I don’t even know what to say about the wedding other than it was amazing! We were so very blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family members that helped to make this day possible. We had a team of bridesmaids, groomsmen and family that helped us set up the day before the wedding and also the day of, that made our lives super easy, and definitely made our wedding something spectacular.
We were super honored and blessed to be offered my engagement by Joey’s parents and aunts and uncles. It was Joey’s grandmother’s ring, and they found the setting in her safe the night she passed away. Because they knew we were close to engagement they brought us all of the settings in the safe, and offered for us to choose the one the felt the most like our style. It was hugely sentimental to both of us, and we knew exactly the one when we saw it. We were extra blessed when Joey’s mom generously offered us the original diamond that matched the setting! We are so in love with the ring, and were thrilled when we took it to our jeweler who specializes in estate jewelry, and had just the perfect match wedding band to go with the engagement ring. We knew then that it was meant to be and were thrilled and so in love with the set! And it means so much to me to have a little piece of his grandmother that we were so close to, to carry around with me every day.
Joey wanted something a little less traditional for his ring, he had been admiring the new tungsten styles for their indestructibility and unique appearance. I love how our photographers chose to photograph the rings, which is displayed in the photo below.
We wanted a real backyard garden party sort of theme for our wedding, and I feel that we were able to accomplish this pretty well. Ideally, I wanted an intimate affair in my parent’s backyard, but because we had so many special folks in our lives that we couldn’t imagine spending the day without, it quickly became apparent that we needed to move to a larger more accommodating venue. My mom selected The Retreat at Bradley’s Pond, which really was able to create our backyard feel, while also being more accommodating for a larger party. A fun fact about our venue is that we had actually booked the venue and the date 2 months before we were even engaged! We knew we wanted to get married in March of 2012, and had decided on the month and year early on while dating. So when we saw that their calendar was already booking in February of 2011 for March of 2012 we quickly snapped it up while we could. And I’m SO glad we did! The staff there were so wonderful, and I highly recommend them for anyone that is even considering using that venue.
We are blessed to have an amazing group of friends that we had to ask as the bridal party. This made the party a little larger than your average party, but Joey and I never seem to do anything the average way anyway. The bridesmaids were asked to wear simple garden floral sundresses of their choice. We really wanted our ladies to go with something they would be comfortable in and wear again and again!!
I knew in the back of my mind that this had the potential to be a disaster, especially whenever people would raise an eyebrow when they asked what color the bridesmaids would be wearing…and I won’t lie that I didn’t have a few moments of doubt somewhere in the middle of it all, but I’m so glad we stuck with it. I know that this was an untraditional choice, but I feel like it worked for our wedding and added a lot more interest to our bridal party. I love looking at the photos and really seeing the personalities reflected in the dresses.
The groomsmen we approached in a similar fashion, although we used a more simple approach for them to balance out the chaos of the bridesmaid dresses. We chose white dress shirts and khakis with black accents like shoes and belts. We knew this was something that virtually every one of them would have, and although there is a slight variance in the khaki color, it really doesn’t bother me. We wanted them all to wear ties, but searched all of our local department stores and we tried two different companies for the number of ties we needed and all ended up not working out due to low inventory. At the time we took this as a sign, but to do it all over I probably would have tried a little harder and started a little earlier to make this detail a little more important because the groomsmen’s attire did turn out a little more drab in comparison to the bridesmaids. Good thing they were all so dapper and handsome that it didn’t matter that much.
The DressI purchased my dress from David’s Bridal off the rack. We literally walked out of the store with it that day! I am a little bit cheap by nature and refused to spend thousands on the dress for practicality purposes. That being said, I was really dreading going dress shopping. I know most women dream about their wedding dress from the time they’re young, and I won’t lie and say that I haven’t, but I’ve gotten very practical in my old age, and somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to just wear a white sundress. I think it was around the same time I decided on the floral sundresses for the bridesmaids. But with renting a venue instead of my parent’s backyard, I decided maybe it was time to up the ante a little bit, and go with a real bridal gown. My qualifications were that it needed to be simple and flowy, and boy was I dreading going shopping. Finally, my mom and my maid of honor convinced me it was time to at least go try some on, and I begrudgingly agreed. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. David’s Bridal is what it is, they’re not known for their customer service, and my experience was pretty much the same as my expectations, but that works for me because I’m not really one to have someone doting after me and helping me into dresses. Joey asked me afterward if they gave me champagne and strawberries at my appointment, I laughed really hard when he said that.
But I didn’t hate any of the dresses I tried on, and I think I tried on 7 of them. Many of them were not the right dress, but I was pleasantly surprised at the number of options I had. But when I put on the dress, we all knew it was THE dress. And I’m happy to report that I don’t hate myself in the pictures, so I feel like that means it was a success. haha. It is important to note that I did not have David’s Bridal do the alterations, I have never had a good experience with that with past bridesmaid dresses, and it was the best decision. We used a local woman that specializes in bridal gown alterations, and does it right out of our home. She was fantastic, and I highly recommend her if you need any fancy dress alterations.
I had seen something on pinterest where someone had had their wedding date embroidered into the underlays of their dress with blue embroidery as their “something blue.” I though this was an adorable idea, and while I really wanted to do it, it was one of those details that kind of fell by the wayside once things really started getting close to the wedding. You can imagine my excitement when my mom surprised me one day with a little slip of lace that she had embroidered our wedding date on herself!! I never knew this was something she could do, and even more amazing was that the lace she had used was from her own wedding dress. We were able to get it sewn into my dress, and even though you couldn’t see it, it thrilled me that such a wonderful piece of my family history was attached to my dress. This completely blew me away, and I don’t even think she knows how much this meant to me!!
Our minister was the best!! His name was Andy, and we met him through our other friends Matt and Julia that had gotten married a few months before. He is a hospice chaplin and minister that does weddings on request. In a funny coincidence, he also married our friends Jeremy & Christi 5 years before. We loved that he had a history of marrying our friends, and we just seemed to have an instant connection with him. We asked him to do our pre-martial counseling, and that’s when we really fell in love with him. We loved getting to know him, and now we miss seeing him for our weekly “sessions”. We may have to start driving to his church in Monticello every now and then on Sundays just so we can get our Andy fix!
Our wedding was very detail oriented, which is why it was so crucial that our friends and family helped with the set up. My mom was instrumental in all of the details in the wedding, I have to give her major props for this! She put countless hours of creativity and work into it and I cannot thank her enough. I think it turned out beautifully.
Also, when I mention the details, I need to give a huge shout-out to my aunt Sheri who made some really special touches to our details and made it all go together very nicely! She worked really hard, and did an amazing job! Also, my girlfriend Celeste was amazing, and was really helpful at orchestrating everything that needed to happen that day, and really being our day-of coordinator! She has an amazing knack for wedding coordinating and I really think she needs to go into business one of these days!!
There are a couple of details that really stand out as favs for me, the first is our save the date. We had an idea to use our thumbprints as a heart, and I randomly found a designer on Etsy, and asked if she thought she could work with us to create something fun and original for our save the dates. The designer I used was Ellieoh Designs and I highly recommend her work. You can see the art here:Save the Date
And since we had a fingerprint theme going, it was only natural to go with the new style of guest registries, the fingerprint tree! I had been admiring them on Etsy for months, and I loved the idea of being able to hang it in our home as art, instead of just having a registry book buried in a box somewhere. Not long after stalking the different designs online and not really finding exactly THE design, I remembered that one of our very good friends, one of the groomsmen in fact, is an amazing artist, and I worked up the nerve to ask him if he would be willing to draw the tree for us. We were thrilled when he agreed, and I am SO in love with it. It turned out incredible, and it means so much more to us than anything we could have purchased from Etsy!
Our color scheme for the wedding was lemon and lime (with an accent of pink), and we tried to incorporate that as much as possible, which was tricky since we opted away from traditional bridesmaid and groomsmen attire which typically establishes the color scheme. One of my favorite, but also subtle ways we incorporated the theme was by using Meyer Lemon trees to decorate the alter for our ceremony site. Or at least what we thought were Meyer Lemon Trees, but that’s another story entirely. But I loved the uniqueness of using the trees instead of floral arrangements or ferns or something, and I loved the way my aunt Sheri added the burlap and ribbon to the pots. And now we have fruit trees! I like to jokingly refer to them as our love trees. That’s probably bad though because I have a notorious knack for plant killing, but I’m making an extra effort to keep our love trees alive. lol.
Hair & Makeup
I am extremely blessed to have Michael in my life. He’s known me since before I was born, and taught me everything I know about hair and makeup, from my days at his Makeup Sanctuary in Atlanta, and I will forever be thankful that he’s back in the Tallahassee area and still such a wonderful presence in my life. Our wedding date happened to coincide with Springtime Tallahassee, which is arguably one of the busiest days here in Tallahassee, and Michael’s salon just happens to be right in the middle of the action. Because it would be hard to get downtown the morning of the wedding (because of the parade), Michael suggested that we do hair/makeup at my parent’s house the morning of the wedding. I am so incredibly spoiled to have him available to travel for a home session, and to accompany us to the wedding venue for touch=ups. He is the reason I looked and felt gorgeous on my wedding day, and I absolutely recommend him to anyone looking for a stylist in the area-check out the team at Salon Oxygen for sure!!!
We joked for years that when we got married we’d do karaoke instead of a traditional DJ or band. Once it actually came time to hire entertainment, our friends held us to this promise. We thought it would be fun, and in theme with our non-traditional wedding. We even planned to sing a song to kick off the karaoke…however we didn’t have the foresight to actually practice this song. That was a MISTAKE. Haha. It ended up being a miserable rendition of Lucky by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat. Joey even gave up in the middle of the song and left me stranded to finish it out. It was bad. The worst karaoke I’ve ever done for sure, and in public, at my wedding. Haha. But what’s the best night of your life without a little public humiliation right?? I personally blame it on the fact that we sang immediately after the best man/maid of honor speech which were wonderful, and emotional , so my vocal chords were unprepared after all those happy tears. Excuses, excuses right? Now we hate that song. It makes me cringe to hear it even. But that’s ok, it’s a funny story to tell our kids right?
But our DJ was fantastic, Events by Eric, and he was really wonderful at not asking me a lot of questions. lol. We really didn’t want to think too much about the music other than the important things like our dances with mom and dad, and first dance. He took really great initiative and pieced together our personality to relate to the intermittent music between the karaoke. I highly recommend him, and he was actually referred to me by my maid of honor, Julia, who used him for an event for a non-profit she was a part of, in which he donated his time. So extra kudos to him!!
The food was catered by an old customer of Joey’s when he worked in banking. She has also become one of my favorite people in the world, and I really want to crash her Thanksgiving this year, I imagine it is the best Thanksgiving buffet that ever existed. She is a caterer, however she does not advertise, and is almost impossible to track down, it’s all through word of mouth and only people that she knows personally. I count myself thankful everyday that we were able to track her down. If I ever win the lottery I will beg her to cater at least one meal for every week of our lives.
We chose a southern buffet of fried chicken, grilled chicken and pulled pork with sides of mac n cheese, green beans, coleslaw and a mashed potato bar. This meal is very reflective of our pallets, both of us despise what we refer to as “fancy food.” So we wanted to keep the wedding food to simple and delicious comfort foods. And yes, it was an absolute carb fest.
The cakes were made by the Cake Shop which is a local bakery here in Tallahassee that is our absolute favorite. We went with the marshmallow peeps for the toppers because we had a bird theme that kind of happened. This is funny to those who know me well because I’m afraid of birds, especially large birds, but love the idea of birds. Something about nesting really just seemed to fit with where we are in life right now. And I have a passion for putting a bird on things, even though I’m terrified of them in real life. This is
best summed up by this video from Portlandia.
Another fun touch with the cake that you can’t see from the picture is the stand. We used a tree slice and carved our wedding date in it. No one would know it at the wedding but we love having it as a fun momento that we can display in our home.
We wanted something simplistic for the flowers, I wanted something that looked like we plucked it from a garden, and not something overly arranged. For this reason I decided that we would be able to DYI the bouquets and table arrangements. We ordered the flowers from Costco in bulk, which was great for the pocketbook, although still expensive from the sheer number of flowers we needed. However I know we saved a bundle by not using a florist. The problem with that means it was a last minute detail that I would have to put together, it’s not something we could really make ahead of time. Luckily, my aunt Janet came through in a pinch, and was amazing and did all of the bouquets and flowers, and really put my vision into play. It turned out even more gorgeous than I could have imagined. The bouquets were all wrapped in jute, for a natural look, and my bouquet also had a handkerchief that was handmade by a friend of my grandmother’s and given to my mom on her wedding day, and it was all held together by a broach that was my grandmother’s. I love that there were those pieces from my family history that were included as well.
I personally feel that photography was the most important aspect of the day. It’s the one thing that you can really walk away with and keep as something tangible. I knew this would be expensive, and I knew that I would be picky. I wanted something classic, but also more contemporary. I was recommended Jennifer Powell by an old co-worker of mine from TMH, and then when we bought our tablecloths on Craigslist, the woman that we bought them from also recommended Jennifer. So that night when I went home, I looked her up online and shot her an email. She got back to me rapidly, and told me that she had partnered up with another local photographer named Jenna Reichert for weddings, and their new wedding photography company was called J & J Weddings. The name alone sold us, but both of their styles were exactly what I was looking for. I forwarded her name to my best friend, and maid of honor who was also getting married and looking for a photographer at that time (she was getting married 5 months before us) and she booked them immediately. Shortly thereafter we booked them as well, and Julia’s wedding had the most beautiful pictures so we knew we had made the right choice. I recommend them a million times over!! They are super organized, and knowledgeable, which is wonderful since this is my first and (hopefully) last wedding, and they were really a wealth of knowledge and super patient with me. They also blend extremely well with the wedding, they don’t seem intrusive like some photographers do, they felt like someone we would be friends with, and really just blended in with our guests, and were immensely professional. We were also able to purchase a cd of all of the photos, and the rights to all of the photos (which is why I am able to post them on this site) which was invaluable itself. That and the fact that all of the pictures were gorgeous, all 1200 of them!!! We are so very thankful that they were available for our date, and appreciate them more than I can possibly say! They are worth every penny, and I hope they will document the rest of the big events in our lives from the wedding onward.
Overall, our wedding was one of the best days of our lives and we want to thank everyone that came, helped, and put their hard work into making it such a wonderful memory!