I’m not usually a fan of poofy, princess-y gowns, but I totally had to eat my words when I saw today’s stunning bride in a to-die-for Oscar de la Renta gown from Sharon Batten. (Her perfectly pink Kate Spades earned her extra points from me, as well.) Abby Jiu photographed Taylor + Stephen’s Florida nuptials at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and Jennifer Corrente of Chef’s Garden coordinated the affair. To complement the dapper groom + his attendants, Taylor’s ‘maids donned chic black sheaths, courtesy of Bella Bridesmaid, and carried bright bouquets from Ann Evans of Bloom Cypress.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date set up by mutual friends who thought we would be a great match. When Stephen picked me up for our first date, my roommate’s crazy dog sprinted out the front door though his legs and into the neighborhood. We spent the first twenty minutes of the date getting to know each other while chasing the dog through streets and yards. But I guess that was a good omen, we’ve been together ever since.
Describe the proposal. One year to the day of our first meeting, Stephen’s surprised me at work. He had my suitcase packed and whisked me off to New York City, a favorite city of ours for vacations and the place where we realized we were in love. That night he pulled out the very dress I had worn on the dog-chasing first date and after a wonderful dinner he took me to Rockefeller Plaza where he dropped on one knee and asked me to be his wife. With tears running down my face I gleefully accepted and while I was trying to take in the moment, I was shocked again when my best friends ran up behind me. Stephen had secretly asked them to be there. I had had no idea that they were yards away, hidden behind a column video taping the entire proposal. It was perfect.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, joyful, and playful.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: All of the music! I am a middle school drama teacher and musical theater actress, so I love music and knew it would be an important part of the experience. We had an a capella group sing during the wedding, a gospel choir pop up as we walked down the aisle and a marching band from Stephen’s university alma mater play us to the get-away car. My guests were dancing and clapping as Stephen and I walked between them and enjoyed our last moments of the wedding reception and waved goodbye for the first time as husband and wife. I also love the fact that we scheduled little sessions of alone time throughout the night for us to enjoy each other’s company on our happiest day.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was outside at the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville, Florida. The property is a former private residence on the St. John’s River. The back gardens where we had the wedding and reception are packed with classic, elegant, southern charm. The air was warm in early October and our guests loved walking through the manicured hedges while enjoying the a capella group. Both of our families are from the South, so our rehearsal dinner was a traditional southern fried chicken and sweet tea feast. At the wedding reception, we kept that theme going with an entire food station dedicated to southern style cooking, complete with short ribs and potatoes. Also, our first dance was to “Then” by Brad Paisley.