Soft pinks, blues, and neutral colors filled the courtyard for Jess and Mac’s romantic garden wedding at the Stillwell House. But don’t let their calm color palette fool you. Sarcastic humor combined with lots of emotion made for an unforgettable wedding day. This was the last Spring wedding that I’ll be a part of before moving to Washington and I still can’t believe it!
As I stepped out of the elevator, I could see nieces and nephews sprinting towards the end of the hallway. Jess’ getting ready room was brimming with excitement. Her mom, soon-to-be mother-in-law, and nana were all sitting in the living room area in matching black robes. Jess was just a few feet away from them near the window getting her makeup done.
“Jac, your photographer is here!” *cue record scratch* Jac? Who’s Jac?! Back in January 2022, I first started chatting with “Jessica” about her wedding day plans. About 8 months later, at their first engagement on Mount Lemmon, I learned that “Jessica” went by “Jess.” I don’t go by my full first name either, so I quickly renamed her in my mind haha. Flashforward another 8 months and I was introduced to “Jac” for the first time! Stay tuned to hear the story behind this nickname and how it might be replaced…
As Jess finished getting ready and started packing up to leave the hotel, the nerves started to set in for her. A few minutes later when I met up with Mac, I could sense those same jitters. The solution? Their First Look!
This is the time of day that I like to take advantage of the empty courtyard for portraits! It quickly gets crowded and busy, making it hard to find great spaces to work with.
Guests started filing into the courtyard as soon as Jess went inside. Even though Mac just saw Jess about 20 minutes ago, that didn’t stop him from getting teary-eyed and anxious to see her again. As the wooden gates opened, the music on the harp shifted to a melody I recognized. The Jurassic Park theme song! Processional music is such an easy way to personalize your wedding ceremony. Christine played it beautifully; she really made that iconic dinosaur-themed tune sound elegant!
Ben is Jess and Mac’s mutual best friend. So he was the natural choice for their officiant. He was a little nervous to lead the ceremony and marry these two. So he took a swig of liquid courage to help himself out!
While the staff at Stillwell changed over the courtyard setup for the reception, I took Mac and Jess around the corner for a few more portraits together. I have NEVER seen these trees in bloom like this before. We caught them at the perfect time! They really brought that garden vibe to an otherwise urban location.
When we turned the corner and walked back through the gates, I was blown away by how different the courtyard looked. I almost always see round tables used here, but Mac and Jess chose to incorporate long farm tables into the layout, too. The different table shapes, setups, and floral displays truly transformed this stone courtyard into the romantic garden setting they envisioned.
When I asked Jess and Mac what was one of the things that they most struggled with when it came to wedding planning, they said family. Now before anyone reading this gets upset!… It’s because they truly wanted the day to be perfect– not just for themselves but for everyone in attendance, too. They both love their families; that was pretty easy to see. They were definitely looking forward to the reception when they could make their rounds and visit with everyone there.
Can you believe Jess and Mac made this seating chart themselves?! Oh, and the ceremony welcome sign? That was them, too. OH, and the custom place cards with each guests’ names hand-painted? Yep, also them!
Jess’ parents explained that they and all of their families are now at a crossroads. The nickname “Jac” comes from Jess’ initials. Well, now she’s no longer a Crosby, she’s a Maddock! So they affectionately called her “Jam” the rest of the night… and I kind of hope it sticks around!
Mac’s father Devin had everyone laughing when it was his time to toast the newlyweds. He inched back behind one of the columns underneath the arbor and pulled out a large wooden oar topped with a bow. He explained that Jess and Mac have now left their families’ respective boats and have begun their own adventure together. The oar symbolizes that they are now paddling off in their own direction, navigating their new lives together as a couple.
An immediate and simultaneous thumbs-up from Jess and Mac after their first bite of wedding cake.
Before she graced the dance floor, Jess made a quick pit stop. I think some of the guests were expecting Mac to go hunting for a garter. “They’re socks!” Jess yelled. She changed into some comfy bedazzled bridal sneakers for the rest of the night!
Any day now, Mac and Jess will take their first honeymoon to Hawaii. Later this year, they’ll return to Europe together. Ireland, Paris, and Italy are on their incredible “second honeymoon” itinerary!
Wedding Venue | Stillwell House and Gardens
Coordinator | Jeri with Celebrations by Design
Photographer | Christy Hunter Photography
Dress Shop | Luv Bridal
Invitation Designer | Zazzle
Florist | Element Design & Events
Hair | Raquel with Uplifted Hair
Makeup | Audrey with Makeup By Audreee
Harpist | Christine Vivona
DJ | Fantastic 5 Entertainment
Cake Shop | Ambrosia Cakes
Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire | Men’s Warehouse
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Birdy Grey
Rentals Provider | Red Diamond Rentals
Caterer | Stillwell Catering Co
Bride’s Rings | McGuire’s Jewelers
Groom’s Ring | Revolution Jewelry
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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