Southern matrimony: Local wedding featured in national magazine

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saron and Neal Henderson. Photo submitted.

Saron and Neal Henderson.
Photo submitted.

When Picayune native Saron Mitchell Henderson was a small child, her mother would bring home older editions of Martha Stewart’s magazines.
Together, the mother-daughter team completed many of the do-it-yourself projects featured on the glossy pages.
This June, brides-to-be and young women and girls across the nation will be offered a glimpse into Henderson’s outdoor, homespun wedding in the summer 2015 edition of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.
Henderson is the daughter of Scarlett and Sonny Jarrell and the granddaughter of Shirley and George Goss of Picayune.
In December of 2012, Mitchell met her husband Neal at a restaurant in Hattiesburg.
“He was watching a music act by himself and I knew most of the people there, except for him,” Henderson said. “So I pretended I was a marketing representative of sorts and talk to everyone and then I introduced myself to him.”
After their initial meeting, the pair was inseparable, she said.
In August 2013, Neal proposed in New Orleans at the Tree of Life, which is the oldest tree in the city, Henderson said.
Then the planning began for the April 26, 2014 event.
“I always knew I wanted to get married on my parent’s cattle farm and host a barn reception,” Henderson said. “My stepfather knew one day he would have to build a barn.”
Henderson said she wanted her wedding to be organic and naturally infused with the mauves, creams, whites and greens found in the environment.
The bride’s best friend and bridesmaid Alee Franklin Willis helped bring her friend’s bridal visions to life. The outpouring of help didn’t stop there. Henderson’s family and friends also contributed to her big day.
After Henderson purchased a simple Marisa wedding gown, Willis designed the additions, which included dove gray fabric and tulle from Henderson’s mother’s wedding veil.
The arbor Henderson recited her vows under was constructed using her grandfather’s logging tool and her husband helped build the wooden benches guests sat upon during the ceremony.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, Henderson’s family and friends made a variety of pound cakes and pies. Her brother, who is a chef, cooked the food and local entertainers Lindsay Lee Taylor and Chuck Loftin provided the entertainment.
A benchmark of most weddings is guest favors. The couple handcrafted ceramic glazed ornaments in the shape of the state of Mississippi. On the pasture where the ceremony was held the cows carved narrow paths that served as the center aisle. Another transported guests from the ceremony area to the cocktail area, she said.
“I wanted to personalize every aspect,” Henderson said. “My real dad passed away when I was 13, and his favorite band was Fleetwood Mac. We paid tribute to him before the ceremony with the performance of the song ‘Landslide.’”
Henderson said she knew she wanted to submit her wedding pictures to a prestigious magazine or blog but didn’t know which one. Her photographer Lauren Kinsey sent the pictures to Martha Stewart magazine and soon received word the photographs had made it past the first round.
A couple of months later, Henderson received an email from the editor that led to a writer from the magazine conducting an almost weeklong interview.
Henderson kept the details quiet and was unable to show her wedding pictures because of the magazine’s exclusivity rules.
“Even though we went through the process, there was still no guarantee my pictures would be included in the magazine,” Henderson said. “Then on June 1, the iPad version came out and there they were.”
For Henderson, the most memorable part of her wedding was that so many people came together to make it possible.
It was a community kind of thing, she said.
“To my knowledge, this is the first Mississippi wedding to appear in their magazine,” Henderson said. “It’s nice to be recognized for the good. It’s a positive reflection of Mississippi and the South.”
As a result of her wedding, Henderson teamed up with her best friend and they now manage their own wedding planning business, Mitchell-Willis events.
Henderson encourages future brides to put a lot of thought into their weddings.
“Ultimately you want your wedding to be a reflection of you and your husband,” Henderson said. “I wanted people to leave full of everything including love, music and food. Enjoy yourself. It’s important to have a team of people. My wedding was a community effort and that’s what is so special about Picayune.”
The summer 2015 edition of Martha Stewart Weddings is now available for purchase.
Saron's simple wedding dress was adorned with dove gray fabric and tulle from her mother's wedding veil.  Photo submitted.

Saron’s simple wedding dress was adorned with dove gray fabric and tulle from her mother’s wedding veil.
Photo submitted.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox