Bride Tribe: Jessie Carlson

bride |brʌɪd| noun

a woman on her wedding day or just before and after the event.

tribe |trʌɪb| noun

1. a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

2. a community linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognised leader

Bride Tribe: a supportive community of brides, newlyweds and industry experts uniting to encourage, uplift, and share experiences and first-hand advice.

In just six weeks, I’m hosting the second Bride Tribe event, a series of interviews with inspiring women who have planned their own wedding, or have been working in this beautiful industry with other brides-to-be and have valuable advice to share.

If I could invite anyone in the world to be part of the Bride Tribe events, Jessie Carlson, of Jessie & Jake, would probably be top of the list. Jessie started her (ridiculously beautiful) blog as a creative outlet and online diary for planning their wedding in 2014, before ultimately landing her dream job as an Events and Wedding Planner at a Royal Palace! See, she’s the ultimate Bride Tribe babe!

She’s currently based in London, though, so for now, I’m just thrilled that she’s let me interview her! Hopefully she’ll join in for one of our future events, or be so inundated with requests that she’ll pop back for the next one on 20th January!

Jessie, your wedding photos are incredible, to say the least – it looks like you had a smaller, intimate wedding. Can you tell me about your wedding day?

Thank you. My goal was to have our wedding reflect us as a couple. From our handwritten vows to the invitations, the song selection and decor, we wanted to take a risk and put our passions on display in every element of our wedding.

Nothing was included “just because” in our wedding – everything had a place. We both agreed that we’d never felt more entirely ourselves, so accepted and loved for who we are, than on our wedding day.

How would you describe your wedding?

One of the main things we wanted to do was get married and have our ceremony at sunset. We both felt like it’s the most romantic time of the day … the light is soft and glowy! Not to mention the perfect time for spectacular wedding photos!

We got married at Sudbury Fields which is set on a ridge overlooking a valley, with breath taking views. It was the perfect backdrop for a stunning sunset. We chose to have a small wedding surrounded by our closest friends and family members.

Our guest count was under 100 and I loved that I was able to talk to everyone during the day. We had a cocktail reception so family and friends could mingle and eat delicious for at their leisure.

We decided not to have a formal seating plan so we were able to be creative with the design of our wedding. Vintage couch sets, wine barrels, lamps, burlap tables … which matched our venue perfectly.

What were your favourite parts and most memorable parts of the day?

There were so many moments but I’ll share two that stand out to me.

First one being meeting Jake for our First Look. I remember the butterflies I felt in my stomach as I walked up behind him and the way Jake excitedly kept saying “Can I turn around now?!” But Jake said nothing would have prepared him for the moment … He just kept saying how amazingly beautiful I looked. It was such an emotional moment and we were so caught up in our little world that we forgot the photographer was taking photos and that the bridal party were watching us (tears in their eyes). I loved that we had some special time just by ourselves before the big event.

Secondly, would be walking down the aisle. Jake said he wanted to surprise me on the wedding day so I had no idea what song I was going to walk down the aisle to. I remember waiting around the corner for the music to start playing when I heard him start to sing! Walking towards him singing me down the aisle was a heart stopper … I’m not sure how I managed to actually walk down the aisle, but I did it and I couldn’t have been beaming with love any more than if I tried!

These are special moments that I will cherish forever.

That is honestly the most incredibly romantic gesture, I’m sure every bride’s eyes are welling up imagining this beautiful moment. I love that the two most memorable parts of your day were those that were just unique and personal to you. Did you feel any expectations or pressures as a bride, such as to organise anything a certain way?

I was a pretty calm bride the whole way through. I think this was due to making sure that we were doing everything we wanted and not what other people expected from us.

What were your priorities for planning, and/or what did you forego?

We made sure we planned everything together. We wrote a list of the three most important priorities for us and decided to spend more of our wedding budget on these things and less on others.

We also decided to forego a traditional styled wedding and just do “us”.

  • Sunset ceremony instead of a day time wedding – tick!
  • Cocktail style catering instead of a sit down dinner – tick!
  • Seeing the Groom before the ceremony and going a ‘First Look‘ – tick!

If a particular wedding tradition doesn’t fit your style, you don’t have to do it!

Is there anything that, in hindsight, you could have done without?

I’m happy to say no, because anything we thought we could have done without we didn’t do. Wedding cake – no. Programs – no. Extravagant flowers – no. This meant we could put this money towards things that were truly important to us. For example, photos were an important aspect of our wedding. Photos are a snapshot of those special moments that you want to remember forever and are irreplaceable. So we put more money towards our photographer instead.

Did you have any struggles? Guest list, budget, time constraints?

I think everybody struggles with their guest list. I mean you just want to invite everyone you know! But you can’t invite everyone and we wanted to have a really intimate wedding. So Jake and I decided that if we hadn’t seen that person for years or if the other person has not met them, then they shouldn’t be on the list. It was still extremely difficult, but this rule helped.

How involved was Jake with planning your wedding?

Jake was amazing and very involved in the planning. Even all the little things he did throughout the day, from cooking me breakfast in bed, piggy-backing me home, romantic outdoor bathtubs … He made sure out wedding day was one to remember! He even won groom of the year from Bride and Groom magazine! I think that pretty much sums up how much of an amazing groom he was, not to mention husband that he is!

Okay, stop, we are all SO jealous!! Just joking, I’m obsessed with what a wonderful relationship you two have, you constantly inspire me!

After your wedding, you found your passion in wedding planning! This must have given you an incredible wealth of knowledge, what would be your advice to brides-to-be?

Do “You”!

By that I mean personalise your wedding and put in extra special touches to show off you as a couple. Remember the bride and groom are always right! It’s your special day, not anyone else’s. So make sure you are dong everything you want and don;t rush it, take your time, relax … and most of all, enjoy!

With London arguably being at least a season ahead, what are some of the trending themes brides are planning right now?

I feel like I have been a part of the new trend where couples are opting out of the traditional 3-course set menu and instead, choosing food they love from big sharing plates to food vans and portable pizza ovens. Wedding food is definitely seeing a change.

You and Jake are the epitome of ‘couple goals’ – every moment you spend with each other you seem more in love than the last. How have you managed to keep yourselves in the ‘honeymoon’ phase of your relationship?

Jake works extremely hard. Since he works as a Paramedic, shift work means we often go days without seeing each other. So we always make sure to make time for each other.

This can be as simple as spending the day lounging around. Sometimes it’s just nice to close off from the world and spend the day in bed curled up in Jake’s arms watching movies and doing nothing at all. Other times, we try to do something a bit more extravagant like travelling, even if its just a mini weekend getaway. Times like these take us back to that honeymoon phase! We always come back feeling more connected!

Earlier this year, you and Jake were one of the first couples in the world to use I still do, but having already been married for a few years, what else would you do to celebrate your wedding anniversary?

We are quite big on celebrations! With surprise anniversary trips to New York to anniversary shoots in Paris (See below for the incredible photos!) Jake is quite the romantic and we love to celebrate and reflect on each year of marriage which is exactly why I love our I still do book!

Seeing your latest trip to the States, it’s obvious that you both love to travel. What are our favourite places to visit? Do you have any more trips planned?

Ohhh this is such a hard question! I think mine would have to be Paris and Jake’s would be Sweden. We will definitely be doing some more travel. Every year we rethink our goals and where we would like to go next. We have quite a bucket list to complete!

When you’re at home and going about daily life that’s not as glamorous as anniversary shoots and travel, what do you do to make each other a priority?

We make an effort every day to kiss each other goodbye. Even if he is fast asleep and just finished a night shift I will still give him a kiss on the cheek before I head out the door, or if he is in a rush and I’m in the shower he will steal a quick kiss. Since our schedules can be crazy at times it’s so nice to have this regular moment each day. We also do date nights even if its just a picnic in the park with our favourite foods. Quite together moments like these gives us the opportunity to talk about our dreams and to laugh end enjoy life in general.

What has the last three years of marriage sought you, and what marriage advice would you give to a friend?

Unless you’re actually trying to get a divorce, I suggest you don’t watch the next episode of Game of Thrones without your significant other … even a hand delivered ‘Five Guys’ will struggle to get that wrong!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

That’s all from me. If you would like to know more, then check out Jessie and Jake. YES, please, my loves, if you’re not already in love with Jessie (and wanting to find out more about her incredible husband Jake), head on over to her incredibly wonderful blog, and get lost in the magic of Jessie & Jake.

First though, enjoy this beautiful preview of their Paris Anniversary Shoot.

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the latest Bride Tribe interviews with Wilhelmina ShrimptonHannah Carson, Sunniva Holt and Annalee Muggeridge. and head to the wedding planning index for all your wedding planning advice.