A Wedding Under the Banyan Trees
October 24th, 2009
Desiree & Eric
With two years to reflect on our big day, the saying, "may you look back on your wedding day as the day you loved each other the least" finally begins to make sense.
When we first started planning the wedding, we wanted a small event around 75 guests. We quickly learned that this was impossible as my family alone boasts 65+ and Eric's isn't too far behind. After considering our close friends from high school and my mother's crafty friends, we quickly realized we were going to have a good ol' fashioned big, southern wedding!
Looking back, I cannot imagine not having a single one of them missing.
Some details that stand out from our wedding day would be our love of God, family traditions, good music and the Florida Gators. When we woke up to rainy weather, I can recall reciting 1 Peter 5:7, "cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" and my big brother texting me "to let go and let God". From that moment on, we did not worry about anything and just trusted that God would get our guests to us safely and that if he wanted us to get married in the sunshine, then He would provide the rays.
By 4 o'clock, the clouds parted and warm sunlight sprinkled through the banyon trees at Dreher Park, just in time. Despite the chalamity that ensued just prior to the ceremony, no chairs for guests until 10 minutes before we were to start, a dear friend was in a car accident on the way to the park (he was fine!), the limo got lost with the entire bridal party & groom, and *gasp*, I couldn't find my spanx! - we still managed to have a beautiful faith-filled vow exchange that included readings by my sorority sisters, a poem by Eric's sisters, and a few "Go Gators!". Eric & I weren't thrilled with the idea of a long aisle and our backs towards our guests, so we had a 'ceremony in the round' where we could see each of them & they could all see us. It felt like a huge hug.
The reception at the National Croquet Center began with guests sipping on spiked Arnold Palmer's served with fried pickles and split pea soup shots, my dad-in-law's favorite. I was able to convince Eric to learn a country line dance for our first dance to Alan Jackson's "Good Time" and it really got the guests in the mood for...well, a good time! Thanks to Sandy James, we chowed down on a traditional thanksgiving feast, my favorite, with all the fixin's; a mashed potato and sweet potato bar, biscuits, turkey, ham & stuffing and we even had southern fried chicken. You were crazy if you left hungry. To top it all off, we had red velvet & carrot cake cupcakes from DD's Cupcake Shoppe and a throwback cookie buffet including Keebler Elves, Oreos, Chips A'Hoy...all our favorites from when we were kids! The night continued with southern rock, lots of Rolling Stones, oldies & it ended with 80's night - an homage to our days at UF. I have booked our entertainer for 3 more events (to date!), Tim Boyd is a reception entertainment master! Our fellow gator-grads surrounded us and swayed to "We are the boys of Ole Florida", a tradition done at every game and Eric did a rousing rendtition of the "Two Bits" cheer.
Some of my favorite memories of the day are when my sorority sisters and I sang to my mother - it was our special time to honor her because she really has been a mom to a lot of them, not just me. My uncle gave us a dinner blessing that still gives me shivers, the Holy Spirit was certainly present with us. And Eric's favorite memory is when the whole night was ending; we had beautiful, cool weather all afternoon and evening, not a raindrop in sight and then, just after the guests had left, the skies opened up and poured down everything that the clouds had been holding in for us. It was remarkable.
I can't even begin to count the handmade items that made our wedding special; my mother made nantucket baskets for each of the bridesmaids, my earrings, and my garter. I fascined hair accessories for each of the 'maids with rosettes from White Aisle and made all of the ceremony programs.
My aunt created all of the embossed table numbers, cookie bags & I made the wishing tree tags.
My dad built the cupcake tower and Eric's mother made her famous cookie pizza that held us over during the day. The groomsmen wore ties made from leftover fabric from the Anna Elyse bridesmaids dresses and I've never seen my mother more beautiful in her dusty rose Grace gown by the same designer. I wore James Clifford & Sara Gabriel, lace from head to toe. Eric was debonair in his custom, herringbone Brooks Brothers suit and vintage style wingtips from Cole Hahn.
The boutonierres were fascined with vintage fish hooks and most of the flowers were white in honor of croquet tradition.
If there was advice that I could share with brides & grooms while they plan their wedding, it would be to love the people you hire to pull your day together. I recently just attended the wedding of our photographers, Samantha & Matt of So Many Moments Photography, which proves to you that we really bonded when they filmed our day. I treasure my album that Sam made for me and look through it often. Hire a day of coordinator if you can't afford a full-service wedding planner. There were so many crazy things that went on during our wedding day, but we had no idea until 2 days later when I caught up with my coordinators. It's their job to put out the fires before you even smell smoke. I still keep in touch with Annie & Rikki from Anna Elyse Bridesmaids. Why? Because the values of their company mimic my own and they are the sweetest people to work with; plus they value the importance of a handwritten note.
It's been two years and I wish so badly that we could get married all over again - I bet we'd increase the guest list, again, this time around!
here's to hitting our 'gold' anniversary...I love you, Bubba!