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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

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    I absolutely love this wedding, having grown up with so many sweet memories surrounding a campground or park, I love that they keep the essence of that here, keeping things simple and elegant – just perfect.

  2. avatar Dana reply

    that twirling pic and first dance one…so presh!

  3. avatar Destination Wedding Planning in Ocala / Marion County reply

    […] state, Doe Lake Campground has become a favorite amongst lovebirds seeking a fairytale-inspired yet eclectic wedding celebration, complete with panoramic lake views and massive oak canopies. Within the campground, you’ll also […]

  4. avatar Destination Wedding Planning in Ocala / Marion County reply

    […] state, Doe Lake Campground has become a favorite amongst lovebirds seeking a fairytale-inspired yet eclectic wedding celebration, complete with panoramic lake views and massive oak canopies. Within the campground, you’ll also […]

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Y’all know we absolutely love when couples incorporate meaningful details into their celebrations. We also love when those details are deeply rooted in Southern culture! Jen and Alan’s beautiful day wasn’t lacking of either, from the big oak tress adorned with heaps of Spanish moss, to one of Jen’s favorites, the magnolia garland. Jen and Alan even served boiled peanuts at their cocktail hour as a nod to a road trip when Jen had introduced Alan to the yumminess of this roadside treat! What could easily be passed over as just another fun detail to check off the list became something truly special. That’s what wedding details should be all about–taking the small things that hold meaning to you as a couple, and sharing them with the ones you love. Who knew something as simple as peanuts could become so memorable?

We’re so thankful to Blue Ribbon Vendor Michelle March for sharing this pretty day!

P.S. Fun fact: Michelle also shot my darling EK’s newborn session!

Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, Phillippi Estate Park in Sarasota, Florida. In spite of our 100+ guest list, we wanted an intimate outdoor wedding and a reception under a canopy of trees and lights. Although this venue typically rents out the gorgeous historic mansion located on the property, I happened to walk by a secluded, shaded area under a large oak tree adorned with heaps of Spanish moss. It was love at first sight. Unfortunately, the park’s event coordinator informed us that the spot I had fallen in love with was not part of the area available for events. We waited patiently and found out a few weeks later that for an extra fee, we would be able to incorporate this beautiful space into our ceremony. She mentioned that it might need some cleaning up because it was completely wild, overgrown, and natural but those were the exact qualities that initially drew me to the area!

Describe your wedding flowers. I had my heart set on a cascading bouquet with greenery spilling out of it. Choosing our flowers was probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of wedding planning for me. Mary was so generous with her time, sitting down and really listening to what I envisioned for our wedding. Our bridal bouquets consisted of tulips, ranunculus, roses, carnations, seeded eucalyptus, ivy, and sword fern. Our wedding flowers also included a whole lot of greenery and garlands. I’m a huge sucker for magnolia, which was at the top of my “want” list, but we simply couldn’t afford it. On our wedding day, Mary surprised us with a magnolia garland, which were hung throughout the ceremony and reception. I was absolutely stunned! It was the sweetest gesture and I can never thank her enough.

Alan’s most memorable moment about our wedding day was when he saw me walking towards him with my dad. He says he couldn’t take his eyes off me or stop smiling. Since he didn’t want to do a first look, Alan says this was one of the most special moments of the day to him! The recessional was also one of my most memorable moments from our wedding day. Turning around to see all of the smiling (and some crying) faces of our guests just made me feel so special and grateful to be entering our marriage with the support of an amazing community of family and friends, near and far.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Throughout the engagement (and let’s be honest, we could probably go back a few months before the proposal), I found myself inspired by soft, flowing fabric and light hints of texture. I knew that the vision I had for my dress did not fit the mold of your traditional/classic wedding dress, so the thought of walking into multiple bridal salons seemed incredibly intimidating at the time. Luckily for me, I found my wedding dress buried in the clearance of all clearance sections at Macy’s. Can you believe it?! Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a simple, nude, floor-length gown poking out amidst the rows of disheveled hangers, and decided to try it on. It couldn’t hurt, right? I honestly didn’t love my dress right away, at least not in its original form. Instead, I had a pretty clear vision of what the dress could look like for our wedding day, so I went with it. I worked with an amazingly talented seamstress who specializes in bridal wear. We met several times and discussed various fit and design modifications. She managed to transform my clearance Macy’s dress into a one-of-a-kind, straight-out-of-my imagination wedding dress!

We included quite a few Southern details in our celebration, especially in the food we served. We loved the idea of barbecue and family-style dining, so we had several banquet tables pushed together to create long rows of tables for our guests. A few summers ago, Alan and I went on our first road trip together to Savannah, Georgia and Beaufort, South Carolina. On our way up there, we stopped at a boiled peanut stand, because he had never actually tried them before! We love making each other try new things, especially if it’s something we really love, and boiled peanuts are my favorite. Alan was pretty hesitant at first, but when I woke up from my nap, I noticed he had eaten the entire bag! Naturally, boiled peanuts (both regular and Cajun) made an appearance on our cocktail hour menu, served in small gold scalloped cups. I’m pretty sure I stole at least one cup before the introductions! We also served local honey from Pure Florida Apiary to go with the biscuits and jam for our cocktail hour. Our wedding favors were mini pies in various flavors, which we boxed individually the day before.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? While most people rent items like tablecloths and napkins for their reception, we decided to purchase instead, because we were able to buy them at a lower cost than it was to rent them. Our napkins were actually tea towels from Ikea, so we now have a lifetime supply of tea towels for our kitchen, our kids’ kitchens, and our grandkids’ kitchens! The table we used to display the wine and bread for communion, as well as our welcome table, are both mine from home. We tried our best to be creative and resourceful with the ways we cut costs at our wedding!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Lots of prayer, reading, and conversation about everything we could possibly anticipate. I don’t think anyone ever feels 100 percent prepared for marriage, and we realized that there are going to be circumstances that we won’t be able to plan for or anticipate. Our understanding of marriage is that we must always seek each other for support and accountability, and whether it is a time of growing or harvesting, lean on the Lord throughout all seasons of our life together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Alan and I met about five years ago when we both lived in Boston. We were introduced by one of my closest friends at her housewarming party. I was moving back home to Florida in just a couple months to start graduate school, so timing wasn’t quite on our side. We went on a few dates and kept in touch when I left, but neither of us wanted to admit our feelings for each other, especially since we now lived over a thousand miles away. Being brave with your feelings can be so scary! We didn’t see each other again until the following year when I spent a long weekend back in Boston. I remember feeling so nervous the night of a party because I knew Alan was going to be there. I changed outfits about a million times, and when I finally saw him, I couldn’t stop smiling. This night will always be close to my heart. We climbed through a window, sat on the roof, and just talked and laughed until we cried. I can remember that sweet and comforting awareness that I had finally met my person. I felt content in his presence and so full of gratitude to be right where I was.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was a Sunday afternoon and I had just gotten off work from the hospital. Clearly, I had no idea a proposal was in store for me because when he arrived at my doorstep that evening, I welcomed him in all of my hospital-clad glory: scrubs and sneakers with my hair in a tangled mess. Little did I know, he had just spent the afternoon hanging out with my dad, asking for his blessing, and preparing for the night! Instead of letting me get my way (which would have meant a night in with take-out and a movie), he politely asked me to get ready and reasoned that this might be our only chance for a date night anytime soon, since at the time, we worked completely opposite schedules. Before I had a chance to turn towards my room, Alan grabbed both of my hands with the biggest smile on his face and… just stood there. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow. What a weirdo.” After several seconds of seemingly innocent, but sort of creepy, smiling and hand holding, my thoughts slowly caught on to what was going on and progressed to “No way. This must be a joke!” No one loves a good practical joke as much Alan does, so I couldn’t tell if this was one of them until he got down on one knee with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen in my entire life. I’m pretty sure I blurted out “yes” before he had a chance to finish proposing! We spent the evening celebrating with my parents at the same restaurant that catered our barbecue dinner for our wedding. It was perfect. I still can’t believe he chose me.
When did y’all get married? February 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 150
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Since some of our wedding details were nontraditional, we decided to stick to the traditional vows. It really calmed our nerves knowing that most people can’t mess up saying “I do!”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? For our ceremony, a close friend, who was also my bible study leader in college, read a few lines from Ann Voskamp’s “The Bravest and Most Beautiful Love Affair.” When I first came across this passage a few years ago, I was completely captivated by her depiction of marriage as a covenant between two people and the Lord: “This is an epic, everyday love story, one written with years and skin and the rings. My grandmother lived with true courage, the kind that made a vow and had the bravery to let it age. How she said that the bravest love is wildly faithful and it falls hard again every morning. How it puts the toilet seat down and the cap on the toothpaste and winks for those already-won eyes. It knows what we may seek may be found in what we already have. And there can always be this–the allure of vows. It’s grace and fresh gratitude that can make us strong enough to marvel in the seeming monotony of anything. And the happily married have eyes that look long enough to make the familiar new. There’s this beautiful drama’s in a long faithfulness and aged love might be heroic. God knows the passion of a covenant.” Our officiant, whom I’ve known for a long time as well, also read from Ephesians 4. It’s such an all-encompassing reminder of how we should treat each other, especially as husband and wife.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was two-tiered with a cookie butter-flavored base, a nutella-flavored top, and ivory buttercream ruffles all over. Since Alan typically prefers pie over cake, we also ordered several types of pies: blueberry goat cheese, caramel apple crumble, deep dish chocolate cookie, and bourbon pecan fudge ganache. We ordered our cake and pies from the Short Giraffe, a boutique bakery in Sarasota. We were very excited to share one of our local favorites with our family and friends, especially those who traveled to Florida.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Well, right now, we are responding to this from our honeymoon in Paris! I received Michelle’s email sharing this amazing news the night before our flight, so I was just too excited and couldn’t wait to respond! We decided to take our honeymoon a couple of months after the wedding to give us some time to rest and save up. Of course, starting our own little family is also on the radar. Our prayer is that in His timing, we experience the joys of adoption in the not-so-distant future. This would be a dream (prayer) come true!

Photographer: Michelle March Photography / Planner: Kelsey Peduzzi / Venue: Phillippi Estate Park / Florist: Flowers and Designs by Mary / Cake Baker: The Short Giraffe / Caterer: Sonny’s BBQ / Rentals: Rent All City / Lighting: Marcus Peduzzi / DJ: Fairy Tale Productions / Special Details: Shannon Kirsten / Paper Products: Charley Whiskey Lettering and Design / Bride’s Gown: Anne Klein / Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Beads Brooches Bridal / Hair Stylist: Ali Severson / Makeup Artist: Makeup Artistry by Corinne / Bride’s Shoes: French Connection / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Camilyn Beth / Menswear: J.Crew and Target

Michelle March is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Brandi Marie reply

    What a sweet and thoughtful wedding, and bride! I loved all her sentiments and words on marriage. You can truly see her heart and it’s as sweet as honey!

  2. avatar Mary reply

    Love that sweet proposal story that they used Ikea tea towels as napkins. Beautiful celebration! I’ll be praying for their adoption journey!

  3. avatar Tied the knot: Jen + Alan at Phillippi Estate Park – Michelle March – Wedding Photography and Films – US and Destination – Michelle March – Wedding Photography and Films – US and Destination reply

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