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Abigail and Leonardo’s backyard celebration is beautiful and filled with so much joy! I love hearing why they chose to marry in her family’s backyard and how they used the space to not only stay within their budget but create a wedding filled with so much charm. I’ll let Abigail give you a little more insight into their wedding planning and sweet day!

Special thanks to Nikki Neswick for capturing their day!

How did y’all meet? I was at dinner with my family while he was at the next table over having dinner with his family. Neither one of us introduced ourselves, but as fate would have it, we saw each other later that night at a mutual friend’s party and didn’t introduce ourselves! Thankfully, we saw each other again the following night and this time, Leo did his best to make an impression on me – he made sure he introduced himself and he basically swept me off my feet at that moment.

Tell me about finding your wedding dress. Willowby by Watters designed my dress, it was actually the first dress I ever tried on. It stuck out to me because of the details and how wonderful I felt wearing it.

I love greenery, ferns, and vines. I love flowers and I appreciate their beauty, but I wanted our bouquets to look very natural with the backyard. Leo’s godmother made them for us; they were full of lush green eucalyptus, stock flower, green hydrangea, and baby’s breath.

We got married in my parents’ backyard – I have lived in that house since I was five years old. We shared many memories there together as a couple and with our families and our friends. Their backyard is amazing, backing up to a forest of massive old oak trees and pines.

We did not have a first look. We ended up deciding to share that intimate moment of me walking down the aisle with our families and loved ones.

Never in my life have I felt so beautiful, loved, and appreciated. He is the kindest and most selfless person I know.

What range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What was one way you saved money at your wedding? Getting married in my mom and dad’s backyard was a huge budget saver!

I know this will sound so cliche, but the whole day/evening was amazing and our photographer captured the moments in such a beautiful way!

Tell us all about the proposal! The most amazing and romantic thing that has ever happened! My family members are so important to me – Leo knows this and took that into account for our engagement. For years, I have traveled to Central America with my family and I have the most wonderful memories in Nicaragua. I thought this was going to be just a trip, a wonderful trip nonetheless, but I could never have imagined how wonderful it was going to be! Leo planned the whole trip behind my back for months, made sure all my immediate family was able to fly down, and took off a week of work. The second day into the trip, we are all at the pool overlooking the ocean, and Leo pulls me aside – I did not suspect anything until this moment. He brought me out to this point on the side of a tiny cliff facing out to the ocean. He begins to reassure everything I already knew about how much he loves me and cares for our relationship – obviously I’m crying like a baby.
When did y’all get married? March 11, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you write your own vows? Yes, we wrote our own vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had Leo’s mother read a bible verse in Spanish and English – 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. My brother also read a bible verse for us.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had a small cake that Leo and I cut, but for our guests, we went with gourmet donuts because they are so amazing! We got our donuts from Jupiter Donut Factory in Stuart, Fl.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore a necklace that my mom bought for my sister for her to wear at her wedding. I also wore an old emerald bracelet from my mother, and my best friend loaned me her blue opal ring that her grandmother gave to her.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We incorporated native Floridian plants in our wedding decor: air plants, orchids, and ferns. My dad works in the citrus industry and my parents have orange trees in their yard, and the orange blossoms were in full bloom – it smelt like heaven.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Leo and I went to marriage counseling which was super helpful and gave us a great template and outline on how we want to handle our marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had to decide and remember that we need to focus on each other and the love we share, that the wedding, the guests, and the food were all just background noise. Not getting caught up in the extra things was important to remember – as long as we got married is all that counted to us.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? True Love Vintage Decor from Stuart, FL. This company rented all of our decor for our wedding, and they totally nailed the whole shabby chic/enchanted/whimsical look we were going for! Our photographer Nikki Neswick did an amazing job coordinating all of the moving parts and massive families that we have.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe! You will be married by the end of the night so that is what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living together (finally!) and planning our next trip to Nicaragua! We are so excited that our wedding went as planned – it was honestly a dream and we are on cloud nine!

Photographer: Nikki Neswick | Venue: Family Home | Dessert Baker: Jupiter Donuts | Caterer: Caracas Italian Grill | Rentals and Lighting: True Love Decor | Ceremony Music: Josh Mullen and Elizier Lancelot | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Willowby by Watters | Hair Stylist: Amanda Wilson | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Danielle Nicole | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lulus | Men’s Attire: H&M

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Bran reply

    Where did you get the bridesmaid dresses? I love them!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Bran! The lovely bridesmaid dresses are from Lulus. https://www.lulus.com xo!

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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

We celebrated our second anniversary by finding out the sex of our first baby over dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants! Graham and I attended the ultrasound in the morning and had the technician write the sex on a card. We also decided that we would get ready separately, and Graham would pick me up for a proper date. I had butterflies while getting ready, and it was so fun to have my husband ring our doorbell, escort me to the car, open the door, and whisk me away. We decided to open the envelope with our appetizer course and found out that we were expecting a baby boy.
– Samantha Terhune

Written with love by Southern Weddings
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As an editor at a wedding magazine, I’m often asked what I’m most “over” in submissions. It’s true, LOTS of weddings pass my desk every day, and though I don’t judge trends too harshly, there is one thing I’d be happy to never see again. And that is: baggy, ill-fitting, awkward groom attire.

It honestly makes me super sad! Here are the brides, shining oh-so-beautifully with a look that’s clearly been carefully refined over many months… and then here are the grooms, looking like they just rolled out of bed in their great uncle’s suit that’s three sizes too big for them. Sad!

I get it – in the past, the easiest, most reasonably-priced option was a local tuxedo rental. But, friends, I’m SO happy to say that that’s no longer the best option – not by a long shot. The best option is now The Black Tux.

If you search our archives, you’ll find dozens and dozens of couples who have already chosen The Black Tux for their wedding days. Put simply, The Black Tux offers high-end suits and tuxedos, rented online and delivered to your door.

Too often, renting a tux means worn out, cheap polyester suits that don’t really fit, and several trips to a brick and mortar store. The Black Tux has single-handedly changed that rental reputation, resetting expectations with a simple rental process, a better fit, and the finest wool available (no polyester involved whatsoever).

Not looking for a tux? Though The Black Tux does the classic black tuxedo oh-so-right, that’s just the beginning of their curated offerings. We’ve used their suiting collection – navy, tan, dark and light gray – in several magazine editorials, and have been so impressed every time!

Everyone knows wrangling a wedding party can be one of the most frustrating parts of wedding planning, but – guess what! – The Black Tux has you covered there, too. Simply choose a custom look for your wedding party, or pick from their professionally-styled complete outfits. You can even request a free home try-on for the groom, to see his pick in person.

Once you’ve made your choices, The Black Tux will email everyone with a look that’s ready to rent. Then, you can track your wedding party’s progress online as they set up their account, submit their sizes (so easy), and complete checkout to reserve their sizes for the big day. SUCH an improvement!

One more example of how The Black Tux looks out for you at every turn: your look will arrive two full weeks before your wedding! They want every order to be just right, so they allow plenty of time to make changes. If something’s not perfect, they send a new one right away–for free, of course.

Still worried about ordering online? Consider visiting one of the five The Black Tux showrooms across the country (Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco) or one of their six Nordstrom boutiques (Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Orange County, Seattle, and Washington, DC). Book your appointment online and expect an ambassador to help you view the collection, nail down your sizing, and offer expert style advice.

If you’re in the market for stylish wedding wear, look no further than The Black Tux.

This post is sponsored by The Black Tux, a brand we have used and loved for years. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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