It's a story of true love and a destiny filled with romance for today's St. Augustine wedding from LanierStar Photography...
The romance between Victoria and Michael began at the very beginning of their relationship and our bride tells us how it hasn't stopped since then...
Michael and I first met at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, GA in January of 2011. We were reunited in Orlando, FL that very summer as we were both brought on as staff interns at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. Our boss and a mutual friend played a role in bringing us together. We were stationed at host family homes that happened to be right across the street from each other. It did not take long for us to begin dating. For our first "official" date, Michael picked me up and took me to pick out any dress I wanted for our date that night. He then dropped me off at my host home to get ready. Later, he picked me up and we enjoyed an incredible meal at Chatham's Place, a steakhouse and winery. Next, on our way home, he surprised me by taking a detour through Winter Park, my favorite part about living in Orlando! I thought we were stopping for some dessert. Instead, he pulled over on a gravel road and led me down a path. At the end, overlooking the lake, he had set up candles, my favorite flowers, music, and my favorite cheesecake! When asked why he planned such an over-the-top date, he responded by saying that he knew it would be his last first-date, so he wanted to do it right.
After living in Orlando for awhile, Michael and I moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina so he could take a job in youth ministry. We loved Spartanburg since we were both used to larger cities. While living there, we decided to explore a new hiking destination every month. On February 18, 2012, Michael took me to Looking Glass Rock- the site of our first hike. When we reached the top, he asked me to close my eyes so I could see the view. When I opened my eyes, he was down on one knee with the beautiful backdrop of the canyon below. He asked me to marry him and proposed with his mother's original diamond reset in a setting he had made for me. I frantically got bystanders to take pictures of us, not knowing that his two best friends were in camo following us the entire day! After leaving the hike, he asked me to get dressed up so we could go out for dinner and celebrate. When he picked me up at my apartment, he swung by his house where our entire family and our friends surprised me! That night, we had an engagement celebration and it was there that he brought out a laptop and revealed to me the secret footage! Hint to every man out there... get a secret photographer! I will cherish those pictures forever!
A family friend officiated over their ceremony at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine. Their choice of cities was quickly narrowed down to the oldest city because Michael attended Flagler College and Victoria fell in love with it's old-world charm and history. Rather than breaking tradition, the bride and groom opted for a "first-touch" and Michael told me that his favorite part of the wedding was seeing Victoria for the first time as she walked down the aisle. Sometimes, those old traditions mean a lot to the groom!
The natural lighting for their portraits was perfect, don't you think?
After our wedding ceremony, our 175 guests took a trolley to the Casa Monica Hotel. We hosted a "progressive style reception", which was the best advice from our planner, Karen of St. Augustine Weddings & Special Events. Cocktail hour began as a relaxing start to the evening, dinner was a time to mingle and enjoy the amazing food from Casa Monica, and the after party was a chance to celebrate, laugh, and dance all night to Paul Lundgren Band! At dinner, our tables were numbered by the years of our lives. My fourth graders wrote marriage advice which we had on display near our favors and cakes. Michael's cake was a mallard since he is an avid duck hunter. And the custom monogram by Crane and Co. was featured on the invitations and carried throughout the celebration on the cocktail napkins, favor labels, our cake and even on the mirror behind it. While we were dating, Michael asked me to make him a special kind of cookie that we now call "Koster Cookies". For the wedding favors, we filled mason jars with the dry ingredients, then tied a card on that gave instructions for baking them! After the wedding, some guests sent picture messages of the cookies they made and others came over to get the whole recipe!
I guess my advice to brides is that at the end of the day, remember what this is about. It isn't about the wedding, it is about the marriage. The wedding is only a few hours, but your marriage is a lifetime. Never get so lost in the details that you lose sight of the reason for the wedding. The wedding is only the first day of a lifetime with your spouse. And... enjoy every little moment because it's true... it goes by WAY too fast!
Our vendors were absolutely amazing. Most of all, hiring Karen Erwin was the best decision I made! She was the most professional, creative, and organized coordinator I could have ever imagined. She went over the top to make our day run smoothly.
Ceremony: Memorial Presbyterian Church of St. Augustine | Reception Venue: Casa Monica Hotel | Photography: LanierStar Photography | Event Coordination: Karen of St. Augustine Weddings & Special Events | Band: Paul Lundgren Band | Floral Design: PRI Producctions | Hair Styling & Makeup: M3 Weddings | Wedding Gown: The White Magnolia, Bridal Collection | Cake: Classic Cakes | Submission: Two Bright Lights