At-home wedding: Not a piece of cake, but worth it

Rebecca and Joshua chose the 'Rustic Harmony' cake produced by Publix.
Joshua Knight (left) and Rebecca Day (right); photo by Mike Hamilton, This Guy Multimedia.
Joshua Knight (left) and Rebecca Day (right); photo by Mike Hamilton, This Guy Multimedia.

Rebecca Day, founder of The Crazy Daysies, tied the knot in a ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida on November 10, 2018. It’s impossible to ignore her husband Joshua’s last name, Knight. How entertaining is it that we have a couple named Knight and Day? We had her wedding here at home with a little more than 50 very close friends and family members. Pulling off an at-home wedding isn’t a piece of cake, but in the long run, every effort was worth it. 

Knight and Day wedding
Post-ceremony family photo: (Left to right) Dad of the bride Randy H. Day, the groom Joshua Knight, the bride Rebecca Day, me, the mom of the bride, matron of honor Jennifer Day Thompson, best man David Thompson, and flower girl Kayla Thompson. (photo: Mike Hamilton/This Guy Multimedia)

In the early days of 2018 when Rebecca and Joshua told me they were getting married, all of us were thrilled. The two have been in a long term relationship, so Joshua and his family were already like our own. At the same time, Rebecca expressed a wish that sent chills down my spine. “I want to get married in our back yard,” she said.

I immediately thought of a wedding I’d assisted with when I was young, before my children were born. The wedding was to take place at an elegant resort area on a lovely lake. It was to be outside. Minutes before the ceremony began, after all the flowers and greenery and candles and chairs were set up, sun gave way to clouds and all of us were grabbing stuff right and left to move the nuptials inside as rain began to pour.

Over a period of months, I fretted over an outside ceremony. My husband told me to relax. That was impossible. I pondered the matter and I knew I’d need to talk her into moving the ceremony inside. I sat in our living room and studied the layout. Since moving here years ago, I’ve bemoaned the amount of space—roughly 730 or so square feet—in the living room and dining area. We rarely use it. I realized that by moving a couple of very heavy pieces of furniture, we could pretty much turn that area into a small chapel. And that’s what we did.

Day and Knight wedding
Five days married: Day and Knight. (Photo: IAS)

We managed to seat all but a few of our guests. I bought chair covers (the Spandex covers are marvelous) and ties to give the area a look of uniformity. We managed to create two rows of seating on one wall and 1 ½ on the other. That was without the dining area and the area near an alcove I’ve never understood the purpose for.

By the time we got candles, flowers, and greenery placed, everyone was making jokes about renting out our “chapel.” Personally, I was just grateful the couple had consented to do the ceremony inside.

I have to also credit some vendors here. Hagan Ace Florist—Ketra in particular—did an amazing job with arrangements, Rebecca’s Celtic halo, all the bouquets, and the selection of greenery. Publix was my saving grace on food. All the trays I got from Publix were perfectly done,  and prepared on time. I get nothing for praising these businesses. I just wanted to give credit where it was due. I did some of the food myself as well.

Amazon also gets some credit. For several weeks, delivery trucks were hitting me up 4-5 times a day. Chair covers, centerpiece materials for the outside football-themed reception, and other assorted items were delivered on time and in good condition. I had to re-glue one small pumpkin on a wreath I’d bought for the pool house door, but that was no big deal.

There were a few harrowing moments. The most memorable was when the wonderful cake expert who’d delivered the cake, and then put the flowers and such on it left my house the day of the wedding. I closed the door and within a second, the ceramic cake topper (adding: I had pushed it down slightly into the frosting) fell onto my dining room table. The bride being carried over the goal line lost her back foot. I plan to glue that back on too, but at that point, I had to take the cake up and change out the table cloth because frosting had gotten on it. It seems small now, but for a moment, I wanted to burst into tears. I pretty much crammed that heavy cake topper onto the top layer, and the happy couple didn’t notice the bride’s foot was missing because of the design of the topper.  I have to also acknowledge how heavy a three tier wedding cake is.

Joshua and Rebecca wrote their own vows, and they both did a beautiful job. Joshua remembered the exact date he met Rebecca and he mentioned that in his. Rebecca then became—arguably—one of the first brides to cite Ayn Rand in her vows. For the readings, we chose 1 Corinthians 13 and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet 43” (Sonnets to the Portuguese). We then did another unusual something—Wes Goode performed the solo as we lit the unity candle, but Rebecca harmonized on the last verses. It was lovely and yes, the groom was pleasantly surprised.

I got married in a chapel, and my daughter married in a former church that became a public venue, so this was my first at-home wedding. Frankly, I’d do it that way all over again. We followed family custom here in the South, kicking off the announcement with an engagement party. Then came the bridal shower, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the bridal luncheon. In between we (finally) found a dress she liked and chose everything from serving ware to wines and favors for our guests.

Fortunately, Joshua’s mom handled the rehearsal dinner and that was also convenient. Valerie brought food in and we ate after we did the rehearsal here. That was much less trying than all of us heading out to a venue when we still had stuff we needed to do here.

Yes, it required months of planning and attention to detail. Yes, at times, it was harrowing. But the intimacy and the ambience that day were perfect for the personalities of bride and groom. Rebecca has always loved this house since we moved here. Her only request of me was that she be able to be married here. The hardest part was finalizing the guest list because we had a sizable number of family members and we knew there was a cap on the number of guests because of the size of our ‘chapel’.

I was happy to oblige, and although in terms of work, it wasn’t a piece of cake, in the end, every minute we spent preparing was worth it. Just as with her sister, Rebecca received a divine gift. Every day was cloudy and damp before and after her wedding, but the day of, the sun shone and the temperatures were perfect for the reception outside.

Otherwise, I’m still thanking our creator for Rebecca’s change of heart about wearing a black leather jacket with that gorgeous dress. Rebecca gets back on the Daysie trail this weekend, with gigs tonight at Fernandina Beach, on Saturday in St. John’s County, and on Sunday back at Fernandina. It took months to plan, but as I anticipated, once the big day came, time flew.

I only have a few photos so far because Rebecca hasn’t had time to go through them all, but I will add a few more once I have them. I hope to include one of Joshua and Rebecca with his  his family too.

Ed. Note: To see more work by photographer Mike Hamilton, visit his Facebook page, This Guy Multimedia.

(Kay B. Day/Nov. 16, 2018)

Something to say? Do it here.