For the second Mission Inn Resort wedding team member, we’d like to introduce Jessica Castrejon, a Central Florida Wedding Venue sales veteran. She joined our team this past March. Jessica has degrees in restaurant management and hotel management as well as a bachelors in hospitality management with a concentration in resort management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Jessica joins Mission Inn’s Wedding Team with 15 years of experience in special events and weddings in both restaurants and hotels throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and other Central Florida Wedding Venues.
Photo By: The Hendricks
So, we wanted to find out more about Jessica –
Mission Inn Resort: What is your favorite thing/part about weddings?
Jessica: Weddings are such a personal experience. I love talking to the couples and coming up with creative ways to make the wedding truly a reflection of the couple and their background. Whether that means incorporating a favorite food or drink, a family recipe, a special song or dance, pets or even a certain timeline that might be different from the rest. For that reason, I also love multi-cultural weddings, whether it’s an Indian Wedding or Muslim, Haitian Wedding or Latin American, or anything in between, it is so much fun for me to be emerged into the other cultures, exploring different foods, languages and traditions and create the dream wedding that is a perfect complement to the couple’s background.
Mission Inn Resort: Three things that make you happy?
Jessica: Adventures with my husband and my one year old son. Every weekend we try to do something fun whether it’s the beach, a local spring or heading to Orlando to spend a day at the parks. Speaking of parks literally absolutely anything Disney makes me happy, it doesn’t matter if it’s a song, a movie, a meme or a trip down Splash Mountain, if the Mouse is involved, I’m smiling. This past December, my husband and I bought our first house. I don’t know if it’s the love and pride of being a homeowner now, or what, but I am currently obsessed with gardening, especially in my front yard. I could spend hours in my front yard planting and designing the perfect landscape so that I can have the prettiest house on the whole block! (Shh… don’t tell my neighbors!)
Mission Inn Resort: What is your favorite cake flavor?
Jessica: When it comes to cake, the simpler the better. I am obsessed with angel food cake with berries and fresh whipped cream. Absolutely no chocolate cake and that includes marble… I will sit with marble cake and pick out the chocolate parts.
Mission Inn Resort: Where are you from?
Jessica: I was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island. If you ever talk to me about directions, you’ll quickly realize that I must be from the smallest state! Anything over a 20 minute drive seems like an eternity. The thing I miss most about home, other than my family, is all the great food that is signature to Rhode Island only such as Del’s Lemonade, NY System Weiners, Clam Cakes and Autocrat Coffee Milk.
Mission Inn Resort: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jessica: I started playing piano at the beginning of second grade. From that point on, I wanted to be a classical musician and a music teacher. I dreamed of studying at Julliard or Berklee and playing for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At some point towards the end of high school, I decided that was no longer my dream but I still continue to play both flute and piano.
Mission Inn Resort: What is your favorite wedding venue here on property?
Jessica: From the moment that I first saw Legends, I was in love. I absolutely adore the intimacy that the giant oak tree provides to the garden ceremony space. Whether you have 120 guests or 10, it feels cozy and comfortable. Plus it is always cooler, which is a big plus on wedding day! The secluded cocktail space on the Legends Terrace with the market lighting strung above is to die for. Since I would label myself more of the “classic wedding” type, I think that for Central Florida wedding venues, the Legends Ballroom, with its southern country club charm, is the perfect reception space for a plated dinner, with big floor to ceiling windows that allow you to look back on the resort’s twinkling lights as you dance the night away.
Mission Inn Resort: What is your favorite social media app?
Jessica: I’m a little old school and have to say that Facebook is by far my favorite.
Mission Inn Resort: What are some small things that make your day better?
Jessica: I have to say that I am lucky and have a pretty awesome officemate. A day doesn’t go by where we don’t have a good laugh about something or a fun sing-a-long to some lame song that comes on Pandora. I love random cute texts from the hubs for no reason. Also, I’m pretty sure there is nothing a Coke Zero or Dunkin Donuts iced coffee cannot fix.
Mission Inn Resort: Tell us about your wedding day?
Jessica: I’ve actually been married twice. My first husband was Hindu and we had a large 200 person Hindu/American wedding at a Hotel that I was working for at the time. We planned the whole thing in a month and a half and decided to do a fun Chinese style buffet menu, to incorporate foods both families would enjoy.
My current husband and I did things a little different. We had been searching, exhaustively, for Central Florida Wedding Venues and weren’t really finding the right fit. We had one in mind, but hadn’t signed a contract. It was right before Memorial Day Weekend and my now father-in-law, who lives in Panama, called and said that he wanted us to visit and was buying us tickets to come stay the weekend. I started searching for beach hotels in Panama and fell in love with this one resort right on the beach. As a joke, I showed the pictures to my husband and asked if we could just elope on our vacation. He was ecstatic!
I booked a hotel room and a spa appointment but never called the resort to tell them I was getting married. (I was too excited; I forgot my brain somewhere along the way!) We ran out and bought him a ring and his wedding attire (I already had my ring and dress) and I quickly hand-wrote vows in Spanish, piecing together some of my favorite Spanish song lyrics to write something that hopefully sort of made sense to his family. I called my parents to tell them and they seemed ok, so we stuffed everything into a suitcase along with a steamer and flew off to Panama.
When I got to the hotel to check-in, I asked them if it would be okay for us to quickly exchange vows on the beach and they said absolutely! I headed to the spa for hair and makeup and then got dressed. It took me a little longer than planned though and the afternoon monsoon started. My outdoor wedding was ruined. The front desk staff was amazingly nice and rearranged all of the furniture in the lobby so that we could have our ceremony in front of huge glass windows in the lobby. It was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a second of it.
Thanks so very much, Jessica, for sharing a little bit about you with the rest of us. Welcome to the Mission Inn Resort family!