From the Bride:
How We Met: I was in New Orleans for the weekend celebrating my friend’s (and bridesmaid!) 30th birthday. John had just returned to the US, after living abroad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to spend time with family on the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain. My first night in New Orleans, I ended up on Bourbon St. at Razzoo’s patio Bar. John & his friend made the drive into the city that night too, and found themselves at Razzoo. By the end of the night, John & I had learned much about each other and spent the rest of the weekend talking/texting and meeting up when we could. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good company when it was time to fly back to Tampa on Monday. John & I kept in touch every day for the next 2 weeks – until he surprised me on my birthday with his visit to Tampa! That weekend began our Bucs/Saints game-day tradition. He came to visit the next weekend too and by then, I was definitely a goner. We’d made a bet when the Gators played LSU earlier that month that whoever’s team lost, they would travel to visit the winner. Well, that year Florida lost and it was up to me to book a flight to visit John in Abita Springs, LA. By that time, it was obvious to me I’d travel pretty much anywhere to spend time with him. On November 12th, I boarded the plane and spent my first weekend in John’s hometown – and he told me of his plans to move to Tampa so we could be together. The rest, as they say, is history. John officially moved to Tampa that December and we celebrated the New Year as an official couple.
The Proposal: John’s built a very large and beautiful garden in our backyard – I’m talking twinkly lights and seating areas and even a small fountain! One random Friday, I came home from work and, as usual, found John outside in the yard. This time, he was firing up the grill for dinner. The night was balmy, darkness moved in, twinkly lights kicked on, and I brought us out a few drinks. Most days I take a walk around the garden when I come home to see what’s new or what’s fruiting, etc – mostly just appreciating all the work John puts into it. This day was no different, but as I walked around, he beckoned me over to one of the benches. Pointing out the Bleeding Heart blooms that had just emerged, John took the drink from my hand and told me go check out something new over in another section of the garden. This was also typical, as there’s always some new plant or decoration he’s picked up. What I was NOT expecting to see however, was my engagement ring in an opened box, nestled among the lush tomato plants, sparkling under the lights! I stopped dead in my tracks, completely speechless and turned around. John was there. He proposed, I cried, and said ‘Of Course!’
Your Vision: I will credit the overall vision for our wedding to John. He’s the more stylish/fashionable/laid back of the two of us. We were going for a mix between loungy cocktail party style and a chic garden party. We wanted our wedding to reflect us and our laid back entertaining style, with the modern touches we incorporate into our personal style. Neither of us envisioned a formal wedding with all the trimmings so it was an easy decision to make. We planned for an afternoon wedding. The color scheme was also a no-brainer for me – although at the time, I hadn’t ever thought about it before. I suggested charcoal gray and burnt orange and John agreed immediately. Gray is hands-down my favorite color – it can be minimalistic & elegant, casual or formal.
How many guests? 107
Venue Details? Once we had a general idea of the style we envisioned, we hit our first major compromise – John wanted surfing, sun & sand while the idea of getting married on the beach wasn’t my ideal wedding! After talking it over, we decided to shoot for the best of both worlds. We searched for rental houses on the beach that could also host a party. We also wanted our families to be able to stay in the house with us for the week of the wedding, so the property had to be pretty big. Luckily, I found a stunning house on Melbourne Beach, FL, with enough bedrooms for both families, and a gigantic backyard overlooking the ocean to hold our wedding. It couldn’t have been more perfect for us!
Ceremony Details: We held the ceremony on one side of the yard instead of on the sand, like most would do. The groom and wedding party mingled with our guests before the ceremony as I finished preparing. On cue from a song on our playlist, the wedding party lined up to create the ‘aisle’ for my father and I to walk through on the way to meet my groom. They followed us to take their places on either side. My uncle is a minister and performed the ceremony for us. We crafted the entire ceremony with him, and it meant so much to us to have family we loved up there while we made our vows to each other. We chose to omit parts of the ceremony that didn’t hold a lot of meaning for us, and concentrate on what we felt was important. We did not have any readings or a candle/sand ceremony, but we did choose to write our own vows.
Flower Details: I knew our venue, with the sea oats and sea grapes and Atlantic Ocean as backdrop didn’t need ornate flowers as decoration. I also loved the complete simplicity of bunched white baby’s breath (both in aesthetics & durability) so that decision was easy for me to make. I ordered bulk baby’s breath and all the girls staying the house put together centerpieces and bouquets before the wedding. I will say, I’m very lucky in that one of my new sisters-in-law is a florist and helped to make them all completely gorgeous! We also added fresh rosemary from John & my home garden for accents. The centerpiece and decoration arrangements were an assortment of bronze lanterns stuffed with baby’s breath, large vases, and small bud vases, along with painted mini pumpkins.
Wedding Cake Inspiration: Again, we were going for elegant simplicity. I’m a very left-brained engineer and love clean (straight) lines. John’s way more creative and incorporated curves and warmth everywhere, while still embracing negative space. So, we found a cake design on Pinterest we liked as a starting place. We made the smooth white cake round instead of square (John’s input) and I really loved the parallel lines formed by the gray ribbon around each tier. The only other decoration was the topper we made together – an orange “J2” – the perfect nod to my nerdiness.
Favors for Guests: With John being a professional chef, vegetable farmer, and avid home gardener, and our natural make-it-yourself lifestyle, we knew immediately our wedding favors would have to be 2 things: homemade and food-related. We settled on rosemary-infused olive oil. We infused organic olive oil with rosemary from our garden at home for a length of time before creating the favors – with a lot of help from my amazing bridal party! Each guest took home a 2-oz bottle of oil with a sprig of rosemary in it. They were corked, dipped in white sealing wax, and stamped with a “C”. Each bottle had a sticker with the wedding monogram I designed including our names and wedding date.
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Photographer: Horn Photography and Design