MARRIED JULY 5TH, 2014
When you ask a new bride where she met her husband, you don’t expect to hear, “In kindergarten.” But a kindergarten classroom in St. Marys Central Public School is indeed where Jessica Staffen met Scott Parkinson. “We’ve always been friends,” says Jessica, but it wasn’t until they started spending time together at Brock University that the relationship became romantic. “It took a trip 200 km from home,” laughs Jessica.
Scott was in his second year of the police foundations program when Jessica started at Brock in child and youth studies. The pair began dating in January of 2007.
Fast forward six years. April 5. It’s Jessica’s birthday and the day of Scott’s graduation. Jessica had asked for a Maple Leafs jersey, and Scott came through, presenting her with one emblazoned with the number 45. After quizzing her on whose number it was — despite asking all the right questions, Jessica couldn’t guess — Scott admitted he’d tricked her. He revealed the other side of the sweater, with the name “Parkinson.” And then he asked her to marry him.
It wasn’t Jessica’s only surprise. That evening’s celebration, which Jessica thought was just for Scott’s graduation, turned out to be an engagement party as well. “Both of our families knew. Everybody knew except me!”
Jessica started planning the wedding about a month later. She checked out a few venues before she decided on St. Marys Golf and Country Club. While she was familiar with the club and the space, they had recently renovated, and the building had gone through a complete transformation. Among other updates, windows had been added to the hall, and a decorative ceiling accent had been created by Stratford architect Terry Marklevitz. Jessica describes the renovations as “glamorous and luxurious.” The club also had a beautiful patio and two new pergolas, which created a lovely place outside for the guests.
The changes cast their spell on Jessica. “It was gorgeous. I saw it and said, ‘Ooh, I want to get married here.’”
Jessica says that she sat down with the St. Marys staff to learn what they had to offer in terms of facilities and services, and found them very helpful. “Jason [Skipper, the Head Chef] helped out a lot.” She discussed dinner, hors d’oeuvres and other food-related aspects of the reception with him, and says he was very flexible with all of her preferences. She adds that the staff suggested DJs and decorators, although with the new design of the hall — “it’s simple, but elegant and amazing” — Jessica says that there was less work required of the decorator she chose, which saved them about $500. And the design of the Chiavari chairs also reduced their costs, because the elegant new chairs didn’t require slipcovers.
The country club’s renovations also included a new “bridal room,” with enough room for the entire bridal party, as well as space for a hairdresser and make-up artist. Jessica had five bridesmaids for her special day, with her sister acting as maid of honour. She says that the bridal room was a “cozy home away from home,” and while the day was warm, the room was lovely and cool. She adds that the Wedding & Event Manager at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club, Ashton Kelly, had put one of her engagement photos on the mantle. “It was an extra little touch that made me feel special.”
Jessica wore a fitted lacy white cap-sleeved dress with a v-necked fitted bodice. It had a jewelled band under the bodice, and subtle beading throughout. The floor-length dress was finished off with a short train. Her attendants were clad in royal blue knee-length dresses.
After their pre-ceremony preparations, the bridal party was whisked by golf cart to a nearby garden for the wedding ceremony.
According to Ashton Kelly, the St. Marys Golf & Country Club had recently created a picturesque outdoor wedding space by pushing the driving range back, to take advantage of some of the best views on the course. With the added green space and great views, she says that the setting often reminds people of Muskoka. The gorgeous grounds, which include three ponds, a waterfall, an inukshuk, and many rolling hills, made a beautiful backdrop to Jessica and Scott’s wedding pictures.
After toasts and photos, the party moved into the reception hall. Jessica says that even with 155 guests and banquet tables, there was plenty of room. The tables were draped in royal blue cloths that set off the floating white centrepieces beautifully; the same royal blue was echoed in a few graceful wall drapings behind the head table.
Jessica says that the dinner was a buffet of prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. “It was fantastic! One of our favourite meals!”
“The reception was amazing — our MCs were Scott’s aunt and uncle (they are brother and sister, not married) and they did a great job. Cracked jokes, told funny stories, involved a few of our guests in their stories, it was great. Speeches were heartfelt and funny; many tears were shed. After the speeches, the dancing started, and it didn’t stop until last call. We worked with Music Central Entertainment for our DJing services and our DJ was amazing. He got the crowd up and moving, and even narrated a bit for us during the bouquet and garter toss. Ninety percent of our guests were on the dance floor the whole night and the same percentage stayed right until the end of the party.”
Jessica says that planning the day was easier than she expected, and credits the St. Marys staff. “The service they offered was worth every penny. There wasn’t much we had to do — it was great.
“It virtually was the perfect day,” says the new Jessica Parkinson about her wedding day. “The whole day and night was everything we could have dreamed of and we still get compliments on how much fun our guests had at our wedding. Both Scott and I had the best day of our lives and I am so happy that our guests had an amazing time celebrating with us.”
Scott is currently a constable with the Stratford Police Service. Jessica is a supply teacher for the elementary schools of the Avon Maitland District School Board, which includes St. Marys Public School, where she met Scott all those years ago.
Congratulations, Jessica and Scott! Here’s to a wonderful future together.
Story by Jessica Parkinson
Photography by Nancy French Photography