If you’ve ever been to Ponte Vedra Beach, you know that the paradisal setting, with its bright sunshine, breezy palm trees, and sea-scented air, needs little in the way of enhancements. And that’s exactly how today’s bride, Courtney, felt about the location. She took a less-is-more approach to her wedding day and focused on the comfort of her guests above all else.
“I derived my inspiration from the phrase ‘simple elegance,’” Courtney said. “Everything I included in the wedding added to or enhanced this kind of atmosphere.” Overdone wedding traditions were replaced with refreshingly meaningful ones. Instead of Pachelbel’s Canon, Courtney walked down the aisle to “Song for Sienna” by Brian Crain, and in lieu of bouquet and garter tosses, she opted for something a little bit more touching. “I had the band play a song and invite all the married couples on the dance floor,” Courtney said. “The lead singer then asked those who had been married at least 1 year to keep dancing, then 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, and so on until he got to 60. That left only both sets of my grandparents on the dance floor. Everyone applauded, and I presented both of my grandmothers with bouquets.”
The talented husband-and-wife duo behind Brooke Images, Ashley and Greg, captured every moment flawlessly, from the couple’s sweet “first look” to their stylish getaway in a mint-condition ’67 Mustang. We’ll step aside and let the captivating photos do all the talking.
Q + A with Courtney
What’s your love story? How did you meet, fall in love, and get engaged?
Matt and I met at Florida State University and dated for three years. He proposed on the night before our three-year anniversary. I thought that I was going to a friend’s house for a party, and he totally surprised me!
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding and your sources of inspiration?
For our wedding, I derived my inspiration from the phrase “simple elegance”; everything I included in the wedding added to or enhanced this kind of atmosphere. As I have seen so many brides get carried away with the wedding planning process and have watched it become all about one person (the bride), I was extra careful to counteract that and instead tried to focus on the guests’ experience on our wedding day. Would it be too hot outside during the time of the ceremony? Would they have to wait long for us to be introduced at the reception? Did they get to say hello to us?
For the ceremony, I chose to walk down the aisle to “Song for Sienna” by Brian Crain. I didn’t want the hackneyed Pachelbel, and I preferred something that would give me butterflies when I heard it. Matt and I wrote our own vows, which were very special and touching to hear.
For the reception, I made a “Family and Friends Tree,” which included special handwritten cards for each guest that reminded them how they impacted our relationship or us individually in some way. I just wanted each person there to know how thankful we were for their support. Also, at the guestbook table, we included pictures of our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings to highlight their love for each other on such a happy day. At the bar, we had complimentary cigars for the gentlemen and a signature drink menu with personalized titles and descriptions of the drinks beneath them. Finally, I personally think that the garter toss and the bouquet toss are tacky and overdone, so I opted for something a little more touching instead. I had the band play a song and invite all the married couples on the dance floor. The lead singer then asked those who had been married at least 1 year to keep dancing, then 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, and so on until he got to 60. That left only both sets of my grandparents on the dance floor. Everyone applauded, and I presented both of my grandmothers with bouquets—one from the ceremony and an extra one that I had the florist make.
I wanted to keep the floral arrangements classy and simple, so the florist created both small and large arrangements to vary among the tables. I utilized pearls in the arrangements, as classy Southern ladies wouldn’t be caught dead out of the house without at least their pearl earrings. We kept the floral decor at the ceremony to a minimum because the venue was so pretty already. My brother was a “bridesman,” so instead of carrying a bouquet he wore a boutonniere.
For our getaway, my neighbor offered to be our chauffeur in his mint-condition ’67 Mustang. Thus, we ended the night on a classy note.
Another unique element was our selection of footwear. We both selected something that would be our little secret. I chose four-inch gold glitter heels, and Matt chose blue-and-white striped socks.
My favorite moment was the band closing the night with a duo of “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” with the guests rushing the stage while two of our friends sparred vocally on stage. Matt’s favorite moment was when we were standing with our bridal party waiting to be introduced at the reception. He was sucking down water, champagne, and appetizers, and celebrating our new union with those closest to us.
What kind of advice would you offer to future brides?
My advice to brides who are on a budget, as I was, is to decide what your top two priorities are (mine was food and music, the two things that the guests would enjoy most) and spend a chunk of change on those to make them awesome. Then cut back on other elements that will probably go unnoticed. For instance, I reused every floral arrangement from the ceremony, including the bridesmaids’ bouquets, at the reception.
Photography: Brooke Images / Ceremony and reception venue: Ponte Vedra Inn & Club / Wedding coordinator: Jessica Ross of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club / Florist: Wilson’s Limited / Caterer: Ponte Vedra Inn & Club / Cake: Publix / Band: The RiverTown Band / Hair and makeup: Indulge Salon / Bride’s dress: Casablanca, purchased at Bridals & More / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen’s attire: J. Crew / Invitations and paper goods: Things Very Special
This wedding was submitted via Two Bright Lights.