We all know that the weather here in the South is unpredictable, to say the least–especially in Florida! After it rained for two days straight, Victoria and Marcus’ outdoor ceremony and reception at the Pebble Hill Plantation had to be moved indoors. With Mother Nature throwing a wrench in your wedding plans like that, it can be easy to get bogged down and frustrated. But, what could have dampened (pun intended!) these lovebirds’ plans instead helped craft one of Victoria’s favorite wedding day memories! She said marrying the man of her dreams in the unpretentious and charming chapel, jam-packed with their family and friends, was both genuine and incredibly beautiful. I must say, their rain plan ended up mighty lovely!
Big thanks to Chelsey Boatwright for sharing such a sweet day with us!
Four generations of women in my family came with me to look for the dress–from my grandmother to my four-year-old niece, Cassidy. While we didn’t have any luck that day, I got a feel for what I was looking for. I began searching online and found a dress that was perfect! The only shop that carried it was in Jacksonville, a four-hour drive from my home in Tampa. I convinced my fiancé to make a pit stop on our trip to Savannah and sit in the car while I tried it on one Friday afternoon. I loved it so much that I had my mom drive from Tallahassee just to see it. The staff at the White Magnolia were absolutely wonderful to work with. Luckily for me, they decided to open a shop in Tampa soon after I ordered the dress, so all of my fittings were very close by!
Marcus and I decided not to do a first look. Our families are very traditional, and we didn’t want to take that moment away from those we love, who really wanted to see it. It was one of the best decisions we made for the big day. Everyone was on pins and needles when the church doors opened and I walked in. I looked at Marcus and he was in tears…along with the entire room, who was watching our moment together. It was priceless.
Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted something that looked romantic and timeless. My colors were white and gray, but our florist convinced us to use a bit more color. He came up with some beautiful, natural arrangements, and was an absolute pleasure to work with. He was very creative and took charge of decorating an entirely new venue, just two days before the wedding.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The decision was pretty difficult, and ultimately, we chose Pebble Hill Plantation for its simple beauty. We planned to have the ceremony and reception outside by the stables, but God had other plans for us. It rained for two days straight before the wedding, so we moved the ceremony to a local chapel down the street, and the reception to Uno Barn on the Pebble Hill property. It turned out better than we could have ever expected.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Saying my vows to the man of my dreams. The chapel was very unpretentious and charming, and we had tons of friends and family crammed into it. It just felt so genuine and unassuming, while also being incredibly beautiful. It felt like we had stepped back in time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t be crazy! Stay flexible, remember what is most important, and give people the space to do their jobs. I think that our wedding was so successful because we gave our vendors a vision without micromanaging them. We allowed them to use their creativity to do what they do best! With the rain situation, all of our original plans went out the window. I was so happy that we all kept our heads on straight and figured out how to make it work, without over-stressing about something we couldn’t help.
After choosing to get married at a plantation, we took its Southern charm and ran with it! The most Southern aspect of our wedding was probably the menu, which started with a fried green tomato appetizer. Then we moved to the main course, which was fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, grilled pork tenderloin, roasted seasonal vegetables, and homemade biscuits with fig preserves and mayhaw jelly. Then, there were pecan bars for dessert!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met as freshmen at the University of Florida in 2007. Marcus, a new member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, volunteered to pick up a group of girls from the dorms one night for a party, and I was one of those girls. We quickly became friends, but it wasn’t until a few years later (and a great deal of persistence on Marcus’ part) that we began dating. We became inseparable and enjoyed everything from Gator game days and Greek social events to weekend beach trips and travel adventures.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was our three-year anniversary, and all I wanted was a romantic surprise date. Honestly, I wasn’t sure he was going to pull it off; little did I know just how surprised I would be! We started driving to the middle of nowhere, and when we pulled up, Marcus explained that we were at Swallowtail Farm, a farm-to-table restaurant in High Springs, Florida. We walked around the property, and I noticed a table for two in the middle of a gorgeous garden. I was shocked…and a little embarrassed that Marcus went through all of the trouble, just to fulfill my silly request for an over-the-top date night! It was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t realize what he had planned until he started pouring the champagne and I noticed his hands were shaking. Just as I was about to ask him what was wrong, he dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him. It was the most special moment of my life and I, of course, said yes! We laughed and hugged, and then I saw Lanier, Marcus’ sister, and a family friend, Brittany, waving from a barn. They had taken pictures of the whole thing! Then, Marcus told me he had another surprise. We walked along the trails of the farm and meandered over to the farmhouse. I assumed we were going to eat dinner, but then I realized that he had invited our family and close friends to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? March 29, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a small wedding cake (pound cake) as well as mini red velvet and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and pecan bars. The groom’s cake was a giant alligator wearing a construction hat (we are Gator fans, and Marcus works in construction management).
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose not to give out favors. We wanted folks to enjoy the open bar, live music, great food, and safe transportation, and felt a parting gift was an unnecessary expense. $2 koozies for 220 people adds up fast!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The dynamic Thomasville Trio: our florist, Ram Singletary, our caterer, Jeanie Bracey, and our day-of coordinator, Emily Beeson. They work with each other on a regular basis, and they made planning our big day so fun and easy. Ram’s passion for all things beautiful coupled with Jeanie’s energetic attitude and Emily’s attention to detail made our day stress-free and even better than expected. We also really enjoyed working with our photographer, Chelsey Boatwright. She was my childhood babysitter who was gracious enough to drive up from South Florida to be a part of our big day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have settled in together in Tampa, Florida and are looking forward to celebrating many of our friends who plan to get married soon. We are most looking forward to spending more time together and creating new memories with each other as a couple. I am also still excited about getting used to a new last name!
Photographer: Chelsey Boatwright / Videographer: Southern Blue / Planner: Emily Beeson / Venue: Pebble Hill Plantation / Florist and Lighting: Singletary’s Flowers / Wedding Cake: Sharyn Brown / Caterer: Janie Bracey / Rentals: Andrew Tent Co Inc. / Band: The Blues Factor Band / Paper Products: Sarah Anne Watson Design / Bride’s Gown: “Leah” by Modern Trousseau / Hair Stylist: Debbie Beers / Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse