After meeting at the University of Florida, dating and living through life for almost ten years, these two finally (as they put it) were married. Melissa and Andy chose his grandparent's home for their celebration which kept things comfortable and personal. Stephanie A. Smith Photography captured all the moments and to them, "it felt like we just had a fancy party at our family's house with all of our friends there, much like weddings were in the past!"
I had such a fun time getting ready with my girls. Right before the wedding people kept coming up and saying hi and congratulating me. It was so casual and fun. I did all the centerpieces myself and also the bridesmaid's bouquets. I love the color blue so we found the most beautiful "french blue" dresses from Bella Bridesmaids. The look was classy, simple, and beautiful.
Andy and I met very young and we had to get through school and life before we were ready to seal the deal. We made it though all the tough times and many periods of long distance with studying abroad, graduate school, jobs etc. It proved to us that we are the ones for each other.
Andy proposed at our home on a Saturday afternoon with our dog, Lilly. He came home with some flowers (my distraction) and while I was putting them in a vase he slipped a new dog tag on Lilly's collar. Then he came into the kitchen and said "I got Lilly a new tag, you should look at it". I bent down and saw the "Will you marry me?" message and when I looked up, Andy was down on one knee. It was very our style: comfortable and personal. I was completely surprised and SO happy!
We got married at Andy's grandparent's house on Siesta Key. They have lived there for over 40 years. It is such a beautiful, calming and personal place and Andy's favorite house in the entire world. We also wanted to get married in a garden and his grandparent's house has the most beautiful foliage. It was an easy choice.
“ We waited so long for this day and wanted to see each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. The look on Andy's face was so loving. ”
Our officiant, Jennifer Moore, wrote our vows and ceremony for us. For each of her couples she creates a special ceremony that is unique to them. We met with her prior to the wedding and she learned about us and made the perfect ceremony for us. We had my sister-in-law and one of my best friends read verses during the ceremony. We also did a hand blessing and an Irish blessing which I though was really special to us.
I liked how we were able to sneak away by ourselves (and our awesome photographer) after the wedding for portraits of just the two of us. It was nice to have that time to just focus on us.
The home is an old-Florida house which is mostly all original and designed by a famous Sarasota and National Architect Victor Lundy. The house itself makes you feel like you are inside and outside at the same time, like you are one with nature. It is made of cypress wood with many large windows that open to the beautiful Florida bay view. We thought the whole day was very intimate. We invited only 90 people and everyone who attended was either close family or best friends. No one there was invited out of obligation. We felt like we had enough time to have special moments with our guests throughout the evening which was special to us.
What a wonderful way to start the rest of your tomorrows. Cheers, you two!