I am absolutely in love with the venue Jill and Will’s wedding and reception. An historic 14th century Spanish Monastery created a classic, elegant and dreamy ambiance, provided the large statues, tall columns and vaulted ceilings. Let’s breath in all the beauty of this locale with photos by Clearwater, Florida wedding photographer, K&K Photography.
Tell us how you met…
Well, where do we begin…Will and I met in December 2005 while still attending the University of Florida. GO GATORS! We ran into one another at a neighborhood party in Campus Lodge Apartments. I saw him standing in the kitchen and he was the cutest guy I had ever seen. Will isn’t exactly the most outgoing guy, but I could tell he liked me. I remember walking home and telling my then roomate, Sam, that I was going to date this William character. Little did I know, I wouldn’t just be dating this amazing man, but we would end up getting married. A few days after the party, Will and I separated. He went off to vacation in Eastern Europe with his sister and I went home to celebrate the holiday with my family. Out of sight and out of mind, wasn’t the case for Will and I. Come to find out, we were both thinking about each other the entire break. We came back and we met up again. We went on a few dates and spent the next several months getting to know one another. I liked Will he was the yin to my yang, the calm to my crazy, the shy to my outgoing. We were a perfect match. We began officially dating in August of 2006 and we’ve been inseparable ever since. After realizing we couldn’t live without one another, we moved into our first apartment while still attending the University of Florida, we even have our initials in the cement outside of our former apartment to prove it. I guess in this case opposites not only attract but they get married!
Now for the proposal… details!
It was a normal Wednesday night, September 23rd 2009 to be exact. Will had the ring for three weeks already, and wanted to pop the question when I would least expect it. He had asked my dad for his permission and Dave agreed. He didn’t want to take me to dinner or away for the weekend because he thought I would catch on. So he hatched a plan to ask me when I’d least expect it. He knew I would be home from work around seven and he had the day off so he was mentally preparing all day long. He had bought two dozen roses and spread the rose petals all over the bed spelling out “Will you marry me?” He waited patiently until he heard my typical, “Hey babe I’m home”. Once I was done explaining every detail of my day, He suggested we go lay in bed. Of course, we like nothing better than to relax in bed together after a long day. I obliged. I opened the bedroom door and Duke, our energetic dog, ran right smack in the middle of the bed. Typical of our crazy dog. Nonetheless, I got the message. Will looked over at me to see my eyes tearing and hands covering my mouth in shock. He got down on one knee and proposed. I couldn’t quite get the word yes out, but he figured a head nod was the same thing. With that, we were engaged.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
Our wedding was a hybrid of intimate and traditional. We had about 100 guests there from young babies to older grandparents. We kept everything very intimate and simple while preserving the traditional, church wedding we had always envisioned. Our officiant was an episcopalian priest with the traditional monk-like clothing and appealed to everyone during our ceremony. We had our family speak bible excerpts and looked lovingly onto the pews at our family and friends there to support us. More importantly we looked deeply at each knowing this was the beginning of something amazing. The cocktail hour helped guests get a taste of the delicious food and enjoy a violin string trio out in the loggia. During our reception, we had candle-lit Tuscan style tables lining two corridors outside in the cloister/garden area of the venue. Guests were surrounded by a monastery originally built in 1141 in Spain, dismantled and rebuilt in Miami in 1950’s. Large statues towered over guests in the cloister, garden area. The set of tables was decorated with dimly lit lanterns of various sizes and styles, moss, white and green flowers, and tiny tea lights to create a romantic and intimate feel. We partied all night and had everyone on the dance floor enjoying the music and one another. It was such a beautiful day.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My wedding gown was a beautiful Jim Hjelm strapless dress. It was an ivory, mermaid fit with an inner boned bodice and full, tiered skirt. My dress was slightly more modern so I went with a traditional veil and flower in my hair which was beautifully curled. Will looked gorgeous in his black tux from Jos A Banks, not complete without a black bow tie and suspenders. His groomsmen followed suit (pun intended). My girls wore navy J Crew Taffeta knee length dresses with simple black heels. As I mentioned earlier, we kept the style classic and elegant.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Our wedding took place at the gorgeous Spanish Monastery in North Miami. It was a magical evening filled with so much love and happiness. Our nearly 100 guests enjoyed a romantic and intimate ceremony in the cathedral followed by cocktail hour serenaded by a string violin trio and greeted with delicious appetizers. The reception was warm and inviting while guests sat at long Tuscan-style tables throughout the Cloisters of the Monastery. The DJ kept everyone dancing late into the night as we all enjoyed our special day.
Was there a specific theme or style?
The style of our wedding was romantic, intimate, simple and classic.
What inspired the theme or style?
The venue itself was so beautiful it didn’t require much “dressing up” which was exactly what I had dreamt of. I wanted to keep the decor simple so guests could appreciate the ancient appeal of the venue and the surrounding garden. All of our reception tables and ceremony decor consisted of white roses and white and bright green mums and “antiqued” lanterns.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We hired a wonderful string trio violin group to serenade our guests with upbeat modern music such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay and Beatles during our cocktail hour. We also had a bit of an unconventional officiant who truly captured the spirit of our relationship and kept the audience entertained with a heartfelt message of marriage love and admiration. Lastly, in order to encourage our guests to mingle we had two long Tuscan-style tables at which our guests were seated. You could only see smiling faces as you looked down the corridors of the cloisters.
Did you DIY any of the details?
How about all of them! My mom and I spent the months prior to our special day preparing all of our table centerpieces. Painting and “antiquing” all the lanterns. We also created our seating chart using an old picture frame set that we nailed together, painted and filled with names of guests and their tables. My wonderful day-of event planner made us moss letters to hang on the front gates of the venue. All these little details made our day just perfect and added our own twist to the already beautiful venue decor.
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment for us was when we did our “first sight”. Will was standing there in his tux with his back turned and I walked up behind him. It was that “ah ha” moment when all the nervousness subsides and you know it is just the two of you, there, together. We had some time to ourselves to appreciate how beautiful this day was going to be and how lucky we were before the chaos of wedding festivities ensued. We held hands, kissed, cried and laughed. It was our beautiful moment.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
The food was wonderful! If you ask Will, he would say the raspberry brie appetizer was his absolute favorite. We had a ton of options during cocktail hour and dinner was even better. We served our guests Grilled Fillet of Norwegian Salmon Presented with a Key Lime Chive Beurre Blanc and Roasted New York Strip Steak with a Port Wine Mushroom Demi-Glace. Both of which were amazing. Our cake was great too! It was a three-tier masterpiece made with vanilla-rum and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting covered with small green spider mums and white roses throughout along with navy fondant trim.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
We had Vision DJs as our music entertainment for the night. They were great! They played upbeat, mainstream music and had everyone dancing. Not just our friends, but my one- year old nephew as well as Will’s grandmother. We all just had a ball dancing to the typical wedding classics like “Shout” and newer music like “Gotta Feeling”. As University of Florida grads, we had our friends coax us into Tebow-ing on the dance floor! It was just such a magical, fun and carefree night for everyone.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
Hmm….Well it was an absolutely perfect day but I guess if there was one thing I’d change, it would have to be our entrance song for ourselves and the wedding party. It was kind of last minute and to be honest I don’t even remember what it was anymore! Perhaps something with a bit more energy in retrospect.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
The best wedding advice we received, by numerous people, was to just enjoy it as it will fly by. It did. They told us to take a minute and just enjoy it. When we were seated and our guests were eating dinner, we just looked at one another and then out to all of our friends and family and took a mental note of how lucky we were and how beautiful this night was.
Venue: The Ancient Spanish Monastery | Caterer: Eggwhites Catering | Cake: Edda’s Cake Designs | Photographer: K&K Photography | Floral: Events by Dream Makers | DJ: Vision DJs | Event Planner: Partyliss, Elissa Schneider | Make-Up: Rachel Loren Makeup