Y’all, I about died over Grace + Daniel. Oh yes, Grace’s pink gown is magnificent and her dusty blue (and numerous) bridesmaids will have you swooning, but their proposal story is hands down one of the best I’ve ever heard! Definitely make sure you scroll down and read it, then click on the links (yes, there are videos!). I won’t give anything away, but it’s going to make you happier than a goat in a briar patch.
Watching the videos makes this wedding feel so special to me. You can tell how important Grace + Daniel’s friends are to them. After all, their proposal wouldn’t have been possible without them and most of their wedding day vendors were actually friends and family. Seeing these photos from Shea Christine with the newlyweds surrounded by their loved ones is one of the best reminders of what weddings are all about.
Finding my dress was somewhat of a stressful process at first, because it seemed like everything in the ball gown silhouette I was looking for was covered in “bling.” I knew I didn’t want something boring, but I wanted texture in a different way, such as lace or a ruching of the skirt. I also knew that I wanted my dress to be striking and unique — something that truly reflected my sense of style and personality. The only thing that I was really certain of was that I wanted tulle. It’s such a beautiful, dainty fabric that is perfect for a bride. Anyway, after endlessly searching online for anything I liked, I trekked to about ten different bridal stores in one day with a couple of my bridesmaids. We went to a bunch of boutiques, and ended up stopping at David’s Bridal at the end of the day because it was on our way home. Now don’t get me wrong…when I first got engaged, I swore up and down my dress would NOT come from there, but that was before I knew that Vera Wang had designed a collection for them! Needless to say, I saw my beautiful dress, tried it on and fell in love. The only color they had it in stock in the store was the blush, and I had initially wanted it in ivory, but I was really torn once I tried the blush on. I loved how different it was. I was talking to my friends about how I wondered if I would regret getting a “nonconventional” wedding gown, and the saleswoman overheard me and asked, “Well, are you conventional?” When I thought about it I laughed, because I wasn’t! My engagement ring is a sapphire, we weren’t getting married in a church — what about this wedding needed to be conventional? That really set my mind at ease about the dress, and of course I ended up buying it! I’m so glad I did.
Grace and her bridesmaids arranged all of the flowers themselves! Grace bought all of the flowers in bulk from Sam’s Club and worked with her bridal party to create their own beautiful bouquets.
Our wedding flowers were fairly simple. We decided to go with all white since we had color in my bridesmaids’ dresses and in my dress as well. For my sister’s and my bouquets, we just did white roses and baby’s breath. The rest of my bridesmaids had a pretty assortment of white flowers such as hydrangeas, poms, daisies, callas, mums, and greens. There were also little touches of eucalyptus in there, which complemented the girls’ dresses really nicely! For the rest of the wedding décor, we used the rest of the white roses and baby’s breath.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony?
Daniel’s parents read three different scriptures at our wedding: Song of Solomon 8:6-7 “Always keep me in your heart. And wear this bracelet to remember me by. The passion of love, bursting into flame is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave. Love cannot be drowned by oceans or floods; it cannot be bought no matter what is offered.” Romans 8:38 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
We wrote our own vows, and I’m so glad we did! I think that traditional wedding vows are beautiful, but again, it’s all about filling your day with your personality. My favorite part of Daniel’s vows to me was, “I promise to be yours forever. I will spend the rest of my life, living our life. I will no longer consider me, but us. I promise to be on your side even when you feel like Nixon, and the world is out to get you. I will sleep like a pencil so that you can sleep like a starfish. I will make room for your shoes. I will never be too adult to call you schmoo or smuckers. And will never stop asking for kisses.” I couldn’t pick just one line.His vows were so beautiful, sweet, clever, and funny, and I cherished them so much. Daniel says that his favorite part of my vows to him was”Therefore, I promise from this day forward to love you despite circumstance, challenge you for the better, accept you as you are, console you when you’re down, encourage you in your passions, support you in your dreams, and laugh at all your jokes — even the ones that aren’t funny — and we all know that that is the biggest commitment of all!”
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding?
Well we had a horse galloping around behind a fence next to our venue! We also had nice little Southern touches like a fire pit with s’mores, corn hole, and some low country lemonade. I also had a few people tell me that my dress was very Scarlett O’Hara-esque. I also think that our whole DIY decor theme was very Southern and romantic. There is something about having a ton of twinkle lights in a barn in the middle of nowhere that is very Southern and beautiful to me.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding?
I would say to do as much yourselves as you can and that you’re comfortable with, and don’t underestimate your ability to do so! The price of weddings these days is astronomical, and so much of it can be done on your own if you’re just willing to take the time to do it. You can not only save yourself a great amount of money, but you also get to put so much more of your personalities into your wedding. It’s a day devoted fully to you and your spouse — it might as well reflect you two as much as possible! Also, utilize your friends and all of their talents. We had so many talented friends help us out in areas that would have cost us a fortune, such as the designing of all of our invitations, my hair and makeup and the decorating at the venue. We’re so grateful for everyone that was willing to put their hard work and creative efforts into our wedding.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was:
I think our favorite detail of the wedding was our little hot air balloon centerpieces that we made. Unfortunately by the time I was heading down the aisle they had started to droop! So sad! But I think we got the point across…I guess we should have been a little more generous with the helium!!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding.
I loved the music we used for our wedding. Daniel and I made a huge playlist on Spotify of all the music we love — everything from classic jazz to indie acoustics to rap! I think some of our favorite music was on the Pre-Wedding Playlist we had playing while people were arriving and seating themselves. It included “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” by Colin Hay and “Life is Beautiful” by Vega4. The song that my bridal processional walked down the aisle to was “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last and I walked down the aisle to “Keep Warm” by Ingrid Michaelson. Then Daniel and I partook in communion and the lighting of the unity candle during our ceremony, and played “Be Thou My Vision” by Ascend the Hill. Finally, at the end of the ceremony when we were pronounced husband and wife, we played “Lovers in Japan” by Coldplay for the recessional. I loved our music choices, they fit our wedding perfectly in the same “nonconventional” way the dress did. For our first dance, we used “You and I” by Michael Buble. We were going to dance to “Sweetpea” by Amos Lee because it was short and sweet, but we got so swamped leading up to the wedding that we never even got to practice a dance! We ended up going with Michael Buble because it was slow and beautiful and we could just sway together with the music without people figuring out that everything was improvised…hopefully!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? (From the bride) I think my most memorable moment about our wedding day was when I finally got up to the altar and was standing with Daniel while our pastor talked. I know I should have been listening, but I was so focused in on his face. There was so much love there. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. There were a bunch of people witnessing this moment with us, but I felt like it was just me and him standing there. (From the groom) My most memorable moment was going off by myself right before we were about to start the ceremony and just taking the time to soak in the huge commitment I was about to make. I took some time to pray — I wanted to enjoy the moment of excitement and joy of anticipation of getting married and seeing my beautiful bride.
Our wedding cake was delicious…and it was cupcakes! We also had a little cake topper that we could cut and eat and save for our first wedding anniversary. Our cupcakes were made by our friend’s wonderful mother, who is a baker for Disney. She is super talented! She made us a beautiful variety of vanilla cupcakes with a lemon buttercream icing, and spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing. They were so good, and so pretty! She decorated them with little mint colored polka dots or flowers. They were all different and eclectic!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Daniel and I met in 2008 at our freshman orientation week at Palm Beach Atlantic University during a lipsync competition (ha!). I fell for those big blue eyes the second I saw them! We quickly became friends and started dating after a few months. We’ve stuck together ever since.
Describe the proposal.
Daniel and I were both theatre majors in college, and one of our professors has a children’s theatre company. About a week after we graduated, I received an email from this professor, addressed to myself and many of my former classmates, saying that he was holding auditions for a new company he was starting. It was a standard audition notice. I’ve never been too keen on auditioning. In fact, I hate it most times but I was pretty excited about this one since I’ve worked with this man before. I felt fairly confident in it. I prepared for a few weeks until it was merely a few days before the audition, when I came down with the WORST cold. The day of the audition eventually came, my cold never left, and I finally just determined that all I could do was my best, and hope it came out okay. Daniel and I went to the audition, waited with our other friends who were there, and eventually it was my turn. I went into the room, did my monologue, and waited for the accompanist to start my song (This was all being filmed by my professor, who stated it was for company purposes). However, the accompanist started playing something completely different from my song. I was so confused and thought maybe he was giving me some sort of wild introduction, when all of the sudden Daniel busted into the room and started singing to me (while another friend was filming him). I was mad at first and thought he was playing a somewhat cruel joke on me. Then I started to catch on. He was singing a song about how he was always the last one picked, until he met me. Meanwhile, as he is singing, tons of my friends start pouring into the room (ones who had been there for the “audition” and others who were hiding in the dressing room!) and setting up a house scene around us, complete with flats painted as a house, a white picket fence and a hose, a table and chairs with a tea set, and a mailbox that said the “Schmoos” on it (which is our signature name for each other). Finally the song ended, the lights went out, candles were lit and a video started with all of our favorite songs intermixed with interviews from friends who could and couldn’t be there, answering the question”If you could summarize our relationship in one word, what would it be and why?” It was also mixed in with places where Daniel and I had significant occasions in our relationship, with Daniel narrating our time together. At last the movie ended, and on the screen it said, “Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve, and GRACE is getting what you don’t deserve.” It’s safe to say that I’m weeping at this point. Daniel stood me up and walked me over to the Schmoo mailbox and told me that he’d been lying to me. That this wasn’t a real audition and that Butler (our former professor) didn’t have a part for me, but that HE had a role for me as fiancé and future wife. He took my ring out of the mailbox and proposed to me! I said yes of course! Afterward, we went to a friend’s house with all of the friends who were in on the surprise and had a great engagement party. (See their engagement videos here, here and here!)
In what month did you get married?
How many guests attended your wedding?
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We decided against a first look. We wanted the first time we saw each other that day to be when I was walking down the aisle toward him. We ended up seeing each other while we were all getting the venue ready anyway, but I scurried away as quickly as I could! I wanted that ridiculous, exciting, crazy-giddy magic moment where all of our friends and family got to witness our reactions to one another as we saw each other for the “first” time on our wedding day.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?
We both agree that our biggest challenge we had to overcome and eventually laugh about was our guest list struggle! As hard as it is to pick people to invite without hopefully offending others, on top of that we had to deal with people inviting themselves!! I’m sure that people don’t intend to be rude, but I don’t think they fully think about what they’re doing either. There’s no better way to learn these things than to live through them yourself. Suffice to say, I will never forget to RSVP to a wedding again!
What range did your wedding budget fall into?
Less than $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on?
Definitely the dress. I had initially bought it used to save us some money, being that our budget was so tight. However, when I received it, all of the petals on the dress (that I love so much!) had been drastically altered, which was really disappointing. I took it to my seamstress to see if she could alter it. She told me that the amount of altering it would take to have it look like the original would cost me just as much as if I had bought the dress new. Upon hearing that, I shipped the used one back, sucked it up, and splurged on the dress. I’m going to resell it now, so it’s a win-win! And of course we are happy that we splurged on the photography. Everyone tells you that it is an absolute must, and they are correct. Photos are the only keepsakes that you get to hold onto after your big day, so they might as well be beautiful!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?
The sky is the limit as far as our plans go. We aren’t tied down to anything right now. I think that one thing we’re most looking forward to is finally finishing moving into our apartment together! We’ve come quite a long way, but there are still a few boxes here and there. On a more serious note, I’d say that we are most looking forward to just getting to live our everyday lives together and making our decisions for ourselves. It is so nice knowing that you get to live with your favorite person who you love most for the rest of your life.