As much as I love all things classic and traditional, it’s always fun to see a wedding that’s different from anything I’ve ever seen. Monique and Tim’s celebration certainly falls into that category, from the paper crane details (read their proposal story to learn about the significance!), to the hanging chalkboard escort cards boards, to the impressive black, white, and gold dessert display. What I love most about the details they selected for their wedding, though, is that they were super intentional about what they wanted to put time and money toward. While I’m sure interior designer Monique had no shortage of ideas for the wedding’s design, they stuck with the things that were most important to them, and let the rest go–meaning lots more time for weekly date nights and sweet time preparing for marriage during their engagement!
Thank you so much to Alex Michele for sharing Monique and Tim’s fun day with us!
After two negative experiences at big bridal salons, we decided to stop in at a smaller boutique I had heard of as a last try that day. We arrived an hour before the store closed and were welcomed with smiles. I pulled 5-6 dresses into the dressing room and tried them on as the owner of the store helped me. She then brought another dress into the room and encouraged me to give it a shot, even though it was over my budget. I honestly was wary, as I have watched shows where the girls fall in love with dresses they can’t afford, so I was trying dresses on from least expensive to most expensive. Once I got through the first six dresses, I put the last dress on that the owner of the store had brought to me and walked out of the dressing room. Immediately, my mom burst into tears, and both she and Tim’s mom were speechless. The display model fit me perfectly, and had little details that made it unlike any dress I had seen before. We ended up getting a great deal on the dress and it was so perfect!
Tell us all about the proposal! On our third dating anniversary, we went to our favorite restaurant in Gainesville, Manuel’s Vintage Room, a small Italian place downtown. After enjoying a delicious meal, Tim led me to the car and told me he had a surprise for me. He parked in a nearby garage and grabbed the basket of small origami cranes he had made for me throughout our relationship–probably around 100-150 cranes total. After a short walk, we approached Gainesville’s Double Helix bridge, a beautiful new landmark in town we had talked about wanting to visit many times. Tim stopped at the bridge, handed me the basket of cranes, and told me to find the first crane he had ever given me (which he gave me about a month into us dating). I searched through the basket of cranes looking for the one labeled “#1.” I got a little anxious because I wasn’t sure it would be in the basket he had taken from my room–I had them hanging from my apartment ceiling over my bed and had moved twice, so there was no guarantee. After a little searching, I managed to find it, and Tim handed me a new crane and took the basket. Holding the first crane he had given me and the new one he had just placed in my hands, he asked me to unfold both of them. Once the flattened paper squares were unfolded and placed together, the seams of the paper spelled out the letters “MM” (what would be my new married initials) and a drawing of an engagement ring. I looked up to find Tim on his knee, where he proceeded to ask me to marry him. After a few moments, the fireworks show from UF’s homecoming weekend began in the distance and we watched it from the bridge. It was a perfect ending to the night.
I am an interior designer, so the venue was one of the most important things to me, after photography. I was looking for a simple and elegant space that had good architectural lines. I also wanted the color scheme of the venue to be neutral so my wedding colors would really pop! The Ribault Club had just that, and fell perfectly within our budget. The beautiful French doors let in so much light and the space was so bright and airy! It was the perfect backdrop for our wedding colors and details, and allowed us to have our entire wedding in one location, which was very important to us.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We really wanted our wedding to feel like a big family celebration. Having it all in one large, historic, Southern plantation house was a great choice for us. We were able to take advantage of the outdoor area and beautiful trees for our ceremony and cocktail hour. We placed corn hole boards in the lawn for our guests during the cocktail hour and offered a popsicle cart as part of our hors d’oeuvres. Having the large venue for our guests to roam around made it feel like a family get-together.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of the wedding was definitely the food! We were able to express both of our love for food and fun flavors through our food truck dinner, the popsicle cart during cocktail hour, and the large dessert display. We really felt like we hit the jackpot with our food truck. The food was absolutely amazing and reflected our personalities so much better than a typical wedding meal. It was Tim’s idea, and at first, I thought he was crazy, but I finally came around when we met the owners of Funkadelic Food Truck in Jacksonville, Florida. We served a menu with four entrée options (a brisket burger, pork belly sandwich, gourmet pesto grilled cheese, or fish tacos) along with the choice of salad or french fries on the side. Our guests loved the food and are still talking about it to this day!
The dessert table was the star of the show at our wedding! I chose a simple, two-tiered, round, red velvet cake with cream cheese icing for Tim and I to cut. Surrounding that, we filled the dessert display with blueberry and cranberry orange scones, vanilla and peanut butter cookie cake pops, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, triple chocolate cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, Hershey’s almond kisses, and butter mints. Everything was delicious and perfectly matched the color scheme of our wedding. The cake pops were dipped in white chocolate, placed on black and white paper straws, and sprinkled with gold edible rocks. There wasn’t a single dessert left on the table at the end of the night!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our first semester at the University of Florida, on September 27, 2011, to be exact. I was working in my design studio with the other students in my college when Tim stopped by to meet our mutual friend for football tickets. Initially, he planned to simply get the tickets and leave, but he got distracted and sat down by me. He stayed the entire night talking and “studying” while I worked on my project. In the early morning, he walked me to the bus stop and headed home. In the weeks that followed, there were several additional all-nighters and late night conversations in the studio before he asked me for my number. The rest seems like history. We were both immediately interested in each other and that seemed to be understood without a word being spoken. We’ve been together ever since.
When did y’all get married? July 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to use the vows from our pastor, as they were very detailed and special to us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Tim and I did five months of premarital counseling with our pastor prior to the wedding. We really felt this helped us prepare for marriage and understand each other a lot better. It became a stress-free time during the week when we could lay aside all planning and focus on ourselves and why we were getting married in the first place. Our relationship and love for each other is so much more important than the details of one day.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The first way we saved money was choosing to host our wedding on a Friday instead of Saturday. This simple compromise cut our venue rental cost almost in half and saved us money on several other vendors. We also chose a venue that was not all-inclusive, allowing us to choose all of our vendors. This was the most beneficial when it came to food. We were able to hire a food truck to serve our food, which cut the catering cost per head in half and provided us a delicious alternative to typical wedding food. Some other small ways we saved money were purchasing our own alcohol, using a regular bakery instead of a wedding-only baker, and having girls nights to create the small details instead of purchasing them, because small costs added up quickly.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle to the love of my life and seeing his eyes well up with tears was definitely the most memorable moment of the day. It reminded me of the purpose of the moment, and the reason behind all the planning for the nine months prior. It was all worth it in that split second.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take it slow and remember to enjoy each moment. Be flexible to small changes and remember, no one besides you knows what things are “supposed” to look like, so if you forget a detail, no one will know! It’s so important to balance planning your wedding with growing your relationship in preparation for marriage. Take time away each week for a date night with no wedding talk, and remember to invest in each other.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying newlywed life. In the near future, we are looking forward to decorating our new home and traveling to Europe. Traveling is definitely something we are both passionate about and we are looking forward to many trips together.
Photographer: Alex Michele Photography / Planner: Micheline Sullivan / Venue: The Ribault Club / Florist: A Happily Ever After Floral / Cake Baker: Publix Bakery / Caterer: Funkadelic Food Truck / Rentals: Luxe Party Rentals / Lighting and DJ: Generation Y Entertainment / Cake Topper: Cake Topper Bliss / Bride’s Gown: Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner / Bride’s Veil: Blanca Veils / Bride’s Earrings: “Bella Paisley Drop Earrings” in Gold by ILY / Hair and Makeup: Studio Bride / Bride’s Shoes: “Fay 1” by Lulu’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 1124 in Champagne by Bill Levkoff / Menswear: “Black by Vera Wang / Popsicles: Guanabana Artisan Ice Pops