Handcrafted details coupled with a dreamy setting make the wedding of childhood sweethearts even sweeter
If you had stumbled upon Cody and Jessica Youngblood’s wedding in Battle Creek, Michigan on August 6th of last year, you would be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a scene from The Great Gatsby. Greencrest Manor, a historic estate tucked in the Michigan woods, was an inspired setting for the outdoor ceremony and tented reception for 200 guests, with its sprawling English gardens, large fountains, and lush green lawns. Bridesmaids in blush dresses carried parasols and mingled with groomsmen sporting seersucker suits and navy bow ties.
When Jessica Logan got engaged to her childhood sweetheart, she knew two things: she wanted the wedding to have a romantic, vintage feel, and she wanted it to be extremely intimate. “I’ve never been one of those girls who thought ‘I want this and this and this,’ but after we got engaged, I knew I wanted it to be very personalized,” Jessica says.
Jessica, a crafty lover of all things vintage and a regular flea-market shopper, sourced her own lace and made her veil. She crocheted navy blue bowties for the groomsmen and made matching boutonnières. She scoured Goodwill stores to find antique glass containers for the flowers. She embossed each wedding invitation with a “Y” and wrapped it with lace. Many couples write their own vows; Jessica and Cody wrote their entire ceremony. And for wedding favors, they made their own wine, bottled it, labeled it, and tied it with twine and organza—a process the bride admits took a whole year.
“I fell in love with doing the stuff,” Jessica laughs. “I love being creative, and it all came together during the wedding. I’ve always sewed and crocheted. That’s the way I relax. This was for such a special reason; I felt like putting our own touch on the wedding.”
A wedding stitched together with this much love and affection must have a special couple at its heart and that’s certainly true in this case. Cody Youngblood met Jessica Logan nearly 20 years ago, when they were six years old and attending the same elementary school in Kalamazoo. They shared their first kiss in the seventh grade on a ski lift. And though they circled each other for years, they never dated until their senior year of high school. They’ve been together ever since—through long distance college years when she moved to California to pursue a degree in zoology and he played college baseball in Tennessee, and later when she got a job training dolphins and seals for the Navy in Florida and he made the move to be with her. After getting engaged, they moved to the Seattle area where Cody now works as the Youth Director for the YMCA in nearby Bremerton and Jessica is a full time grad student in environmental toxicology at the University of Washington.
Though Cody and Jessica love their new home in the Pacific Northwest, they knew they wanted to celebrate their wedding back home in Michigan with family and friends. When they found Greencrest Manor, which Jessica calls “a little hidden gem six or seven miles off the main highway,” they knew they’d found their spot.
In thinking about flowers for the wedding, Jessica wanted to echo the setting rather than compete with it. “Greencrest was the most beautiful place ever, so I didn’t want to overshadow it,” she says.
Fortunately, she teamed up with a florist who knew exactly how to do that. Laurie Johnson Luedecking of Bloomers has done weddings at Greencrest for over 15 years. “It is the most phenomenal setting,” Luedecking says. Still, for Jessica and Cody’s wedding, she did her homework. “I spent quite a bit of time walking the grounds,” she says. “There are a lot of English gardens, which aren’t too fussy. The place is very historic, beautiful, and Great Gatsby romantic.”
To create a romantic look, Luedecking and the bride decided to use a muted palate of creams, soft whites, blushes, and nudes. “People tend to overdo things; we wanted to pull back—nothing too overpowering. We wanted soft and feminine,” Luedecking explains. Bridesmaids’ bouquets were composed of six varieties of roses, and the bases were wrapped in vintage lace that Jessica had found. Her bridal bouquet was a mass of roses, accented with white peacock feathers and tied with lace taken from her Lazaro wedding dress. The couple exchanged vows in front of an archway of English garden roses, curly willow, soft greenery, and hydrangeas, and they walked down an aisle lined with shepherd’s hooks holding mason jars overflowing with baby’s breath.
Like any great love story, there were snags along the way—a botched alterations job that nearly ruined Jessica’s wedding dress, a minor car accident that left the bride and bridesmaids standing on the side of the road in full hair, makeup, floral robes, and flip flops, and a wedding day downpour that didn’t let up until minutes before the ceremony began.
But this story has a happy ending. The dress was repaired, the sun came out, the guy got his girl, and they all danced late into the night. It was a party Daisy Buchanan and her high-stepping crowd would have been sorry to miss.