Jenna will forever remember locking eyes with her groom as she walked down the aisle on a picturesque, sun-filled April day. “Even with the large crowd, it was the most intimate moment of our lives,” she remembers with a smile. Though pursuing their careers took them across the country, a shared love of their home state brought them back to Kentucky where no other place was more fitting for Jenna and Jacob Cassady to begin their lives together as husband and wife.
Jenna Rae McNeal grew up in Carrollton, Kentucky while Jacob Cassady is from Prospect, Kentucky, just a short forty-five-minute drive away. In 2007, however, both Jenna and Jake moved to Lexington to attend undergraduate school though they would not meet for quite some time. Here, Jenna attended the University of Kentucky while Jake is a Transylvania alum. “A few years after graduating college, we met while attending law school at UK,” Jenna explains. Suffice it to say, a deep love bloomed, along with promising law careers out of state.
When it came time to plan their wedding, both Jenna and Jake were living and working in Miami, Florida; she as a prosecutor of domestic violence crimes at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and he as a commercial real estate attorney specializing in some of the largest projects in Miami Dade County. It is without debate that this made planning their special day back in Kentucky particularly trying, but Jenna credits the amazing aunt and sister team at Design Link Interiors of Lexington for helping to ensure that her classically sophisticated wedding style would come to fruition. “I had two brilliant designers working on my behalf and consulting me from afar. They were the brains behind my wedding decor while I was living in Miami and I was so lucky to have them!” she exclaims.
One absolute throughout the wedding planning process was their venue: Richwood Plantation, now known as Richwood on the River, in Milton Kentucky. “The venue is right outside of my hometown and some of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen were held there,” attests Jenna. Apart from its’ inherent, natural beauty, Jenna and Jake were drawn to Richwood because they desired a space to celebrate their wedding in an intimate, yet big way. The gorgeous estate and its’ grounds provided all of this and more for them. “Richwood was the perfect venue to display our love for the simple beauty of Kentucky, Southern elegance and the quaint spirit of home,” describes Jenna. “We also reserved the venue for the entire weekend so that we had not just a wedding day, but a full wedding weekend!”
On Friday afternoon, the bride and groom, along with 120 of their guests, began celebrating with the rehearsal dinner held in the attached carriage house. Embracing their families’ heritage, the couple incorporated Scot Irish Traditions from bagpipe playing to special toasts consisting of kissing the bottom of their scotch glasses, setting the mood for a truly unique wedding ahead. The next day, the groom’s aunts hosted a fabulous bridal brunch, complete with a mimosa bar, making for a relaxed, yet fun-filled morning. “My bridesmaids (all 9 and their dates!!) and I stayed in the main house and suites. My husband’s groomsmen along with their dates stayed in cabins that are just behind the main house. These locations were distanced enough to keep my husband and I from seeing each other on our wedding day but close enough so that everyone could easily congregate throughout the weekend,” Jenna illustrates.
The wedding itself was held in the back area of the estate with the picturesque setting ideal for their outdoor ceremony and tented reception. Jenna was a vision as she walked down the aisle in a custom gown by a Miami based bridal designer whose family has been in the bridal business since the 1950s. “Everything from the lace, to the intricate crystal detail, to the silk sash was handmade just for me,” Jenna expresses with gratitude. Seeing Jake’s smiling face as she proceeded down the aisle to Bela Fleck’s bluegrass instrumental song, “Big Country”, immediately affirmed their deep love for one another. Before the pastor of Jenna’s home church completed their personalized wedding service with compiled perspectives of the Cassady love story from bride and groom, bridal party, and family, the couple’s close friend, Zach Longoria, (whose band also played at their reception), and the bride’s aunt sang “Marry Me”, setting the perfect romantic tone for the rest of the wedding.
“Our wedding was magical,” shares Jenna. “We embraced every moment with our closest loved ones throughout the entire weekend and got to spend some intimate time with our favorite people before we became husband and wife.” Although the idyllic venue, romantic music and stunning decor were all key factors for making theirs an undeniably wow wedding, what truly made the Cassady wedding unforgettable for this beautiful couple were the people who gathered with them to celebrate and support them in the biggest moment of their lives.
Photographer: Kaylie Plummer
Videographer: Reel Kentucky Films
Venue: Richwood Plantation
Catering: Louie Karem Catering
Cake: Julie Albach
Wedding Planner: Jessica Cull and Nancy Elam, Design Link Interiors
Flowers: Stems Florists
Bridal Gown: Custom made, Opera De Arte, Miami, FL
Bridal Party Attire: Adriana Papell
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Tom James
Hair and Makeup: Hope Fothergill Smith, Make-It Up
Stationery/Calligraphy: Jessica Page, J. Page Designs
Band: Zach Longoria Project