Interview with our GORGEOUS bride, Michelle:
HOW DID YOU MEET? We both worked out at the same gym. Apparently he passed by me one day and ‘got butterflies’, asked a mutual friend to get my number and put in a good word for him. From our first date on we were completely inseparable.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU THE MOST TO YOUR HUSBAND? His love for Christ, his honesty, loyalty, and selflessness, his sense of humor, his quiet yet strong demeanor, and of course how handsome he is!
HOW DID HE PROPOSE? We definitely did everything backwards. He told me he was going to marry me week one- so technically he proposed in the first week. 😉 We started planning the wedding (and the rest of our lives) the months following (spring and summer) and he officially proposed in the fall. It is nearly impossible to surprise me, so go figure he wanted to tackle the challenge. He decided to propose on the one day I would least suspect a proposal- his birthday. I asked him what he wanted to do for his special day and he said he wanted to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. We went to McAfee’s Knob (the most photographed overlook on the trail- it is absolutely gorgeous). It was a beautiful, sunny day- we got to the top, and after staying there for an unusually long time I suggested we get ready to head back down. I started heading towards the trail, and realized he wasn’t following me…so I turned around and he was on one knee. It was perfect. And the whole way down I was tripping over everything on the trail because I was too busy staring at my ring and not the road. 🙂
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR VISION FOR YOUR WEDDING? Ralph Lauren Country immediately came to mind. I wanted it to be sophisticated and elegant yet not stuffy. Whimsical, shabby chic, and classic southern all bundled together to create an airy and relaxed feel.
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR VENUE: I searched up and down for the venue! I wanted to find a place where we could have an entire estate or resort to ourselves (just our family and friends). A lot of the nice, big resorts have a few weddings in one day and I definitely didn’t want to see another wedding or bride on my wedding day! I also wanted to do a long wedding weekend instead of a one day affair. So I did hours of Google searching and finally came across our venue in the middle of nowhere. It was perfect! I called and they only had 3 dates left for the whole year! So I jumped on it and saved our date.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST PLANNING CHALLENGE? I didn’t have a wedding planner- I did have a day of coordinator who was so helpful- but everything before that weekend was planned and executed by me. Executing every single detail I wanted was quite the task. Pinterest was my best friend and I was on detail overload planning a wedding that was hundreds of miles away. But to be able to say I was my own wedding planner was so worth it!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT OF YOUR WEDDING? Everything! There is no way for me to have a favorite when I put so much time, effort, sweat, laughter and even tears into making every detail as perfect as I could. Everything from the floral arrangements, to the chic dessert bar, to the last minute change for the location & setup of the ceremony (which was a blessing in disguise!). I think just the overall feel and look (elegant, yet relaxed) was absolutely a dream. I had to pinch myself a few times.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY DETAILS? Too many to even name them all! I made the invitations, the ceremony programs, the place cards, the table numbers, all the framed signs, the flower girl wands, the favor bags (Josh and my Dad helped), etc. A family friend made the table linens because I couldn’t find any I liked enough to rent. I bought all the table displays (mercury glass tea lights, rustic crates, and apothecary jars) so we could use them in the future. The list is endless.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT OF YOUR WEDDING DAY? The whole wedding weekend was full of memories that Josh and I will cherish forever. I loved being able to get him the most amazing groom’s cake I’ve ever seen and seeing how surprised he was. My mom giving me the bouquet from her wedding day to carry during my rehearsal- it was so special she kept that for me. The night before the wedding all my bridesmaids coming to my cottage and helping pull together some last minute details- oh my goodness, what lifesavers (and such a fond memory). Seeing our daughters face as I read her a special letter Josh gave her the day of the wedding- absolutely priceless; it makes me tear up thinking about it. Holding hands and praying with Josh before the ceremony (but not seeing each other). I loved the feeling I had when I was getting ready to walk down the aisle and having it all sink in; knowing I was marrying a man that is as close to perfect as you can get. The whole ceremony was so Christ centered and couldn’t have been more perfect; we still have people talking about it. 🙂 Seeing all the details that came together so perfectly for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception; it was all literally breathtaking. Everyone’s touching toast/speech (nearly everyone cried during all of the speeches). Having a special dance with my two favorite men (Josh and my Dad). Dancing so much my feet hurt- and absolutely loving it! Seeing my mom and dad dance the night away, laughing, and loving life! Seeing everyone dance, actually! The ‘prayer lanterns’, as I call them, and having one of them go into a tree and thinking we were going to have to use our ‘jack of all trades/white water rafter/biker/firefighter/photographer’, Jason, to use his skills in making sure the whole estate didn’t go down in flames! Hearing everyone at the wedding say it was the most beautiful wedding they’ve seen was so rewarding, humbling, and overwhelming (in a good way). Josh, Bella, and I ending the night together, all by ourselves in the gorgeous reception pavilion as I took pictures of Bella getting the last dance with Josh because I got the first; with the sound of the river nearby and coyotes in the distance. I should write a book on all the hilarious, sweet, magical, and life-changing memories I collected that weekend because this list just keeps getting longer.
DESCRIBE YOUR CAKE: Whimsical perfection. White with wide ruffles dusted with champagne gold trim and pale pink peonies scattered around and on top of it- with the most delicious coconut and piña colada layers. Surrounded by dozens of other desserts (in every flavor you could think of) to make the most amazing dessert bar I’ve ever seen (or tasted). 🙂
HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER? Sara and Jason amaze us. They are a fun-loving husband/wife team that are so easy to work with, are up for anything you throw at them, and manage to capture the most amazing, out-of-this-world pictures you could ever even hope to have. Their endless talent and dynamic creativity makes them, in our opinion, the absolute best photographers. And as if you couldn’t top that; their sweet souls, genuineness, and love for life makes them truly special individuals. We just adore them.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AS A COUPLE? Planning the next event, of course (I’ve had so many people ask me about doing event planning recently, so I may be changing my career path)! ☺ Because our wedding weekend was a destination event, we are having a wedding celebration in our hometown now. Josh and I also just decided we are going to build our dream home out in the country next year, so that will be an exciting venture. We just want to enjoy life together & with our families, travel a lot, and of course have lots of children!
CAN YOU PLEASE LIST YOUR VENDORS:
Venue- Hawkesdene House (Rob and Phil are absolutely fantabulous, their food is to die for, and it is the most gorgeous venue you will ever lay your eyes on- we are already planning a family reunion there!!)
Pastor- Jonge Tate (The most amazing Christian man you will ever come across; he is truly blessed with the gift of spreading the word of Christ and made our ceremony the most talked about topic, which is exactly what we wanted.)
Cinematographers- Life Stage Films (Wow. Incredible people, incredible cinematographers- just watch their promo video…you’ll be hooked.)
Band- Drivetrain (Let’s just say our 99 year old grandfather was dancing at the wedding. They were THAT great!)
Dessert Bar- Artista Cakes (Serena Owen is the sweetest woman who seriously bakes, creates, and designs ‘knock your socks off’ dessert bars with any delicious confection you could ever even dream up.)
Rentals and day-of-coordination- L7Events (Howie Worley made life so much easier- I honestly don’t know what we would have done without him.)
Makeup/Hair- Angela Jordan, Jessica Taylor & Krystal Ducker (These ladies honestly couldn’t have done a more perfect job. We had guests stop by and ask to get their own hair and makeup done because they were so impressed!)
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Musicians- Ron Clearfield Trio (They had the birds stop singing to listen- just amazing!)

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Interview with our AMAZING couple, Nicole + Jason:
HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in 2008 at a mutual friend’s house. Months later we met again at Lillians in Gainesville during football season and spent every weekend of the fall getting to know each other.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU THE MOST TO YOUR HUSBAND? His persistence and his ability to make me laugh.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU THE MOST TO YOUR WIFE? Her adventurousness and always being up for anything. And she put up with my Florida Gators Sports obsessions.
HOW DID HE PROPOSE? All of Nicole’s friends were invited to Gainsville for a football game and for the proposal (Nicole had no idea). She thought she was coordinating the whole thing even though Jason had every step planned out. After a nice dinner with friends they went to Lillian’s, the place they first met…the second time. When the band took a break that night Jason got down on one knee and asked Nicole to marry him.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR VISION FOR YOUR WEDDING? We wanted the outdoors around the water and for everyone to have the kind of fun that everyone has at a tailgate. This is why we went with lawn games and a very relaxed atmosphere.
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR VENUE: We looked all over both the east and west coast of Florida and were unable to find our ideal place. We wanted an ocean wedding at first but the moment we visited Cypress Grove we fell in love with the place. It was such a beautiful place with water and plenty of greenery and a beautiful lawn for our games.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT OF YOUR WEDDING? There were so many special details in our wedding that we can’t pick just one as our favorite. The atmosphere was wonderful and there was something for everyone.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY DETAILS? Almost everything at our wedding were special details. Jason, his father and some friends made the lighted corn hole boards. The Row boat was used during the engagement photo shoot and then filled with ice for drinks. The J/N logo was custom made and then put on the coozies, as well as made out of wood as the center piece of the gazebo. Our officiant was one of our best friends Michelle, that we both felt should have been standing on our each side.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT OF YOUR WEDDING DAY?
Nicole’s: Our first dance. Jason learned some waltz moves earlier that week and the first time they were able to practice dancing was the day before the wedding.
Jason’s: Watching Nicole walk down the stairs. She was a beautiful bride.
DESCRIBE YOUR CAKE: We had 4 different flavors of cupcakes. Our large personal cupcake was a champagne raspberry. We also had a shocktop cupcake, chocolate mint. We had mini apple pies and brownies. Just like the rest of the wedding it was something for everyone.
HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER? The photographers were great. Jason was just like another one of the guys while hanging out before the wedding and seemed to be all over the place during the reception. Sara was always several steps ahead and very much on top of things. She did a fabulous job making sure everyone smiled or laughed genuinely. If there was something specific we wanted pictures of they made sure it happened.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AS A COUPLE? A 2 week honeymoon in Hawaii. Then we move to Port Charlotte where Jason start’s working as a Veterinarian.
CAN YOU PLEASE LIST YOUR VENDORS:
Wedding Planner: Tickled Pink Brides, Brittany Sobering and Terri Greene
Cypress Grove Park Estate House, current caterers: Big City Catering
Flowers: Fiora
Cupcakes: The Sugar Suite
Band: Serenade Of Souls
Photographers: Concept Photography, Jason and Sara Martin

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We had such a great time shooting this cute and fun couple around Baldwin Park! The weather was perfection and the camera LOVED them 🙂 Here are some favs!

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