How Jessie Planned Her Wedding in Three Months!
2018 was full of new collaborations and opportunities for 31 Bits, but to top it all off, our Brand Director and Co-Founder, Jessie Simonson (now Alexander!) got married! And somehow, in the midst of all the busyness, she managed to plan her wedding in just three months! We interviewed Jessie to get all the details from her wedding, and share some tips on how to create a beautiful wedding without the stress!
HOW DID YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND MEET?
I never had a serious boyfriend, and didn’t put much effort into dating. I always wished someone would just show up on my doorstep. Somehow, at age 27, that’s exactly what happened! Well actually, I walked into my own door and found a foxy, red-bearded, blue-eyed guy in a Carhartt shirt named Adam sitting on my couch. Our roommates were hanging out and Adam happened to tag along.
There was an instant friendship and casual hangouts for a few months, but it didn’t take long before we realized our love for country music, good bbq, travel, and Jesus was enough to bring two Orange County transplants together for good. Two days after our first date, my entire family was in town for my brother’s wedding, and Adam braved a night as “the first guy I had ever introduce to my family.” That’s when I knew he was all in. 🙂
The next four years were a rollercoaster of traveling, a couple moves, and some career highlights and challenges…but in the midst of it all, we became best friends, fell in love, and in July 2018, finally got engaged! We figured there was no reason to push things off any longer, so when we scored the perfect venue for an October 2018 wedding, we went for it!
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR WEDDING?
Three words come to mind – modern, timeless, and a party. Our friends were as excited as we were for our wedding, so I wanted them to feel like this was a total party, but still feel like they were coming to something modern and sophisticated. I also wanted to keep the color scheme neutral, so we could look back at photos and remember the beauty of the day without distracting trendy colors.
WHAT WAS THE SETTING LIKE?
Hunting for venues on a short timeline was tricky, but we lucked out when we found out a venue was opening in Costa Mesa, (right down the street from 31 Bits!) called The Harper. We were so excited to be the FIRST wedding they ever booked.
From the minute I walked in, I knew this was my dream venue. It was everything I wanted – modern design, neutral colors, and unique textures throughout. The ceremony took place outdoors on a wood stage framed by two big olive trees. We draped white fabric in the trees and lined the aisle with dried florals.
When the ceremony was over, large accordion doors opened on the adjacent building, revealing entrances to the reception space. The modern room has a giant sky light in the middle, surrounded by chic, brass chandeliers and contemporary art. The venue came with long wood farm tables, so our guests could sit family style.
My favorite part of the room is the refurbished, antique wood bars that feel like they came straight out of 1920’s whiskey bar. We had our florist (French Buckets) mix greenery and white flowers with tons of dried stems, giving our October wedding a “fall-feel” without using reds and oranges. The venue also has a garden in the front, which was perfect for photos so we never had to leave the venue. I loved having everything close together – I never felt like I was missing out on anything!
Oh, and the food! We LOVED our food! The Harper partners with a catering company called RoomForty that was incredible. To stick with the modern/casual/party vibe, we did a modern tostada bar with ALL the fixings. I was told “remember to eat at your wedding!”…I didn’t have a problem with that.
HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR WEDDING UNIQUE?
I wanted to make sure we had a few special elements that made the wedding feel like a reflection of us without breaking the bank.
During the ceremony, we had my brother get on the mic and share a light-hearted recap of our story. He made it both funny and meaningful, but what I loved most about it is that it helped us fully relax. It gave us time to breathe, laugh, and soak it all in.
We put pouches of rose petals on each aisle chair with a note that said to toss the petals as we came back up the aisle! We walked out to Stevie Wonder’s “Sign, Sealed, Delivered” and it felt like a total party as guests tossed petals in the air. We got petals from the grocery store and it only cost about 50 bucks!
In lieu of a guest book, we cut up note cards and pre-stuck photo-corners that would perfectly fit a polaroid photo so they would all feel uniform. We put out polaroid cameras and pens for people to write notes. I got a personalized wood box from Artifact Uprising for all of the notecards. I suppose this is a little pricer then a normal guestbook, but I borrowed the cameras from friends, so all in it was around $250, and the cards are tucked away in a pretty box that looks nice in our family room.
We did a personalized dessert bar with our favorite things – See’s Scotchmallows, Salted Caramel Cupcakes (made by sister-in-law), Rob’s famous chocolate chip cookies (Rob used to work at 31 Bits and makes the best cookies ever), churros from our favorite local Mexican restaurant, and a couple carrot cakes from our favorite local bakery. We did dessert for 225 people for $400 (of course thanks to a few homemade goodies!)
Lastly, my favorite part of the night, we had an EPIC balloon drop during Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Adam’s favorite song). It was a bit of beast to set up, but all in was about $150 and made for some really fun photos!
HOW ON EARTH DID YOU PLAN A WEDDING IN JUST THREE MONTHS?!
The quickest way to plan a wedding is to make decisions quickly. Sounds simple right? I think people spend too much time mulling over decisions like what kind of cake to get, how tall the center pieces should be, and how the napkins should be folded. I made a Pinterest board, picked out my favorite things that I knew I could pull off quickly, and just went for it.
I made decisions and didn’t change them. As a night owl, I planned most of the wedding from 10pm-midnight while watching Friends reruns. Literally, I ordered EVERYTHING online from desserts to easels for signage to the balloon drop. I booked vendors and ordered rentals over email. Besides a couple meetings, I did very little in person so it wouldn’t take away from my day-job (we were SO busy at 31 Bits prepping for our Holiday season!), and I delegated things to Adam where I knew he could help.
SO WAS ADAM INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING?
Yes! Well maybe not the planning, but let’s just say I played into Adam’s strengths. 😉 He didn’t have opinions about the wedding itself, but there was plenty of things I could delegate to him. He helped research music, booked everything for the honeymoon, set up the appointment for our marriage license, and managed the registry/any returns we had to do. I had him run errands I didn’t have time for, like grabbing gifts, stamps, etc.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?
• My brother gave me some great advice that I’ll pass on to you! Pick the three things you care most about – whether it’s the florals, the music, the photography, your clothes, the food – but just pick three. Put your money and effort into those, and for the rest, just pick what’s easy. No one will remember what is on the tables, if the potatoes were whole or mashed, or what color shoes everyone had on. They will remember celebrating your love!
My three things were the venue to set the mood, the music/DJ for a good time (ours was Ahsohn The DJ), and what we wore (if we’re looking at these photos for the next 100 years, I want to remember feeling good about what I wore!)
• If you can find a venue that comes with a good staff, it changes the whole day. The Harper had an incredible staff so I never had to think twice about things. Our guests were treated like royalty and the day ran incredibly smooth.
• Hire a day-of coordinator. This is a non-negotiable to me. We were able to plan most of the wedding on our own, but I wanted to enjoy the day without being asked questions…so I put together detailed lists and schedules for my coordinator, and she did an amazing job making sure the day ran smoothly.
• Schedule intentional moments on your wedding day. The day goes fast, but these intentional moments help slow things down so it doesn’t feel like a blur. Here’s what we did for ours:
1. We exchanged letters in the morning. Reading a handwritten note from your love on the morning of your wedding brings the whole day into perspective and reminds you what you’re celebrating.
2. We did a first look so we could get photos out of the way and just enjoy the rest of the day. Maybe that’s not for everyone, but it definitely helped us relax and enjoy.
3. When we had my brother share our story during the ceremony, we had time to laugh and soak in the moment.
4. During cocktail hour, we snuck away to the bridal room, had a drink, took a deep breath, and shared a sweet moment.
Venue: The Harper, @theharperoc
Photographer: Hannah Beth Photography, @hannahbeth
Catering: Room Forty, @roomforty
Groom’s Suit: Hudson’s Custom Suits, @hudsonsuits
Bridesmaids Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu, @showmeyourmumu
Groomsmen Suits: The Black Tux, @theblacktux
Florals: French Buckets, @frenchbuckets
Invitations: Kayla Adams, @kaylaladams
DJ: Ahsohn The DJ, @ahsohnthedj
Wood Box for Guest book: Artifact Uprising