Vanja and Eddie have that old-fashioned kind of love story. They took their time, he orchestrated a grand proposal for his bride, and they planned a beautiful celebration with true love as the only theme. We're so glad Fox Fotography captured every bit of prettiness for us to enjoy!
Eddie met Vanja about seven years ago while she was working at the front desk of his gym in Jacksonville. He had just completed chiropractic school and she was studying at UNF. According to her, "At the time Eddie had a lot of interest in me and would do cute things such as bring me Starbucks coffee at work and chat at the front desk a bit longer than the usual client, but I was young and not ready for a relationship at that time. I remember one night we had a 5 hour phone conversation about life, love, faith and everything in between. Eddie still mentions that night and says that he never forgot our conversations throughout the many years between us meeting and when we actually started dating."
A little over 3 years ago I received a random text message from Eddie just checking in on how I was doing. The timing was right. We went for a friendly beach bike ride to catch up and before I knew it I no longer viewed Eddie as a friend and shortly after was head over heels with the man who was actually always around. Eddie was exactly what God intended for me and had all the qualities I was looking for. I finally had a man in my life that had faith, wasn't afraid to be romantic and show affection and was intelligent and strong as a man should be. Looking back I realize that Eddie was this same person consistently through our friendship and into our relationship. He was always a gentleman towards me but also was made every situation in life fun and an experience. What I love most about our relationship is that we always smile, we always continue to play.
It was a very romantic proposal: Eddie told me that he invited my family over for dinner and as I rushed into the house to help prepare, I realized that all lights were off with only candle lights flickering, red roses and a note on the table. It's fairly common for him to plan romantic evenings and random acts of kindness for me even to this day. In the note it directed me to go to our bedroom, where there were more roses, candles, another note and a white box with a big bright pink bow.
The note said that our family dinner was canceled, that he wanted me to open up my present and be ready by 6 o'clock sharp and a driver would come pick me up. I opened the box to find a beautiful BCBG dress and pair of shoes inside which I slipped on as I anxiously waited. Once he arrived, the driver handed me a red rose, a note, a glass of champagne and he escorted me to the car. But, Eddie was not in the car waiting on me as I expected!
As the next note explained, I was taken to two locations around town before my final destination with him. Each location I was gifted with another rose and a new note. The first location was World Gym, where we met. The second location was the entrance to Atlantic Beach where we had our first date walking my dog, Casey. This note was especially cute because he mentioned how nervous he was on the walk because he knew I was going to be someone special in his life. Finally, the third location was the restaurant Eleven South where Eddie first told me he loved me.
I smiled ear to ear as I entered and spotted Eddie standing by our favorite booth. I was already saying 'yes' a million times in my head as Eddie managed to say a very short version of his long planned speech confessing his love for me on one knee with a opened box facing me. The next thing I remember was people clapping and cheering as I was in the arms of the man of my dreams locking lips and both of us letting out tears of pure joy. Best day of my life.
One thing both Eddie and I agreed on from the start was that it was most important for us, no matter all other details, to get married in the presence of God. It just so happened that my brother and sister-in-law got married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church just a little over two years prior and we felt that this is where we should have our ceremony as well. Since I am from Croatia, being able to get married in a Catholic church meant a lot and symbolized more than any other church could have.
One of Vanja's favorite memories was seeing her two 13-month-old twin nieces: "As soon as their cute smiling faces appeared around the corner of the building, my heart immediately melted. This was a moment that I will never forget."
The first place we looked at for venues was Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. We both fell in LOVE. We didnt need to look any further. It was perfect. The gardens had such a romantic feel and we both knew that the feeling we got by standing underneath the large Oak tree was not comparable to anything else. The Terry Gallery had the elegance we we looking for and the gardens completed it with the romance.
This piece of cloth was hand made and stitched by my great grandfather on my mother's side, when he was a very young man. My grandparents are from Europe and were not able to attend our wedding due to distance. Having something of my grandmother's at the wedding, somehow made me feel at peace.
During the wedding planning process, the one thing I could not have done without was my wedding planner Terri Gilbreath with G.G. Events. She was truly an angel. I recommend every bride to look into her services. She was so well connected with all vendors and kept everyone in the loop. The best part about her work is that she does everything backstage without you even knowing much of what is going on unless needed, as well as things getting done exactly as you want them. I really can't say enough good things about her.
What a beautiful and heartfelt day! Congratulations, Vanja and Eddie, and thank you for sharing your warm story with us!
Ceremony: Basilica of the Immaculate Conception | Reception Venue: Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens | Photography: Fox Fotography | Event Coordination: G.G. Events | Floral Design: Aime Peterson Flowers & Event Design | Catering: Matthew's Restaurant | Bridal Salon: Love Bridal Boutique | Makeup: Jill Stonier | Reception Painting: Jonathan Tyson Art | Cake: Metro Custom Cakes | Entertainment: Unique DJ | Submission: Two Bright Lights