Inspiration for Brides, Wedding

Sweet Summer Time

Its officially the first day of summer and we couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be honest, living in Florida it’s felt like the summer for a while now, but nonetheless, we love it!

Some of your favorite Orlando wedding vendors came together to give you summer wedding inspiration! We had all things patriotic in mind while styling it and this would be a perfect design for Memorial day, 4th of July, Labor Day, a military wedding, or heck, really any summer wedding! Hues of red and blue are the perfect pop against the clean white and bright look we all love!

Southern brides, don’t think you have to sweat like crazy to have a beautiful outdoor wedding! Don’t be afraid to pick that short wedding dress off the rack! As you can see here, when Sarah topped it off with the veil and red heels, she had classy written all over her!

I don’t know about you guys, but I was a bride on a budget! So take it from me, that doesn’t mean you have to trade classy for cheap or timeless for tacky! This design shows you how topping off your simple white cake with a sprinkled donut, decorating your tables with in season berries, and adding fresh flowers can make all the difference!

So pick up your glass of lemonade and scroll through for a taste of summer!

*This shoot was also shared on Southern Bride’s‘s blog – click here to see more

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A huge thanks to all the amazing vendors that made this possible!

floral designer: Flowers By Lesley | beauty: Abstract One Cosmetics and Studio 122 | gown store: Bridal Gallery of Orlando | cake designer: Bake A Wish Cakes and Sweets | venue: Paradise Cove Orlando | linens and coverings: Over the Top Rental Linens | equipment rentals: Dishie Rentals and Orlando Wedding and Party Rentals | event planner and calligrapher: Two Peas Designs | event planner: Big Day Celebrations

 

My Story

Dear Nikki,

Your body is trembling. You feel like you can’t breathe. You’re begging them to make the contractions stop but it feels like they’re not listening to you. Chris is right beside you holding your hand. He looks scared but you can tell he’s trying to be strong for you. All you want is for everyone to just stop moving and talking so fast. And your mom. You really want your mom.

After one more assessment the doctors will suggest they can wait a little longer and just like that your wish will come true. Your room will empty except for Chris and one nurse. But you still shake, and Chris still looks scared.

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These next few days will be the most painful and scariest days of your life. You will be told all of the possible scenarios of having a premature baby. You will be educated on the risks of developmental delays, physical handicaps, and possible death. You will sign a form giving the doctors consent to take extreme measures to save your little girl’s life. You will endure a pain that literally takes your breathe away. You’ll itch all over and see three of everything because of the steroids that will help your baby’s lung function. After 6 days you’ll be up all night with contractions that just wont stop, rushed into delivery and you will do your best to have your daughter naturally as you grasp to your original plan even if she is coming 16 weeks too early. But everything will go very very wrong and you’ll be numbed from the neck down as you lay exhausted on a table and they scoop your first child out of you. Even though you will be warned that 24 weekers can’t cry when they come out, the silence of her delivery will break your heart. They’ll put your little girl up to your face, snap the picture, and rush her to the NICU. And again, you’ll begin to shake, Chris will look scared, and you still want your mom.

I wish I could tell you the hard part is over… but it’s just beginning. You’ll try to stand up on your own before you’re ready because they wont let you in the NICU until you can have feeling in your legs again. You’ll be wheeled down to the NICU and see the tiniest little human you’ve ever seen. You’ll be so overwhelmed by everything that you think you’ll pass out, but instead you will vomit … in the NICU… in a sterile environment. You will learn how to scrub in any time you want to see your baby, what kangaroo care is, and where you can privately pump every three hours for the next five months. You’ll wait the longest 7 days of your life for her first brain scan to come back to let you know what level brain bleed she has. You’ll wait for tests to come back on her blood levels, her liver, her eyes, and her brain again. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night across town and call the nurses to see how her night is going. You will ride the NICU rollercoaster for five months and you will laugh and you will cry and you will pray and you will beg.

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I know it will be hard and I know it will seem impossible on certain days and I know that you will have faith that you wont ever be in the NICU again, and I know that you will be a second time, and a third time, and I know that you will question everything and experience heartbreak and anger and fear and emptiness…

but that’s not all to your story Nikki … there’s so much more that six years later I can tell you.

You will be in pain and you will shake and you will be scared, but you’ll also have an unexplainable peace that tells you your baby girl will be okay. You will stop shaking once the steroids wear off and there will come a time Chris doesn’t look so scared, and your mom does come, and she keeps coming! You will visit your baby girl every single day and you wont think twice about scrubbing in because you get to hold your tiny baby and experience skin to skin all day every day for those first few months.

Those tests that you’re so scared of, they come back clear every.single.time! No brain bleeds, no infections, no failures,… she’s perfect. You will meet the most incredible nurses that give you so much confidence that God went before you even in these small details. You will treasure the highs and you will endure the lows and you will survive the NICU, again, and again, and again.

You will learn why you took this so hard and feel like a failure. But even better, you will learn that is a lie and you will learn to be a little easier on your self. You will forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness. You will receive that forgiveness and you will experience healing, your faith will be restored, and God will get glory from this season of your life.

One day you’ll wake up and realize you have a six year old little girl who is more than ok, she’s perfect. She is kind and loving and extremely in tune with how others are feeling. She is cautious and a perfectionist and she overthinks things, but she is still that strong and fiesty little girl you see fighting to get unswaddled in her incubator. She will tell you how beautiful you are and make your heart melt and she will also ignore you and talk back and make your blood boil (I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true). She will read to her little brother and she will teacher her little sister how to swim. She will love her family and have a heart for Jesus and she will always be a reminder to you not of a time when God wasn’t there, but of a time in your life where he was so very close and so very kind to you.

You’ll have two little girls and a little boy and they will have your whole heart. You and Chris will grieve together and heal together and you’ll keep praying together and you’ll always be reminded of God’s hand over the life of your children.

You can trust that these days are momentary troubles but there are days ahead that will far outweigh them all.

You can trust that God is a God of seasons, and though this may be your winter, richer the harvest He brings.

You can trust that though these days feel like days for mourning, I can assure you there are many days of dancing ahead.

And 6 years later, that is what you will do. You’ll jump up and down with your six year old daughter and watch her twirl, and you’ll laugh inside because her moves remind you of her daddy.

And your heart will be filled, and you will dance. 

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Happy 6th birthday Adyson Joy.

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Cecilia and Andre

Cecilia and Andre are the most outgoing, friendliest couple I have ever met! I swear that everyone they know instantly becomes their best friend. Whether you’re their barista or their UPS guy, it doesn’t matter! They’re going to treat you like they’ve known you forever and next thing you know you’re partying at their wedding! And that’s what it was! A PARTY!

It was a night like none other! My cheeks were sore at the end of the day due to me constantly smiling at them and laughing with their friends and family! There was a ton of laughter, squealing, jumping up and down, and pure excitement coming from everyone at their gorgeous Sarasota Garden Club Wedding.

Cecilia is so sweet that she couldn’t help but compliment everyone as she walked down the isle. Andre jumped up and down when they were pronounced husband and wife. They both kept checking on me the whole night to make sure I was eating and drinking plenty. I’m telling you guys, this is a special couple here.

It’s a crazy story how my path crossed with theirs, a story that maybe we’ll tell another time, but I will forever be grateful to have met Cecilia and Andre and capture the next chapter to their love story. Because of who they are and how they treat others, I wasn’t just a hired vendor for the night. For a few hours I became their closest friend, like their family, and I will always cherish their wedding day and their friendship for years to come!

Cici and Andre, thank you for being you! Thank you for loving people so well. Thank you for being a ray of light in a sometimes dark and gray world! Enjoy a little sneak peek from your special day!

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Alex & Ray | Engagement

Ray received the news that once again he had orders to leave. In an attempt to celebrate his birthday before he left, Alex called all their friends and family together to have a big party. As she was setting everything up Ray asked her to run one last errand. Little did she know, Ray was doing some planning of his own! When she left Ray immediately started changing out the birthday decor for “she said yes” memorabilia. He put on his nicest suit and asked all the guests to make two lines leading from the front door to the back of the house where he had rose pedals set up, “Will you marry me” letters standing up, and him awaiting on one knee. Alex walked in completely surprised and overwhelmed. She said yes to spending the rest of her life with Ray and I am so thrilled to be able to walk alongside them during this season of life!

They’ll be tying the knot in the beautiful St. Augustine and it made the most perfect backdrop for their engagement session. It was an unusually cold morning but Alex didn’t let that stop her from rocking this gorgeous red dress, and of course Ray was nice and warm in his dress blues.

Ray and Alex, congratulations on your engagement! A huge thanks to Alex for allowing us to be part of this season, and Ray, thank you so much for your service to our country and our freedom.

Enjoy a preview of their engagement session!

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Wedding

Kim & EJ

I’ve known Kim for a few years, and when you become friends with her there’s a few things you’ll learn fairly quickly. One is how amazingly positive she is. She’s been through tough times and heartbreak in her life, but you would never know! She always has a smile on her face, usually is laughing about something, and always has a positive perspective at whatever the situation may be. Her zeal for life is contagious and you simply can’t be around her without smiling.

You also learn fairly quickly how she was suppose to be born in the 70’s and loves all things “hippie”. She always rocks the boho pants and hairstyles and loves all things flowers. So it was no surprise at all when she fell in love with The Acre and told me all about the flower crowns she would be making for her wedding! EJ is the perfect blend of crazy to go along with all of Kim’s fun personality, and totally carefree to let his girl have whatever she wants!

Kim’s vision came to life beautifully for their romantic bohemian styled wedding. The Acre Orlando was the perfect backdrop and everything from the flower crowns to the lace on the dresses complimented their special day.

Kim and EJ, I hope you can relive all of your emotions from that special day as you look through these photographs. I pray many happy years ahead of you, and of course all the babies 😉

Enjoy!

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Venue: The Acre Orlando

Meal and Cake: 4Rivers Catering

Bridesmaid dresses: ASOS

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal

Suits: Men’s Warehouse

Jewelry: Forever21

Bridal Shoes: Guess

Hair and Makeup: Beautified by Bekah

DJ: DJ Todd and Company

Engagement & Proposal

JaLisa + Mark

It was a perfect morning as JaLisa, Mark and I walked around taking in nature and snapping photos here and there. When I met with them to talk about their engagement session they tossed around a few locations. I think they were settled on a local park until I asked them what it was they wanted to showcase. JaLisa really loved the idea of showcasing the state of Florida for her family back in Ohio.

Florida has so many options when it comes to locations. We’re the sunshine state so of course you could go for the beach session. We also have some metropolitan cities like Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Jacksonville that offer a fun downtown feel. But we also have swamplands, open fields, and over 100 springs that discharge millions of gallons of water a day. It really is a great state for a photographer with so many different options (just wish we had those beautiful fall colors…and maybe some mountains!)

As we continued to talk I learned that JaLisa and Mark were an outdoorsy couple and loved spending time in nature and swimming in the springs. That’s when we all knew that Wekiva State Park would be the perfect location for their engagement session!

We nearly had the whole park to ourselves that morning and the bright sun hitting the gorgeous trees brought a peace that I can still feel when I look at their gallery. We couldn’t have had more fun that morning and I can’t wait to celebrate their wedding day!

Enjoy a sweet preview from that peaceful day.

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Engagement & Proposal

Kim + EJ | Engagement Session

Words can’t even describe how happy I am for my sweet friend Kim! A few years ago God crossed our paths as cheerleading coaches. We coached a varsity cheer team for three years together. She is opposite from me in so many ways which made the perfect balance! I was the ying and she was my yang. She was positive and I tended to “keep it real” more often than not. She is full of grace and I brought the “justice”. She was the encourager and I was the pusher. But a few things we did have in common was that we loved our teams and we both wanted her to find the man of her dreams!

Dating is so stinkin’ hard these days – can I get an amen?! Kim is an amazing woman! She is full of life, so positive, energetic, has a great sense of humor, and believes the best in people. I knew it would take an incredible man to win her heart and appreciate everything she has to offer.

When I met EJ I instantly knew that he was the one we hoped and prayed for! Not only does he appreciate her silly personality, but he encourages it and plays right along with her. He’s kind and encouraging and the perfect person to take care of one of my sweetest friends!

Enjoy this preview from their engagement session! Their wedding is only a few weeks away so you’ll be seeing them again soon!

Congrats Kim and EJ! We love you guys!

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