Carolina Bride

You're the inspiration

When Jackquelyn Ann Martinez moved from Chicago to Charlotte for a new job, she told her best friend she was going to find her future husband. She was right. One fateful day at a local hot spot, Jackie met Mark Lewis Woody. Both were there with friends watching March Madness. Like many girls, Jackie thought she met just another guy in a bar, but the two hit it off and ended up talking the entire night. “The next week I was really sick and I think Mark thought I was blowing him off,” Jackie laughs. “The following week, I told him I was going out with some friends and to meet us out. He came alone and hung out with all my girlfriends. That really proved something.”

After dating for a year, talk turned to marriage and then to rings. “I gave Mark some pointers on styles I liked, but told him I wanted it to be a surprise,” Jackie says. A few months later, Mark asked Jackie to come look with him. A little hesitant, she accompanied him to Diamonds Direct and much like Reese Witherspoon’s character in “Sweet Home Alabama,” Jackie had her pick of any ring she wanted. In order to keep it a surprise, she chose three rings and left the rest to Mark.

After a year of courtship, Mark couldn’t wait any longer. He placed the engagement ring on a jewelry tree he had given Jackie for Valentine’s Day. However, when Jackie came downstairs she didn’t notice it. “After many subtle hints, I pointed directly at it,” Mark says. “At last she discovered what it was and I asked her to marry me.”

“I just kept saying, ‘Oh, my God,’” exclaims Jackie. “I couldn’t even remember if I said yes!”

The couple started planning right away and agreed on an outdoor wedding the following spring or summer. After what the bride called an "an endless search," they found the perfect venue and instantly fell in love with it. For her dress, she flew home to Chicago for what turned into an uneventful shopping trip. She ended up purchasing a dress that she later decided was not for her, but luckily found one off the rack in time that fit beautifully. To capture each memorable moment the bride and groom chose Rachel Fesko Photography. “I immediately loved her, her book, her personality - everything,” Jackie says. “Her style was different, not standard, and the photos are what we’re going to have years from now to remember.”

On the big day, Rachel, along with her assistant Dana Mackay, captured every detail and emotion. After the ceremony, rain held out just long enough for Split Second Sound to play the first dances before the party moved inside. Guests enjoyed Mad Libs printed on the opposite side of the menus to create funny stories for the newlyweds. As a nod to her former home, the DJ played “You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago. “We had to get ready for our sendoff and didn’t get to finish dancing to it,” Jackie explains. “So I play it once a week now; I’m obsessed. Mark is so over it, but it’s just too good.”

Featured Vendors:

Engagement and wedding ringsDiamonds Direct SouthPark


Music/EntertainmentSplit Second Sound


PhotographyRachel Fesko Photography


Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’Hometown love’