Maybe it’s my affinity for all things coral-colored, or maybe it’s my unending desire to have a boat party, but Sally + Dave’s wedding just makes me happy. The bright and springy colors are a surprising (but welcome) palette for their winter wedding. But y’all know that here in the South, winter ain’t no thang — especially if you’re celebrating it on the Southernmost part of the United States: Key West. We must give out big hugs to Kat Braman who shared this wedding with us.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Shortly before we got engaged, my mother moved to Las Vegas. It was important to me that she be there when I try on dresses, so I ended up flying to Vegas. My grandmother, who lives in Southern California, also made the trip. It was so wonderful to have 3 generations there for the experience.
Describe your wedding flowers: We went with the flowers I love that are available in December: roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas. I hired a florist to make the arrangements that marked our ceremony spot, but for the personal bouquets and reception centerpieces, I bought bulk wholesale flowers. I got my bridesmaids together with a big bucket of ribbons, pins, shears, and tape, and we made our own bouquets. It was important to me that my bridesmaids’ individual personalities came out in the wedding. For the boutonnieres, I had a wonderful Etsy seller custom make them out of vintage maps that she tinted to match my color scheme.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? One of the most memorable moments was when I finally made it down the aisle and a big gust of wind took the veil right out of my hair! If that wasn’t surprising enough, the veil went into one of the tiki torches, singeing a little piece of it. The moment actually broke the serious mood and lightened things up.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we didn’t do a first look. Though we are not typically superstitious people, both Dave and I felt that we shouldn’t see each other before the ceremony. Though we knew how practical it is to take pictures before the ceremony, we felt like doing that would somehow diminish the emotion we had when we first saw each other at the ceremony.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we designed our entire ceremony and write our own vows. Dave’s were completely off the cuff, so we don’t have lines from it. I began mine with “for almost 15 years I’ve watched you become the man I’m so proud to be marrying.” I also included one of our favorite Star Trek quotes from Spock (Yes, we are Trekkies!), “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We actually met when I was in high school and Dave had just graduated. We went to different high schools, but were introduced by a mutual friend with whom I was on the cheerleading squad. We had instant chemistry and started dating almost immediately, but after I graduated and went away to college, we spent several years apart. We reunited in 2007 when Dave asked me out over Facebook, and it was like we had never been apart.
Describe the proposal. We traveled to Roanoke, Virginia, to visit some friends for New Year’s Eve. I had an inkling that it would happen during this trip so I took extra care to look great for our New Year’s Eve dinner and other events. The proposal didn’t happen that night, but I forgot all about it as we were having such a good time. The next evening, our friends took us sightseeing to Mill Mountain, which has a large, illuminated star near the top. Since we were on our way to watch a hockey game, I was in my Capitals hockey jersey, totally unsuspecting, but Dave proposed to me right there under the star.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Joyous, relaxed and colorful.
In what month did you get married? December
How many guests attended your wedding? 44
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Since we were having a reception on the water, I thought cupcakes would be the best bet. We had three different flavors of cupcakes, all iced in white buttercream so that I could embellish them with fun details. I found cute wrappers online and used my die-cutter, glue gun, and lollypop sticks to create the toppers. We also had a small cake so that Dave and I would have something to cut.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was striking a balance, both in planning and spending. First, it was difficult to balance my budget with my imagination. I found out quickly that there are many more expenses involved than I ever imagined. The many wedding blogs and sites internet were a huge inspiration and help to me, and I was able to figure out how to DIY some things while splurging on others. Second, striking the balance of pleasing guests while following our own vision was, by far, the hardest part of the wedding planning. We ultimately overcame this issue by making sure that the guests would have a great time despite some of the trade-offs that we insisted on (like no kids – not great for a boat reception!).
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography!!!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make lots of lists! I made excel spreadsheets to track our expenses, guest lists, and the like. There are so many online tools now to take advantage of, like wedding websites that let guests RSVP online, which we loved. Also, I really feel that both parties should be involved; if the groom doesn’t want to take on tasks himself, you should at least have regular discussions where you update him on the major decisions you’re making. Even though grooms may be uninterested during planning, they will be expected to be a key participant in all the wedding events and trust me, you will both have a much better time if he knows what to expect and has been given opportunities to participate in decisions. I did most of our planning, but I was able to give Dave some discrete, simple tasks, like setting up transportation for our guests, getting rental cars, etc.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We actually moved three hours away from our old home in Northern Virginia to Roanoke, just a month after the wedding. It was a hectic time, but we went from a small condo to a house with a yard, and now I can see the mountain and star where Dave proposed every day.
Photographer: Kat Braman // Photo booth: JHunter Photography // Planner: We’ve Got the Keys // Ceremony venue: Fort Zachary Taylor State Park // Reception venue: Fury Water Adventures // Florist: Love in Bloom, wholesale flowers purchased from Fifty Flowers // Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Key West Cakes // Caterer: Great Events Catering // Paper Products: Designed by bride’s sister, letterpressed by Mercurio Brothers Printing, liners and envelopes from Mountaincow, programs and menu cards made by the bride // Bride’s Dress: Wtoo by Watters // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Erica Koesler // Earrings: Vivian Tamayo // Bride’s Shoes: Wedges from Very Volatile, boat shoes from Hunter // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy // Accessories: Sash and hair flower from David’s Bridal
Kat Braman is a fabulous Southern Weddings sponsor.
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