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I already knew I was going to love Catherine and William’s wedding when Emily snuck me a peek of Catherine’s custom Heidi Elnora ball gown, their snowy portraits, and their twinkling opera house reception, but all of my expectations were blown out of the water when I read Catherine’s interview. I think she said it best when she wrote, “I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are.” Catherine and William stuck to this sentiment so thoroughly throughout their engagement, and with the help of Catherine’s talented mama, every moment and detail of this Missouri celebration expressed their love story and their hearts. Even after all of the magic of the day, one of Catherine and William’s favorite moments was the end of the night when they poured a glass of champagne at their hotel room and excitedly recapped the entire wedding. I’m positive that with their sweet attitudes and their hearts for what matters most, there are so many more celebrations in Catherine and William’s future!

Thank you so much to Mike Cassimatis of MNC Photography for sending this sparkly day our way!

P.S. Y’all, I just HAVE to mention this…but how perfect is it that Catherine and William incorporated a few nods to their British heritages into their wedding, AND they share names with the beloved royal couple? Clearly, they were meant to be ;)

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both law students at Vanderbilt, but we hadn’t met yet my first semester (or so I thought). Fortunately, we both had friends who convinced us at the last minute to come back to Nashville early for a New Year’s Eve party at a mutual friend’s house. When Will started talking to me, I thought it was rude that he didn’t properly introduce himself. Well, as it turns out, we had already met at a Christmas party at the same house, but I didn’t remember him! I left to go to another party, got on a friend for “giving my number out to random guys,” and told Will I couldn’t go out with him because my mom was coming into town on the 2nd for a girls’ week. Well, folks, I underestimated Will’s determination and found myself sipping an Old Fashioned with him at Whiskey Kitchen the very next night. A Tim McGraw sing-a-long later, and on the 2nd, I was telling my mom what a nice guy I had met!

My something borrowed was my favorite piece of my grandmother’s jewelry, a diamond bangle my grandfather gave her on their fifteenth wedding anniversary. My something old was a fur my grandfather on the other side gave my mom years ago, and my something new was my brand new Heidi Elnora dress. I was supposed to wear a blue garter but forgot to put it on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We wanted to have that private moment between just the two of us, and we wanted to be able to relax and celebrate after the ceremony. It was really nice to see each other for the first time without any distractions, and we had so much fun spending our wedding day together with our wedding party!

My mom and I planned an epic dress quest across the South with appointments in Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham and Atlanta. I tried on so many beautiful gowns, but with each one that got close, I kept asking, “Can we change the lace?” or “Can we add a bow?” or “Can we lower the waistline?” Nothing seemed exactly right. We walked into the Heidi Elnora Atelier at the very end of the day, exhausted and not expecting much until Heidi herself came out and changed everything! She is such a sweet, strong, spunky Southern woman. She started from scratch asking me about my vision and nailing down a silhouette. From there, we created a custom gown that was so very me! It was my favorite part of the wedding planning process by far, and I cherished my trips to Birmingham to visit with Heidi and her team and watch my gown come to life. The first thing Will said when he saw me in the dress was, “It’s so you!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’m a farmer’s daughter originally from a very small town in Southeast Missouri, but I always knew I wanted to get married in St. Louis and take photos at my alma mater (Washington University). We both love tradition and any excuse to dress up, so we dreamed up a classic (and sparkly!) black-tie evening with British touches to reflect both of our family heritages. I was initially disappointed to hear that we couldn’t get married at the church I attended during college, but when we heard Memorial Presbyterian was available, we couldn’t believe how perfect it was. It is next door to Wash U, is our denomination, and had the perfect grand, Gothic ambiance for our English-inspired ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The whole ceremony! Our pastor gave a beautiful charge about God’s purpose for marriage, and at one point, asked us to turn and face the congregation. The room was glowing with loved ones’ faces. We just smiled at each other and soaked in that coziest, happiest moment.

We chose a brass quartet for the ceremony music because Will grew up playing the trumpet, and we thought it would be fun to bring his love of brass into our wedding day! For the ceremony music, we decided to stick mostly to our favorite classic hymns. I walked down the aisle to “O God Beyond All Praising,” which we sing all the time at our church in Nashville. The congregation sang two hymns during the ceremony (thanks, friends!), “Be Thou my Vision” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” A bagpiper played through the snow as we exited the church in traditional British fashion

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? As my poor friends and family can tell you, I was an absolute mess stressing out about snow and ice, starting around Thanksgiving. The weather in St. Louis can really be anything anytime, and I was completely convinced that a huge blizzard would befall us and no one would make it to our wedding. I tried to convince Will and my mom that we needed to move the date, and when that failed, that we needed to make a special trip to St. Louis to bury the bourbon. They just shook their heads, so I had my small group praying for the weather for weeks! Well, when the sparkly snowflakes started to fall during our photo shoot, I laughed and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus, for the snow!” I could not imagine a more romantic finishing touch for our winter wedding, and the snowy photos are my absolute favorite reminders that God’s plans are better than mine. It made me think of how much I love the way snow slows life down and gives you time to just be still, which is how I wanted our wedding day to feel. Sure, our antique getaway car became an SUV, and guests’ flights home were canceled on Sunday, but boy did the snow look beautiful coming down out the windows of our reception!

For our reception, it was important to us to find a space with character and significance that wasn’t exclusively a reception venue. We joked that if each of us could choose our favorite non-geographical location, Will would choose a courtroom and I would choose a theater. (I was a theater major in college and worked in theater management in New York before law school.) Naturally, I won, and the 1934 Peabody Opera House was a dream! We fell in love with its opulent ceilings, gilded accents and cozy-but-stately feel. It screams black-tie winter wedding!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A detail that was so special to me was that once the dancing got underway, I changed into the 1981 Priscilla of Boston gown my mom married my dad in. The only alteration we made was to remove the train, and it was perfect for dancing! I added a flower crown to look just like she did, and it was a really special moment. My dad was thrilled, and other relatives enjoyed telling me “I know that dress!” Some little details that I thought really added to the day included the strung lights that added ambiance over our reception, the couches that lined the dance floor for guests to take a break without leaving the action, and the band that had our guests dancing all night long!

Our décor was mostly ivory and gold, so we wanted to bring in some subtle blush pinks with the flowers. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas (which Will wrote down very early in our relationship), so we used a lot of them, along with roses, snapdragons, garden roses, and ranunculus. Our florist created an amazing canopy of elevated flowers hanging above our 34-person head table!

We had a traditional tiered cake with alternating layers of vanilla and caramel decorated with gold, and a groom’s cake with alternating layers of chocolate and red velvet, which is Will’s favorite. For a late night treat, we served my favorite St. Louis specialty: Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I’m not going to tell you not to stress about wedding planning, because let’s be real, it will inevitably be stressful. However, try to spend the weekend itself focusing on the people around you who love you enough to be there on your special day (and maybe even stand outside with sparklers at 11:00 P.M. in the snow!). All those people will never be in the same room with you again, and spending time with them is so much more important than the little details that go awry.

Tell us all about the proposal! We were in the middle of finals when Will suggested that we go for a hike before church the next morning to watch the sun rise over downtown Nashville. I thought it was a little suspicious when he kept changing the time that he wanted to pick me up, but with his hardest exam on Monday, I thought it would be the last day he would pick to propose. As we climbed the steep hill to Love Circle, I saw a picnic blanket with roses, photos of us, and my favorite breakfast sandwiches. I didn’t know what to do! Of course, I started crying, and as the sun rose behind us, Will took my hands and said a bunch of nice things I don’t remember until he got to “Catherine Elizabeth Moreton, will you marry me?” Our friend Ellen was there to capture the whole thing, and it was so much fun to share our news with our wonderful Nashville church family and then celebrate with worship and Sunday brunch.
When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did memorize our vows! We wanted to make the same commitments that so many great couples before us have made to each other, but we also wanted the vows to feel more personal, so we bravely opted not to repeat after our pastor. Thankfully, we remembered them!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are. I hope we accomplished that, because we tried! To start, my beautiful bridesmaids wore gold sequins to look similar to my gold sequined New Year’s Eve dress that caught Will’s eye the night we met. Our signature drinks were a “Make-her-Marks” Old Fashioned, because that is what we had on our first date in Nashville; and “Seaside Bride” champagne, because we went to Seaside for our honeymoon. One of the reasons for the date was that we met and fell in love in the winter. We tried to bring as much of our lives in Nashville into the day as possible, starting with having our pastor from Nashville marry us. That was a nice way to bring our church home to Missouri. We also served shrimp and grits at the cocktail hour, and included Will’s darling cousins from North Carolina to hand out programs and be our flower girl and ring bearer. Our invitations were hand-pressed at the Hound Dog Press in Louisville, Kentucky, where my mom and I had a great weekend designing everything with Nick on his antique machines. The gifts exchanged during the day also had a lot of Southern touches and meaning to us. On Friday night, my uncle gave Will his name carved out of wood to hang up with all the rest of the family names that hang on the porch of our lake house in Kentucky. I gave Will a journal I had been writing in to him since 2002. On our wedding day, he gave me a signet ring with my new monogram engraved on it, and I gave him a family Bible with our wedding as the first entry (as well as an in-progress needlepoint belt that is, unfortunately, still a work in progress). I gave my mom an engraved frame thanking her for everything, and my dad and brother got embroidered handkerchiefs.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had great marriage counseling meetings with our pastor in Nashville, and we had marriage books all over our apartments, on tape in the car, everywhere! Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” is such a blessing, honestly. We also had a great workbook that helped us talk through our plans and ideas about what we want our marriage to look like. We had fun with endless “1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” types of books, especially on road trips!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We enlisted the talents of my incredible mama! She is a wedding coordinator and calligrapher, so we didn’t have to hire either. I knew the macro-level planning was in good hands with her at the helm, and she lovingly addressed all 250+ save the dates and 250+ invitations.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Besides the ceremony itself, Will and I both agree our favorite moment of the day was when we got back to our suite at the Ritz, collapsed onto the couch, poured a glass of champagne, and rehashed the entire day. Questions included: “Were you freezing waiting for me for the first look?” “What was your favorite part?” “What were you thinking when I was walking down the aisle?” It was our first moment of normalcy as a married couple, and we will never forget how thrilled we were!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so excited to deck our Arlington, Virginia apartment out for Christmas (multiple trees!) and establish some Marks family Christmas traditions!

Photographer: Mike Cassimatis / Videographer: Lovebird Studios / Planner: Nancy Moreton (Bride’s mother) / Ceremony Venue: Memorial Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Peabody Opera House / Florist: Lisa Molitor / Cake Baker: Sarah’s Cake Shop / Rentals: Amerevent Group / Lighting: Exclusive Events / Band: Griffin and the Gargoyles / Signage: Buffy Weddings / Party Favors: Trophy House Treasures / Paper Products: Hound Dog Press / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Heidi Elnora / Hair Accessories: Jennifer Behr and Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart / Hair Stylist: Christy Parsons / Makeup Artist: Emily Miller Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Blouson Bodice Sequin Mesh Gown in Gold by JS Collections / Attendant Dresses: Alfred Sung / Bridesmaid Furs: Tulip Bridal / Groom’s Attire: The Knot Standard / Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew / Getting Ready Location: The Ritz Carlton / Ceremony Musicians: Clarion Brass / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: Just Cottons / Custom Invitation Design: Sarah Hanna / Wedding Logo Design: Folisi Design Studio / Photo Booth: Photography and Video Innovations / Late Night Snack: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

lisa Written with love by Lisa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Alexandra reply

    Wow oh wow! This is such a beautiful wedding! I love all the personal touches throughout — it seems so personal. Thanks for sharing.

  2. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    WOW! Phenomenal images!!

  3. avatar Bubbling Brides reply

    The sparkle accents are amazing. The sequin bridesmaid dresses are the best!

    XoXo,
    The Bubbling Brides Team
    Bubbling Brides

  4. avatar kelly reply

    oh i agree, this interview hands down is one of the very best!

  5. avatar Catherine reply

    We’re so honored to be included in the Southern Weddings family, and it was so fun to relive the day! Thank you so much Lisa and Emily!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    This is quite the royal looking winter wedding!

  7. avatar Wedding Wednesday No. 1: Our Proposal Story – Classic Catherine reply

    […] Once that nerve-wracking bit had passed and the surreal feeling of being engaged started to set in, everything comes back into sharper focus in my memory. Then, of course, it was time to check out that ring! I LOVE SPARKLY THINGS. […]

  8. avatar Baby’s First Snow! – Attention to Darling reply

    […] both featured on Southern Weddings. So happy she did! See their GORGEOUS winter wedding here and our home feature here. Finally, just for perspective, here’s a before picture […]

  9. avatar Big News, Big Praise, and Big Gratitude: I've Joined the Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters Team! – Classic Catherine reply

    […] Fast forward to sometime in the spring of 2015 when I received my wedding photos and asked our photographer if I could submit them to Southern Weddings for consideration for publication. I knew it was a very long shot, as Missouri is not technically one of the states included in SW’s list of Southeastern states (reeeeally tempted to throw my plug in here, but this post is going to be too long already), but to my surprise, Emily emailed me right back to accept! […]

  10. avatar Jules reply

    What a stunningly beautiful wedding.

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Planning a wedding at a private residence can be quite stressful (thanks to the whole “starting from scratch” thing!), but boy, can they result in some of the prettiest and most personal wedding days. For Amy and Mike, there was no question of where they were going to tie the knot–the side yard of Amy’s childhood home, next to a beautiful lake. Through DIY decor, the help of Amy’s parents, and some good ol’ Southern traditions, they created a mint and gold wedding that felt intimate and personal, even with a guest list of over 200. Amy’s father had two large doors cemented into the yard to make her ceremony entrance even more special!

We’re so glad Amalie Orrange shared this pretty day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! We had always wanted to do the swan paddle boats on Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, where we live. He planned a simple morning of going to the farmer’s market, followed by a quick swan boat ride, because in three years, we had still never done it. I thought nothing of it–I was just so excited he was actually making plans! In the middle of Lake Eola, he proposed. The best part was that once he paddled my blubbering self back to shore, both of our families and closest friends were all there to celebrate. It was incredible!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at my childhood home in the side yard on the lake. I had lived in this home since I was born, and it is on the largest lake in Clermont, Florida. There was no question about where our wedding would be!

I walked down the aisle to the Vitamin String Quartet version of “Secrets” by One Republic. It is such a moving song, and our trio string band, The Holcomb Brothers, nailed it. My father had 10-foot doors cemented into the middle of the yard, and we waited for an entire verse of this song before they opened, building up the suspense for everyone.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When you plan a wedding outside in Florida, you have to expect the worst: hot, humid, bugs, rain, rain, and more rain. When we planned for November, the “driest” month of the year, we still knew we wouldn’t be safe. So, a month before the wedding, we had a bourbon burying party! We buried a bottle of bourbon from Clermont, Kentucky upside down at the site of the ceremony in my parent’s yard (my mother also buried TWO more bottles later, just to be safe). Needless to say, the moment after we said “I do” on the most perfect Saturday, we opened all three bottles and passed them around to all the guests! It rained every other Saturday in November but our wedding day.

I love tulips, but tulips do not like November and they are very expensive! My florist was amazing, so she brought together all of the colors that went with our mint and gold color scheme and made an incredible bouquet full of ranunculus, dusty miller (in honor of our new last name), Queen Anne’s lace, wax flowers, and tons of greenery. To top it off, she found tulips, and it was perfection!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I designed the entire cake table myself. It was made from an old dresser I picked up from a consignment shop for $30. We had it stripped down, painted white with mint trim, and had a huge mirror attached that was painted sparkly gold. The entire table probably cost $60, but with cheap antique vases, candles, knick knacks from around my parents’ house, our initials on the mirror, and the sparkliest runner, it was a sight in itself. Neither of us are cake people, but we had to have a pretty one for pictures! We did white cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. The cake toppers were the best–they were two little swans.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our families were friends and business partners long before we knew the other existed. I became close friends with Mike’s sister and cousins, and even backpacked through Europe with his cousin! When Mike moved home from school, he pursued me for a few weeks, and I finally gave in. We dated for three years and were engaged for one!
When did y’all get married? November 15, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 230
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we did not–I am very traditional when it comes to weddings. The build-up of not even speaking to each other for the entire wedding day made that moment when I first saw him even more “HOLY COW” than I ever could have expected. Who would have ever thought it would be him who started crying at that moment? It is something I would not trade for my life.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had all of the plans to do so, but we are both so terrible about public speaking, we decided not to add one more thing to stress about that day!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my mom’s pearls. Mu something blue was my initials and our wedding date embroidered into my dress. My mother gave me my grandmother’s diamond ring on my wedding day as my something old. My something new was my dress!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Getting so many people into one yard and making sure it was the best wedding we could throw. My parents took the majority of that burden, so I won’t even try to take any credit!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made all of the decorations (except the flowers) ourselves. My father found the doors and trellis, I made the cake table and bought all of the lanterns at a resell store, and my aunt made all of our cocktail decorations from old, spray-painted wine barrels.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I do have to say that the best money I personally spent was on my photographer and videographer. The day is over and it honestly went by so fast. The only way we keep getting to relive it and see the moments we missed are with our photos and video. I don’t care how much it costs, do not skimp on this part! I am beyond thankful for these two vendors, as they exceeded expectations beyond words!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are just starting a renovation on the house I bought before we were married. We cannot wait to be in our “new house!” It’s been 2+ months since our wedding and we still think about that day all the time. :)

Photographer: Amalie Orrange Photography / Videographer: Seltzer Films / Planner: Bonnie Dutka of Mobella Events / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Atmospheres Floral and Decor / Cake: Cut the Cake / Caterer: Arthur’s Catering / Rentals: Chair Affair / Linens: Over the Top / Dance Floor: Letz Dance Floor / Lighting: Get Lit Productions / Band: The Leonard Brothers / Ceremony Musicians: The Holcomb Brothers / Bride’s Gown: “LZ3258” by Lazaro / Hair and Makeup: Jasmine Doublette of Brides Be Beautiful / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Wedding Dress Bee / Menswear: Absolutely Fitting

marissa Written with love by Marissa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Amalie Orrange reply

    We cannot thank you enough for featuring Amy and Mike’s wedding! Such a kind and amazing couple, we were thrilled to be a part of their big day. XO~Amalie

  2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Mint is such a lovely color to include in a wedding palette! Amy and Mike did a wonderful job incorporating it in with their neutrals (the suspenders and bowtie are my favorite pops of color!).

  3. avatar Amalie Orrange reply

    Also a big thank you to my amazing associate shooter Ashley McCormick!! And Amy’s dress was from The Collection in Winter Park Florida.

  4. avatar Amy & Mike’s Orlando Wedding | Southern Weddings featured photographer » Amalie Orrange Photography Blog reply

    […] the feature on Southern Weddings |  Check out their wedding post here | See their engagement session […]

  5. avatar Emily reply

    Y’all’s ceremony spot is pretty epic, especially with those doors and that light! Just beautiful!

  6. avatar Stephanie reply

    Such a beautiful, soft, joyful wedding! The ceremony location is especially meaningful and gorgeous, and I’m obsessed with the string lights hanging over the reception!!

  7. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #180 – Floridian Social reply

    […] up at a lakefront home on a property as gorgeous as this one, it's only proper that you host your big Southern wedding there and treat your guests to minty […]

  8. avatar Amber Bako reply

    I absolutely love this wedding. This location is perfect. I am planning to get married in November of 2016 in Florida. I was wondering if anyone had venues similar to this in Florida? I am looking for low cost, beautiful scenery.

  9. avatar 43 Best Outdoor Wedding Entrance Ideas I love Pink reply

    […] image source […]

  10. avatar Private Residence: A Mint and Gold Wedding – A Chair Affair, Inc. reply

    […] To see more of this stunning mint and gold wedding, visit the feature on Southern Weddings. […]

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Today, I spent most my morning editing Miss V6 (don’t worry, after she’s printed, she’ll become a Mrs.!), and one thing I could’t get out of my head throughout the entire time was how important marriage is. We always say that a strong marriage can change the world, and I truly believe that. That’s why, I’m so excited for Danielle + Chris! Just hearing why they chose the traditional 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 reading makes me jump for joy! Danielle said “I think that those very simple words encompass what a marriage should be about: loving each other in a selfless way and only wanting the best for our partners without a selfish thought.”

The love that these two have for each other absolutely shines right through these lovely photos from Erika Delgado!

What a fun touch, adding a little note to the envelope liner!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I saw the Romona Keveza dress on a wedding website and knew it was the dress. My mother and I drove two and a half hours to try the dress on and that was it! I loved the fact that my dress wasn’t strapless, yet had that same look. I knew I wanted lace and something different, and that is exactly what I got!

Aren’t these little darlings just the cutest?!

Our wedding was all on the beach so I wanted to stick to a very crisp and chic look. I did a ton of white flowers and I love anything big and lush. There was a lot of white hydrangeas, white peonies, and white orchids. At the last minute, I decided to throw some light pink peonies into the bridesmaids bouquets to add a little pop of color. We used tons of lanterns everywhere and there were white rose petals at the bottoms of the lanterns to dress them up a bit. I really loved working with Deb from Floral Fantasy–she was able to make my vision a reality! She is truly talented at listening to what her brides want. The only way we could communicate was through email and phone because of the distance and she blew me away with the flowers on the day of the wedding!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! Our photographer said that it could be very romantic and private. I loved it because since it was our time alone before the ceremony, we were able to get the jitters out and have a great time!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we didn’t write our own vows. We did write each other very sweet notes to read privately before the ceremony, so that was very meaningful and a private moment between us. We wanted to have a traditional ceremony and we decided on very traditional readings as well. My cousin is a reverend and he officiated the ceremony for us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had the traditional Corinthians 13:4-13. I think that those very simple words encompass what a marriage should be about: loving each other in a selfless way and only wanting the best for our partners without a selfish thought.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment would be our first look. My parents walked me over to the little island where it was taking place. I walked out to meet Chris, but from afar, my parents were there too. Once the ceremony and reception started, everyone wants a “piece” of the newlyweds, but those few moments were completely peaceful for me and I loved the fact that both my parents were there to watch such a special moment. It wasn’t planned, but it was perfect. I think sometimes the best parts of a wedding are the ones we don’t plan out!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We used mason jars as each of our guests’ water cups at their tables, but they also doubled as place cards to tell guests where to sit at each table. Our calligrapher wrote each person’s first name on a tag and I tied them onto the mason jars with colored twine. To top it off, there was a colorful paper straw! The chalkboards we used from Chalkshop also had a very Southern feel.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was being six hours away from where the event was going to take place. We saw the Postcard Inn in Islamorada by chance, and once we walked on the property, I knew it was perfect place to have our outdoor beach wedding. However, I did not know how much organization comes with having a “destination” wedding!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. From the day I got engaged, I knew that I wanted Publix to make my wedding cake. I don’t think there is anyone in this world who doesn’t love a Publix cake! So that was the easiest wedding decision I had! It was a five-tier cake with different flavors. One piece of advice I will tell brides is that there is often extra cake leftover that will go to waste. I decided to purchase little white boxes at Joann Fabric (mine were were the white swiss dot cake boxes from David Tutera’s new line that the store carries) and I asked catering to put the extra slices of cake in the boxes. I printed off a little sticker that said “Sweet Dreams, Love, Dani & Chris” and had those put on top. As the guests walked out of the venue, the little boxes of cake were displayed for them to take. Our guests loved the late night snack, it didn’t cost me anything extra, and the cake didn’t go to waste!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I knew of each other for a few years before we dated. Our parents went to the same church and we would see each other from time to time when we would attend on Sundays. This happened for a few years in high school and then college, but we were never formally introduced. We had a mutual friend and randomly saw each other out one night out through her. We recognized each other right away and started dating shortly afterwards. We have been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris proposed at a park in Winter Park, Florida. He said that he had to do something very down to earth or I would know it was coming! He definitely surprised me! He took me for brunch at one of our favorite restaurants and then asked me to walk back to the car through this little park. As we were walking along he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. It was simple, sweet, and perfect!
When did y’all get married? April 6, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet for the ceremony to set the mood of a traditional wedding ceremony, even though it was taking place on the beach. I walked down the aisle with my father to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”. After our first kiss as husband and wife, we walked back up the aisle to Hall and Oates’ “Making My Dreams Come True.” After the ceremony, there was a steel drum band for cocktail hour to give the fun island vibe, and we were ready to party at that point! For the reception, we had the most amazing fusion band and MC. “Rock with U” kept our guests on the dance floor all night. We couldn’t decide between doing a band or a DJ and “Rock with U” gave us the best of both worlds. Essentially, the band plays along to the songs that we all know and love, so it’s really cool to hear drums live while your favorite song is on!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had our wedding in Islamorada, FL with all of our closest friends and family. We were there with both sides of our immediate and extended family for the week before the wedding. As the days to the wedding came closer, more friends and family made their way down. It was like a mini vacation with so many people we love. We are blown away by the amount of people who made the trip to Islamorada to be with us on such a special day. The number of friends and family who came doubled what we had expected to be able to attend our destination wedding. The outpouring of love and knowing people traveled great distances to be with us was my absolute favorite memory.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Kim McFadden of Chalkshop Events was a absolute dream to work with. We met when her business was just taking off and we understood each other’s visions so well! I would say it was love at the first conversation about weddings! She is an amazingly talented chalkboard artist, and every wedding that she does is completely original and unique! She drew inspiration off of my Pinterest board and we had a few design meetings, and I was blown away on the day of the wedding. All of the signs at my wedding are done by her! Our guestbook was a “polaroid guest boo,” and the backdrop was designed by Chalkshop. The guests stood in front of the board with some props, took a picture and then put it in the guestbook with a sweet note. I cherish those fun memories and it was something different, unique and fun for the guests during cocktail hour.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Imagine your event through the “eyes of the guests.” Write it down and go through the event from the beginning of the night to the end as a guest. Will they know where to go? If it might be confusing, you could use a welcome sign or sign for parking to help lead them. What happens to them between the ceremony and the cocktail hour? Will they know how to get to where they need to be? Are there going to be things for them to do at the event? Corn-hole is a very economical DIY, and it keeps the guests doing something fun and engaging during cocktail hour. We also had a Flipbook, which is a new and different type of photo booth. Our guests loved it because it wasn’t typical and they had never seen it before! Weddings are becoming so much more unique these days and there are no rules, so don’t be afraid to do something different. It’s a celebration of your love for each other! Keep things fun, fresh and a reflection of your personality as a couple. You can’t go wrong with that!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We look forward to starting a whole new life together! We would love to travel more, settle into a beautiful home and hopefully one day have kids.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Amanda {Amanda Jayne Events} reply

    I love the idea of using mason jars as place cards – very cute!

  2. avatar Erika Delgado reply

    What a joy it is to see Danielle & Chris photos and read their story on here today. It was a very special wedding for me to photograph and I’m so honored to have been a part of such a beautiful, memorable and fantastic celebration! Thank you for the feature SW :)

  3. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings, A chic Islamorada Wedding » Erika Delgado Photography reply

    […] something so special about that place. It was also a dream come true to be featured on Southern Weddings today, stop by to see the full post and read more about this special destination wedding […]

  4. avatar Laura Leslie reply

    These are amazing! Great job!

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