“When I was a senior at Stanford, my sister told me about JD,” Halland McKenna recalls of how she first heard about her future husband. She wanted to meet James Douglas “JD” Root, and after bailing on a few of their set plans, they finally connected.
After three years together, JD proposed to Halland on the lake in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Both of their families were there for a weekend vacation. On the day-of, JD’s mom and close friend taught Halland a new card game, and she was intent on getting the hang of it and eventually winning a round. She was so focused that JD had to plead with her to go get his family friend’s boat from their gorgeous property on Lake Hayden.
Beforehand, when he asked her ring preference, she insisted she had nothing in mind would take “a pebble on a string for a ring just to marry him.” When they arrived next door, the sun was setting, and JD made Halland’s wish come true by getting down on one knee with a pebble on a string, followed by a vintage Cartier ring. “We were both bawling, while it randomly started to rain and a beautiful rainbow appeared for just a few minutes,” the bride-to-be remembers.
Once engaged, the outdoorsy couple aptly chose Stanly Ranch, Auberge’s Napa Valley resort, as their autumn wedding venue, and one of Over The Moon’s favorite planners Laurie Arons stepped in to masterfully bring their weekend’s four events to life. Yonder Design with Tara Jones Calligraphy set the tone for the weekend with an invitation suite inspired by the bride’s love of anemone flowers. The talented Corbin Gurkin was behind the lens, masterfully capturing every heartwarming moment.
The bride chose her wardrobe to match each gathering. For the candlelit romantic rehearsal dinner at The Charter Oak, Halland wore a feminine Mara Hoffman dress. The next night’s welcome dinner at Beaulieu Garden had unparalleled charm, and the couple decided to wear complementary Gucci suits in navy and blush. Halland paired her tailored look with the watch her father had worn when he married her mother.
“I ultimately chose the most simple and timeless wedding dress that I tried on,” Halland shares. Her Brighton dress by Lela Rose was fitted and went perfectly with her mother’s diamond earrings and custom cathedral-length veil and sleeves, handmade by Chynna Pope. On the morning-of, the bride got ready with Lili of Artists by Sherrie Long, who gave her a low, elegant bun and natural makeup, and personal dresser Heidi Johnson of The Wedding DeTailor.
“I was most excited about my reception outfit,” Halland notes. “Chynna used the hand-sewn silk roses and lace from my mother’s wedding dress to accessorize a little black slip dress and ‘party veil.’”
JD looked handsome in a bespoke Tom Ford tuxedo. “He really does wear a tuxedo so well!” the bride gushes.
Laurie Arons, floral designer Kathleen Deery, and Hensley Event Resources brought a magical ceremony to life with simple florals adorning the custom altar and greenery that complemented the natural scenery.
On October 15, 2022, guests found their places in the Cutting Garden and were accompanied by Whiskey Sours. Harpist and singer Lexie Howell performed “I Want More” by KALEO, as the wedding party walked down the aisle and ‘Leather and Lace’ by Stevie Nicks for the bride’s promenade with her father. “I am overjoyed that she sang as well as played because both of those songs’ lyrics mean the world to me,” Halland shares.
One of the couple’s best friends, Chad Twiggs, officiated the wedding. The mothers of the bride and groom both recited readings before the pair exchanged their own vows. “Words and letters have been a keystone of our relationship, so this highlight of the ceremony was extremely natural to the both of us,” the bride shares.
“The reception was our ideal dinner party but on steroids: moody, romantic, cozy, candlelit, [with] long tables suited for conversations and toasts,” Halland shares. The happy couple shared a first dance to “Mary, You’re Wrong,” by Wilder Woods.
A memorable moment of the evening was the father-daughter dance. Two of the bride’s best friends from Stanford, Courtney Bowen and Penelope Edmonds, performed Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” on the guitar and harmonica. “It put everyone in a trance—how beautifully they performed it,” the bride recalls. “My dad and I lost our place in our dance and ended up just turning around to watch them finish the song.”
After speeches, the newlyweds cut their tiered cake by Jasmine Rae Cakes, and then every single guest rushed the dance floor with the Nation Band of Elan Artists and DJ Greko. “The only time I left the dance floor was to change into my reception dress,” Halland explains. “Seriously, the dance floor was still saturated at 1:30 a.m., when the party came to a close. I don’t even really know what happened after the reception besides more dancing and late-night grilled cheeses!”
To celebrate their marriage, the newlyweds headed to Capri and Amalfi for their honeymoon. “We felt like we were in a vintage Italian movie, as we ate our weight in green olives, pizza, and spritzes by the beautiful sea,” Halland shares. They then stopped in Florence and ended their whirlwind trip in the City of Love. “To have two weeks to explore beautiful places and eat unparalleled food with my hunk of a husband was magical!”