JOANNA + JESSE
We met when we were fourteen at summer camp. He spent all day working up the courage to sit next to me at dinner. We lost touch, and six years later he randomly became roommates with my best friend. I slept over one night and accidentally set off the fire alarm making pancakes the following morning. He came out of his room, bleary-eyed and half asleep, to fan the smoke alarm with his pillow. I offered him pancakes as a thank you and we spent the whole day together.
I’m a chatterbox, so he probably couldn’t get a word in that first day. But he had this mysterious air to him and I wanted to get to know him better. We started hanging out all the time. We both always wanted to get married, and we felt like we’d found “the one” in each other. But we didn’t feel like we were financially ready to get married and have the kind of honeymoon we wanted. We had a daughter together and still didn’t feel the need to rush.
One night, he took me out to dinner and on the way the car started overheating. We were just on top of the mountain, not far from the restaurant and he suggested we pull over and wait a little while for it to cool down. As we walked to a nearby lookout to sit down, there was a trail of rose petals and candles everywhere. He lead me to the end of the lookout and got down on one knee. I said yes and we popped a bottle of my favorite champagne before heading off to the dinner reservation he had made us. The car was fine.
We found a beautiful farm out in the country with an old heritage barn. It had gorgeous, sweeping views, a river that ran through it, and lots of trees. We all stayed on the property the weekend of the wedding. The night before the wedding, we all had dinner together and played card games. He slept in a separate cottage on the property. I spent the morning relaxing with my sisters: painting our nails, getting hair and makeup done, and drinking champagne.
On the morning of the wedding we realized we had forgotten to plan how to get to the ceremony. My brother went and asked the farmer if we could borrow his tractor and it became our wedding car. My two sisters were my bridesmaids. They wore cream knit dresses with brown boots. Our 3-year-old daughter was our flower girl, she rode a toy pony down the aisle. We were married late afternoon in the middle of winter and the weather was beautiful and sunny.
As dusk hit the whole valley was covered in mist and was so cold we headed in the barn to huddle around the fire and drink mulled wine.We had a big spit roast and loads of veggies for dinner, with mulled wine to warm us all up. It was followed by a bunch of cakes—white chocolate mud cake, apple pie, cheese cake and carrot cake.
Our first dance was to “Stuck in the Middle with You” and our daughter ran into the circle to join us. She was quickly followed by every other kid at the party, and soon everyone was dancing. Around 10 p.m., we went outside and lit up the sky with Chinese fire lanterns to end the night. Most of the guests were staying the night on the farm so they continued to party, but we left to catch a flight for our honeymoon.
We headed off to France for three weeks with little trips into Italy and Switzerland. It was my first time away from our daughter, so I was nervous, but it ended up being really relaxing. We drank lots of cocktails and bathed in the sunshine. We even hired a boat and sailed along the Italian coastline, diving in the ocean and picnicking whenever we found a secluded spot.
Pics by Samuel Dunstan