Jenna + Luke by Nikki Baker Photography

Somewhere during the hours of calls, the first l love you’s, and life plans, we knew we were in it for the long haul.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Jenna: I’m 27 and a middle child, I have one older and one younger sister. I’m a dog mom to a 5-year-old Jack Russell Chihuahua pup named Theo. I played soccer my whole life, most recently as a Division 1 collegiate student-athlete. I graduated several years ago and currently work for the government. I love weight training, pilates and spending time outdoors! I also love good food, especially sushi! Espresso martinis have my heart. I love spending lots of time with friends and family, and now that Luke and I are married, we would love to begin travelling more!

Luke: Jenna works for the government, and I’m a chiropractor. When we aren’t working, we love spending time with our dog Theo, binging a show or watching movies, hitting the gym, coffee runs, impromptu dinner dates or weekend trips.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

Jenna: Luke grew up a couple of minutes down the street from my grandparents and extended family in Pennsylvania. He went to school with and played on the same sports teams as my cousins, he even roomed with my cousin in college, so we’ve always considered it fate that we didn’t cross paths until 2017. Luke was invited on a family vacation to the Outer Banks, where we went every Summer since before I was born.

When we first met, I didn’t expect anything to come from it. Luke is very good-looking and athletic, and being that he was a good friend of my cousins, I assumed he was your typical jock. To my surprise, he was actually quite timid. I remember catching him staring a few times and could tell he was interested, but he never made a move. After some encouragement from my mom, I decided to give it a chance, and we hit it off immediately!

Luke: We first met in 2017 during a beach vacation in the Outer Banks. I was invited by her cousin, who is a close friend and was my college roommate at the time. She had such a warm and bright personality that made me feel so comfortable being around her. She looked so beautiful the entire week, and I can remember thinking that this girl was way out of my league, and I was shocked she was showing interest. I felt an instant attraction to her. We saw each other a handful of times over the next couple of months, started dating, and never looked back!

Jenna + Luke - Getting Ready

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Jenna: Nothing about our relationship was like anything I’d ever experienced before. From the start, we both fell hard for each other. A couple of weeks after the beach, I planned to catch a ride with my family to see Luke in Pennsylvania. They decided not to go last minute, and I remember being devastated that I wouldn’t get to see him. My mom was the one who pointed out that I must really like this guy, and I had this realization of how serious my feelings were for him. Thanks to Facetime, we talked for hours every night about everything. In a weird way, not being with each other made us closer. We decided early on that as soon as I graduated, I would move out to St. Louis to live with him.  Somewhere during the hours of calls, the first l love you’s, and life plans, we knew we were in it for the long haul.

Luke: I know it sounds cliché, but I knew after that vacation. I had never felt an attraction like that before and I’ve never met someone like Jenna before. I was totally hung up on her the moment I drove away from the neach house headed back to Pennsylvania. We talked a lot through Facetime and texts and we were able to see each other a few times that Summer and I just knew that she could be the one. We both felt strongly about that and decided to start dating even though I was about to leave for St. Louis to spend 3 years in Chiropractic School. But it was the best decision we ever made! We did the long distance thing for over a year before she was able to move in and the rest is history!

Jenna + Luke - First Look

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

Jenna: Luke planned an amazing cabin weekend in Boone, North Carolina, I thought as an early birthday trip. At the time, we’d been together for over 4 years, so I was expecting a proposal soon, but with my birthday right around the corner, I let my guard down, thinking it would be another time. He’d rented a cabin at the very top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in the middle of a hike to Blowing Rock, he popped the question! It was seriously one of my favorite trips that’s now become an annual vacation together.

Luke: I proposed to Jenna in the Appalachian mountains in Boone, North Carolina. We rented an Airbnb way up on this mountain in November, which was incredible. The plan was to go check out some scenic spots in the morning, and I would propose to her then. I settled on Blowing Rock, which is a cliff about 4000ft up with amazing views of the fall colours painting the valley below. By the time I found the right spot and enough courage to pop the question, Jenna had had enough of the picture-taking and was ready for the next spot. So when I pleaded for “a few more pictures”, I think she realized what was happening. A few moments later, I awkwardly transitioned from taking pictures to taking a knee and asked her if she would spend forever with me. That was such a great moment we’ll never forget.

Venue for Jenna + Luke
Jenna + Luke by Nikki Baker Photography

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

We wanted to bring Tuscany to Charlotte, North Carolina. After a lot of deliberation, we elected to go for a more intimate guest list with only our closest family and friends in attendance. We chose our venue because it had the feel of Italian ruins, with the large, unobstructed windows to bring in a bunch of natural light. My vision board was full of family-style gatherings with long tables filled with food and shareables that doubled as table décor. We wanted the tablescapes to have a very organic, casual feel by incorporating the food into the aesthetic of the day. We gave our planner artistic license to bring our vision to life, and she nailed it!

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

For us, this was photography, and it was worth every penny! I knew from the beginning that capturing the essence of the day was the most important thing to me. After all, the pictures and videos are all you can take with you to cement those memories. I have also always believed that the skill and stylistic preferences of your photographer can make the biggest impact in elevating the overall look of your wedding.

I first discovered Nikki through TikTok, a couple posted their engagement photos, and I couldn’t believe that she was based out of North Carolina at the time. We were so lucky she was available – legitimately, the weekend before she moved across the country! Nikki did the most amazing job capturing our day and bringing out so much beauty in the smallest details.

Jenna + Luke - Bridal Party

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

You hear it so many times that you should expect things to go wrong, and oh boy, do they! Thankfully we had an amazing team, so we didn’t hear about a lot of the chaos until later on. The craziest moment was probably when we got back to the hotel, we’d ordered pizza for the wedding guests that the hotel was holding for us at the bar in the lobby, and only when we arrived had they given it to hotel patrons. Thankfully we were able to resolve the issue among ourselves and recoup some of the uneaten pizza. Of course, at the time, tensions were high, but we laughed about it soon after, and the father of the bride now loves to share the imaginative story of how he stood up to these agitators to protect our pizza.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

We originally planned to get married at the beach where we met, but the venue fell through in May 2022, so we pushed our date and shifted our entire plan for the day. Our coastal wedding would have meant beige suits for the guys and a more airy lace wedding dress for myself. Switching our venue allowed us to reimagine the feel of our day, and we decided that a more intimate elopement didn’t mean we couldn’t still dress to impress. I mean, you only get married once! Our goal was timeless elegance.

CEREMONY + RECEPTION The Providence Cotton Mill, @theprovidencecottonmill / PHOTOGRAPHER Nikki Baker Photography, @nikkibakerphotography / VIDEOGRAPHER Timeless Carolinas, @timelesscarolinas / CELEBRANT Justin Mitchell, @justin3mitchell / ENTERTAINMENT Jill Phillips – All The Right, @alltherightgroovesnc / PLANNER Keystone Event Co – Katie Reinhart, @keystone.event / HIRE The Stolitzas Minted / FLORA Trader Joes, Sams Club, @traderjoes, @samsclub / CATERING + BEVERAGES Plate Perfect, Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant, @plateperfectcatering, @mamaricottas / CAKE Villanis Bakery, @villanisbakery / REGISTRY A Honeymoon Fund – HoneyFund / WEDDING GOWN Lana Addison Bridal, @lanaaddisonbridal / DRESS DESIGNER Theia / DRESS STYLE Bruna / CUSTOMIZATION Kingdom Lace / RECEPTION DRESS Revolve: Samba Gown in White Sequin – by Amanda Uprichard, @revolve / SUIT The Black Tux: Black Butterfly Tie, Silver OnyxButton Studs, Silver Onyx Cuff Links, Black Patent Leather Shoes, @theblacktux / WEDDING RING JCPenney: Signature by Modern Bride – Mens Yellow Gold / ENGAGEMENT RING Do Amore Rings: Yellow Gold Oval Solitaire, @doamore / BRIDAL HEELS Lulus: Taylor Ivory Satin Heels / ACCESSORY Vincero Collective: Icon Automatic Mens Watch – Gunmetal/Slate Blue, @vincerocollective / JEWELLERY Beautiful Earth Boutique: Freshwater Pearl Bella Hoop Earrings Gold, J &Co Jewelry: Barely There Chain and Pave Huggie Hoop Earrings Gold, @beautifulearthboutique, @jcojewellery / HAIR + MAKEUP LUMI Artistry, @lumiartistry / BRIDE’S HAIR Hair By Nataliya, @hairby_nataliya / FRAGRANCE Marc Jacobs: Daisy Love / BRIDESMAID ATTIRE Show Me Your Mumu: Jasmine Halter Mdi Dress & Show Me The Ring Luxe Satin, @showmeyourmumu / GROOMSMEN ATTIRE The Black Tux: Peak Lapel Tuxedo, @theblacktux