This beautiful outdoor garden ceremony is proof that if you want a beautiful destination, sometimes you might find that destination in your own backyard …

“Kyle proposed to me in Florence, Italy. Italy has always been a special place for us. We had just started dating when I traveled to Florence in May 2013 to complete an eight week study abroad program. Kyle happened to be backpacking through Europe with his best friend at the same time, and they made a stop in Florence. We spent four days exploring the city together. On the last night, we were walking back to my apartment and Kyle stopped me in the middle of the rain soaked cobblestone street and kissed me. It was in that exact moment that I knew I loved him. Four years later we returned to Florence for a two week vacation, and Kyle proposed to me at Piazzale Michelangelo, a picturesque terrace overlooking the beautiful city where it all began…”

What was your wedding vision? We really wanted to have an outdoor wedding that was elegant, yet not too formal. Tyler Gardens checked all of the important boxes for us. It was so much more than your typical wedding venue with it’s old world charm, stone staircases, and beautiful landscaping. The location was close to Kyle’s parent’s house, which worked really well for us as Kyle’s mom and sister did all of our flowers and decorations.

Tell us about your attire choices. While I sifted through endless color options for bridesmaids dresses, Kyle was set on wearing a blue suit from the start. He found the mystic blue suit at Generation Tux and I based all of my subsequent color choices around that. The mystic blue suit fit really well with the look that we were going for; elegant, yet not too formal. Picking out my dress was surprisingly easy. I wasn’t committed to any particular style beforehand, which was helpful as I was able to see what a variety of different styles looked like on me. As cliche as it sounds, as soon as I tried on my wedding dress I knew it was “the one.” The process of finding my dress was so much fun, and was surprisingly one of the easier decisions to make during the wedding planning process.

What was the most important to you while you were planning? The venue, photographer, food, and my dress were most important to us. We wanted to provide our guests with an elegant event that was different than a traditional country club style, which Tyler Gardens definitely provides. We also wanted a photographer whose style would match the beauty of the venue. Maria’s work with the various levels and landscapes of the venue proved to be an amazing choice. The only item we splurged on was a string trio for the ceremony. This wasn’t in the original plan but we decided to add it after seeing one at a friend’s wedding.

Favorite parts of the day? There are three memories that stand out the most to us. The first was our first look. We went back and forth on whether or not we should do a first look, and I couldn’t be happier that we did. Having that private moment together to see each other for the first time was so special. It was personal, emotional, and the perfect way to start off the day. My second favorite memory was during the ceremony. Our two year old nephew, Declan, was our ring bearer. Being that he was only two years old, we had no idea what to expect of him when it came to walking down the aisle. His dad, Kyle’s brother, was our officiant, so we were hoping Declan would be comforted by seeing him and would agree to walk down the aisle. Declan ended up completely stealing the show (and everyone’s heart). He excitedly ran down the aisle, arms wide open, screaming “Daddy!” before jumping into his dad’s arms. It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Our third favorite memory was during cocktail hour, when Kyle and I were finishing up our second round of photos. We were standing at the top of the stairs that overlook the gardens and we saw all of our family and friends down at cocktail hour. There were people from all stages of our lives who traveled from all over the world just to be there with us. There isn’t any other time when you will have all of those people together in one room and we are so grateful to have been able to share our special day with all of them.

What did you do for favors? In lieu of favors, we chose to make a donation to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a non-profit organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. This was extremely meaningful to me, as I work with many families impacted by pediatric cancer in my career as a child life specialist.

Tell us about any special or personal details. Kyle’s mom and sister handled all decorations and flowers, which proved to be quite the project and came out better than we ever could have dreamed of. Finding the decorations consisted of the two of them visiting Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, and other similar stores for over a year to find pieces that fit with our decor vision. One major piece was also found at a nearby barn that sells second hand wood pieces. We would frequently get texts asking “What do you think of this piece?” from both of them. The most amazing part is what they produced based on a vision we described with a few photos and verbally. What they were able to put together was amazing and nobody could believe the level of care and detail that went into their work. Similarly, the flowers were created based on us showing a few photographs of what we wanted and they also came out perfect. For the year leading up to the wedding, each time we travelled back to Kyle’s parent’s house there would be test centerpieces, bouquets, and other flowers for us to see. A few days before the wedding, Kyle and his mom even drove to Costco to pick up all the flowers and greens needed to bring the whole project to life; they barely fit in the car! It was truly amazing what they were able to do and we can’t thank them enough!

My flowers were wrapped in the lace from my mom’s dress and my mom’s wedding hat was used as part of the decorations.

Advice? Try to enjoy the planning process, and don’t stress too much over the small stuff!

Photography: Maria Mack Photography | Ceremony Venue: Tyler Gardens | Reception Venue: Tyler Gardens | Floral: Lee-Ann Durning (groom’s mom) | Stationery: Minted | Wedding Cake: Karolyn’s Kakes | Decor Items: Lee-Ann Durning (Groom’s Mom) | Hair: Brittany Spaulding Hair & Makeup | Makeup: Brittany Spaulding Hair & Makeup | Reception Musicians: Cutting Edge Entertainment | Catering: Red Cedar Grille | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab | Wedding Dress: Watters WToo | Groom’s Attire: Generation Tux | Bride’s Shoes: BP Shoes | Bridesmaid Dresses: Sorella Vita | Wedding Ring: ID Jewelry | Submitted via: Matchology

Bajan Wed