Wednesday, April 18, 2012

who jumps into the ocean in their wedding dress?

My April sponsor/real life soul mate/mother of my beautiful goddaughter, that's who!

Have you ever been to one of those weddings where you say to yourself, "I want my wedding to be like this." Well, that was Audra's wedding for me.
It was gorgeous and fun and easy going and just so HER {and her husband, of course}.
 And it's your lucky day because she's taking over my blog today to tell you about it!
A little wedding Wednesday action of sorts.


People ask me all the time if my wedding pictures were Photoshopped.

Girlfriend, please.... if I were a whiz at Photoshop, I would have
made my boobs bigger in all of the pictures. And had Ryan Gosling
stand in as groom. I kid, I kid...... kind of.

No, my friends, Photoshop can't take the credit for the beautiful
backdrop in our wedding pictures. I owe it all to the beautiful city
of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And to God/Mother Nature/whatever deity
you pray to for good weather.

It was May 2009. Forty of our closest friends flew in from
Ohio,Chicago, Pennsylvania and the like to witness the joining of two
people in holy matrimony. And to have one kick ass party on the beach.

From the moment we got engaged, I knew I didn't want our wedding to be
"ordinary." This doesn't mean I wanted an extravagant affair - far
from it. I'm a simple gal with simple tastes, but I also live my life
by a very strong philosophy to "Do whatever it takes to be 100% happy,

I LOVE going to weddings. While some people might dread them, I have a
blast at each and every one. I am often that girl who has WAY
too much fun on the dance floor (just ask Holly's friends who the best
dancer at her wedding was - I killed it!) But for my own
wedding, I just didn't feel like I fit in the typical wedding mold.
Despite being the youngest child, I don't like being on "display" for
strangers. For friends and close close family, sure. But in a large
group of people I don't know very well, I usually hunker down at the
corner table and sip my drink while chatting with one to two people.

I knew what would make me 100% happy is to have the wedding we wanted,
on our terms and no one else's. So when Jon tossed out the idea of
getting married in the place where we vacationed every year, I was
sold like a Slim Fast to a supermodel.

When we initially brought up the idea to our friends and family, we
were met with mixed reviews. Some people were pumped (yay for vacay!)
and others were concerned about whether or not they could take time
off in May. This made me question our decision for a little while, but
ultimately, I realized this: When it comes down to it, really truly
only two people have to be there, me and Jon. Anyone else who could be
there was a bonus. And because I surround myself with some really
awesome peeps, I knew that they would do everything they could to be
there for us.

"But Audra, how did you plan an entire wedding in Florida when you
lived in Ohio?!?"

Well friend, if we had gotten married in 1980, it would have been
quite the challenge. But thanks to the Internets, I had everything I
needed at my fingertips. I essentially planned my entire wedding on
the computer. and Wedding Wire were my best friends. There
was a South Florida message board on The Knot, so I connected with
some locals and got some suggestions for good vendors. Their feedback
proved to be invaluable. I also scoured reviews on Wedding Wire to
make sure the vendors I chose weren't cray-cray. If you didn't have
any reviews, you weren't getting my business. I need to know you are
going to follow through on the most important day of my life,

Honestly, not meeting these people in person really wasn't that big a
deal to me. Everything we needed to talk about could be done over the
phone or via email. We had one trip to Florida in the year between
getting engaged and our wedding, but the only big decision we made was
that we chose our venue based on that scouting trip. All we had to go
by were the pictures online, and as soon as I walked into this place,
I knew immediately it was "The One." Like Jon, only a resort version.

"But Audra, weren't some of your friends/family sooo pissed they
weren't invited to your destination wedding??!?"

In a word, yes.

Herein lies the other dilemma we had. There were significant numbers
of extended family members and other friends that were not invited to
our wedding. This was not because we didn't want them to be there. It
was because we had to limit the number of guests, and when it came
down to it, we had to make a choice. We chose to invite the people
closest to us as a couple, who had seen our relationship develop into
what it was, and people who truly gave a damn that we were getting
married. I didn't want anyone to come to my wedding because they "had"
to, because they were someone's date, or because we had a relative in
common. I also didn't want to meet anyone for the first time at my own
wedding. How awkward is that?? "Hi, my name's Audra, and I'm paying
$125 a plate for you to eat tonight. Nice to meet you. You've barely
touched your steak, are you insane??!!? Don't you give that plate to
the waiter, so help me God you finish your meal!!!!" Ya see?? I just
feel like, at your own wedding, if you wouldn't normally buy that
person dinner, or wouldn't normally spend time with them, why do they
have to be there on the most important day of your life??

Finally, the most important reason, and the most significant memory I
have about our destination wedding???


When you gather a small group of your closest friends and family
together, it feels like one giant ass family reunion of family members
that you actually like. It was perfect. We had one whole floor of the
resort, which happened to have a shared balcony, and it felt like we
were in our own world. There was no real separation; everyone just
hung out together, and I got to spend significant amounts of time with
every single guest who attended. Not just the courtesy 5 minute
greeting at the table or receiving line. Nah. I got to have margaritas
with everybody as we hung out by the pool and lounged in the lazy
river. Yes, there was a lazy river. Booyah!

The entire experience was truly like a dream. The scenery was a dream,
and the whole day felt like a fairytale. I couldn't have painted a
more perfect day, in weather, scenery, or company.

And, in what other format is it appropriate to jump into the ocean in
your wedding dress, and have about 15 other brave souls follow you???
Well, apparently in Fort Lauderdale, that's where. This was a complete
spur of the moment decision, but is just a testament to the carefree
and whimsical nature of our wedding. I didn't feel the need to be "on"
and composed. It was a warm night, and I wanted to jump into the ocean
with my new husband! So I did.

I do not have one single regret about my wedding, and for this I will
be forever grateful. We did things our way, and though it wasn't
traditional, it was perfect for US.

Because after all, you (ideally) only get ONE wedding day in your
whole lifetime. This is one day that is about the two of you and the
commitment you're making to each other. If it's not on your terms,
what's the point? Sure you can make compromises, but ask yourself:

"Self, when I look back in 20 years, will I wish I had done things

A destination wedding isn't for everyone, but hands-down I always tell
people it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I can look
back on the most important day of my life and know for a fact that it
was the perfect day. Even if Ryan Gosling wasn't there.

Thanks Holly for letting me be a guest poster - come on over to A Little Bit of Rain and say hello. I like making new friends. And fellow Ryan Gosling fans.


Don't you love her already?!
She is AMAZEBALLS I tell you!
Now, go show her some love :)



Christina said...

I love this post! And I love Audra and her blog! :)

CALLIE said...

Perfection!! The kiss in the water is my favorite. What an awesome picture.

Lindsay K {lastyearoftwentysomething} said...

I love that they ran into the ocean in their wedding get up!! Thanks for this post! Love finding new Ohio bloggers!

Jennifer said...

Absolutely amazing guest post that I honestly wish I had gotten to read last year when planning my wedding.
She's an inspiration for sure!

KatyK said...

I remember watching a wedding in Laguna when I was little. The bridal party tossed the bride and groom in. It looked so fun.

I got married in December in Ohio so no ocean jumping. If I ever get a do-over I'm putting this on my list though!

Alexis @ ChristianWifeStyle said...

Sounds like an awesome wedding! :)

Although I loved my wedding day, a lot of times I do regret going the traditional route.

Audra said...

Thanks for letting me hijack your blog today friend - love meeting new blog gals! :)

{[Jessica]} said...

This post was a blessing!!! She truly is amazing. I am currently trying to plan my wedding & she said everything I have been wanting to hear but NO ONE else would tell me. THANK YOU.

I hope my wedding can be this much fun when it comes

Happy Wednesday


Alicia @ To Columbus and Beyond! said...

Oh my gosh - so much fun!!! Her pictures are gorgeous!!

Nikki said...

Gorgeous! And how perfect to read this post now :) We are also having a destination wedding (June 9th!) and I totally can relate to Audra with the whole not being able to invite everyone to the wedding...just the nearest and dearest! :)

absolutely beautiful pictures!

Savanah said...

In love with this post!! My fiancé and I are planning our destination wedding right now for December in Cancun! We already have our trash the dress session with our photographer scheduled for the day after the wedding so I will for sure be jumping in the ocean in my wedding dress too!

Taylor Grace said...

Wow! Awesome blog, glad I came across you via Erin at LIY!

Chelsea said...

her wedding looks so beautiful! I have always wanted to get married on a beach.

asj said...

so fun! love this post and what a beautiful wedding! so perfect! :)

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