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A Classic Fort Smith Wedding: Jaclyn Freeze and Colby Jacobs

A Classic Fort Smith Wedding: Jaclyn Freeze and Colby Jacobs

Jaclyn Freeze and Colby Jacobs

All elements made this a classic wedding in Fort Smith

There’s something about a newly wedded couple stepping through the beautiful doors of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church onto Garrison Avenue that brings the phrase “in front of God and everybody” to mind.

Jaclyn and Colby Jacobs have down to earth personalities, but with big families and many friends, their wedding on Nov. 18 was wonderfully traditional and so Fort Smith. It seems fitting, as “Jac” was named for her grandfather Jack Freeze, a former mayor.  The groom went to Southside; the bride went to Northside. Seven years ago they met at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

They have been together since then. They knew marriage would come along after college and starting their careers, she with Walmart and he with Arvest Bank. It was Colby who decided the time had come. 

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“First, I asked her mom for Jaclyn’s hand,” he said. He then asked her dad, told his parents and planned a proposal – on the Fayetteville square with Christmas lights shining. He asked close family and friends to wait at a nearby eatery.

Only one hitch: As they drove up to the square, he saw his parents and brother and sister. 

“I had to distract her!” he said. An “I love you, baby,” saved him. They met with friends, a couple, and after one stroll around the square, Colby handed off his camera and knelt. 

“I said yes,” Jac said. “And yes, I was surprised!” He prepared her for the group that awaited them and everyone celebrated their engagement. 

They set a date a year and a day away. With many relatives on both sides, they were going to plan a large wedding. Adding friends made more than 250 guests. Although Jac describes her tastes as “simple,” it was, inevitably, a big event. Friends, family and a wedding consultant helped. 

Jac found her perfect dress and nine bridesmaid’s dresses in Arkansas bridal stores.

Colby, on a suggestion from planner Mary Ann Sandifer, entered a drawing at a bridal fair and won tuxedo service for his attendants. “That was brilliant, because he and his friends are the ones who love to dress up formally,” Jac said. “Oh, yes, we had bowties and suspenders,” Colby admitted, laughing. 

Their wedding ceremony was made warm and very personal by Father John’s homily and the presence of so many loved guests, the couple said.

Jac made a thoughtful remembrance of her late friend, Laura Beth Echols, whom she named an honorary bridesmaid. Her mother was seated with the bride’s parents. “I wanted it to be kind of like it was her day, too,” Jac said.

After their vows and blessing, the newlyweds experienced their unforgettable moment of coming down the steps of IC, surrounded by their guests holding lighted white balloons. Their sudden flight into the night sky swept the balloons up past the high steeple of the beautiful church. Note to future brides: Jac mentioned that balloon releases may not be allowed again, making their photos unique. 

A Fort Smith city trolley bus transported the wedding party, another way of making a special hometown memory. 

The bride and groom were chauffeured in a gleaming vintage Cadillac by her dad and her mother’s father, who had driven her parents away from their wedding.

Everyone traveled just a few blocks to the ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton to the reception, with a wonderful menu prepared by a private chef. One of the strategies always suggested by their wedding planner is to prepare a secluded table for the newlyweds so they will actually eat. 

In their case, finding their plates waiting was very helpful, Jac said. “But for the rest of the night, I didn’t even look at the food buffets, I didn’t do the photo booth – there were so many people I wanted to see ...”

The couple did “first dances” with their parents and each other. “My mom was a trooper,” Colby noted. “She had slipped from a curb and broken her ankle right before the wedding. She walked down the aisle and danced with me – in a boot.”

Following tradition, the bride’s bouquet and garter were tossed. The wedding photos prove that their guests were shown a lovely time and that everyone danced, toasted and celebrated. 

Jac and Colby live and work in Bentonville, but cherish their hometown wedding. 

This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith.

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