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It has been such a delight having Meg, our spring intern, with us this semester! Since her time in our office is wrapping up, we couldn’t resist asking her to introduce y’all to one of our beautiful real wedding features! – Lisa

You know a couple is a special when an entire street shuts down to celebrate their big day! McKara and Brandon paid homage to their beloved downtown Lakeland in the best way possible–by using its streets as the venue for their reception! Ashton Events, one of our super talented Blue Ribbon Vendors, transformed N. Kentucky Avenue and Pine Street using the most darling and whimsical vintage details (I’m still swooning over those antique floral teacups), while still keeping in mind McKara and Brandon’s main desire: to highlight the strong sense of community that Lakeland has to offer. Guests enjoyed a yummy meal seated at gorgeous, community-style farmhouse tables, and the night ended with the couple inviting folks walking by to join in on the fun. How beautiful is that? McKara and Brandon really captured the sweet essence of community while fusing it with their own quirky and vintage taste. I’m completely tickled with this fun couple and their big day…and I think y’all will be, too!

Thank you, Esther Louise Photography, for sharing this wonderful day with us!

I had my heart set on a peach-hued gown. After looking in boutiques in Florida, I found that none of the bridal shops stocked dresses in the peachy/pink hues I had in mind. I wanted to try on the dress in the color I would be wearing, so a trip to New York City was set up. My mom and my best friend/maid of honor flew up to Manhattan with appointments set at several boutiques who had confirmed they had peach dresses in stock for me to try on. Our first stop was Kleinfeld’s. I really did not have high hopes for finding my dress at Kleinfeld’s because I had my eye on a Carol Hannah dress that I was sure was the one. But, I figured since Kleinfeld’s had the largest selection of peach dresses in stock, it would be worthwhile. Upon arriving, we were extremely impressed with the customer service. Our consultant, Judy, was helpful and attentive. She brought me a brand new style from Lazaro in a peony color–it was just in and had not even been tried on by anyone before. Judy pulled me into the dress and it was beautiful. The peony color was made from alternating layers of ivory, pale yellow, and pale pink tulle created a variation of peach hues within the skirt. The strapless sweetheart neckline was wrapped in delicate peach Chantilly lace with a little peplum over the mountain of tulle. I felt like a cupcake in the best possible way–the softest, peachiest, prettiest cupcake. But, that Carol Hannah dress was still in my mind, which Judy knew. My mom, MOH, and I toured a few more boutiques–Lovely, Reem Acra, and then finally, Carol Hannah. As I slipped into “the dress” I had been dreaming of, I waited for the feeling to know this is the one. Carol was on-site and came out to talk with me as I tried it on. As I evaluated the dress and discussed tweaks with Carol, my mom pointed out that all the changes I was asking for were to make the dress look like the Lazaro dress. She was right. I wanted the Carol Hannah gown to be the one so badly, but I had left my dress at Kleinfeld’s with Judy. The next morning, we returned to Kleinfeld’s. The sales manager saw us in the waiting area and said, “I was just talking about you during the sales meeting this meeting. I told the consultants that not every bride comes in here with red hair, wants a peach dress, and finds the perfect gown. I knew you would come back.”

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Brandon and I wrote our ceremony together, with input from our officiant–a local community member/friend we admire. We opted to write vows we would both say together versus separate vows we would make to each other. Our completed vows are a very accurate description of the nature of our relationship. This line, in particular, really speaks to our relationship: “I vow to take on anything this world sends our way, standing back to back with you, the one I love most.” I’ve always felt a good visual of our relationship is similar to a movie where two superhero partners are standing back-to-back, with threats coming at them from every direction. We’re not focused on the same thing all of the time, and we may not see what the other sees, but at the end of the day, I feel Brandon behind me and he’s got my back. I can count on that every minute, which allows me to trust him, tackle whatever is thrown at me, jump at opportunities that arise, and always know he will be there if I turn around.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We really credit the time we spent while creating my engagement ring before we were engaged as the most concentrated time we spent focusing on the idea of marriage. We discussed a lot about what we wanted from the relationship, what a successful marriage looked like to each of us, and made the choice together to move forward. Although Brandon traditionally “asked” me to marry him during the proposal, it was really a joint decision we made prior to that day.

The ceremony venue, The Loggia at Lake Mirror, is one of our favorite places in Lakeland. The 1920’s architecture overlooking the beautiful lake are right in line with our style. When discussing a ceremony venue, Brandon and I both instantly agreed about The Loggia. We wanted to be outdoors and this was the ideal venue. For the reception, we went a little outside of the box. We knew our guest list could be a little on the heavy side, eliminating most venues of our taste in the Lakeland area. We didn’t want to have to cut guests to accommodate the venue restrictions. One Saturday, while walking through the Farmer’s Market, I asked Brandon, “Why can’t we just have our reception here?” in a wishful thinking kind of way. Brandon thought about it and said, “I bet we could get the city to close the streets for us if they do for the Farmer’s Market.” From there, the ball began to roll. Our hearts were set on the streets of downtown as our reception venue. We approached the City of Lakeland for a road closure request. They had never been asked to hold a private party in the streets and were a little on the unsure side at first. From there, our wedding coordinator, Laura with Ashton Events, worked through all the red tape and permits. The finished reception result was completely worth it. For a fee at a fraction of the cost of a ballroom at a hotel, we were able to close three blocks of downtown Lakeland for our cocktail hour and reception. Cafe lights were strung between the buildings lining the street, feasting tables were brought in for a family-style BBQ dinner on vintage china, the coffee shop we frequent most mornings stayed open late to provide coffee and tea, we created a dance floor in the middle of an intersection, and our favorite wine bar around the corner hosted the after party. Ashton Events was instrumental in coordinating all the moving pieces of the party. It would have never been possible without Laura and her team.

With the venues that we chose, we had a lot of design elements to pull in to fill the space. We essentially started with a blank canvas. For the ceremony, we used a greenery garland at the top of the aisle and vintage wood crates and boxes filled with airy baby’s breath, which I loved as a fun, ethereal filler. Both components were repurposed at the reception in the lounge area. For my bouquet, I carried a hand-tied bouquet with a variety of peach, ivory, and pale pink blooms, lots of greenery, and a few scabiosa pods. Each of the bridesmaid’s bouquets was comprised entirely of one kind of bloom that was represented in my bouquet. This, to me, represented how each of the ‘maids was a different part and sector of my life, but how they all helped make it beautiful. On each of the bouquets, I selected a variety of textiles like velvet ribbon, silk strips, and fuzzy yarns to create a streamer/tassel look hanging from the blooms. For the centerpieces, we used a variety of vintage vases and vessels with springs and sprays of various peach, cream, and pale pink blossoms with lots of greenery and some scabiosa pods.

Our date has special significance because both Brandon’s parents and my parents were married on the same date. We incorporated this into our save the dates by having both sets of parents in the photo. We stood in front of our ceremony location at The Loggia and each couple held a sign with their wedding date, mine and Brandon’s reading October 10, 2014. We wanted guests to know the significance from the get-go, and this was a fun, visual way to share that. At the wedding, we surprised our parents with a little tribute to their anniversaries. Our cake table showcased five smaller cakes rather than one large cake. When it was time to cut the cake, we had displayed both sets of parents’ cake toppers on two of the cakes on the table, in addition to our cake with our own topper. We asked our parents to join us and we all took turns cutting our cakes. They were surprised and touched by the sentiment.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We elected for five smaller cakes instead of one large cake. This allowed us to select a few different flavors and create a display that included our parent’s wedding cake toppers for their anniversaries. We (and I really mean Brandon, because this was his favorite meeting of the whole wedding planning process) chose a pink champagne cake with a whipped icing as our center cake, which was layered with fresh strawberries. Strawberries are heavily grown in the local area, so this was a nice way to incorporate a little bit more of our city into the wedding. Two of the smaller cakes were orange citrus cake with cream cheese icing–again, a nod to the large citrus industry of our city. The final two small cakes were chocolate with vanilla icing (my personal favorite when it comes to classic flavors). We used five different vintage cake plates to create a display for the beautiful cakes. Each cake was decorated differently, utilizing watercolor painting on a very thin outer layer of fondant, a rustic icing with a sugar bloom, or an application of gold foil. Our main cake that Brandon and I cut featured adorable little ivory china swans with gold foil details from BHLDN. Swans are a big part of the Lakeland community, serving as the symbol of the city, so this was one more tie in to our community.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That Brandon and I were able to enjoy every single moment. I’ve always heard that your wedding day flies by–you blink and it’s over. I’m not a relaxed personality type, but the day of our wedding, we both were so laid back. We were able to savor every moment and every memory. That is my favorite part–that I am able to relive the whole day in my head and remember being 100% present for those moments, not only through the beautiful photos and video. I credit this to having such a solid conductor of events at the helm with Laura from Ashton Events. We could relax because we knew it was all taken care of and every piece was being executed as planned.

Don’t miss McKara and Brandon’s wedding film by White in Revery!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our freshman year at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. We were both involved in sorority/fraternity life and were serving on Greek Council together. Brandon hardly spoke–he’s the quiet, shy type. I eventually transferred to finish my degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our senior year of college, we reconnected through a Facebook status I commented on. We started private messaging and the conversation continued for three months while I finished an internship in England. Brandon had promised to cook me dinner and show me all these great new places in Jacksonville that had popped up since I left–so when I returned stateside, I made a visit to Jacksonville to “visit friends,” testing if Brandon would follow through. He did. He nervously cooked me dinner with the scarce ingredients in his downtown loft and we watched SNL skits all night. The next day, we went to the beach and he pulled me into the ocean…fully dressed. From there, we took visits back and forth between Jacksonville and Tampa until our graduation the following semester.
Tell us all about the proposal! Being that I’m in the design industry (and a Class A control freak), I’m extremely particular about, well, just about everything. When Brandon brought up the idea of marriage, the conversation naturally led to him asking about the type of ring I would like. Together, we spent about seven months sourcing the center stone (a peach seven-karat Morganite) and locating a local jeweler willing to create a custom ring. This was a very enjoyable time in our relationship–it eased us into the concept of marriage and moved us towards the future together. Finally, on August 11, 2012, I stated to Brandon that “I wasn’t going to spend the next however long on pins and needles, trying to look my cutest all the time just waiting for him to propose.” With his sheepish smile, Brandon told me “Well, just look cute today.” I didn’t get the hint and continued to playfully badger him. We went down to the Farmer’s Market, like we do every Saturday, but then Brandon split off, saying he had to drop something off and he’d catch up with me–knowing I’d head to one of our favorite vintage treasure haunts, The Black Swan Bazaar. After browsing, I was ready to move to the next shop, but one of the owners kept pulling me around the store to show me new inventory. Finally, Brandon showed at the entrance of the store. As I turned to head out, I was pulled one more time by the shop keeper who said, “Oh, have you seen one of these before?” as she touched the top of a cut-glass candy dish. I was thinking “Duh, lady, it’s a candy dish…” as she lifted the lid. Mid-thought, I saw a glimpse of the ring Brandon and I had been working on, inside the candy dish in a little box. I turned to look at Brandon and found him on one knee. Brandon muttered somethings which I don’t think my brain even heard because I was completely caught off-guard. We celebrated for a few minutes with the owners and shoppers at The Black Swan before Brandon informed me that his parents were at my parents’ house for a little celebration brunch.
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The rental fees for the venues were very low. The Loggia was about $750 for the ceremony and closing the streets cost about $250. The streets were a blank canvas, so we had to bring in all the tables, linens, chairs, etc., but we had carte blanche on which vendors to use. We created custom packages with our photographers and videographers to met our needs. The packages they had were either a little under what we were wanting or a little over, so we asked for a personalized package. Typically we would have had to pay extra for things we didn’t want/need, but our vendors were super great and worked with us to meet our needs, which saved us money. For the centerpieces, my mom and I hunted and collected vintage vessels for the two years Brandon and I were engaged. We were able to find most pieces for $1-3 at thrift stores, garage sales, or antique shops. This saved on the cost of the rental, and we were also able to resell the items after the wedding to recoup the cost.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding coordinator! Hands down, it will be the best money you spend on the wedding. Don’t skimp on the hands to do the work that you plan! A lot of time, coordinators can help save you money through vendor relationships they’ve built.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we found out a month after the wedding that we were expecting a baby. So we’re now enjoying the whirlwind experience of becoming parents to a baby boy! We’re looking forward to seeing where the next couple of years take us with my business, Brandon’s career, and watching our son, Rex, grow up in a city we love.

Photographer: Esther Louise Photography | Videographer: White in Revery | Planner: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: City of Lakeland’s Loggia | Reception Venue: Downtown Lakeland, N. Kentucky Ave & Pine Street | Florist: FH Weddings | Cake Baker: Hands On Sweets | Caterer: Hickory Hollow BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Tampa Lights | Band: Brian Sutherland Band | DJ: Cory Baron | China: Dishie Rentals | Paper Products: Boutique Greek | Bride’s Gown: “Style 3300” in Peony by Lazaro | Bride’s Accessories: Lazaro, Carolee, and Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Michelle Renee The Studio | Bride’s Shoes: Cynthia Rowley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress” by Badgley Mischka | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse, JoS. A. Bank, The Tie Bar, and Johnston Murphy | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs: Signature Event Rentals | Bartenders: Tucker’s Southside Liquor & Package | Coffee and Tea: Mitchell’s Coffee House | Vintage Cars: MJC Classic Cars | After-Party Location: Tony’s Studio B | Photo Booth: Bash Booth

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by admin
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While details and decor can help set the tone for your wedding day, nothing quite compares to the venue. There is not just the location to consider, but amenities, occupancy, and so much more. Like my husband and I when we were wedding planning, Catye and Trey found choosing the right fit for their reception to be a bit of a challenge. However, after just seeing renderings of The Carriage House, they knew it was the place for them to celebrate their marriage! I think they were absolutely right in their choice–the lovely Carriage House was the perfect backdrop for a romantic celebration filled with friends, family, and absolutely beautiful blooms from Without Wax, Katy.

Thanks to Mustard Seed Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!

I always envisioned myself in something more form-fitting and lace, but, to my surprise, I ended up with a Jim Hjelm dress that was somewhat voluminous and not at all what I had expected. The second I stepped into it, I knew it was the dress for me. I just felt like such a bride and could not imagine walking down the aisle in anything else. I also had a Watters dress for the reception. I had seen the Watters Santina dress all over Pinterest and was dreaming about it, but wasn’t quite sure if it was right for my wedding. When I was trying on dresses at Town and Country in New Orleans, I saw that they had the Watters gown and I just had to try it on! The second it was on my body, I knew that I had to fit it somewhere into my big day, so I decided to wear it to the reception as a lighter and more flowy option. It ended up being so comfortable to dance in and a perfect fit for our wedding day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but chose to keep with the traditional vows. We chose instead to include our personal touch with the songs we chose and readings we had.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The worship band from our church, which is made up of a bunch of our friends, played the music at our ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful! The song that they played as I walked down the aisle, “Beloved” by Tenth Avenue North, actually brought me to tears. Such a beautiful song that was made even more lovely by their talented voices.

The main reading of our wedding was an excerpt from Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz.” It read, “I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me. I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again. God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose the ceremony venue (The Woodlands United Methodist Church) because we belong to a Methodist church in the area; however, we currently have services out of an elementary school. By using another local Methodist church, we were able to have our church pastor marry us. When it came to the venue, we had a very difficult time finding the right one. I went into the process knowing I wanted something a little more rustic, but nothing I found seemed to be the right fit. After what seemed like months of looking (but was probably only a week or two), I stumbled across The Carriage House. It was not even open yet, but the renderings made it look absolutely beautiful. The second I saw it, I could envision exactly what our wedding would look like. It definitely felt right.

We chose to go with farmhouse tables at our reception, and combined with the cross back chairs and beautiful floral arrangements, they brought out the beautiful Southern charm of our farmhouse venue. We also served hibiscus lemonade and tea at our cocktail hour, which ended up being the perfect refreshments for a hot August day in Texas.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Allie Ruth of Allie Ruth Designs. We originally hired her just to do our invitations (which were absolutely stunning!), but she ended up designing many of the elements that became an integral part of our wedding, including napkins and signs. One of my favorite elements of the wedding that Allie helped with was the design of the menus. Our planner found some beautiful dip-dyed blush napkins and then Allie designed a menu stamp that we were able to actually stamp directly onto the napkins. All of Allie’s design pulled our wedding together beautifully and made everything feel cohesive.

The dessert table was everything I could have imagined and more! I was so lucky that Jennifer (my wedding planner) pointed me in the direction of Kristina Guilbeau of Buttercup Bakery. She designs and makes the most gorgeous cakes. We ended up going with three smaller cakes instead of one large wedding cake. Our main cake ended up being a banana cake with peanut butter mousse and a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. So delicious! On the two smaller cakes, we went with one traditional white cake with fruit and then a chocolate cake with espresso mousse. We figured that with all the options, everyone would be happy! In addition to the cakes, we decided to give our guests a variety of pies to choose from. Kristina made us a beautiful spread of mini pies in an assortment of flavors. I honestly believe that the pies were Trey’s absolute favorite part of the evening. The dessert table in general was one of the most beautiful elements of the wedding.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Trey and I planned for our marriage in multiple ways. First, we went through premarital counseling with the pastor of our church, covering a variety of tough topics that he believed were important to discuss before marriage. We also chose to work our way through a marriage book before the wedding. This book helped us to talk about a variety of topics that we had never talked about before and start thinking more about what married life would look like for us.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Trey and I met at a CrossFit gym called CrossFit Town Center. I had been going to the gym for a few months when in walked this handsome man. I was immediately drawn to his smile and sense of humor. I knew he was the one for me! After a few months of hanging out as friends, Trey finally worked up the courage to ask me out on a date (while we were running a cool down lap at the gym, no less). The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Two weeks before the proposal, Trey suggested that we go out to dinner at our favorite restaurant for a fun night out. Trey seemed a little off throughout dinner, but I didn’t think anything of it. After dinner, he told me that we needed to stop at our CrossFit gym to lock up. When we walked into the gym, I saw that candles were lit and there were roses everywhere. There was also a slideshow playing of all of our memories together. I couldn’t tell you what was said, but I know it was a magical moment. After the proposal, we headed to a nearby bar and I was shocked to see all of our closest friends and family gathered to celebrate. It was truly a beautiful evening!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 280
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We chose not to do a first look. Both of us had always imagined that the first time we saw each other would be the second the church doors opened. We were very happy with our decision to keep with tradition in this regard.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It is easy to say this now, but truly don’t sweat the small stuff, and always stay focused on the end goal: to marry the love of your life. I have seen so many brides get caught up in trivial things and it ends up putting a strain on their relationship. Focus on the end goal and everything else seems to pale in comparison.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We already took the next big step of buying a house together, and now, we are looking forward to our one-year anniversary that we are going to be spending together in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. All three of these places are places we have never been, so we are excited to travel and experience them together.

Photographer: Mustard Seed Photography | Videographer: 31 Films | Planner: Jennifer Laura Design | Ceremony Venue: The Woodlands United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: The Carriage House | Florist: Without Wax Katy | Cake and Dessert Baker: Buttercup Bakery | Caterer: Rosemary’s Catering | Rentals: POSH Couture Rentals | Band: Royal Dukes Band | Paper Products: Allie Ruth Design | Bride’s Gowns: Jim Hjelm and “Santina” by Watters | Bride’s Hair Accessories: Twigs and Honey | Hair Stylist: Salon Bugatti | Makeup Artist: Jennifer Aronson Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos A. Bank and The Tie Bar

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    So sweet and charming! Love the bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Southern Peach Summer Wedding Palette | Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photo by Mustard Seed Photography, Floral Design by Without Wax Katy, Bridesmaid Dresses by Jenny Yoo via Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar Amanda Purvis reply

    I can’t seem to find a website for Allie Ruth Designs or any contact information for her. Can you share more details?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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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
2 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!

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