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Real Wedding: Jane McCleery & Mark Emanuelsen


Jane McCleery & Mark Emanuelsen

August 28, 2010
Ceremony: The Chapel at Children’s Harbor
Reception: Willow Point Country Club
Photos by: Arden Photography

Forget the typical dinner date first date. When Mark Emanuelsen asked Jane McCleery on their first date, it was to a mutual friend’s engagement party. And when your first date is an engagement party, it’s probably a pretty good indication that your relationship is on track to becoming something very special.


Here’s their wedding story:

The Back Story

Mark and Jane have lots of mutual friends”¦and they™d initially met through those friends in May of 2007. At the time, they were both seeing other people. But there must have been a little spark because when the couple met again in September of 2007, the sparks ignited and they started dating. Jane says that their first date to the engagement party in Gadsden was much better than the typical dinner date because they had plenty of time to really get to know one another and since they had so many friends in common, it just seemed really natural. Even though Mark lived in Gadsden and Jane lived in Birmingham, they started dating long distance. Jane felt they should take their time but they talked about things early on and both were committed to making the long distance relationship work. For three years, the couple took turns driving back and forth from Birmingham to Gadsden”¦ and it was only a matter of time before Jane and Mark made their home together in Gadsden.

The Proposal

Jane had grown up on the lake, and it really was a special place for her. And ever since she™d seen the beautiful chapel at Children’s Harbor at Lake Martin, she knew she wanted to be married there. The couple had discussed getting engaged and Jane had an idea it was imminent. What she didn™t know was that Mark had the ring and plans to propose down at the lake one weekend— but Jane got sick and couldn™t go. Mark did not want to wait”¦ he™d already asked Jane’s parents. When he arrived at her house in Birmingham, Jane thought they were just going to hang out together. The next thing she knew, Mark was on one knee, ring in hand, and he popped the question saying he just could not wait anymore! How sweet! Jane said that she loved that it was so personal and intimate, a moment just between the two of them. But that moment did not last long. The happy couple spent the next hour calling everyone they knew to tell them the news”¦and the wedding planning was on! In fact, within the first two weeks of becoming engaged, most of the plans were set.


The Wedding & Reception

At first, Jane was devastated because it seemed as if her dream of marrying at the beautiful white chapel at Children’s Harbor on Lake Martin would not happen. They were told it was booked on every available weekend the couple had on their schedules”¦ and since they didn™t want to wait a year to get married, Jane started looking at alternate venues, but without much enthusiasm. Suddenly, Jane learned that it was all a mistake and the date was open at the chapel after all. She would have the wedding she had always wanted. Now, it was just a matter of pulling together all of the details.

Because they were planning an out-of-town wedding at Lake Martin, Jane felt like it would be smart to have some help coordinating the logistics and hired planner Meghan Cease of M Elizabeth Events to help her with that. Ray Jordan and Janet Jackson of Flowerbuds were the floral designers for the wedding. Jane asked them to recreate a calla lily cross that had been a memorial for her grandfather and that sentimental replica became the central design element for the wedding, including the insignia for the save-the-date cards and wedding programs. The replica hung above the altar in the chapel and the same long stemmed callas were hand-tied into pew markers for the chapel, used in the bridesmaids™ bouquets, and also featured in the ceremony arrangements.

For the reception, a lovely white draped tent was filled with beautiful summer blooms including blue hydrangea, which also prominently circled each tier of the couple’s massive four-tier white buttercream wedding cake by Diane Olexa of Olexa’s Cakes and Catering. Pastry Arts of Homewood made the groom’s cake; a replica of the lighthouse at Children’s Harbor. No details were overlooked; even the wine glasses for the reception were monogrammed.

Jane loved her gorgeous Monique Lhullier gown from Ivory & White Salon in Crestline Village. She really did not want a strapless gown and felt she wanted something different than gowns she had seen at other weddings. Her gown’s narrow A-line silhouette had an Alencon lace overlay and was nipped in at the waist with a gorgeous blush colored silk satin wrap sash with which Jane carried an abstract bouquet of delicate white Phalaenopsis orchids. The bridesmaid gowns were a gorgeous shade of summer green and the groomsmen wore sand colored summer suits that were paired with shirts and ties that were a gift from the couple.

Even though the reception began with some rain, the couple and their friends were not deterred from celebrating this happy day”¦ they danced in the rain as they made their way to the reception, where the band Musical Fantasy from Mobile, Alabama already had the party started. Jane’s brother sang their first dance song, Feet Don™t Touch the Ground by Stoney Larue. The lyrics go something like this”¦

We got moon light, all night
Lord I pray on the next star I see tonight never lose this thing we found
You™re by my side, I can do without the city lights
I fly so high when you™re around yeah my feet don™t touch the ground

Jane’s favorite moment of the wedding was when she saw Mark for the first time that day since the couple kept to tradition and did not see each other all day before the wedding.

But Jane said she still treasures every moment”¦ it all went by too fast, she said.

Not only did it rain on their wedding, it rained, rather, “hurricaned” on their planned honeymoon, too. The couple had a trip planned to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands but a hurricane kept them grounded in Alabama so the couple decided to spend the week after the wedding relaxing at WaterColor Inn and Resort in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. “It was perfect in the end” says Jane. “No rushing to the airport and waiting on delayed flights”¦ we really got to relax and enjoy it. It was simply perfect for us.”

Jane and Mark have settled into married life in Gadsden and are enjoying some of their Bromberg’s wedding gifts.

Jane & Mark’s Bromberg’s Wedding Registry includes:

Formal China: Meissen Porcelain Blue Onion
Casual China: Juliska Pewter, Skyros Legado,
Serveware: Skyros Corricoware Blue
Casual Glassware: Simon Pearce
Stainless Flatware: Ricci Argentieri Merletto Stainless


Congratulations, Jane and Mark. Our very best wishes to you for a long and happy life together!

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