Google+Beach and Ballroom Wedding by Set Free Photography - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Amy and Brian met on a double blind date on election night in 2012, and as the only two Republicans in the restaurant, their night may not have ended the way they would have liked politically, but personally, it turned out perfectly! After two new jobs and a new city, Amy and Brian knew they wanted to celebrate their wedding in a familiar spot: Naples, Florida. Brian grew up visiting the beautiful beach town, and Amy quickly grew to love it too. It was just right for their Southern Florida-inspired wedding, filled with bright and bold florals, and even miniature pineapples at every place setting! I love this nod to Southern hospitality, and I completely agree with Amy’s response to what could possibly be cuter than 150 miniature pineapples: “The answer is nothing.”

Thank you kindly to Set Free Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Right before we got engaged, Brian received a promotional opportunity that required relocation from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio. Since our lives were a jumbled mess of moving parts at the time, I decided to travel to New York City, where my sister and maid of honor lives with her husband, for wedding dress shopping at the one and only Kleinfeld’s Bridal. I figured if I had to fly back and forth from whereever I might be living at the time for various fitting appointments, it would be best to choose a place that came with a free weekend’s stay (coupled with some quality family time)! My mom flew in from Oklahoma (where I was born and raised), and we made a fun girl’s weekend out of the trip, filled with lots of wedding to dos, dinners out on the town, and even a Broadway show! I walked into Kleinfeld’s with a handful of photographs of wedding dresses that were all completely and utterly different styles. I had a hard time expressing what I wanted to the sales representatives. but those Kleinfeld ladies sure did hit it out of the park! I felt so beautiful when I tried on my dress–I immediately knew it was the one!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We got married in Naples, Florida, where we go every year for Thanksgiving! Brian has grown up going to Naples with his parents and grandparents. I have grown to adore the place–nothing beats the combination of sunshine, the beach, and family!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, and it was one of the easiest decisions of the whole wedding planning process, since it was one of Brian’s only real demands! Brian wanted the first time he saw me on our wedding day to be when I was walking down the aisle to meet him. If there is one thing my husband is not, it’s emotional, but as that moment was happening and I got closer to him, I saw that he was crying. He never, ever, ever cries, and it was one of the most special moments of the day.

My something borrowed was the most special “something.” Brian’s mother passed away after a long battle with cancer a few years ago. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her, but he raised my husband into the man he is today, so I know she must have been an incredible woman. During my bridesmaids’ luncheon the day before the wedding, my two sister-in-laws gave me her wedding band as a gift for my something borrowed. I have worn it every day since the day I received it. My something old was a coin that my Nana, my mother, my sister, and I all wore in our shoes on our wedding days. I had to tape mine on the sole, since I wore sandals!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Everyone was incredible, but I have to say my sister, Emily Collins. She did all of the calligraphy for the wedding, from the save the dates and invitations, to the place cards, to the beverage signs, to the escort sign, to the programs, to the welcome baskets, and much more (pretty much on every piece of stationery in my wedding!) She is a high-end interior designer and architect by trade, and it was so incredible to have a little piece of her in my wedding in these ways. I love her dearly and will be eternally jealous of her amazing artistic abilities!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had real miniature pineapples above each place setting. It was such a small, discrete detail, but I was head over heels for them! What could possibly be cuter than 150 miniature pineapples? The answer is nothing.

We had two different types of wedding cake (for chocolate and vanilla lovers), and we also had yummy desserts served at the tables immediately following dinner. The desserts were very Florida-inspired–chocolate-covered strawberries, fresh fruit tarts, Key lime pie tarts, and cannolis. The Key lime pie tart was probably my favorite!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first met on a double blind date on the night of the 2012 presidential election. We were inadvertently set up by one of my best friends and bridesmaids, Emily, and one of Brian’s fraternity brothers, Jake (we have to give credit where credit is due!). We were the only Republicans in the entire restaurant, so we ensured all of our drinks were sent to us red, infused with grenadine. While the night didn’t end well for us politically, professionally (hello, mini market crash), or physically (work was not fun the next morning), it did work out personally!
Tell us all about the proposal! Brian proposed to me on a summer night in August. He told me that he had made dinner reservations for us at Gibson’s, a Chicago favorite. As I began hailing a cab from our apartment to the restaurant, he grabbed my hand and started walking me down the street and across the Wells Bridge that extends over the Chicago River. He led me to the front of the restaurant and bar where we had first met two years before, and we sat on the patio for a drink before heading over to Gibson’s. After a delicious meal, we walked out of the restaurant, and he started directing me to an unknown location. We ended up on the Lake Michigan beach, with the beautiful Chicago skyline lit up behind us. Before I knew it, he was on one knee, asking me to marry him. It was beautiful, private, and perfect, and one of the happiest days of my life. After the proposal, he led me to a fancy schmancy hotel in downtown Chicago, complete with an overnight bag packed by one of my best girlfriends, rose petals, and a bottle of celebratory champagne. The room faced the water, so we watched the Navy Pier fireworks go off while excitedly calling all of our best friends and family members. The next morning, Brian took me to a surprise brunch, where all of our friends were anxiously waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings: “A Marriage” by Mark Twain and Romans 12:1-2, 9-18.
Describe your wedding flowers. In one word, stunning! I might be a little biased, but they were the most beautiful florals I have ever seen! Bright, tropical, fun, flirty–exactly what I had envisioned!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Plaid bow ties and navy suits, pink champagne and whiskey ginger signature cocktails, a stocked cigar bar cart with custom labels and match sets, and Southern Florida-inspired bright and bold florals, to name a few!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We moved cities (from Chicago to Columbus), got two new jobs, purchased a home together, and moved into said home, all while we were planning our wedding! It was an extremely busy time, but all of these moving parts were true blessings!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t dwell in the details, enjoy every moment of the planning process, and approach the bumps in the road with a light heart–everything will end up as perfectly as you imagine!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Travel, settling into a new city, making new friends, and (of course) kids!

Photographer: Set Free Photography / Planner: Jet Set Wed / Venue and Caterer: LaPlaya Beach and Gold Resort / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely / Cake Baker: Ella Cakes / Rentals: Sweet Southern Charm / Lighting: O’Ryan Sound / Band: Society Hill via Brett Foreman Productions / Paper Products: DM Paper Designs and Honest to Emily / Bride’s Gown: “R4BIS” by Le Spose Di Gio / Hair and Makeup: Jamie Lyn Cintron Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Stella McCartney / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G856U” by Amsale / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Trees: Foliage Factory

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Stacy Sullivan reply

    Thank you for featuring this beautiful wedding! We are doing a happy dance!! Always on honor to be featured on your inspirational wedding blog! xo

  2. avatar Pristine Chapel Lakeside reply

    This is a very beautiful wedding. The gold, pink, and white compliment each other beatifully. The groom’s blue suit goes really well with the color scheme.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    I love her flower crown!!

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