Happy Monday! As our SW girls begin to trickle back in from what was, by all accounts, an incredible photo shoot in WaterColor, Florida, it only seemed right that I share this real-life Florida wedding from Audrey Snow Photography with you! For this international jet-setting couple (the bride hails from Tennessee, the groom from Australia and the two met while studying abroad in Southeast Asia!), Nicole Kaney} of N.K. Productions could not have planned a wedding with a more suitable theme! The Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art was transformed into a traveler’s paradise with remnants from Cristin + Justin’s own journeys from around the world. The handmade luggage tags and antique suitcases the couple collected in the months before their big day were the perfect accent to their three-tiered luggage-inspired cake from Pastries by Design. (How cute is the fondant rendering of Cristin, waving an American flag and wearing a replica of her Manuel Mota bridal gown, and Justin, holding an Australian flag and in his own wedding day best?) I adore the groomsmen’s silk gray suits and traditional bowties almost as much as the ladies’ halter frocks from J. Crew. Of course, Tiger Lily Flowers tied this glamorous blue and white affair together with eclectic bouquets of hydrangeas and delphiniums. How perfectly vintage!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.We met as students on a study abroad trip in Southeast Asia. I was on my way to study at Curtin University in Perth where Justin was finishing up his degree. We both signed up for a Curtin Study and met in Kuala Lumpur, but it wasn’t love at first sight. I thought that Justin was so handsome there was no chance he was going to be nice or intelligent. It would be too good to be true! Shortly after we met, I was hit by a motorcycle in Laos. Justin was right there next to me for the rest of the trip, helping me with my bags and keeping me company as I crutched through Vietnam. When I would get frustrated from being so hot and sweaty and carrying the enormously heavy crutches, he would sing to me and make me dance with him. About two weeks after we met, his mother called his room at our hotel in the Philippines and Justin told her, “Mum, I’ve met the girl I’m going to marry.” It was amazing! I already knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him but had no idea he felt the same way!
Describe the proposal. I had been harassing Justin for weeks for an early Christmas present, so on Christmas Evewe walked out to the dock behind my family home. After reading an unusually sweet Christmas card from Justin, he handed me my Christmas present.I was convinced I was about to open a Christmas tree ornament! Justin told me it wasn’t actually a Christmas present and then dropped to one knee, grinning ear to ear. He then asked me to make him the happiest man alive and marry him! put my hand on Cristin’s, told her Iwould love her always and would she please make me the happiest man alive and marry me. Surprise, tears and cheeky photos in the background soon turned into my saying YES as he slid the engagement ring on to my finger.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? It was a travel-inspired theme since we’ve travelled so much together. We are from different countries and yet didn’t meet in either. Our families and guests travelled the world for our wedding and, at the end of the day, “travel” perfectly describes us as a couple.
Favorite design element of your big day: The hand-made luggage tags, which we used as place cards and favors.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I looked forever. I think I went to 12 stores in multiple states with my mother and friends. I finally woke up one morning and said, “Ok, today’s the day. I will definitely find my dress today!” Ah, the power of positive thinking! I went to Pronovias in Manhattan, which had only just opened. I had the most amazing service and found my dress almost immediately. They are a Spanish company, so the saleswoman was able to accommodate my need for something modest, but removable, for the Catholic service. Pronovias ended up sewing snaps into my straps, which I thought was brilliant.
Describe your wedding flowers. I knew I wanted blue flowers. I brought in a picture of a beautiful eclectic bouquet I found in a wedding magazine but my florist said it was too delicate to ever withstand the Florida heat. We ended up choosing blue hydrangeas and dark blue delphiniums. We used this look in all the arrangements at the ceremony and in the centerpieces.
Describe your wedding cake. The wedding cake had two distinct sides, a formal three-tier cake from the front and a stack of three suitcases with fondant renderings of us – an American gal and an Australian guy – sitting on top at the back! Our baking guru, Lyndsy, put the fondant bride and groom in replicas of our wedding clothes.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The vintage suitcases! My Mom and I looked for a long time to find suitcases we could use in photos. We ended up using the same suitcases to hold the programs at the Church and to display the luggage tag place cards and the scrapbook-style guest book cards at the reception. They were multi-purpose and helped maintain our theme.
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? I was handed a lucky wedding horseshoe as she left the church, a common wedding tradition back in Australia. The horseshoe is ‘U’ shaped to ‘hold’ the luck forever. Ribbons are hung to the open ends of the horseshoe to ensure that it is never turned upside down and the luck of the marriage is never lost.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Glamorous, loving, party!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional Catholic vows and were married by the same priest that has married my parents. We held the same “vow cards” in our hands that my parents used thirty-one years earlier.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Our next stop is back to life in Manhattan. The future is likely to hold many different cities and many different countries, but the exact locations are still very much open to suggestion!
Congratulations, Cristin + Justin! We can’t wait to hear where your future travels take you!