Early one Sunday morning, Jenna Gurnick was awoken by her internal “school teacher alarm clock,” and was surprised to find Kelly Ross already awake and watching television on the couch. “I knew I would propose to Jenna after falling in love with her years ago,” the groom admits. How he would go about asking for her hand in marriage, however, was another question.
Throughout their courtship, Jenna had voiced many ways she did not want him to pop the question, without providing the groom with any ideas as to how he should ask her to marry him. “I had a laundry list of things not to do,” he smiles. Avoiding her “do-not” list, Kelly hoped to surprise an unsuspecting Jenna with a special proposal distinctive of their personalities. So, shortly after realizing she was awake, Kelly presented her with a pair of flats she had recently been eyeing. “I thought you might want to wear these to our engagement party,” the bride recalls Kelly suggesting. Not realizing the implication of the subtle statement, she continued to eagerly try on the new shoes, which prompted him to interrupt her, saying, “Jenna, I’m trying to propose to you right now!” shares the bride. “It was truly the perfect proposal for us – quirks and all. I will forever keep those black suede flats that have been named The Engagement Shoes.”
The journey to their big day was preceded by a bridal shower tailored to Jenna’s occupation. Miniature school supplies neatly compiled on each blackboard-inspired placemat celebrated the second grade teacher’s engagement to the talent contractor she had met through mutual friends. Cheerful floral arrangements placed in clever vessels constructed from rulers and pencils and custom-carved red apples decorated each table of the space.
Some time later, the celebration of their love continued in this manner, with the ceremony strewn with an abundance of special details celebrating their individuality. “I believe the most unique feature of our wedding was how personal it was, top to bottom,” Kelly affirms.
Jenna’s mother, who has over 35 years of experience in the stationery and invitation business, carefully crafted invitations for the fête. Jenna and her mom also exchanged ideas with close family friend, celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss. “I’ve grown up helping my Auntie Mindy with events where she needed an extra set of hands,” the bride shares. “I’ve kind of had an inside eye to the wedding world, and was very lucky to have a group of people helping Kelly and me along the way to make our own wedding incredibly smooth and fun.”
Since it was a place of familiarity to Jenna, the couple opted to host their nuptials at a luxurious hotel property in Los Angeles, California. “I’ve had many family celebrations there, so it holds many wonderful memories,” Jenna explains.
Prior to the ceremony, the bride and groom partook in a traditional Jewish ketubah signing. “I had been part of a ketubah signing years earlier when my best man got married, and to have him and our immediate family in the room was among the most emotional scenes I’ve ever been involved in,” the groom confesses.
Jenna was glowing in a white mermaid gown; off-the-shoulder quarter sleeves made of intricate lace adorned her arms as she clasped a lovely bouquet of dusty blush roses. A fingertip veil softened her smiling features as she walked down the aisle with her parents to an acoustic arrangement of “Here Comes the Sun,” performed by a coworker of Kelly’s.
Though Jenna had originally been hesitant to recite her own vows aloud due to stage fright, the two had decided as a couple to do so. “As nervous as I was to read my most personal thoughts to my almost-husband, it was a very special moment,” confides Jenna. “To hear his in return was equally as incredible. Our vows were both so personal and so us; very loving, honest, with a touch of banter. I’ll never forget [them].” The words the bride and groom exchanged that day were anchored in the history of a love generations old. “I got married using the wedding band that my great-grandma, grandma, and mom got married with at their weddings,” the bride reveals.
Twinkling Tivoli lights were strung overhead and tall glass vases met guests at the entryway of the service, teeming with bouquets of flowers in delicate shades of ivory and blush. The softly hued blooms seemed to overflow onto the neatly trimmed grass and alongside the arrangement of chairs and rustic lanterns.
Aside from emotional value, the location also allowed for a seamless flow from the rustic ceremony into the enchanted garden-themed reception held indoors. “Many guests commented that they felt like they were outside during the celebration,” Jenna notes.
Tables were decorated with an assortment of blooms propped in vases of metal and glass in varying sizes. Sparkling lights and leafy garlands were suspended overhead, below massive chandeliers. Adding to the garden-like feel, two trees rested on either side of the band area and rose hedges were placed at the base of the stage.
After the father of the bride offered a toast, he was joined by Jenna’s uncles onstage for a surprise entertainment piece. The men changed into Motown-inspired blazers and sang a sweet rendition of “My Girl” by The Temptations. “I had no clue what was coming. In fact, Kelly was the only person in the room who knew of the song [performance],” the bride recalls. “I was honored they carried on this family tradition for me.”
The couple’s cake was a towering five tiers comprised of each of the pair’s favorite flavors, banana and chocolate, neatly ornamented with details and a color scheme mirroring the custom wedding invitations. At the end of the evening, guests were gifted small jars of jelly, a nod to the event’s social media hashtag #jellyross – a fun combination of the bride and groom’s names. Throughout the big day, personalized details such as this allowed the couple to celebrate their relationship and love. “Kelly always helped me put things in perspective,” the bride says. “He reminded me throughout the process what it was all about – marrying each other and starting our life as husband and wife.”