I was bursting at the seams with stories from engagement and the wedding, and I think there are a few reasons I shelved them instead of posting them right away. Engagement was a whirlwind, then I was in such a happy blur from the wedding that I needed time to write and process. And then we were expecting a little one! So this blog never got posted… but it did get written! We just enjoyed our one year anniversary on June 5th, but here are the fun engagement and wedding details. Better late than never, right?
Engagement was such a busy season, and I had multiple ideas for the big day. I was so excited about being married to my incredible man, and I wanted to share every detail with the people we love. We were originally going to tie the knot in Georgia, at a lakeside ceremony. We had ordered invitations and reserved the spot. Then our guest list started getting out of control, and there’s no other way to word that. Out. Of. Control. We could not afford what it was becoming, nor was that our vision for the wedding.
That’s when we realized that our wedding was going to be smaller, and it needed to move to a further location. We started looking at Florida beaches. We started to plan the most convenient experience for a select few people who would join us. I started obsessively checking the weather and having phone calls with several huts and restaurants. To top it off, my job declared a “no PTO in May” rule, due to production needs, and I about lost it. We were planning a May wedding, by the way, haha, very funny, right?
Then we got some harsh news that my Brazilian family was basically stranded there due to life circumstances.
I sat at the dinner table boohooing that I’d hoped they would be there and knowing they wouldn’t be was super hard. That’s when the person who loves me and knows me well (my now husband!) basically declared that we would be married in Brazil. Eureka!
Relief washed over me, but then I thought “oh my goodness, his family is going to absolutely hate me” and I was wrong. So wrong! I asked him to break the news that our already tiny ceremony was getting even tinier and much, much further away. To our surprise, three of his family members made plans to join us. We couldn’t believe it. It was the best of both worlds. I’d have 3 people there, and he’d have 3 people there. And we had an officiant, his uncle. Hallelujah!
We booked tickets, and after that, we could breathe. It was all going to be okay.
We looked for a place to get married on the beach the “official” way, and once the hut lady started giving us price estimates, we decided to do it the bandit way. Just show up and chance it, FO FREE. Come one, come all. The beach is a public place! Make it look like a photo shoot, and then well… it’s real. Bold, huh?
I started praying for perfect weather on that Monday morning, and from there, we started looking for professionals who would help us photograph and film our impromptu escapade free beach wedding. Side note: we booked both the photographer and the videographer without giving them THE specific beach location, because we hadn’t decided until the day before the wedding which exact beach we were going to show up to. Can you feel the hilarity and also the insanity in this situation? Yep!
I ordered in advance TWO bunches of flowers online, to be delivered to my family’s place the day before the wedding. Talk about praying hard! To my surprise, one of the orders never showed up, and I thanked God greatly for giving me the insight to order two. And that’s the story of how my bouquet didn’t have any pink in it, haha! My pink snapdragons never made it, but the creamy Colombian roses and the white lisianthus, and the eucalyptus greenery did. I ended up with a white and green bouquet, that I arranged. My best friend mailed me one of her favorite headbands, with pearls and shiny gems on it, and that was wrapped around my bouquet, my something borrowed. I also made the boutonniere for Buddy.
Another wild thing was my dress story. The first store I went to, I knew the exact style I loved and wanted to try on. The rack dress they had fit me like a glove, aside from the hem, of course. Yet they would not offer me any kind of discount for the rack dress, and that was a red flag to me. I knew stores discount rack dresses, and I knew this dress was overpriced. Turns out that store was Alfred Angelo, and they are now out of business! Doesn’t take much to figure out why!
I ended up going to a local boutique and they had MANY dresses that sounded like what I had described. Ironically, the first dress I tried on fit, again, like a glove, and all it needed was a hem. I had originally wanted an open back, so I moved on to try other dresses. I fell in love with a very light and comfortable, simple strapless lace gown, and I wanted to add a keyhole strap/detail to it. I said yes to the dress, and went on my merry way… except it didn’t quite pan out. The alterations didn’t “come together” the way I had described, both with words and pictures, and we were a month away from the wedding and I had no ready dress.
I had asked Buddy’s mama to come with me to the dress appointment, to help me be firm if the dress wasn’t ready, and to help me be brave enough to buy the “first” dress, the one that didn’t have the open back. We show up to the store, and here’s what happened: the dress wasn’t ready, and the dress I wanted to buy (I had a picture of it from when I tried it on) was HANGING OUTSIDE MY DRESSING STALL. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked the seamstress if that dress was “this” dress, and showed her my phone, and she said yes. I asked her if that was my size 4 dress I had tried on months prior. She said yes. And that’s when I said, with as much bravery as I could muster, that I was going to be purchasing that dress to wear on my big day instead of the one that was unfinished. I asked her why it was hanging outside of my stall, and she said a bride had come in just a few minutes prior, and tried it on with intent to purchase it, but chose another dress in the last minute. And left MY dress right there for me, of course. Wow! The store was very understanding and accommodating since the alterations didn’t go as planned, and fully refunded the first dress, along with a big discount on the second *MY* dress. I couldn’t help but think of God’s kindness in that situation, how He redeems and takes care of everything.
As for hair and makeup, it took many, many tries and rehearsals. I sat in Sephora and had several very sweet humans teach me how to apply eyelash extensions and show me which brand of mascara was the most dramatic and waterproof for the big day. I chose the right combo of lip stains and lip gloss, and used a fixing spray for my face, which felt like I was just spritzing myself with water after getting my makeup as perfect as possible. But it worked! Good job, MAC.
I woke up at 4:30am on the big day, and started working on my hair. I ended up putting baby’s breath on the side of the up-do, and it was just right for me! I was torn between a flower crown and just a little bit on the side, and I am glad I went with bit on the side, because I wanted the braid to show up, and the crown would have totally hidden it. Can’t have it all, haha!
By 8:15am, I was ready. Hair, makeup, flowers, dress, jewelry, and final touches (vows in hand, phone in sister in law’s purse, Buddy had the rings and his vows) and we were ready to roll.
And then, I waited… and waited… we had what seemed like the most epic delay! I stood there in my relatively heavy gown, carrying my train on my arm, flowers on the other hand, trying not to sweat or make too many facial expressions. We made it to the beach (which we picked out the night before since I wanted Buddy to see both choices), and I prayed for the people who would be there to be respectful of the tiny ceremony… and they were! People gave us space. They did watch, of course, but no one ran behind us or jumped into our pictures. They clapped and cheered from a distance as we kissed, and were the very polite early Monday morning beach-goers I hoped they would be.
As for the music, I walked in to a jazzy version of So This Is Love, also known as the Cinderella Waltz, because I am Cinderella and she’s my homegirl. It was the perfect beach vibe song. And I was able to walk in with my grandmother, which was priceless.
We wrote our own vows, and had them recorded and put on as the audio over our video. We ended up having to re-record because the waves were so loud, oh what a glorious problem to have, as the waves crashed in the background of our super dreamy tiny wedding.
And I wanted a first dance, so to make the ceremony stretch a bit (and since we had a photographer and videographer on hand) we did the first dance immediately after the first kiss, to Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender, just to make everyone cry. It worked, haha!
Afterwards, petals were thrown, and we had a photo shoot with family on the beach.
We spent the honeymoon in Miami, eating Cuban food and hanging out on the beach. The forecast said rain but we managed to get lots of beach time and gnarly sunburns, haha!
Honestly, it was exactly as it should have been.
My encouragement to anyone who is planning a wedding is to be honest and to PRAY. It was insane how many details were completely out of my control, and God was sovereign and kind. He just is. He brought it all together, and He gets the glory. He will sustain the marriage, and He will highlight love in every milestone, and fill you with peace.
And here is our wedding film, by the incredible Pedro Chiovitti!