Jessie Brackston Zinke first saw her future-husband, Christopher Gerald MacDonald, on her friend’s husband’s Instagram Stories. When further investigated, there were only nice things to say about Chris, and he was given Jessie’s phone number.
Once engaged, about a year-and-a-half later, they chose to host their December wedding at The Surf Club in Surfside, Florida. “It has a laid-back but sophisticated aesthetic—which is right up my alley—with special attention to design, which includes arrangement by the Parisian interior architect Joseph Dirand, whose work I admire greatly,” Jessie says. “The earthy palm greens, terracottas, black, and creams, as well as the the palm trees and rattan furniture throughout the space, reminded me of Johanna Ortiz’s Fall 2019 runway collection, so I used that as my inspiration for the overall wedding aesthetic.”
As Markarian is one of the bride’s favorite labels, she went to the designer Alexandra to custom-make a rehearsal dinner dress. To put a stylishly unique spin on her look, she also wore 35 Keren Wolf hair studs pinned in her hair.
And every fashion season, Valentino’s collections blow Jessie away, but the Spring ’19 collection had a particular effect on her. She obsessed over a tulle, embroidered look, and when she was searching for a wedding dress, her mind went back to it. She tried it on at Valentino and bought it on the spot. The bride originally thought she’d wear it to the rehearsal dinner, but nothing compared and adding a train to the gown was no issue.
On the day-of, she completed the look with pearl earrings her father had gifted her on her 16th birthday, and Daniela Gozlan and Delisa Armstrong perfected the bride’s beauty. Chris was very specific that he wanted a blue tuxedo, and the groom chose one by Tom Ford to wear with Giorgio Armani and vintage cufflinks and button covers.
Jessie’s bridesmaids actually borrowed dresses from the bride’s own closet! “I’ve always loved lending out my clothes to my friends, so it made sense to do this for my wedding,” she says. They wore Johanna Ortiz, Alberta Ferretti, and Zimmermann, and Jessie’s sister had a custom Markarian gown.
In the lobby of The Surf Club, Yifat Oren and her team from Oren Co. created a delicate web of suspended flowers and greenery for the backdrop to the wedding ceremony. And when it was time, Jessie walked down the aisle with her father to Cat Power’s “Sea of Love.” “Of course, I started crying as soon as I saw Chris’s face,” the bride remembers. Chris’s grandfather officiated the ceremony. “He’s a man that knows how to love whole-heartedly, so we wanted him to be the one to marry us.”
After they said, “I do,” the newlyweds walked back up the aisle to the Mokita & GOLDHOUSE remix of Maggie Rogers’s “Give a Little”—a song the couple had on repeat for months. And the cocktail hour began on the terrace as the sun set.
Dinner was served in Le Sirenuse restaurant with candlelight and palm fronds decorating the space. Tables were covered with black and white toile tablecloths—inspired by the print in Johanna Ortiz’s 2019 Fall collection—green velvet bows around the menus, and the most beautiful florals in ceramic vessels. Chef Antonio Mermolia prepared a genuine southern Italian feast, and it was one of the best meals the bride had ever had.
Everyone who gave speeches did so amazingly. “I received a text from a friend the next day that jokingly said Chris’s toast was so good that her and her husband were going to have to go to therapy to talk about it when they got home!” Jessie shares. And after dinner, guests over to The Champagne Bar, where Rhythm Collective was waiting to start the dance party.
To better move in, Jessie changed into a Huishan Zhang sequin dress that she’d had in her closet for a while. “It was the perfect dress for dancing!” she says.
And as their wedding was so close to the holidays, they delayed their honeymoon to spend that time with their family. They were contemplating traveling in the summer or fall of 2020, but those plans have been postponed due to COVID-19. The new Mr. and Mrs. will soon adventure out again, but they look back at their wedding with nothing but love, joy, and appreciation.