Real Weddings: P-Jaye and Yolanda
Just the Two of Us
A peek into P-Jaye and Yolanda’s intimate winter wedding in Connecticut
By Sarah Gleim
There’s perhaps nothing more meaningful and personal than marrying the one you love. But let’s face it: The stress of planning a large wedding celebration, not to mention paying for it, can often sidetrack any couple from what’s really important: each other. Add to that the chaos of entertaining family and out-of-town guests, and well, it’s enough to make you wonder who the wedding is really for—you or your guests?
Those were just a few of the things Philadelphia residents P-Jaye Jackson and Yolanda Lockhart-Davis, considered after Jackson proposed to Lockhart-Davis with a 1.5-carat diamond. “It was just a few days after Christmas and was the surprise of a lifetime,” Lockhart-Davis says. Jackson wanted to surprise her partner of a year and a half with a spaghetti dinner and a proposal, but Lockhart-Davis threw a slight wrench in the plans.
“I was supposed to stop in the supermarket to pick up a few items, but 45 minutes later, I came out with a cart full of food,” she says. “So I’m rushing to put the groceries away because P-Jaye seemed irritated, and all of a sudden, I open the refrigerator, and in the center of the shelf is the most ridiculously beautiful diamond ring I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Venue: A Cardinal House, Glastonbury, Conn.
Caterer: Kevin M. Lepore, executive chef, A Cardinal House
Photographer: Craig and Sonia Houghton, Nutmeg Muse Photography
Florist: Nancy Lepore, A Cardinal House
Wedding Cake: Kevin M. Lepore, executive chef, A Cardinal House
So after the shock and excitement of the engagement sunk in, the wedding planning began. Lockhart-Davis took on the task, and knew the location of the ceremony had to meet two requirements: It had to be very romantic and it had to be located in a state where it would be legal. “I think I looked at every single resort, bed and breakfast, and photographer’s website in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut,” Lockhart-Davis says. “Then we found A Cardinal House in Glastonbury, Conn., and everything after that was easy.”
Well, sort of. Initially they considered inviting a few friends to travel with them to be part of the ceremony, but after changing the wedding date three times due to budget issues, they decided against the idea. “By the time we changed the date a third time, we figured all our friends would have hated us by that point anyway, so it was better that we didn’t invite them,” Lockhart-Davis says.
But the women, who are also the mothers of two boys and one girl, 17, 11 and 10, chose not to include their children either. It was something they say they struggled with at length, because they try to spend as much time with their children as possible. “When it came down to it, we figured we would end up in ‘mommy mode’ the entire weekend instead of being focused on each other,” Lockhart-Davis says. “So we decided to do this just for us.” And once they were able to focus on planning the wedding just for the two of them, that’s when things fell into place. The January ceremony was extremely intimate and included just Lockhart-Davis and Jackson, plus Dr. Michael Lepore, the justice of the peace who performed the service and his wife Nancy, who also own the bed and breakfast.
Lockhart-Davis walked down to aisle to an awaiting Jackson wearing an elegant ivory chiffon gown with a cap sleeves and empire waist, and a tiara, necklace and earrings with Swarovski crystals. Her bouquet featured deep red roses with greenery and eucalyptus that were picked that morning. “I’ve always felt that roses are simple, beautiful and elegant, just like we wanted our wedding to be,” Lockhart-Davis says.
Photography by Craig and Sonia Houghton, Nutmeg Muse Photography
Jackson wore a white tux by Italian designer, Uomo, as the two women exchanged rings and vows, and promised to love each other’s children as their own. “The best part was standing at the altar and seeing Yolanda for the first time in her wedding dress coming toward me,” Jackson says. “I wasn’t nervous, because it was all about us, and it was just perfect.”
They finished their intimate wedding ceremony with an equally private and personal five-course reception dinner, prepared exclusively for them by the Cardinal House’s executive chef Kevin M. Lepore. They dined on everything from sausage gumbo and fried chicken to Louisiana collard greens and New England yams. And of course they fed each other bites of a their own vanilla wedding cake filled with strawberries and raspberries. “It was unbelievable” Jackson says. “Everything was the best.”
They newly married couple spent the rest of their wedding/honeymoon weekend at A Cardinal House, although they had also just celebrated an anniversary weekend at The Omphoy Resort in West Palm Beach and considered that part of their honeymoon, as well. “It felt like a minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve,” Jackson says. “I wanted to scream, shout, kiss everybody and tell the world!”
The two say they will eventually have another full-blown wedding, complete with family and friends. “When we do get married again, we will have our three kids in the wedding,” Jackson says. “I want to see her son walk her down the aisle, and see my daughter as the flower girl and my son carry the rings.”
But right now, they couldn’t be happier the wedding ceremony was about just the two of them. “Afterward, it felt like my life was complete, and that our life together was really beginning,” Lockhart-Davis. “The wedding was everything I’ve ever dreamed about, hoped for and so much more.”
Equally Wed Editors
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