How does an event planner plan her own wedding? If you are Jackie Campeau and your groom is Michael Blackwell, you do it with total confidence and seemingly effortless style.
When working with clients, Jackie stresses the importance of an “event language” that is carried throughout all elements of the event, but she resisted her own advice when planning her wedding because she could not settle on a singular focus. She and Michael are so many different things - best friends, professional colleagues, environmentalists, food enthusiasts, dog lovers - but by having complete faith in their ability to make creative decisions, their event language ultimately surfaced as the prominence of their personalities in every wedding detail.
Michael is a chef, and he and Jackie have worked together to create numerous events for clients and friends and Jackie admits to maintaining a keepsake box of wedding ideas gleaned from her planning experiences. For their own wedding, they chose to simplify elements instead of trying to top what they had already achieved for others, and create an event reflective of their values. Their goal was a party that guests raved about, not because of the presentation or the aesthetics, but because of the energy and the joy of the experience.
Knowing their vendors professionally, Michael and Jackie allowed them free reign to use their creative talents, and they far exceeded even the couple’s expectations. Jackie was particularly overwhelmed by florist Scott Corridan’s designs, such as the inclusion of each bridesmaid’s first initial on the ribbon tail of their floral pomander balls. Their ceremony officiant truly rose to the occasion when, with a nod to Michael’s career, he incorporated into his message “the ingredients for a successful marriage” and coined the acronym SALT, for “serve, accept, love, and trust.”
Like their fairytale proposal on a Hawaiian cliff at sunset, Michael and Jackie’s wedding had plenty of romantic details. They chose July 31st for it would be a blue moon (the first since 2001 and the last until 2007). A full moon serves as a special bond between Jackie and her mother; when Jackie went to work in Switzerland for six months, she and her mother promised to always look at the moon whenever they missed each other. Holding her wedding at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara was a special kind of homecoming for Jackie. Having worked at the resort for three years, Jackie celebrated her marriage surrounded not only by family and friends, but by her “Bacara family” as well.
Humor and whimsy also had to be part of Jackie and Michael’s wedding. This is a couple whose first date was a hiking expedition to find the keys Michael had lost while hiking the same trail the day before. So it was no surprise that their beloved dog, Chester, was their ring bearer, and came running down the aisle wearing a huge faux diamond ring around his neck to the Mission:Impossible theme music.
Even potential disasters could not dampen their sense of fun. When circumstances forced them to change their event location just eight weeks prior to the wedding, Jackie went straight to her former employers at Bacara, who were happy to accommodate them. When two of Michael’s groomsmen failed to pick up their suits, jackets were borrowed from a wedding guest and a Bacara employee, and Michael substituted the designated matching ties with others so that each groomsman wore a different tie, adding a unique style to the look of the bridal party.
Jackie and Michael pulled off a spectacular event by combining wisdom with heart. It is a valuable recipe for a lasting marriage, too, especially if you add plenty of SALT.