Alan Jackson's daughter, Mattie, is mourning the loss of her husband, Ben Selecman, who passed away on Sept. 12 in West Palm Beach, Fla., a month before the couple would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary. But the couple, who wed in Frankin, Tenn. last October, already had big plans for their tenth anniversary.
"We are both big on entertaining our friends and family, so to say the day was a fairytale is an understatement," Mattie tells Southern Bride of her wedding to Selecman. "It felt like the first day of school, senior prom, and a sort of graduation into a world with so much more gravity than any we'd yet experienced. I was calm and ready to cross the finish line, while Ben was giddy and charged like a little boy throwing his first fastball. The first look felt somewhat surreal. The ceremony felt surprisingly personal, like it was just us, the pastor and the defeated, ominous clouds that held back the rain.
"Our reception was better than any party we've ever been to," she continues. "From the moment our toasts concluded, the custom dance floor bore no pause in party, song or dancing. One of our favorite memories was popping a vintage 2006 bottle of Tattinger's Comtes de Champagne, a bottle they only make in the best years. We're looking forward to opening another from the 2006 vintage on our 10th anniversary."
The couple had what Mattie called a "dream wedding," with plenty of their own touches.
"When it came to planning our dream wedding, we wanted the day to feel elegant, personal and full of happy, infectious energy," she says. "I'm all about details, while Ben revels in the big picture. Some things were very collaborative, integrating our southern, playful yet refined tastes, like the two specialty bars: a Champagne and oyster bar for me and a Scotch and slider bar for Ben.
"Other things, like the linens, lighting and cake, he graciously dubbed as, 'Whatever makes you happy,'" continues Mattie. "Our favorite part to plan together was a surprise first dance, a two-step swing dance to my Dad's first radio single, 'Blue Blooded Woman' and a Redneck Man.'"
Selecman died from head injuries he sustained while helping a woman into a boat.
"The Jackson and Selecman families ask for – and appreciate – prayers during this difficult time," Jackson shared in a statement on his website.
Selecman was an Assistant District Attorney in Davidson County, Tennessee, and was considered to have a bright political future.
"The District Attorney's Office is saddened to announce the passing of Assistant DA Ben Selecman," his law office said in a statement. "District Attorney Glen Funk said the DA's Office is thankful for every day that Ben had the opportunity to serve the people of Davidson Country. Our prayers are with Ben's family. He will truly be missed."
Funeral details have yet to be announced.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Terry Wyatt