The first time former Brides editor Jessie DiGiovanna saw now-husband Matt in November 2014, her heart raced—which, full transparency, was partly because they met during a high-intensity workout class. Matt, who was in a relationship at the time, worked as an in-class DJ for 305 Fitness, an NYC-based, dance-infused boutique fitness studio that Jessie frequented. So, after two full years of not-so-subtle cheers for Matt’s workout music selections (read: lots of “wooing”), the bride heard via locker room talk that her future groom had finally become single. Cue some aggressive social media-liking and strategic 305 class-attending by Jessie, which lead Matt to pick up on her interest, take his shot via Facebook Messenger, and schedule a first date for the following week.
Fast forward two years to January 2018, during another date night that seemed just like any other—for an unsuspecting Jessie, that is. While out to dinner at the pair’s favorite New York taco restaurant (that eventually inspired their wedding menu), Matt received a staged phone call from his boss about coming in to fix a 305 "audio emergency." They quickly detoured to the nearby studio, where Jessie discovered that Matt had decked out the space with tea candles and turned on their favorite song, “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne. A bent knee and an obvious “yes” (and “woo”) later, the groom opened the door to the main workout room, where a handful of friends had been waiting in the wings to celebrate with Oreos and Prosecco.
Keeping things close to Jessie’s Georgia hometown, the duo turned to Savannah’s historic Pulaski Square for their November 24, 2018, nuptials—because, as the bride explains, you “can’t not get married under those iconic live oaks.” She also had a distinctly curated wedding vision in mind from the get-go, saying she basically wanted the wedding to mirror an Anthropologie store. “We wanted our space to feel inviting, lived in, unconventional, and casual, but really freakin’ cute,” Jessie adds. “Oh, and fairy lights were non-negotiable.” Luckily, the Soho South Café, fittingly named for New York’s Soho neighborhood, crossed off all the boxes for the reception. And, despite venturing away from their Big Apple home base, the couple ensured that every single touch (even down to the escort cards) still felt completely personalized. All in all, the Southern soirée read like a love letter to New York City, music and dancing, and, of course, one another.
Keep reading to see this whimsical, modern-meets-bohemian celebration captured by Rach Loves Troy and coordinated by Tara Skinner Weddings & Events.
A design-savvy Jessie DIY’d the stationery (among many other wedding details), which matched their overarching blue color scheme in honor of the couple's favorite hue.
The bride’s custom lace and silk chiffon wedding gown also came together with a little DIY magic, thanks to close friend and bridal designer Jaclyn Jordan. The two first met when Jessie waitressed the dressmaker’s table at a West Village restaurant years ago. “Early on in our friendship, while very much single, I told her she was going to design my wedding dress one day,” admits Jessie. As promised, Jaclyn (who also wed in Savannah) followed through with a romantic, backless creation, topped with a delicate lace bolero that Jessie sported down the aisle. And, for another nod to the Anthropologie motif, the bride also capped off her wedding ensemble with “something blue” shoes and minimal jewelry from the said retailer, along with a waltz-length veil by Jaclyn.
Matt and Jessie had her father (who squeezed in a quick first look!) to thank for handcrafting a handful of their wedding décor, like the wooden reception table numbers and the escort card display.
Admittedly, the bride hadn’t considered herself much of a flower enthusiast before the wedding. That is until she met their “talented-beyond-belief florist,” Harvey Designs. In fact, the entire celebration was steeped in stunning floral additions, starting with Jessie’s organically-styled, textured fall bouquet bound with blue-hued ribbons.
Speaking of blue, the bridesmaids stayed true to the wedding color palette in assorted dresses and accessories of their own choosing. They also matched Jessie with similar, smaller-scale flower arrangements. Matt and his groomsmen looked the part, too, in navy suits with Tie Bar ties and pocket squares.
After Jessie's dramatically grand entrance (timed perfectly to the processional music’s crescendo) that brought both of them to tears, the pair said “I do” beneath a copper rectangular arbor in Savannah's famed square. There, an asymmetrical blend of vibrant blooms adorned the altar focal point, which friends and family faced from lantern-lined vintage benches.
Putting their shared love of “exchanging some sappy but sincere words” to good use (she’s a writer, after all!), Jessie and Matt read one another perfectly individualized vows. A few highlights? He promised to love her through Broadway shows and sweaty workout classes, and she promised to never stop “wooing” one another.
“Soho South Cafe is so quirky chic, that we didn’t have to do much beyond the tablescapes,” Jessie says of the reception locale, which boasted mismatched chairs, long wooden farm tables, a fairy light wall, and greenery shrubs throughout. Their own personal touches included floral centerpieces, painted ceramic vessels in moody fall and blue tones, and an eclectic mix of candles in metal votives—the latter of which Matt felt very passionately about. "We’re short, fat candle people—not tall, skinny candle people," he explains of their aptly-chosen decor.
The venue’s bookcase entryway also showcased Polaroid photos of the pair’s nearest and dearest, who had been encouraged to snap a photo and write a piece of advice on the bottom. And, in lieu of a traditional guest book, Matt and Jessie offered up a Humans of New York coffee table book—appropriately customized with one of their Central Park engagement photos—for a chance to “sign a story, and thanks for being a part of ours.”
Considering 305 Fitness proved to be a pivotal foundation of Jessie and Matt’s relationship (hello, meet-cute), it’s a no-brainer that it also dominated their big day...most notably with a synchronized flash mob. Yep, that actually happened—with a close friend DJing, the newlyweds teased a regular first dance song solo to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Of You.” Then, as the track promptly transitioned to their song (the same hit from Matt’s proposal), the entire wedding party rushed the dance floor and broke it down with the corresponding 305 choreography.
The reception dancing hardly ended there—there was so much of it that Jessie had to take a quick breather to cool down outside! But, all the 305 infusions and synchronized dances with their favorite people naturally went down in the books as a wedding peak. “That place and that community are a massive part of who we are as individuals and who we are as a couple,” explains the bride.
Another majorly memorable Messie (as the couple affectionately nicknamed themselves) moment? Cutting into their churro cake. A classic confection had never been on the radar, hence why their all-time favorite dessert made a wedding-worthy (and crowd-pleasing!) appearance, instead. From recreating their taco engagement dinner to serving signature cocktails that paid homage to their affinity for bourbon and sweet tea, the entire menu truly screamed Matt and Jessie to a T.
After finally ripping themselves off the dance floor for good, the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. capped off their perfect evening with an unforgettable sendoff. And, while shrouded in love (and sparklers) from their 130 guests, Jessie's main wedding takeaway ultimately ties to her spouse. "Say thank you to everyone but especially to each other," she advises. "Instead of just moving onto the next thing on your to-do list, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve accomplished and that you did it together."
Matt’s words of wisdom? "Elope! Just kidding—figure out what’s truly important versus the ‘like to haves.'"
Ceremony Venue: Pulaski Square
Reception Venue & Catering: Soho South Cafe
Wedding Planner: Tara Skinner Weddings & Events
Bride's Dress: Jaclyn Jordan
Bride's Jewelry & Shoes: Anthropologie
Hair: Salon Aqua
Makeup: White Witch Artistry
Bridesmaid Dresses: Birdy Grey, Jenny Yoo
Mother of the Bride Dress: Alex Evenings
Groom's Attire: Bonobos, Tie Bar, Banana Republic
Groomsmen's Attire: Tie Bar
Engagement Ring: Lauren B Jewelry
Wedding Bands: Etsy, Lauren B Jewelry
Floral Design: Harvey Designs
Invitations & Paper Products: MOO
Guest Book: Humans of New York
Ceremony Music: Leonor Falcon, Adam Kromelow, & Normaltown Strings
Reception Music: DJ Dewey
Cake: Vintage Soul Cakes
Rentals: Amazing Event Rentals
Favors: Chip NYC
Accommodations: The DeSoto Savannah
Photography & Videography: Rach Loves Troy