By KIM FERGUSON Photos by ROB AND WYNTER PHOTOGRAPHY
The altar looked like something out of a Southern fairytale: distressed columns, romantic single-flame candles, urns draped with lush ivory and peach-colored floral arrangements.
Ashley Robertson’s August 12 wedding to Charles Woods at Galloway United Methodist Church in Jackson was everything she dreamed it would be thanks to her initial ideas for time-honored Southern nuptials and Deborah Simmons’ planning and execution.
“The wedding’s overall look was Southern traditional, with florals in ivory, creams and a touch of peach roses,” said Simmons, master wedding planner of Signature Occasions, a wedding and event-planning company based out of Ridgeland.
Vintage and sentiment-inspired details set the tone for this romantic affair. The lace handkerchiefs Robertson carried belonged to her great-great maternal grandmother and the bridegroom’s paternal great-great grandmother. An heirloom butterfly pin was attached to the bride’s bouquet of white hydrangea, Tiffany peach roses, Playa Bianca, mini white spray roses, succulents, dusty miller and silver brunia.
Robertson was the picture of classic elegance in her custom-made Martina Liana gown featuring a bateau neckline with the bodice made of Alencon lace with hand-beaded embellishments. Her flowing skirt was made of silk English net, and her veil was chapel length with a rolled pencil edge.
Robertson’s father escorted her down a flower- trimmed, candlelit aisle, while Dr. Robert Knupp and the Magnolia Strings Quartet provided the ceremony’s music, creating an elevated ambiance. Perfectly coordinated with the ceremony’s pastel blossoms were the floor-length, champagne-colored Joanne August gowns worn by the attendants.
Following the ceremony, a wedding reception was held at The Railroad District in Jackson. With its industrial chic interior and dark exposed ceiling, it was a blank canvas for Simmons, whose objective was to lend a garden feel to the space.
“The bride and groom were both from Jackson but now live in Washington, D.C.,” Simmons said. “They wanted their D.C. friends to experience a true Southern wedding.”
The opulent reception featured large lanterns and greenery garlands; a special painting by the bride displayed prominently on a mercury glass table; guest tables decked with linens made of luxurious, champagne-colored, sequi- ned organza; complementary cocktail tables of solid champagne sequin; and clear Chiavari guest seating.
The focal point of the reception was the ceiling, which had been transformed into a blanket of custom silver-beaded chandeliers, hundreds of twinkling bubble lights and a cascade of ivory roses. Guests danced to the sounds of the band Compositionz underneath this dazzling floral canopy.
A vast array of food was served on tables that were covered in camel crush linen topped with silver serving pieces, while a waterfall of roses was suspended above the food table. Fresh Cut Catering and Floral provided the decadent Southern menu, which included, among other things, a charcuterie table, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits in martini glasses and bacon-wrapped risotto forks.
“This was an upscale event with an expansive menu and opulent florals. There was no expense spared. The bride and her family were definitely geared toward making the guest experience the exceptional,” said Simmons. “Working with Ashley and her parents to create the perfect Southern wedding was a true joy.”
“Our unparalleled personal service, attention to the smallest detail and a passion for finding just the right element to make your wedding or event unforgettable, are just a few of the reasons brides and clients throughout the South choose Signature Occasions,” Simmons said.
Likewise, even the bride and groom’s exit from the reception was perfectly planned and uniquely Southern. Under a shower of rose petals, they departed in the groom’s grandfather’s antique Lincoln convertible. It was the conclusion of a fairytale wedding but only the beginning of something more magical.