN. Every time.
As previously mentioned, we had to "bus in" the guests from a "parking" location to the site (because there is no parking on site) and this created a challenge that was a little new to us. We had the guest list, RSVPs and the amount of time it took to bus X number of people in each bus from point A to point B. . .We assigned all guests an "arrival time" (which they, like troopers, stuck to) and location. BUT, as with any event (especially ones with 800+ on the guest list, being bussed in, on a tight schedule), we had to make last minute changes. Because of the weather forecast, the decision was made the night before (yes, the night before) to move the ceremony back one hour. Smart move (if the rain was coming), but that also meant Erin and I were going to be making LOTS of phone calls to guests that night to switch some arrival times!!! In the end, it went off flawlessly!
The flowers in the Preceremony tent (along with the tablecloths and table décor) were created and styled by OAK in the selected wedding colors.
Some of the details in the tent, aside from the Mariachi Band, included some specialty cookies by OAK's favorite "cookie extraordinaire", Claudia Eichelberger of Claudia's Creative Cookies. She's a "hometown" girl and we knew she would do a FABULOUS job customizing some delicious cookies for guests to use as conversation starters and tummy fillers. Check out her Instagram for more of her creations.
We were also able to provide some "pre-ceremony" cigars to the guests, provided by The Country Squire. This served as a precursor to the full cigar bar provided by Governor's Cigars. The Country Squire also provided cigars for the guest bags, passed out to hotel guests upon arrival.
So, we made it TO the ceremony, which was gorgeous, amazing and extremely sincere (with girls in their custom Sherri Hill Dresses), and upon arrival guests were encouraged to grab a "fan program" designed by Erica Wilkerson Stone of Erica Ashley Design (she also designed the GORGEOUS invitation sets). They were then escorted to their choice of mismatched wooden chair, bench or quilt as their seat for the wedding ceremony. The Vintage Lounge furniture was reserved for the family seating.
After a beautiful ceremony officiated by Willie Robertson, Rev. Paul Lipe, and Bruce McEacharn (offering his prayers during the ceremony) (and directed by me and Erin!!), the wedding guests made their way to a fun, "food truck" style wedding reception (with an OAK swing on "food trucks" using a couple of airstreams :)) while the family took pictures. The wedding photographer for the day was Three Nails Photography (from whom many of these pictures were provided, as well). The amazing videographer for the day, who also let us use his airstream in our decor, was Max Zhogbi.
We are fortunate to work with many great local photographers through OAK jobs, and we knew we could use an extra hand snapping photos of our own OAK details, so we asked Brooke Wilcher of Blessed 2 Focus Photography to come along as an OAK team member! Thanks so much to both of these for their talent, time and photos to use!
Now ON TO THE RECEPTION! There are so many details in the reception, that I am sure to miss something really cool.
We had to find JUST the right people to fix the reception food. Mary Kate wanted "bite sized" portions (similar to a food truck feel) and we found the right fit in Waterfront Grill. Their team prepared BBQ Shrimp and Brisket Sliders, Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with Vegetables and a Remoulade Salad. Our OAK catering team prepared Mini Chicken and Steak Tacos on a specialty "grill skillet" handmade for the event and roasted corn and peppers. The food was fantastic and everyone left with a full stomach!
The reception décor was provided by OAK and through Ben Johnson's rentals. The farmhouse tables used as guest tables were handmade for this occasion for OAK (and we will be using them for years to come). With the help of some very generous OAK employees, I constructed, painted and distressed around 100 wooden candlesticks in 3 different colors and we used battery operated candles to give a great "glow" to the outdoors.
Along with the entrees, guests had some fun options of Sno Cones (provided by John Luke and Willie's Ice Cabin) and gourmet popcorn, provided by Farming for Humanity.
After the sun went down and guests were finishing up eating, the music started up and the dancing began. Of course, the cakes still had to be cut! We knew immediately who we wanted to invite to be the part of the OAK team that would prepare the cakes - Hailey Williams of Cups-N-Cakes, our "go to" baker. Her talent was demonstrated through the 6 tier bridal cake with 18 smaller accent cakes in almond, strawberry, Italian cream and some gluten free layers for Mary Kate! This was certainly a show stopper (and tasted amazing, too)! In lieu of a traditional groom's cake, as John Luke is allergic to chocolate, Erin, John Luke and I decided to go with a Cronut display, and Hailey willingly did some research to make that happen!
The reception was beautiful and fun, and (we hope) everything the bride and groom wanted for their one special day. There are SO MANY people we cannot thank enough and that we couldn't have pulled the day off without (please see the "special thanks"). Again, thank you so much for allowing OAK to be your wedding stylists, planners and coordinators! Much love for the rest of your lives!
Preceremony tent flower arrangements by Bethany at OAK.
Signs handmade by Bonnie Kate Zhogbi (and some of the pictures are hers, too!).
After some really gorgeous fireworks, the bride and groom left to a shower of dried flower petals (see photo of bucket above :)).
Special Thanks to: Ilean Means, Stephen Means, Tisha Veazey, Megan Everett, Katie Mitchell, Dustin Mitchell, Loyd Glaze, Brady Power, Bryce Power, Joy Power, Kara Beth Johnson, Emily Cox, Kelsey Cox, Madelyn Peterson, Phillip Williams, JPS Aviation and Transportation, Delta Ridge Implement, Larry and Audrey Estes, Tom and Peggy Yates, Tish Miller, Angila Summit, Veronica & Diego . . .
Thanks, too, to all of the film and sound crew and the wonderful, gracious McEacharn and Robertson families, Bruce and Shari, Willie and Korie, John Luke and Mary Kate. You all certainly portrayed the values of true Christ followers through the entire process -
Professional photography by Three Nails Photography.