I am SO excited to share with you all this particular Love Story! Not just because it was an epically beautiful wedding or that my clients are MEGA AWESOME! Mostly I’m uber excited due to the fact that this was my FIRST EVER destination wedding! Courtney and Craig loved my work enough to fly me down to Anna Maria Island in sunny FL to capture their special day! Legit, my jaw hit the floor! I couldn’t believe it, how could I say no?! So off I flew to blue waters and 80 degree weather in February…oh my life is so hard sometimes! 😉
The whole process exceeded any expectation I might have had! I can’t say I wasn’t nervous toting my gear through airports, luckily no one thought I was suspicious and I made it down just fine. Courtney greeted me at the airport and we were off running! We did errands, made plans, and soaked in the weather! I was able to meet both families ahead of time and take part in their rehearsal process! It was SO MUCH FUN! Plus hanging out for 3 days in a mini paradise didn’t hurt either 😉 The actual day of the wedding was perfect! Not too hot, crystal clear skies, a GORGEOUS couple, and a pretty epic sunset to boot! My favorite part was the fact that I shot the whole wedding bare foot! Ahhhhhh exfoliation! 😉 A big thanks to my Bestie Donna for treking out to help shoot the wedding! She did a fantastic job! This whole experience has left me giddy and feeling like another family member! I truly love Courtney and Craig and I am so blessed to be their friend who happens to be their photographer!
Check out Courtney & Craig’s personal story after the pictures! 🙂
Hair/Makeup Artist: Renee Hair and Makeup Studio – Tampa Florida//Dress Designer & Store Location: Allure – Bought from SpyBabys//Jewelry: Swarovski//Veil or Hair accessories: Spy Babys//Shoes: Converse (designed by yours truly)//Bridesmaids Dresses: Victoria Secrets (multi-way dress)//Grooms Attire: Mr.Shop//Ceremony Venue: The Sandbar – Anna Maria Island, Florida//Reception Venue: Same//Florist: Flowers By Fudgie//DJ: Breezin DJ’s//Caterer: The Sandbar//Cake: Dom and Matts Cakery//Wedding Coordinator: Pattie Mckee//Invitations & Stationary: Wedding Paper Divas
Special Ceremony Music:
Introductions: Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti
Father/Daughter: My Little Girl – Tim McGraw
Mother/Son: 20 Years Late – Aaron Lines
First Dance: What Can I Do But Love You – Joy Williams
Bride & Groom:How did you meet?
I had lived in a few different states down the east coast for a few years and decided to come home and spend some time with my family before deciding where else I wanted to move too…. A friend of mine insisted on dragging me out to a birthday party for a girl I didn’t know – on a night that I had no intention of leaving my house. After trying to fight the inevitable – a car showed up at my house and insisted I came along. Reluctantly I did. Miserable me sat in the backseat with “some guy” who tried his best to amuse me and make small conversation but I was still sporting the pout. After attending this birthday party for all of 15 minutes me and “this guy” decided instead to go outside and chit chat. Thus creating the start of a flicker of interest. After rounding up a few other people we all decided to go grab a few drinks… After 4 hours of non stop laughing and great conversation I was completely smitten with “this guy” – since then he has been my very best friend and my better half for the last 5 years.
How did your fiance propose?
To make a short story long….As most couples, Craig and I had lengthy discussions regarding the possibility of marriage far before the engagement happened. Went ring shopping on more than one occasion but always ended up leaving without finding ‘the perfect one’. Giving up on Syracuse we headed to NYC to check out their many jewelry shops in hope for better luck. After only one shop we both fell in love with a beautiful ring that I, from that moment on, thought I could no longer live without. Craig of course purchased the ring and off we went. Silly me assumed he was going to propose in NYC and anticipated it for the remainder of our stay. – He did not. Our car trip home I came up with 101 ways he was going to do it once we arrived back that evening. – He did not. Well of course – what was I thinking… he had to ask my father still so it made perfect sense why he hadn’t. Shortly there after, Craig took my father to lunch and asked for his permission. (Which my father gladly gave his blessing too.) Naturally – He was going to do it that evening thinks the lady. – He did not. The next day we were going to the drive-in which so happened to have been our first date 2 years previous. Of course Of course this would be the PERFECT time. – Yet again… he did not. As you can imagine this continued on for a few weeks until I gave up trying to figure it out. Driving home from work Friday, September 3rd, 2010 – I chatted with Craig the entire way. Hanging up only a minute before walking in the door… To my surprise…Among numerous beautiful bouquets of flowers, rose petals, soft music, all lights off and candles spelling out Marry Me strewn behind him – Was Craig on one knee. It was perfect, unexpected, and beautiful – Much like our relationship.
P.S. I said Yes
Tell me a bit about the planning process for your wedding (how did you pick the venue, colors, funny stories, etc..):
Oh boy… well first we found the “perfect venue” at the Turning Stone Casino. Paid the money set the date and literally were getting ready to send out the Save The Dates when we said to ourselves no, wait lets forget this and go to Hawaii. It will be beautiful and we can fly our family over and make a week long vacation out of it. So we moved the date from September 4th to February 2012 – Made tons of phone calls to venues and bakeries and florist in Hawaii, told our families about it, and we were stoked! Well we forgot about the whole 14 hour time difference and the 24 hour plane ride and the CRAZY expensiveness’ of each plane ticket…. so yet again we needed to change the location. My parents own a house in Florida and always had dinner and this cute little beach side restaurant. I went to visit them in Florida to check out some of the venues in the area and fell in Loooove with the beachside cabana they always talked to much about. I took photos and videos and came home to show craig and he was equally excited. We picked the leap day for our wedding date and did all the footwork from NY to create our wonderful wedding day. I tried to hand make as many things as I could to give it more meaning… (forgetting of course that everything I made I had to Bring down there) haha so low and behold we were forced to drive down and we had a heck of a time packing everything in my car (I guess I got a little carried away) But everything ended perfectly and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
What details at your wedding had special significance?
My bouquet. I had it made out of brooches. Some just because they were pretty but a lot of them had special meanings to me – jewlery from my grandmother… a ring from my father… or special meanings that represented a loved one lost. I love that I can keep it forever and not to mention that it looks Beautiful as a decoration in my house.
What was the most memorable moment(s) of your day?
My first favorite moment (in order of occurrence) was seeing my father. I have always been a Daddy’s girl and having him give me away to Craig meant so much to me. Knowing how supportive he has always been of our relationship and how much he adores craig has truly been a blessing. I have never really seen my dad cry – so that moment was really special to me. My second favorite moment – for both me and craig was the moment we got to see each other. I had been a wreck most of the day and seeing him standing there just an all relieving moment. It was like I could breath for the first time all day. It made the all the stress and work and hours and hours of planning totally worth it!
If you had to do it all over, would you change anything?
I wish we would have danced more. We only danced twice (much to the efforts of my two left feet) but more so because of all the non-stopness surrounding us. I wish we had a few more “moments” with each other that night… but all and all it was fantastic.
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Instead of tossing my bouquet we did a couple dance. The couple who was married the longest ends up being the last one standing as the DJ calls you off by the number of years together. The couple that ended up being the last one standing **who were married 62 years mind you** got to give some “words of advice” – hers was heart felt and sincere about working through the bad and enjoying the good… his was “learn to say the words YES DEAR or shake your head and pretend to be listening” it was cute and unexpected and made everyone laugh out loud.
What was your favorite wedding purchase?
It’s a toss up between my bouquet and my wedding dress. I bought my dress and thought I liked it – but once it came in 4 months later I was devastated. I didn’t like anything about it. My Maid of Honor (and now sister-in-law) saved the day by adding custom beadwork and rhinestones and a bunch of tool under my dress to have it become to dress I always wanted and I fell madly in love with it.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We had a mini honeymoon on a cruise to the bahamas but plan to go to Hawaii towards the end of the year.
Any advice for future bride & grooms?
Enjoy EVERY MOMENT! It goes by so fast and right when you start to relax and enjoy yourself its over. We thankfully had another reception at home which gave us a do-over on the moments we missed but most people don’t get that opportunity.