The first thing AJ and Matt did for their wedding plans was hire Leslie and Tony from Reign 7 Studios. In our bride's own words, "I was in love with their use of natural lighting and how they just perfectly capture all of the 'real' moments." Well, we couldn't have said it better ourselves!
Both originally from the same area in Michigan, Matt and AJ met through friends-of-friends after they each moved to Florida. This was a lucky night for Matt; he met his best man and future wife on the same night! He and AJ ran into one another over the years, including flights back home, but it took a happenstance meeting at the bar where they all first met for them to realize they could have more than just a casual friendship. Shortly after an intimate and simple proposal the wedding planning began!
AJ admits that there was no set theme for their wedding, but they focused on keeping things personal, beach chic, and guest oriented. She opted for seasonal flowers and chose her favorite color, purple, for her bouquet and Matt's boutonniere. And starfish, as she explains, hold very sentimental value: "The choice to use starfish came from my parents. My mom has always loved them and my parents have a giant sugar starfish that they found on their honeymoon, 45 years earlier. I loved incorporating something special like that, but in a new way."
Their itinerary included a wonderful weekend and wedding day full of outdoor festivities for their guests at the South Seas Island Resort. A fishing tournament, 'Welcome to the Island' dinner, and private reserved poolside cabanas greeted guests as did the warm tropical weather. That is, up until the day of the wedding. Just as AJ and her bridesmaids were beginning to get ready, they had to decide on Plan B due to a sudden rain storm. As AJ explains, "To be honest, I was a little disappointed, but as long as I was still going to marry Matt with my toes in the sand, I didn't care. If they say rain on your wedding day is good luck, then a tropical monsoon must mean amazing luck! The rain let up enough for Matt and I to do our 'first look' on the dock and it cleared up perfectly for our sunset wedding on the beach."
Rather than a sand ceremony, they 'tied the knot', symbolizing their love for boating and commitment to each other!
Each guest was given a seashell to hold during the ceremony and with it, they were instructed to think of well wishes and hopes for the bride and groom. Just after their ceremony, the bride and groom watched as all their guests tossed the shells into the ocean in hopes that each time their shell would wash ashore, a new blessing would arrive in AJ and Matt's lives together.
Although they were unable to dance under the stars and beautiful string lights, AJ and Matt's outdoor-turned-indoor reception had guests partying all night and left them feeling very loved: During the last song of the reception we stood in front of our room full of guests dancing and looked around at how lucky we are to be surrounded by so much love and support. It was such an emotional and powerful moment to see everyone you love in one place to celebrate your new life together. It really was the most perfect and beautiful weekend spent with our closest friends and family. No amount of rain could have ruined our day, and we wouldn't change anything about our wedding weekend.
AJ left us with a few more details to her lovely wedding and we had to share them with you! As the rhyme goes:
Something Old - A piece of AJ's baby blanket that was sewn into the bouquet wrap and her Grandmother's locket, with a photo of their dog, Brady
Something New - Starfish hairpin and a bracelet from AJ's sister and parents
Something Borrowed - My grandmothers diamond earrings
Something Blue - A blue monogram and wedding date sewn to the inside of her gown
And as tradition holds, a six pence for her shoe from her mother
Ceremony & Reception Venue: South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island | Photography: Reign 7 Studios | Event Coordination: Teresa Carrol & Brittany Washam of South Seas Island Resort | Invitations: A+P Designs | Floral Design: Floral Artistry | Cake: Kakes by Karen | Entertainment: Brett Foreman Band | Wedding Gown: Ivy & Aster from Malindy Elene Couture for the Bride | Bridesmaid: Alfred Angelo | Menswear: Nordstrom & Wedding Tropics | Submission: Two Bright Lights