Written by Paula Jones Last updated: July 7, 2009
5th January 2009
We met over an internet chat site around Feb 1999. We chatted for 6 months before actually meeting. Mind you we did tell people that we were childhood friends and I helped Mick after a sledging accident.
We are both 40
Mick proposed to me in a hotel room in Florida. I was getting ready for a night out so I was dressed in my underwear while putting my make up on.
I had two hen do’s one in the UK and one in Florida. Nothing special just a night out with the girls. Mick just had a stag do in Florida at the wing house……….beer, wings and waitresses in tight tops and shorts!!
Mick was great, he had lots of ideas and researched a lot of venues and ceremonies. We did hire a wedding planner to make sure everything went smoothly.
I checked out the Confetti website for most of the ideas but as we were getting married in the US we used a few American websites.
I bought rose petals and favour bags.
I bought my wedding dress from Solihull Brides. It was actually a Raylea bridesmaid dress made in Ivory. I wanted something quite light that I could travel with. I opted for a ivory, chiffon, strapless dress with simple diamante detail on one side and I added a chiffon wrap. It was so comfortable and easy to wear. As it was a bridesmaid dress the price was just a fraction of any wedding dress. If you’re on a budget it’s the best way to go.
I had two bridesmaids. I wanted three but Mick’s niece couldn’t make the wedding. My sister lives in Florida so I wasn’t able to go dress shopping with them. I wanted them to choose their own style and something they would feel comfortable in. My sister wore a gorgeous wine red chiffon dress to compliment mine. My niece was given a dress by a friend of hers and I didn’t know the colour or style until I got over there a week before the wedding. My niece’s dress actually matched the men’s ties exactly……..unbelievable!!
Mick wanted his brother as groom’s man but he couldn’t make the wedding so he asked his dad. Mick, his dad and my dad all wore grey suits. We bought wine red ties for all the men to wear at the wedding.
We had a civil ceremony performed by the officiant (who told us she had actually been ordained). We also had a “Unity Sand Ceremony” which is a beautiful ancient Native Indian ceremony. Some also say it was an Hawaiian ceremony too.
We had our ceremony during the sunset under a pergola on Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. It was a glorious sunny day right up until we set off to the wedding. The fog then came rolling in. We thought it would spoil the day but it actually added a mystical and enchanting theme to the whole experience.
We had our reception across the road from the beach at a French restaurant. The restaurant don’t actually open on a Monday but they decided to open especially for us. The restaurant was called “Le Cachette”.
When we booked the transport we just asked for a big enough car for the bride, bridesmaids and father of the bride. We also ordered a SUV for the rest of the wedding party. We don’t know how it happened but I ended up being driven to the ceremony in a white stretch limo!!
We only wanted a small wedding with close family and as it was based it Florida a lot of people wouldn’t have been able to make it. We had 10 people in our wedding party (including Mick and I). This consisted of his parents, my parents and my sister and her family. We decided to have a big party when we came back to the UK so that the rest of our friends and family could celebrate with us. This party was at the St Johns Hotel in Solihull.
Our colours were red and ivory. Our flowers were red and cream roses, apart from the pergola which had red carnations (it was cheaper). Being a Lancashire lass I wanted red roses to reflect the red rose county I come from!
We had red rose petals scattered over the table. We also had red ribbon wrapped around glass tea light holders and napkins. There were lots of candles on the table and walls it was so romantic!
To keep in with the theme we gave all our male guests white, mother of pearl, rose carved cuff links. We couldn’t find anything pretty enough as the cuff links to give to all our female guests. So, we bought extra pairs of cuff links and had pendants made out of them for the ladies, they were beautiful!!
All the men wore red rose buttonholes. My mum and Mick’s mum had wristbands with cream roses. I had an all red rose bouquet with diamantes (there was also a diamante in Mick’s buttonhole too) and a cream ribbon stem tie. My sister had a mixture of red and cream roses and my niece had all cream roses. We didn’t have flowers at the table we put our bouquets in vases around the table. The wedding planners organised our flowers with the florist.
We had a gorgeous 4 course a la carte meal. As it wasn’t a set meal we were able to eat exactly what we wanted. The food was amazing, if you ever go to the gulf coast of Florida you should try them out. The restaurant don’t have a licence to sell alcohol so we brought our own. This saved us a bit of money as we bought all our champagne from the airport.
As we had a small wedding party we only had a one tier wedding cake. They only seem to do sponge cakes in Florida so we had a wedding cake from Publix (supermarket) and I bought a single red rose decoration for the top. It was simple but beautiful. When we had the party back in the UK we had a two tier white cake Sponge/Fruit from Marks and Spencer. We dressed it with two single red roses and rose petals.
During the actuall wedding we didn’t have any entertainment. It was nice being able to just chat with everyone and have a few speeches and then we all went back to our apartment for a few more drinks. However, at the party back home in the UK we had a DJ playing lots of cheesy music for all ages. After all the party was for everyone not just us as we had already had the wedding we wanted.
We didn’t have a gift list. Cheeky as it sounds we sent a poem with the party invitation and asked for money. Mick and I have been living together for 9 years so we have pretty much everything we need apart from a house to put it in!!
We spent 3 weeks in Florida so I guess you could say the honeymoon was included. We had a gorgeous apartment and the bedroom was so big that even the queen size bed looked small in!!
There were lots of moments in the day from me and my dad almost walking the wrong way round to the pergola and having the moment we realised captured on camera………to the words in our vows meaning so much to us both. Oh and lots of laughter and tears of joy.
Only on the day when we saw the fog rolling in but as I was before it turned out to be quite magical. Oh and the groom and wedding parties car getting lost on the way to collecting them. They finally got to the ceremony after us. I was hidden in the limo until they were all seated and ready.
I would not have done anything differently at all. It was the most romantic, magical, perfect wedding I could ever ask for. We all haven’t stopped talking about it! The only advice I would give to any bride/groom…..if you haven’t got a lot of money to spend on a wedding then look for cheaper options for things ‐ people won’t even notice.