Beautiful Boca Grande setting, amazing florals and one STUNNING bride…
Q. How did you meet your Fiance? Tell us your story!
A. Brent and I met at our first jobs out of college at The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, Florida. We became best friends before realizing we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together. Little did we know, this location would not only be where we met, it was also where we fell in love and where we would eventually hold our wedding weekend.
Q. How did you choose the location for your wedding? What type of venue were you looking for?
A. I had a very specific vision for the qualities I wanted in our venue. Brent is from Kentucky and I am from Florida and we both have family and friends all over the country. It was important to us that our family and friends would all be in one location with easy access to the weekend events. We wanted a place where everyone could relax and celebrate together. I realized right away that there is no better venue for us than The Gasparilla Inn & Club- the location where we met, became friends, fell in love and at the time, were employed! Everything was within walking distance or a quick golf cart right away.
I was a Catering and Conference Services Manager and over the last five years, I planned numerous weddings and had the opportunity to service many wonderful couples and their families. I very much respected the quality of service, hospitality, professionals and I knew our food and beverage program was second to none. I knew that our friends and family would be warmly welcomed to this very special piece of paradise, just as our team had done for all of the weddings I planned.
During the same time, Brent decided to apply for graduate school and we made the tough decision to leave our jobs and move to Kentucky. We decided that celebrating our wedding was a wonderful way to leave the place we both hold dear to our hearts.
Q. What made you decide to do varied styles for your bridesmaids dresses?
A. I wanted the girls to be as comfortable as possible so I chose the color and the designer and let the girls choose the style they felt the best wearing. During my friend’s wedding a few years ago, I was able to choose my own style bridesmaid dress from Bella Bridesmaid in the LulaKate line. I loved choosing the style that fit me best. I appreciated that option and wanted to give my friends the same choice. The flower girl dresses were an easy decision. I fell in love with Coren Moore bubble hem dresses and seersucker sashes with their monograms. They were precious!
Q. Who designed your bridal gown? Where did you get it?
A. AR Couture by Angel Rivera. He was hosting a trunk show at Solutions Bridal in Orlando. I happened to visit that day and fell in love with one of his dresses. He pinned and tucked the dress and made small adjustments to make it exactly what I was looking for. He disappeared for a bit while I was doing the final paperwork and he came back with an original sketch of me in my dress and a note. It was such a memorable day!
Q. What was the most memorable part of the day?
A. When I reflect on the entire weekend, I am flooded with memories of a weekend filled with so much love. Everyone traveled to spend this special weekend with us and we felt overwhelmed with love, gratitude and happiness. Seeing Brent at the end of the aisle was definitely a highlight as we began our new life together. Also, my nine year old nephew learned Cannon in D on the piano and played it as the bridesmaids came down the aisle.
There is one memory in particular that I know will forever stand out in my mind and warm my heart. My miracle moment. I am the youngest of five children. We lost a sister and brother from Cystic Fibrosis when they were each in their teens. Carrie died when she was 15 in 1995 and Neil died when he was 19 in 2000. I wanted to incorporate their memory in our day. I pinned one of my sister’s dance team hair ribbons to the inside fabric of my dress and had their initials embroidered on it. It was important to me to also incorporate something that belonged to my brother so I decided to put his watch around my bouquet. As the day went on, I loved having those small parts of them physically with me. Right before the cocktail hour, my oldest brother came to take the watch to a safe place for the evening. He took it from my bouquet and started walking away. A few minutes later, he came to me with tears in his eyes and showed me the watch. It was ticking. We aren’t exactly sure at what point it started ticking that day, but when it eventually stopped that evening, it stopped at 3:30, the time my ceremony began.
Q. What inspired you when you were planning your big day?
A. I was inspired by the over pouring of well wishes we received from our family and friends and humbled at the love and support we had surrounding us. It inspired me to create a weekend where we could all be together to relax and celebrate. We were so grateful that everyone traveled so far to spend this special time with us.
I was inspired by family who could not be with us to celebrate that day. I knew they were there in spirit, but I wanted their memory to be alive and pieces of them there with us on our day. In addition to the pieces I mentioned above, we also used Brent’s great grandparent’s cake knife/server from their wedding and his grandparent’s silver candelabras on our head table.
I was also very inspired by all the weddings I planned in the past. I was incredibly inspired by the wonderful people I met over the years through my job. I was inspired by the wealth of talent that I found myself surrounded by at every event that I worked. Every aspect of our day was touched by someone we loved. From our handmade seersucker napkins, to our hand painted, original table numbers from a dear friend, to our extremely talented photographer to our extraordinary florist. Our unique mercury vases were borrowed from one of my past brides and her family, who have become friends over the years. I had the pleasure of working with some of the best and most talented vendors and coworkers who had also became friends over the years. Every detail from our wedding was touched or created by someone we loved and respected. I was so inspired by all of these people during the planning process, when all of those details came together on the wedding day, it became a day I know we will never forget.
Q. What advice do you have for other brides?
A. The best advice I can offer is to stay calm and remember to stop every so often throughout the day to take in the moments and savor them. I love thinking back on the moments that I stopped to slow down and relish in those moments.
Also, there may be something that does not go as planned, but in the grand scheme of things, those will not be the moments you remember. More will go right on your day so do not waste time begin upset about what did not go right. When my grandmother’s pearls broke as I put them on when I was getting ready, I decided to safety pin one of her pearls on the inside of my dress near my heart. Turns out, Brent sent a gift to my room before the wedding- pearls! Bottom line- it all works out.
Try to incorporate as many meaningful and personal items into your day. Those are the things that will bring you peace and keep you calm. Never forget that at the end of the wedding, you have a marriage. Keeping that in mind will help you keep everything in perspective and you can just enjoy the celebration and this special time with your loved ones.
Rehearsal Dinner, Reception and Guest Accommodations- The Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande, Florida
Ceremony Location- Our Lady of Mercy, Boca Grande, Florida
Florist- Botanica International Florist, Tampa, Florida
Photographer- Potthast Studios, Winter Haven, Florida
Bridesmaid Dresses/Flower Girl Dresses- Bella Bridesmaid, Tampa, Florida
Bridesmaid Pashminas- The Palm on Park, Lilly Pulitzer, Boca Grande, Florida
Bridal Gown- AR Couture; Solutions Bridal, Orlando, Florida
Linen- Lendable Linen, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Band- CTO High Voltage, Naples, Florida
Invitations- The Paper Tree, Sarasota, Florida
Table numbers- Lindsey McKelvy
Seersucker napkins- Debi Keyes
Seaplane- Mark Futch, Boca Grande Seaplane/Air Taxi