When Jondra MarYell Darden began planning a recruitment event in Chicago for her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, she had no idea that she would reconnect with Joshua Davis for the first time since college at the event. With continuous efforts in keeping connected and meeting in many new cities together, Jondra soon relocated to Chicago, and seven months later, Joshua proposed. 

As their friends and family watched from their apartment windows overlooking Kinzie Street Bridge, one of Jondra and Joshua’s favorite spots in the city, Joshua got down on one knee. Knowing exactly where they would have their wedding, the couple began planning their special day with Whitney Bowman Events at Joshua’s family lake house in Tennessee. “It is a very special place for us, and pretty much our second home,” Jondra shares. Having had their first date at the family lake house and Joshua’s sister getting married there as well, the couple wanted a ceremony where all of their friends and family could enjoy their favorite food and music in such a special place. 

Ever since she was a little girl, Jondra knew she wanted to wear her mother’s dress. With the help of Leeanne Stites, modifications were made to further perfect the look of the gown, which she paired with her mother’s veil and a sparkling pair of Jimmy Choo pumps. Joshua wore a custom suit showcasing an image from the night he proposed on the inside of his jacket. As the reception commenced, Jondra changed into a gorgeous second gown featuring an A-line silhouette and deep V-neckline. 

Embellished with soft shades of blue, invitations by Dandy Lion Gifts were sent out to a large list of 415 guests to witness Jondra and Joshua’s special day. Family and friends gathered in the early afternoon at the lake house and circled around the couple for the ceremony, so that Joshua and Jondra could see all of their loved ones as they took communion together and shared their vows. 

Designed by Joshua’s cousin from Moonbear Co., the main focal points of the décor were the beautifully embellished stage and cupcake wall. Hues of navy, lavender, and rose gold provided the aesthetic the couple desired for their nuptials, with baby’s breath and sprigs of lavender filling Jondra’s bouquet designed by Colby West, as well as wrist cuffs for the bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom. For the reception, guests sat down at tables adorned with lavender and pink roses accented with baby’s breath, candles, and custom-dyed lavender runners. 

The newlyweds shared their love of brunch with guests, showering them with food they love most. “Being a former event planner in the Knoxville area, I pretty much knew the vendors I wanted to use and the ones I wanted to bring in,” expresses Jondra. After relishing in the delicious hors d'oeuvres by Creative Catering, guests were delighted with plates of salad, quiche, crab cakes, bacon, and shrimp and grits until it was time for dessert and dancing. In addition to a three-tiered wedding cake designed by Blue Line Cake Design, family and friends enjoyed a selection of cupcakes in lavender and ivory tones, as well as a coffee, mimosa, Bloody Mary, and cigar bar. 

Throughout the cocktail hour and reception, family and friends danced to songs played by DJ Marco, the couple’s favorite Chicago DJ, who ensured the atmosphere the couple wanted more than anything became a reality. In addition, the festivities included a saxophonist, the Free Flow band, a photo booth, and games until guests gathered in the Governor’s Suite for an after-party at the gorgeous TENNESSEAN Hotel. “We invited all of our friends and family to come hang out with us in our suite and enjoy the views of downtown Knoxville,” confirms the bride. 

When asked what their best advice for brides and grooms planning their own celebration would be, the couple shared: “Have a song during the reception that both of you love, and once that song comes on (regardless who you are talking to), meet your now husband or wife on the dance floor and don't leave until the party is over!”