Jacquelyn Kulp, a vice president of talent and development at JP Morgan, and Matt Rubinger, a senior vice president at Christies met at Vanderbilt University during their sophomore year. “I had my eye on Matt long before our first actual interaction though,” admits Jacquelyn. “I thought he had his eye on me too. In my mind, we first met at a college bar during the last week of freshmen year. I was with a few friends who knew him, and he was doing his best to impress. I made him laugh, he made me laugh, and a few days later, I received a Facebook friend request from him, which he denies to this day. We then both went our separate ways over the summer. Fast forward to September, I was with a friend, and she called her boyfriend to come pick us up. I hopped in the car and was greeted by Matt, who reintroduced himself to me. (So much for that connection last spring . . . .) When we saw each other again later that night, we shared a few drinks, completely hit it off, and have basically been in a relationship ever since.”
After dating for three years in New York, the couple decided it was time to become official roommates. “We moved in together in July, and by February, Matt told me he wanted us to relocate to Hong Kong together,” remembers Jacquelyn. “It was the decision to move to Hong Kong that re-enforced our commitment and love for one another. Matt didn’t want to make the move if it didn’t work for my career, and I knew that I wanted to move with him regardless.”
So after an endless, bitterly cold New York winter—and with talk of a move across the globe on the horizon—Jacquelyn and Matt decided to get out of dodge and booked a trip to the Soho House in Miami for Memorial Day weekend. On the last night of the trip, Matt arranged for the two of them take a boat across the bay to Zuma.
They were greeted at the dock by the captain and his wife who were also in on Matt’s surprise. “Despite an unbelievably romantic setting—there was a gorgeous sunset and chilled champagne!—I had no idea what was to come,” admits Jacquelyn. “I encouraged the friendly captain to point out any homes owned by celebrities on the water while Matt sat quietly in the corner. When I finally looked over, he was as white as a ghost, so I begrudgingly ended the tour early and followed him to the front of the boat. Within minutes of sitting down on the deck, he proposed. For the first time all weekend, I was speechless, and the color returned to Matt’s cheeks. I don’t think we stopped smiling for a month!”
Given Matt’s experience in the auction industry, Jacquelyn felt confident in his ability to choose the perfect ring. “Without any input from me, my family, or friends, he proposed with an emerald cut diamond with tapered baguettes on each side,” says Jacquelyn. “It just so happens to be almost identical to my grandmother’s ring, which makes it even more special for me.”
The couple knew right away that they wanted to get married in Nashville. “Not only did we meet at Vanderbilt, but Nashville is the half-way point between our home states of Texas and New York,” explains Jacquelyn. They chose the Schermerhorn Sypmphony Hall, a beautiful neo-classical building located in the heart of downtown, as their venue. Although the concert hall, which is the home to the Nashville Symphony, didn’t have any real significance to them when they were students, they loved the contrast between the honky-tonks lining the streets outside and one of the grandest buildings in Nashville. As soon as they learned that the symphony would be traveling to New York one night in September, they decided it was fate and jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of the vacant space.
“The true vision behind the wedding aesthetic came from my mom,” says Jacquelyn. “As an interior designer, she has impeccable taste and living so far away in Hong Kong, we needed someone that we could count on. Between my mom and her close friend and floral designer, Bryan Long, we knew everything would be flawless.”
They held the ceremony in the foyer, complete with candlelit stairs, a beautiful floral trellis, white rose pomander balls, and gospel singers and a string quartet serenading from above. Afterwards, guests were escorted to the courtyard by the singers for a pre-reception cocktail party. During the cocktail hour, the passed hors d’oeuvres had a southern twist including a biscuit bar from the Loveless Café, a Nashville institution. Everyone then headed inside to the Laura Turner Concert Hall for a seated dinner and dancing.
Picking a dress was pretty straightforward as Jackie’s good friends with Naeem Khan’s son. “After only two trips to his showroom, I decided on a short sleeve, hand beaded, fitted gown with a train and simple long tulle veil,” she says. “It was the perfect combination of Hollywood glamour and black tie.” She wore strappy Jimmy Choos and Dior pearl earrings, and her hair was pulled back in a straight ponytail.
After the cocktail party, Jacquelyn changed into a lacy long-sleeved, backless party dress by Rime Arodaky and classic Manolo Blahniks in blue. Matt and all of the groomsmen wore white dinner jackets custom made by Sam’s Tailor in Hong Kong.
The bride and groom really wanted the ceremony to be simple and classic. The room had a beautiful columned room with candles and flowers lining the staircase entrance and a floral trellis. The bridesmaids wore their own white dresses, and the flower girls and ring bearers where in a black and white color scheme. “Even though the kids shrieked and ran instead of walked down the aisle, the ceremony was genuine and heartfelt,” says Jacquelyn. The officiant was Matt’s advisor from Vanderbilt, who was the Dean while they were students, and Jacquelyn’s aunt, who has been a mentor to both she and Matt, gave a special welcome address that incorporated family history. Matt’s parents did a reading too, and his nieces read a cute poem by Shel Silverstein about marriage.
A string quartet of students from the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music played classical music throughout the ceremony, including Handel, Pachelbel, and Bach. Jacquelyn and Matt recessed to a gospel choir in purple robes seeing “This Will Be” and “Say A Little Prayer” from the balcony.
After the ceremony, Jacquelyn and Matt were able to finally let their hair down. “We were both quite serious during the ceremony and really felt at ease the moment we stepped outside,” says Jacquelyn. “It was a beautiful evening in Nashville, and the courtyard was so vibrant. We started greeting everyone and, of course, taking pictures.”
Guests moved from the intimate courtyard into the grand symphony hall for dinner. The wedding party sat at one long rectangular table with a black table cloth, white ghost chairs, tall trees, lemons, orchids, and green pomander balls in the center of the room. Everyone else was seated at white circular tables with lemons and green and pink flowers in silver bowls for centerpieces.
The couple’s number one goal was for their guests to have fun, dance the night away, and enjoy the music. We decided to have a formal, seated dinner before the band came on. The setting was beautiful; one end of the room had a floor-to-ceiling organ, there were old-fashioned box seats above us, and draping everywhere. The brightly colored center pieces and rose champagne got everyone in the mood and were a perfect complement to the food.
The reception really got going when the band came on. “Jimmy Church is a Nashville band that just blew everyone away,” says Jacquelyn. “He even had dancers by his side—it felt like a scene from ‘Hairspray.’ For our first dance, the wedding party joined us on the dance floor, followed by the rest of the guests, and I don’t think anyone sat down for the rest of the night.” They built two black and white tents on either side of the dance floor filled with comfy couches, pillows, and ghost chairs just in case anyone needed to take a respite though. And after several hours of non-stop partying, the night ended with McDouglas fried chicken, sparklers, and Jimmy escorting the newlyweds out of the Schermerhorn into a sea green, 1960s Bentley.