Real wedding: Hayley Janelle & Jake Jackson

Lowcountry the perfect destination for Arkansas couple

Tracey Mancini has been a wedding coordinator for 25 years. She’s seen countless brides walk down countless aisles. But some weddings — like Hayley and Jake Jackson’s — stay with her long after the “I dos” have been done.

“There are certain ones that absolutely stick out that I fall in love with, and Hayley and Jake’s wedding was one of them,” says Mancini, senior wedding and events specialist for Celebrations Catering & Events. “Hayley is beautiful, she was a stunning bide, but also so organized in the planning that she made it heavenly easy for me.”

Jake Jackson1Mancini helped the Jacksons pull off their perfect wedding day at Windows on the Waterway. In an area where tons of couples with local ties have destination weddings, Hayley and Jake were a bit unique in that neither of them had ever been to the Lowcountry before deciding to get married here.

“We live in Arkansas, so it was a complete destination wedding,” Hayley said. “We looked online for a place to get married, and all the ratings said Hilton Head was a great place to get married. We had never been there. But it was perfect.”

Hayley and Jake’s wedding weekend began with a round of golf at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Palmetto Dunes. When the big day arrived, Hayley had her hair and makeup done by the professionals at SKINZIN while Mancini and her staff were putting the finishing touches on the wedding and reception venue. The Jacksons chose a beach-themed wedding, with accent colors of coral and sea foam.

Jake Jackson3Hayley was particularly impressed with the flowers, done by Henry Kretchmer of The Flower Garden.

“We didn’t really give him a whole lot of direction, we basically met with him once and gave him some Pinterest-inspired ideas, and he did an amazing job,” she said. “Our bouquets matched our dresses perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a better combination.”

The couple decided to do a “first look” meeting, with photos done by Rob Kaufman, before the ceremony.

“We’re both really private people, so it was tough to think of having that moment of seeing each other in front of so many people,” Hayley said. Instead, Kaufman captured the tender moment just between the two of them.

“Windows on the Waterway has a really small but tropical-looking back deck off the side of the building, so we got this shot of them with his back to her and her walking out, and him as he turns to see her,” Kaufman said. “It really looks tropical, which is what they wanted.”

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The ceremony was performed by Jake’s best friend, which gave the nuptials a particularly personal touch. After the wedding, guests enjoyed the cocktail hour while the wedding party slipped away on their rented trolley to take pictures with the sand and surf at Dolphin Head beach.

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“They had gorgeous weather, a cloudless sky. So we had them down at the beach for pictures, and then we did kind of a fun thing with them coming back,” Kaufman said. “We had the entire wedding party in the trolley waving, and the couple standing on the side of the road looking like they were hitchhiking.”

When it was time to introduce the new mister and missus, Hayley and Jake had something touching up their sleeves as a tribute to their attendants.

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“We gave the DJ (Alan Palchak of Hilton Head Entertainment) special information about the wedding party, and he did a whole segment about each person in our bridal party as they came out,” Hayley said. “He did a really amazing job; we hadn’t even met him before that day.”

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The couple took the dance floor for the first time as husband and wife to Bryan Adams’ “I Thought I’d Seen Everything.” Then the crowd of out-of-towners danced the evening away, while Kaufman kept tabs on the setting sun so he could make sure the bride and groom got the gorgeous tropical photos they desired.

“Rob was amazing,” Hayley said. “He did a great job of taking every opportunity to take a great picture. He had all these ideas I never would have even thought of. Not every photographer is going to go that extra mile for you.”

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The couple said they got to take three quick trips to Hilton Head while planning the wedding, but the weekend spent there with loved ones for their big day exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“Everybody absolutely loved it,” Hayley said. “I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

And I cannot wait to go back.”

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Venue Location: Windows on the Waterway

Wedding Planner:  Tracey Mancini  

Florist:  Henry Kretchmer  

Caterer: Celebrations Catering & Events

Photographer:  Rob Kaufman

Venue and Catering: Celebrations Windows on the Waterway

Music: Hilton Head Entertainment

Hair and Makeup:  SKINZIN

Flowers: Henry's Flower Garden