Stylish, carefree, and fun — three essential elements that made John and Julia’s wedding extra special. From their fashionable outfits that matched their chic garden party down to the backyard games, they played for pure fun and entertainment. The couple went for orange and gray motif that is both fun and elegant. Leaving footprints in the sand and dipping their toes in the water, it sure did leave us inspired and happy.
Friday, October 1st, 2010 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 evening, John & I had learned much about each other and spent the rest of the weekend talking/texting and met 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 two 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 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. Friday, September 27th, 2013 John’s built a vast 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 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, utterly speechless and turned around. John was there. He proposed; I cried and said ‘Of Course!’
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 of lounge 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.
The Guest List:
107 were invited
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!�
We held the ceremony on one side of the yard instead of on the sand, as 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 me 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 the 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 vows. Neither of us saw or heard the other’s vows until we spoke them to one another during our ceremony. Also, maybe unique to our ceremony – we started on time!
The Wedding Decor Details:
I knew our venue, with the sea oats and sea grapes and Atlantic Ocean as the 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.
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 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.
The Wedding Favors:
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 two things: homemade and food-related. We settled on rosemary-infused olive oil. We infused the 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 cooked, 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.
Photographer: Horn Photography & Design
Event Venue: Bed on the Beach