Jessica and Todd Williams met through the most modern of ways, Facebook, but there is more to the story than that. While Jessica was living in San Diego, CA, where she is from, a friend from Tennessee, Dean, agreed to help her find a “southern gentleman”. Dean reached out to his friend Todd Williams to tell him about Jessica and the next day, Todd messaged Jessica on Facebook.
Jessica- Our story starts that day. We started to talk on and off for a few months. I wasn’t sure where it would lead us, but it was nice talking to someone that I felt I was interested in and that was equally interested in me. He told me he was coming out to San Diego, CA for a Bachelor Party and needed some go-to ideas. I gave him a few ideas and added that I could show him and his friends around town. As planned, when he came in town we touched base again and the plans were set to meet Friday night. I was eager to finally meet Todd, so I put a lot of effort into getting ready for our big night. I pulled up to his condo that he was staying at and jumped out confidently. He was standing on the curbside as I came around and he introduced himself with his hand out to shake mine and said, “Hi, I’m Todd”. I laughed and mockingly responded, “Hi, I’m Jessica” as our hands met. We continued to be attached at the hip for the rest of his trip out to Sunny San Diego and the rest is history.
Todd-One morning I received a text from my friend Dean. It was a picture of Jessica and the conversation Dean had been having with her. He said that I should reach out to this girl and get to know her. I then asked him who she was, and he told me about knowing her while living in San Diego. It had just so happened a couple days earlier my friends and I had booked a trip out there for a bachelor party. I ended up reaching out to Jessica the next day……Only after I removed all of the unflattering pictures of myself on Facebook and came up with a good opening comment. I ended up going with “Hi, My friend Dean says I should get to know you” (I’m not the smoothest talker). We talked a little bit over Facebook and the phone. Then, we set it up for her to show us all around San Diego when we got out there. She was going to be our tour guide.
The long distance dating between California and Tennessee worked for a while, before Jessica made the move to be with her “southern gentleman”.
Jessica-I moved in September 2014 to be with Todd here in Tennessee. Every day that I would have off of work during the week I would get homesick, so he started to work from home. After doing this a few months in a row, he decided it was time to plan a vacation back home to help suppress some of the homesickness I had been feeling. We planned to do a family holiday dinner, which I had NEVER missed my whole 27 years of life. My Aunt Sharon and Uncle David’s house has always been that home away from home that brought generations together, especially during the holidays. My mom, aunt and I had planned the menu and started the cooking on December 13, 2014 (12-13-14). The morning of, we cooked over a hot stove for hours so that my cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings and neighbors could enjoy a home cooked holiday meal.
After dinner I was getting started on dessert. As I was rushing around, Todd kept trying to get my attention. Finally, Todd stopped me mid sprint in the kitchen and whispered, “I let the cat out”. My mom’s cat is NOT an outdoor cat. I quickly slipped out the side door which lead to the backyard and started to search for the missing Brighteyes (my mom’s cat). As I am looking over the backyard for Brighteyes, Todd told me “I didn’t let the cat out of the house”. I instantly thought, “Maybe he needed a break outside from my family”. He began to tell me how amazing he thought I was for bringing my family together for a home cooked holiday meal. I launched into small talk, “Did you like the food? What did you like the best? What do you think a family tradition could be in our future?” He answered the questions and then started on his Q&A. He told me that he loved me and knew from the beginning that I was “the one” and how much love he had for me. Then, he slowly got down on one knee in my aunt and uncles backyard on a sunny December day and asked me if I would marry him! I instantly put my hands up to my mouth as the box opened and I started to cry. I reached down, kissed him and said “YES YES YES!”. Instantly after saying yes, I asked where my Mom was. I turned around and my mom and the rest of the family were standing there filming the whole thing with iPads, tears of happiness and glowing smiles on their faces!
Todd – I had been trying to plan a very elaborate engagement. Due to all of the videos that she had been watching of all these people proposing with flash mobs and dance routines. I knew I was in for it. She did have some stipulations though and wanted either her mom or my mom to be there. I knew we were going out to San Diego in December so I had the date figured out. Now to set the place. We had talked about doing a couple of different activities while out there. One was Skydiving and I had thought that would be awesome to ask her during or after we jumped. Kind of like a “Taking a leap of Faith” symbolism, but, inevitably it rained and we couldn’t go. So the next night we were going to Ice Skate on the beach on Coronado Island. I thought that would be an awesome place to do it. Then it rained again. So I talked with her mom and we came up with a plan to do it the next night at her family dinner. She said they had a tradition of going around the table and telling what you were thankful for. I figured that would be the perfect time. Well, the night before our big family dinner, we went out with her friend Ashley and she had just recently gotten engaged. Ashley described hers to us and told us all about how intimate it was and how it should be intimate and personal. This completely threw off what I wanted to do. But, knowing Jessica, I knew family was important to her so I decided to scope out the place we were staying.
The dinner was going to be at her aunt and uncle's house in LA. They had a beautiful backyard with a pool. I decided to get it all set up out back. Once we finished dinner I gave her mom the signal that it was going to happen. I asked Jessica to come out back but she told me to hold on a second. So I waited. Then I asked her again to come out back, and she had another chore she was taking care of. Finally, I had to tell her I let the cat out to get her to come outside with me. I had a big speech planned and was going to do it after I finished. I don’t think I made it 2 sentences into the speech and then dropped to a knee. The look on her face was my favorite memory thus far.
When the wedding planning began, the couple made a unique choice. The whole day was going to be at the Westbury House on the Square. The bridal party set up a boudoir in the Westbury House loft to get ready, while the men took to the streets of the square for photos. Todd and Jessica held their wedding and reception in Westbury House and it couldn’t have been more perfect. In the words of Jessica....
Todd and I were referred to Columbia, TN venues by a friend. We looked at a few venues but nothing stood out to us. At first I wanted an outdoor wedding, but I was quickly reminded of how humid it is in Tennessee, especially in June. We knew we wanted a venue that could accommodate a ceremony and reception. We had looked at several venues and not one venue was to our liking. Right when we were about to give up and run to the court house, my Mother-In-Law came across the Westbury House on the Square. We instantly fell in love with the Westbury House. There were many things we loved about the venue, and Julie, one of the owners, was amazing! She was very helpful and definitely knowledgeable when it comes to events. When booking with the Westbury House you not only receive the space for the event, you receive a planner. We found our decorations and handled the set up, but Julie helped brainstorm where things could be placed, time lines we should follow throughout the day, and even helped with calming any nerves the day of.
After the wedding, the space transitioned seamlessly into the reception. The wedding party reentered to kick of the night and then it was onto the first dances. The bride and groom held their first dance to “Love Will Keep Us Alive” by the Eagles, followed by a father-daughter and mother-son dance to “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.
Due to the age of the building and the natural beauty of the interior we decided to go with a “Great Gatsby 1920’s era” theme. In the end, the only thing that was on point for our theme was the colors of the center pieces (gold) ,our cake and the Groomsmen’s shoes. If we had a larger budget I would’ve loved to have decked the venue out in pearls and feathers! We had two cakes, our cake was four tiers and the groom's cake was of the Neyland Stadium. Todd graduated from University of Tennessee, so including the stadium was a must.
Our reception is a huge blur. I did enjoy the ambiance from the lightening that the Westbury House had to offer. It was very romantic---dimmed lighting for the reception and brighter lighting during the ceremony. We asked some of our guests what their favorite part of the evening was and the most favored was the food!
The menu included Mixed greens salad with almonds, strawberries and poppy seed dressing, along with stuffed chicken breast with spinach and herbed cheese and a ravioli with vodka sauce. The side items were garlic mashed potatoes and oven roasted vegetables. Fruit was served at the end of the evening as well. As the night came to a close, guests gathered to send off the happy bride and groom.
We left through a magical sparkler exit in a rental car driven by my friend , Matt. No one was ready for the evening to be over so after we got in the car, Matt circled the getaway car around the Square and pulled back up to the Westbury House. We surprised everyone and reentered for a second go around of festivities!
Thank you Jessica & Todd for sharing your wedding day with us! For more information on booking an event at Westbury House on the Square call Julie Webster 931.334.6810 or Sarah Webster Hoelscher 931.698.2336 or you can email: WestburyHouseOnTheSquare@gmail.com. To visit their Website and find out more information on this wonderful venue space click HERE.