In 2010, Jenna, now 26, had finally joined Match.com after her medical school schedule kept her too busy to meet or date on-campus. Rodderick, now 28, had been on the site for months, and was prepared to shut down his profile, when he and Jenna were matched. "I thought he was too good to be true and that his profile was fake," says Jenna. But he wasn't, and the two started chatting online while Rodderick was out of the country. On his way back, he flew to Atlanta and they had their first official date.
A little over a year later, the couple was in Laguna Beach with Jenna's parents. After dessert and coffee, Rodderick convinced Jenna to join him down on the beach. She put her toes in the water, and exclaimed that the water was incredibly cold. He looked at her and said "Well, I'm about to get my knee wet." She thought he was going swimming, but as she turned to protest, she saw him down on one knee with a ring in his hand. Her shock finally wore off enough for her to say "Yes!"
The bride, a lover of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, let 19th century England inspire her wedding. The Ruins at Barnsley Gardens were the perfect location for their May 5th, 2012, nuptials, combining gorgeous grounds with the remains of an historic home straight out of a novel.
Jenna chose purple and white as her main colors, a nod to popular Regency-era colors. Her bouquet of purple and white roses was wrapped with lace from her mother's wedding gown.
Bridesmaids wore strapless gowns in a deep plum hue, complementing the formality of Jenna's wedding gown.
Rodderick wore a silver damask vest beneath his classic black tuxedo. A plum ascot corresponded with the English theme.
The ceremony took place in the late spring sunshine. Pink and white rose petals edged the aisle. Reserved seats were marked with distressed wood signs, ivory ribbons and pomanders of pink roses.
Jenna walked down the aisle with her father. "I loved the ornate, antique style of my gown," says the bride of her Kenneth Pool dress. Crystals and lace divided the tiers of her voluminous drop-waisted ball gown.
The bride and groom exchanged vows under an arbor topped with ivy and pink roses. Jenna was thrilled to walk down the aisle to "Orchard House," a song from the soundtrack to the Little Women movie. "My mom and I have always played the soundtrack as we cooked for Thanksgiving and Christmas," says Jenna. "I got goose bumps when the song started, feeling my family tradition connect to my wedding day and my future with my husband."
An eight-paneled door covered with silver keys was leaned against one of the walls of the ruins. Each key was attached to a guest's place card. Guests spent cocktail hour wandering through the ruins, which were lit with candles and decorated with pink, white, and purple flowers. An old doorway led to the lawn where a tent was set up for the reception.
A combination of round and rectangular tables surrounded the dance floor, which was lit with crystal chandeliers. Mahogany Chiavari chairs and ornate silver chargers continued the old-world feel. Lush centerpieces were comprised of roses, hydrangeas, and peonies in pink, purple, and cream in silver vases.
Mercury glass vases held smaller arrangements of roses and peonies, while silver votive holders glowed with candlelight.
Jenna DIY-ed the scalloped tags attached to the purple striped straws. "We served a signature Peach Sangria," she says. "I'm from Georgia, he's from California, so it was a great way to use ingredients from our home states." As a favor, guests were given individual blackberry pies handmade by one of Jenna's bridesmaids.
The four-tiered wedding cake featured ornate silver lace details, reminiscent of Jenna's dress. Each tier was a different flavor—white chocolate almond cake with vanilla buttercream, pineapple cake with coconut buttercream, white chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, and white chocolate almond cake with raspberry buttercream.
"Our wedding took place during a super moon," explains Jenna. "It was a full moon, as well as the day when the moon is closest to the Earth. The whole evening glowed in the moonlight." It was the perfect opportunity for a glowing sparkler send-off, as well as a way for Jenna's mom to surprise her: "She had a satin square embroidered with 'Once in a Blue Moon' sewn into the hem of my dress!"
Jenna and Rodderick are thrilled to be married. "We fall more in love every day," she gushes. Her words of wisdom for engaged couples are to be honest, and to not sweat the small stuff. "Savor every moment," she says, "because it will be one of the happiest days of your entire life!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Ruins at Barnsley Garden Resort || Day-Of Coordinator: Beth Elinsky of Barnsley Garden Resort || Florist & Design: Edge Design Group || Bride's Wedding Dress: Kenneth Pool, from Bridals by Lori || Shoes: Pink || Hair: Melissa Sutton, Hair Clips || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters, from Bridals by Lori || Groom & Groomsmen's Tuxedos: Men's Wearhouse || Wedding Bands: Helzberg Diamonds || Invitations & Paper Goods: Paper Affair || Music: Ceremony - Amadeus String Ensemble, Reception - Lethal Rhythms Entertainment || Catering: Barnsley Garden Resort || Cake: Sugarplum Visions || Rentals: Edge Design Group, Family Heirlooms || Favors: Handmade by a Bridesmaid || Photography: Nadia D Photography