Year after year, our sweet real wedding brides have proclaimed that their most memorable wedding day moments occur during their ceremonies. This year is no exception: from exchanging of specially written vows to walking back up the aisle as husband and wife, wedding ceremonies tend to hold treasured moments that are made even more special with sweet details. Everything from jaw-dropping ceremony backdrops to very special reserved seating for the parents of the bride. Our 2016 real weddings were overflowing with incredibly meaningful details and moments, and we’re excited to share ten favorites with you!
It’s always fun to see what choices a bride who works in the events industry makes for her own wedding! When it came to Jenna and Dom’s big day, their focus was on creating an effortless experience for their guests and planning a celebration that truly reflected them as a couple. While reading their interview, one thing that stood out to me was how many memories they created as they planned for this day, from the many vintage china shopping trips Jenna and her mom took, to her meant-to-be dress shopping experience, and more. Although wedding planning can be stressful, sharing moments and experiences with people you love makes it so very worth it!
Thanks so much to Molliner Photography for sharing this day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My girls and I set out in Coral Gables on a mission! We went to David’s Bridal first, and while I liked one of the dresses a lot, I didn’t love it, so I left feeling a little discouraged. I told myself I shouldn’t go to Chic Parisian because I’d end up spending more than I really wanted to, but we went anyways. I showed my consultant a few pictures on Pinterest that I liked, and she walked in with the EXACT dress from my Pinterest, on sample sale!! I tried it on, and with a few minor alterations, it fit like a glove. The entire room went silent when I slipped it on, and both my mom and my sister teared up. I just knew that it was the one, as cliche as that sounds.
My first look with Dom was definitely my favorite moment. The whole week of setting up for the wedding had me so stressed out, and all I wanted was to get to the moment where I could see Dom, because that was going to make everything better. Realizing that in my most stressful (and worst) moments, all I need is Dom to make me feel calm again really struck a cord and made me realize once again why I was there that day: to marry the most amazing piece of me.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time we met was in passing in an elevator at an after-prom party for my high school. He was dating a girl who went to my high school and she introduced us in the elevator on our way up to the party. The second time we met (and actually spoke more than two words to each other) was up in Gainesville at school, where he attended Santa Fe and I went to UF. We had mutual friends and kept running into each other at different social events. I knew from the moment we talked that he was someone special. He understood my sense of humor and truly made me feel like the most important person in a room.
We wrote our own vows, and they were amazing. We said some of the exact same things without ever having talked about them with each other prior. I think we would agree that the best part was when he said, “I promise to make the bed, pick up my dirty laundry off the floor, and take out the trash,” and then I read, “I promise to accept that fact that you will never actually make the bed, you just throw the cover on top of the messy sheets. I promise to accept that you prefer your dirty clothes on the floor rather than in the hamper, and I promise to learn to accept that fact that you must be asked three times before you take out the trash.” Both of our vows had moments that made both us and our guests cry, and then laugh, and then cry again. They were sweet and sentimental, but also lighthearted and fun.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted a change of scenery from South Florida. I didn’t want palm trees and beaches–I wanted oak trees and moss. A lot of my dad’s side of the family comes from the Central/North Florida areas, and it feels like a second home when we visit. While I grew up in South Florida, I have always felt more connected to a slower paced, countryside lifestyle, and this space felt exactly like that. I also wanted all of my family members to be able to stay locally and enjoy a weekend-long event…so why not get married at a campground? My family (no strangers to camping) could pitch a tent and stay the weekend for free! The grounds are beautiful, there is a lake that provides the most amazing backdrop, and the old colonial building is everything I could have dreamed of. It was seriously in my top ten most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Probably the mismatched vintage china that was on the tables. My mom and I spent almost two years collecting different pieces from a bunch of different thrift stores. Not only did the china fully execute the look we were going for, but the memories I now have from my mom and I going to all those stores and collecting them is something I can keep forever. It was truly a blessing to get to spend two years with my mom picking out stuff for the wedding, I am so grateful to have her in my life.
We had a small, single-tier naked cake that we cut into, but the dessert for guests to eat were mini pies by the talented LePetit Sweet Bakery in Mount Dora, Florida. I have an insane love for anything apple cinnamon and Dom loves blueberry pie, so when we decided what dessert to serve, we thought that pies would be both unique and very reflective of our personalities. We had different chocolate mousse, blueberry, apple, and pecan options, and our guests raved about them for weeks. On our anniversary, we may just take a visit back and have her make them again!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Dom and I are most excited to just wake up every day next to each other as husband and wife, alongside our fur baby, Paisley. We are taking things day by day, with no rush for the next step. We are enjoying being young and in love in sunny Fort Lauderdale. We have a lot of dreams in our five, 10, and 15 year plans–one of which includes owning a farm in Central-North Florida. We want to buy a big piece of land where we can build our dream home, farm flowers, and build a vintage barn to maybe host someone else’s perfect day!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was supposed to go to dinner with my best friend Sarah, but cancelled because I wasn’t feeling much like going out. Little did I know, I was ruining his master plan! Dom convinced me to go to dinner with him instead, and told me that I should dress up, which of course, I refused to do. When we got to the restaurant, Dom wasn’t eating, saying he had a stomachache. I totally bought it. When we got home, he went to the back of the hallway and was being kind of weird, so I asked him what was up. He asked me to join him, and when I turned the door knob to the back room, I saw a line of candles and rose petals from the back all through the backyard to the dock over the river that our house sits on. He had our song playing in the background, muttered words I will never remember, and got down on one knee. Of course, I said yes! We then walked back up to the house, where he had all of our family members waiting to celebrate, including my sister, who had flown in from San Francisco. It was low-key and exactly how I would have wanted it to be.
When did y’all get married? December 5, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My girls and I were all wearing cowgirl boots, we had vintage handkerchief invitations, Sonny’s BBQ catered (ribs, pulled pork and chicken, mac and cheese, corn bread, sweet tea), we used mason jars for glassware, pie was our dessert, we gave homemade jam (made by my mom and I) as favors to our guests, we had monogrammed getting ready outfits for bridesmaids, we gave embroidered handkerchief gifts to my mom and aunt, and our guests sat on hay bales during the ceremony.
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? I did A LOT of things myself. I bought all of the mismatched china from thrift stores (rather than renting from a vintage company), I made all my own stationery and signage, we provided our own alcohol and glassware for the drinks, the guest tables/seating were included with the venue, and everything was linen-less. I do also have the somewhat unfair advantage of working for an event coordination and floral design company, so I was able to save money in those areas, as well.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire someone to do the heavy lifting. I am an event designer professionally, so relinquishing that control to someone else was pretty hard. And while, in my opinion, my wedding turned out perfectly and I am glad I had a big hand in that, I would say that I would have been able to enjoy myself the week prior a bit more had I hired people to execute my vision for me. It is so important for the bride and groom to be able to relax and enjoy themselves. Your wedding day is emotionally exhausting and for you to add a level of responsibility to yourself to also set it up is unnecessary when there are people who can do it for you.
Photographer: Molliner Photography | Videographer: Nate+Lori | Planner and Florist: Event Bliss Design | Venue: Doe Lake Campground | Dessert Baker: Le Petit Sweet | Caterer: Sonny’s BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | DJ and Lighting: Meister Productions | Bride’s Gown: Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Chic Parisien | Hair and Makeup: Pure Aveda Salonspa | Bride’s Shoes: Country Outfitter | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Free People, American Eagle, Tobi, and Macy’s | Menswear: Macy’s, The Tie Bar, and Tilly’s