An Intimate Wedding at the Groom's Family Ranch in Oklahoma

jessika william wedding rice toss
Photo: Liz Banfield

This rustic yet refined wedding would have made both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Davey Crockett proud.

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jessika william wedding couple side by side
Liz Banfield

Jessika and William went to the same high school in Kansas City, Missouri, but he was a few grades ahead and, according to the bride, much cooler than she was at the time. So their paths didn't cross as teenagers. It was years later, at a Christmas caroling party that they had a memorable exchange. She made a point to give Will her number by the end of the night.

A relationship started, but he was living in Denver, and then Indiana, and then Waco, so they did the long-distance thing for three years, traveling back and forth to see each other as often as possible and even venturing to fun new places, too (Nicaragua was one notable spot as that was the trip that made Jessika realize William was the guy she'd spend the rest of her life with). They spent countless hours on the phone talking about their families and friends, making music, and making plans.

On the third anniversary of the day they'd officially met, Will proposed outside the Kemper Art Museum, and the newly-engaged couple then returned to the same annual holiday party where it all began. Nine months later, they went to another special spot to become husband and wife—a ranch that has been in Will's family for generations, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There were only 35 guests (10 of whom were family) at the destination wedding on September 30, 2017. "Our wedding was meant to celebrate love between us, but also to acknowledge those people connected to us at the closest level," says Will. "The people that have seen us grow together as a couple. And we wanted everyone to share our experience in a special way."

Friends stayed on the property in glamping-style tents before the big day while family filled the estate's rooms. The rough and casual setting was juxtaposed against the elegant refinement of the property, and the entire celebration was a true reflection of the couple's relationship. With help from Sarah-Allen Preston Designs, the theme and color palette took a cue from the original Spanish and Italianate design of the house that played such a part in the big day. All in all, the black-tie event would have made both Davey Crockett and F. Scott Fitzgerald equally proud.

Watch Jessika and Will's wedding film by Betsy Dutcher.

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Married at Home

jessika william wedding house
Liz Banfield

The wedding took place at a home built by the groom's great-great-grandfather, who was an oilman that put down his roots in the area in the early 1900s. "It holds a really special place in both of our hearts," says the bride. "I couldn't imagine getting married anywhere else. We have spent a lot of time playing music, swimming, and wishing on shooting starts there."

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The Stationery Suite

jessika william wedding invitations
Liz Banfield

The stationery suite was designed with a vintage, luxury vibe that was inspired by the hand-painted motifs inside the home. Handmade paper with rose gold foiling was wrapped with silk ribbon and a custom wax seal. An itinerary booklet incorporated a drawing of the house, while the response card boasted the couple's monogram (which first appeared on the save the date). The pieces were designed by Sarah-Allen Preston Designs with calligraphy by Loveletter Studio, and then printed by De-Plume Stationers.

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Going Glamping

jessika william wedding glamping tent
Liz Banfield

All non-family guests slept at a glampsite erected on the property. Eleven Stout Tents were furnished with real beds set near shower rooms and coolers with extra waters and beers.

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Welcome Totes

jessika william wedding welcome bag
Liz Banfield

Jute welcome bags were filled with white waffle robes embroidered with each guest's initials, a towel tied with leather cord, flip flops, a silky sleep mask, a glamping survival kit with hangover remedies and a bug bracelet, bottled water, Sugarfina green juice gummies, a letterpressed Oklahoma print by Hammerpress, and a welcome booklet with the history of the couple's relationship and the property, along with a map to the stars and of the grounds.

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Black-Tie Attire

jessika william wedding couple embrace
Liz Banfield

Will sported head-to-toe Brooks Brothers for the black-tie wedding, which was a fun juxtaposition with the open plains and at-home setting. Jessika wore a Limor Rosen wedding dress—strangely enough it was on the initial Pinterest board the planner put together. It was the first one she tried on. She added a slightly darker tulle skirt by Rebecca Schoneveld to made it feel a bit more in line with the rustic, outdoor setting and took it off for the dancing. Her veil was her "something borrowed" thanks to her sister-in-law.

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A Beautiful Bouquet

jessika william wedding bouquet
Liz Banfield

Ever Something designed the bouquet in Indian summer colors, with a romantic and ethereal style. Dahlias, ranunculus, and roses were arranged with a variety of silvery greenery.

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An Elegant Updo

jessika william wedding updo
Liz Banfield

"I know that Will likes when I wear my hair up, and I didn't want to be messing with it the day of, so I wore it up," says Jessika of her updo. Plus, she wanted to show off the neckline of her dress. Ash Franke pulled her hair into this loose and low hairstyle, leaving a few face-framing pieces down in the front. The bride's future in-laws gifted her a pair of vintage diamond-and-pearl earrings in an Art Deco setting to wear.

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The Bridal Party

jessika william wedding bridal party
Liz Banfield

Groomsmen sported tuxedos and bridesmaids donned white Joanna August dresses. They were all smiles on the beautiful, sunny day.

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The Programs

jessika william wedding programs
Liz Banfield

Fan-style programs with rose-gold grommets and the same wax seal used on the invitations outlined the ceremony and kept guests cool. They were displayed on the family's sterling silver trays.

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The Ceremony Setup

jessika william wedding ceremony seating
Liz Banfield

The ceremony overlooked the lakes on the property. "It has a beautiful and tranquil atmosphere," notes Will. "We named it Wedding Lake." Cedar trees were brought in to match the surrounding ones, and to anchor the space without competing with the views and existing natural beauty. Hay bales covered in linen were used for seating. "It was gorgeous with the wind blowing across the lake, and felt so perfect to be surrounded by our closest friends like that," adds the bride.

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Here Comes the Bride

jessika william wedding processional
Liz Banfield

Jessika was escorted down the aisle by her father, as a string quartet played Correli Adagio, from Concerto Grosso No. 8, Op. 6 in G Minor. "I was super nervous, so I told my dad to distract me with small talk," says the bride. "However, the moment we stepped out of the car and I was finally able to see Will after going the whole day without seeing each other or talking, my nerves melted away."

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Family Heirlooms

jessika william wedding ringbearer boot
Liz Banfield

Both ring bearers (Will's nephews) carried a bronzed baby bootie with the rings inside. They were the older one's first pair of cowboy boots, and they happened to have been preserved a few weeks before the wedding. Sarah-Allen Preston (who is not only the boys' mother, but also the one who planned the big day) suggested they be used instead of traditional pillows, particularly since they matched the coppery accents throughout the big day.

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Tying the Knot

jessika william wedding ceremony
Liz Banfield

The ceremony was personalized with a reading of First Corinthians by the groom's sister, and one of Jessika's sisters and one of the best men performed a duet of "This is Why I Need You" by Jesse Ruben (there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd). The father of the bride then played an Irish folk ballad on the guitar as the couple lit a unity candle. They wrote their own vows and also exchanged the traditional ones.

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Rice to Toss

jessika william wedding rice toss vials
Liz Banfield

Rice was packed in small glass vials with a "toss" tag tied on with baker's twine. As the newlyweds recessed to the string quartet's version of "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, guests showered them with the rice. "It was the perfect, old-school exit to the sweet ceremony," says Jessika.

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Raising the Flag

jessika william wedding flags
Liz Banfield

The couple's married monogram was printed on a flag as a surprise orchestrated by their mothers. During cocktail hour, their fathers raised it on the flagpole together.

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Family Time

jessika william wedding family
Liz Banfield

The men in attendance wore tuxedos and the ladies stuck to soft tones. This made everyone feel like they were included in the bridal party. Both the mothers of the bride and groom (shown here) wore Needle & Thread dresses.

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Cocktail Hour

jessika william wedding cocktails
Liz Banfield

Cocktail hour took place in the front yard. Will's signature drink was a Mount Gay Southside complete with lime juice, simple syrup, and mint; and Jessika's was a light jalapeño margarita.

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Dining Together

jessika william wedding table
Liz Banfield

The group proceeded up the front stairs of the house and inside to find their seats. Two tables held all the guests—the existing dining room furniture was used for one, and rentals supplemented the second setup (where the bridal party sat) in the great hall. The string quartet played from the living room, which opens into both dining areas. Plenty of candles added intimacy and warmth, and the centerpieces were kept low so that conversation flowed across the table. Wine bottles were set out for a dinner party feel. An installation of greenery hung over the table in the great hall.

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The Place Settings

jessika william wedding placesetting
Liz Banfield

The same handmade paper used for the invite reappeared in the form of rose-gold-foiled menus and tasseled escort cards. "We wanted a different and luxurious accent to hold the place cards to the menus, and tassels (which are also prevalent throughout the house) were the perfect piece," says Jessika. They rested atop ornate terra cotta chargers from Casa de Perrin and stoneware plates with an Old-World feel, with white linen dinner napkins embroidered with the wedding motif in ivory. Family silver was used here and there, making it feel even more like an elegant dinner at home.

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The Reception

jessika william wedding reception
Liz Banfield

The meal began with a green salad with blueberries, gorgonzola, and candied pecans; a lump crab cake with chipotle aioli and pineapple followed, along with braised beef short ribs with horseradish potatoes.

An assortment of cakes from a local bakery were set out on an antique sideboard decorated with flowers similar to the tables' centerpieces.

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The First Dance

jessika william wedding first dance
Liz Banfield

"You Send Me" by Sam Cooke played as the newlyweds shared their first dance. Jessika had removed the overskirt and danced the night away in her Limor Rosen wedding dress. Late 90s tunes and hip hop from the early 2000s kept everyone rocking until the wee hours (seriously, 6 a.m.) by the pool.

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jessika william wedding rice toss
Liz Banfield

Photography, Liz Banfield

Event planning and design and Stationery design, Sarah-Allen Preston Designs

Catering, JT Catering

Flowers, Ever Something

Videography, Betsy Dutcher

Stationery printing, De-Plume Stationers

Calligraphy, Loveletter Studio

Cake, Queenie's Café and Bakery

Music, Bartlesville Strings

Rentals, Casa de Perrin; La Tavola Fine Linen; Party Pro

Bride's gown, Limor Rosen

Bride's tulle skirt, Rebecca Schoneveld

Bride's accessories, Stuart Weitzman shoes

Hair and Makeup, Ash Franke Styles

Bridesmaids' dresses, Joanna August

Mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses, Needle & Thread

Groom's tuxedo, Brooks Brothers

Ring bearer's attire, The Best Dressed Child

Tents for glamping, Stout Tent

Candles, Creative Candles

Wine, Failla

Embroidery, Erin Turner Embroidery

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