From the moment Jessica Thiergart met Jack O’Neill IV she was smitten. His infectious smile and gentlemanly values seamlessly complemented her traditional style and ladylike elegance. While on their ordinary morning walk in one of Savannah’s oldest squares, Jack did the extraordinary and asked Jessica to marry him that upcoming fall at the church located directly behind the proposal spot. “My great-grandfather was a pastor at the church in the 1950s, and my mother and father were married there,” Jack explains of his location choice.
On an October evening, the couple’s effortless love was celebrated in the same setting where their fates were sealed. Standing outside the doors of the church, Jessica waited with her father and felt a rush of love, anticipation, and remembrance. Her grandmother had passed away three months prior and it was imperative that she honor her memory. “She and I shared a love for dried lavender, which we decided to incorporate into the ceremony,” reveals the bride. “As I waited with my [dad], a breeze caught the sweet aroma filling the air… and in that moment we could feel his mother’s presence. I believe those few seconds were my grandmother’s blessing.”
Jack, along with his seven groomsmen, appeared classic in black tuxedos and bow ties. Their boutonnieres showcased an orchid, as a nod to Jessica’s favorite flower. Following eight bridesmaids who wore navy blue lace dresses and held bundles of dried lavender, Jessica gracefully proceeded down the aisle looking elegant in a square-neck gown in silk faille with bow embellishments. Her bridal bouquet featured cascading orchids in shades of peach, vanilla, and lime, spring green berries, and additional seasonal florals of the Southern region.
Joining her groom at the altar, she and Jack recited personal vows to one another. During Jessica’s professions, she noted a moment her grandparents had shared shortly before her grandmother’s passing. Still madly in love, they had danced in their kitchen to the music from their wedding day fifty years earlier. “The personalized vows were Jessica’s idea,” declares the groom. She promised Jack that she would dance with him long after their hair had greyed and their faces had wrinkled. “I will always cherish that special moment we created during our ceremony,” he continues.
Following an alfresco cocktail hour in the square, 275 members of the couple’s loved ones joined the black-tie affair indoors. Nestled next to the church was Jessica’s dream reception venue, an architecturally brilliant modern art museum. “Jack and I dreamed of blending a modern venue with Savannah’s rich tradition and history,” she explains. Guests were free to mingle, dine, dance, and stroll down the grand central staircase to enjoy the three open floors of the museum.
On round tables draped with ivory and gold linens, double-width runners in tangerine and cream presented three-foot high urns in metallic silver displaying various native foliage. Bells of Ireland sprays created lush greenery and acknowledged Jack’s Irish heritage, while arrangements of pale green hydrangeas, wispy willow, and freshly picked cotton accented with colossal cattails, lush magnolia leaves, and dripping green amaranthus were a gesture to the South. Smaller cocktail tables also draped with ivory and gold linens featured custom runners monogrammed with vintage cotton thread and presented brass- and silver-footed vases adorned with freshly potted ivory and orchids in shades of green and peach.
A beautiful multi-tiered cake featuring a gold-leaf monogram along with gold-ribbon and large-magnolia details presented an ode to Jessica’s Louisiana roots, with the state flower in prime focus. The cake flavors appealed to all guests and alternated between banana nut and caramel, carrot cake and cream cheese, and chocolate fudge and raspberry. “It was the most spectacular cake we had ever seen and was beautifully spotlighted on the second landing of the Jepson Center’s grand staircase,” describes Jessica.
Once they had finished dining on the second floor, the bride and groom descended down the staircase to join their guests on the bottom level. “Jack looked at me, smiled his devilish grin, picked me up, and spun me across the floor,” begins Jessica. “As we danced, I was incandescently happy. That dance embodied the joy of our relationship.”