While today’s couple may live in California these days, they knew they wanted to get back to their roots for their biggest celebration. Tori and Jacob returned to Louisiana to exchange vows in true southern style, with sweet tea popsicles, a cake pull, and plenty of nods to Jacob’s love of football. Photography By Micahla Wilson and Botanical Occasions by Leanne Graves put in beautiful work here!
From the bride, Tori: The entire wedding planning process was so much fun – I wish I could go back and relive it all again! We picked Sainte Terre in Benton, Louisiana to have our rehearsal, wedding, and reception. Even though we live in California right now, Jacob grew up in Mississippi and I grew up in Louisiana, so it was important to us to get married in the south and close to home. There is a wonderful family who owns and runs Sainte Terre, and they made our wedding weekend better than we could have ever imagined! Everything was so personalized to us and so very special. While we were getting ready at the venue, Jacob took his groomsmen to eat at Dawg House in our college town (the place where it all started!) and then they went up to the Louisiana Tech football stadium where most of them either played football or coached years ago. Many of them live in different parts of the country now, so they enjoyed going back to their old college stomping grounds!
On that day, I wore my mom’s gold bracelet that my dad adds a diamond to every year for their anniversary. It’s my favorite piece of her jewelry and she let me wear it as my “something borrowed.” Mine and Jacob’s parents both have such strong marriages and have been great examples for us. The bracelet reminds me of all of the happy years of marriage that Jacob and I have ahead. Jacob and I didn’t do a “first look” but my dad and I did. I never showed my dad my wedding dress or anything until that day. It was such a special moment to share with him and he had hand written me the sweetest letter to read after I was married.
Our flowers and decorations were better than I ever could have dreamed of! The greenery on the walls gave the room an enchanted garden feel and the copper accents made it unique. The rich pinks and pops of blue made the reception area feel glamorous. One of my favorite touches from our florist was that she put a Cafe au lait Dahlia in my bouquet that is grown in California — a little nod to where Jacob and I have our first home together. We had vintage couches and chairs in the middle of the reception area as a fun space for guests to sit and socialize. Of course we had to incorporate football into our wedding a little bit! Our favors for guests to take were little golden bears filled with (locally made) honey because Jacob is a coach at Cal Berkeley, and their mascot is a Golden Bear! Our song that played after we walked out of the chapel was Silverscrapes by Chronic Crew. This song is popular around Cal football, and it is played all the time in the highlight videos from their games. I surprised Jacob with this song and he was so excited when he heard it start to play. He also threw a football with my garter around it instead of the traditional garter toss. Our southern sweet tea pops were such a hit! There is a lady in my hometown that makes them and they taste JUST like sweet tea. We had them in our welcome bags at the hotel and also out for people at our reception. This was such a treat for our friends who live in California and don’t get sweet tea very often!
Our food was all delicious southern-style home cooking. The chef is one of the family members that owns Sainte Terre, and she worked so hard to make sure everything was exactly how we wanted it. Jacob opted for an ice cream station instead of a traditional groom’s cake — because ice cream is his favorite dessert! A few of our favorite menu items were boudin balls, a Louisiana Shrimp boil station, mini crab and crawfish savory cheesecakes, and even a mac and cheese bar! My favorite time of the night was when Jacob and I got to sit and eat at our sweetheart table at the front of the room and just soak in the celebration. It was a short moment, but we loved getting to be surrounded by our family and friends having so much fun!My bouquet was wrapped in lace that was from my mom’s wedding dress. On the morning of the wedding, my mom gave me a small box to open. In the box was a tiny gold angel pin that she told me about once I opened it. My grandfather, who passed away when I was only three years old, had given her this to give to me on the day I got married. We added it to her lace wrapped on my bouquet so that I could carry it with me during the ceremony.