ATLANTIC BEACH FL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY | ADELE GRAGE CULTURAL CENTER WEDDING | JANNA + CARLOS

Love Story:

How did you two meet? 

We met each other at work. Being friends for a while there, when Carlos joined the same team that I was on sparks really began to fly. We were just two people on a very small team (only three people!). I was super nervous about dating someone from work for a while, but we started walking two of our dogs (we have four between the two of us!) at Hanna Park between the trails and the beach. It was just fun and relaxing, and a great way to get to know Carlos outside of work. This started back one April, and we didn’t want rumors going around the office about us so we really tried to keep things hush-hush. We did tell our boss, who was fine with keeping things under wraps so the rumor mill wouldn’t start (she was so supportive of us!)… our plan was to get it all out there at the Christmas Party. We showed up hand in hand together. There was no whispering, no rumors – just everything getting out in the open at one time. The funny thing is, we ended up getting the superlative at work for “Most Likely to Shock the World” a couple weeks later. It was the best secret ever! 😊

How did he propose?  

Normally, I’m very good at figuring things out, but he really got me on this one! There was one Saturday morning where we had our normal breakfast while watching tv and everything was just the same to me that morning. He asked since the weather was so nice out, “do you want to take Lyla and Ziggy to Hanna Park for a walk?” He’s so good with all our dogs and walking them, I didn’t think anything of it. Coincidently, these were the same two dogs of our four total that we originally started to walk when we began dating. Having tried to recreate it all, I still had no clue – Hanna Park, beach walk, same two dogs, similar time during the day … he got me good! As soon as we hit the beach, he asked me! My first reaction was, “are you serious?!” Of course, I said yes after I realized what was happening! I had always wanted to be surprised, and he did just that! It was just what I had hoped for.

Wedding planning:

How did you decide on your color scheme, flowers, and cake? 

For colors, I love wildflowers so I didn’t want to stick to one color. I like bright, multi-color things. While my original color scheme was more wildflower-y, it ended up being more tropical multi-colors. It was ok to me that this changed throughout my planning process – the colors were still bright, happy and pretty.

I wanted the ability to keep my flowers also. I know that sending your flowers off/preserving them can be pricey and you always run that risk of it getting lost in the process. I went to Etsy and began looking for “real touch”, “foam” and “dried/preserved” flowers. This is where I found “Wedideas”. They were fantastic. I reached out initially to them during this process with a vision in mind based on two of their bouquets, but wanting to add little bits of yellow. They did just that for me! I also ordered the bouts for the guys and corsages for the moms through them (these had little star fish on them – a perfect little touch for a beachy wedding!). I then ordered wedding confetti through Etsy too (everlandFAVOURS), little foam flowers for the table arrangements (Etsy also, DexinFloral), and dried palm fronds on Afloral.com. Beachy ended up being the theme in the end, instead of wildflowers, so most of the foam flowers were plumeria’s.

Our cake was through Cinotti’s Bakery, a local shop at the beaches here. I wanted a way to include our dogs in the wedding (having all four there would have been pretty stressful!) so I ordered different items from an Etsy shop (SmashCaked) with my idea of a little “We Do Too” cake banner/topper with little gold dogs based on our breeds. Don’t be afraid to have a DIY wedding cake topper! It all came together so nicely!

How did you decide on your invitations, and who did you use?

A friend had suggested Minted.com for our invites. They were fantastic from the start of the order down to the way the invites were packaged when they arrived to us for final assembly (they even threw in a free calendar gift!). Since the wedding was beachy themed, the invites had a lot of palm tree fronds which tied back to the table decor. Because I wasn’t sticking to a color theme either, the invites had their green color pattern, while I had the wedding website made through them in the same theme in orange/pink (I think it blended in great to Tonya’s main picture I added of us that had the sunset behind us!). I had been torn on which color invite I liked best, but this was a great way to get a little of both. Win win!

What was the most fun part of wedding planning?

I love to decorate things and I looooove crafting projects! After looking around on Pinterest, I got some ideas of what to go for. All of the center pieces were DIY’s between glasses I got at Hobby Lobby (wait till glasses go 50% off to stock up!), Esty for flowers and little sea shells, Amazon for fake candles, and a little sand (don’t buy the expensive small sand packages from crafting sections – get the big bag of play sand from Home Depot for way cheaper, no one will ever know!). I also wanted to pull something in that really tied to both of our personalities – while I love crafting projects, I also equally love gardening. Our wedding favors were also another Etsy win, seed packets that said “Thank you!” and “Let Love Grow”. For something that was Carlos-like, I went to Etsy for a custom Star Wars card box. These little things were so much fun to work on pulling together.  

Which part did you not like as much?

(Honestly the booking issues with the venue, but not sure if they’d like me putting this in here so I’ll leave it out. I did write reviews on them already to provide advice so other couples know what to do if booking through them… it was so pretty, but they were my biggest headache!)

What are the biggest pieces of advice you wish you would have known before the wedding day.

There were a few things, but one thing I will say is have the wedding the way you want it. Especially if you are doing it all on your own. You don’t have to stick to a one or two colored theme. You don’t have to stick to all the traditions (I didn’t throw a bouquet because I wanted to keep mine for a pretty shadow box on the wall later! I was later asked if I forgot it – nope, I just didn’t want to do it). You don’t have to have bridesmaids or groomsmen (I was nervous there could be drama, so I left that out – you don’t have to have people in your wedding if you think it’s going to cause conflict or stress). Make sure that your wedding is ultimately your wedding. I have had friends tell me that they made their wedding to others wants/specifications, and that if they could do it all over again that they would make it “their” wedding. I did exactly that. Also, at the same time, understand that you can’t make everyone happy. I was taking this to heart in the beginning, but honestly, at the end of the day it’s about what you and your spouse want and what will make you happy on your special day.
One other thing to also keep in mind is that something will ultimately go wrong, my father-in-law told me this from the beginning and asked me to remember that. I tried to adopt that mentality, because we had some bumps along the way and almost daily the week of the wedding (no matter how much you plan and anticipate things, it’s going to happen). If you try to “go with the flow” and know that your wedding is happening no matter what and that you’re with your special someone at the end of that day – then those bumps aren’t going to matter compared to the big picture.  

Wedding Weekend Info:

(please provide name and website)


Ceremony Location: Atlantic Beach, Florida
Reception Location:  Adele Grage Cultural Center

Caterer: Yoon’s Spoon for a yummy taco bar!  (https://www.yoonsspoon.com/)
Wedding Coordinator: Day of Coordinator Shelly Kruger, a family friend
Photographer: Tonya Beaver Photography (http://www.tonyabeaverphotography.com/)

Cake:  Cinotti’s Bakery (https://cinottisbakery.com/)
Florist: Wedideas (through Etsy.com)
Officiate:   Christopher Palmer (my brother got ordained online! 😊 )
Hair: Studio Bride (https://www.studiobrideartistry.com/)
Make-up: Studio Bride (https://www.studiobrideartistry.com/)
Entertainment: Y? Entertainment (https://yentertainmentdjs.com/

Wedding Dress, earings and hair accessories: Vocelles Bridal (in Tallahassee, Florida – https://www.vocellesbridal.com/)

Wedding Shoes: Nordstrom (https://shop.nordstrom.com/)

Groom Suit:  Mens Wearhouse (https://www.menswearhouse.com/)
Dress Alterations: Sew Beautiful Custom Creations (website through TheKnot.com)

In your words, can you give a storyline of your wedding day?

We woke up at our home together with our dogs, and I gave him a little box with custom Star Wars cufflinks I had made for him through Etsy (he loves his Star Wars – his wedding band even has the symbol on it). From there my Mom and I took off for the reception venue where we were getting ready with Studio Bride (if you can get your hair/makeup girls to come out to you – it’s so worth it! This company offered this). My sister showed up with her little ones and her friend that I wanted to use as our day of coordinator (she wants to get into wedding planning so I figured this would be a great chance for her to try it out!). Carlos arrived shortly after on the other side of the venue, where he and my brother (who officiated for us!) spent time together trying to figure out how to tie his suit tie 😊
We took some pictures with our lovely photographers while our DJ arrived and entertained one of our nieces (she wanted to be his helper lol). Since we were running behind we took off for the beach from there for the ceremony. My Grandpa and I got to hang back a little while the rest of the family walked in front. That’s when I told him, while he was walking down to give me away, that I needed him to dance with me later. He was totally down for it and said he would help me (because I told him I didn’t know how to dance! Let me say, Grandpa had some moves!). We met with Carlos at the beach surrounded by our family and friends. It was such a great moment. We laughed after because the dried flower/wedding confetti I had gotten was all over our hair. Our amazing photographers snapped some pretty beachy photos, then got us back to the venue where they helped us get back on to schedule (things were running behind because we were waiting on some key family members at the start of the day – but like I said earlier, go with the flow because it will all come together in the end… thankfully Tonya had an idea that got us back on track too! She was amazing!). Feeling everyone’s love and support in that room when we walked in sure was something else! I’m not a big crier, but I almost cried. We moved straight to digging into the yummy taco bar and then took some more family pictures. From there we had our special dances, stopped by all of the tables to say hi and thank you to everyone, did a little toast with my mom’s glasses and shared a slice of our wedding cake. Honestly, everything is such a blur so another piece of advice I would give is to try to soak it all in because it truly does fly by like everyone tells you. My sister and her friend decorated Carlos’s car, which we drove home. Our neighborhood has never had a block party, but unfortunately there was one the day of our wedding so we missed it. We got home at just the tail end of it so when we stepped out of the car everyone was cheering and yelling Congratulations! Our doggies also welcomed us home too of course! 😊    

      What was the high point of your wedding day that you hope to remember forever?

There were a few points that I’ll always hold dear to my heart. In order of occurrence, my Grandpa walking me down to Carlos. My Grandpa has been such a major influence and support system in my life. He’s stepped in and helped me through so much. I had always wanted him to walk me one day when I got married and doing this with him meant so much to me. The second was the ceremony and seeing Carlos. I can’t describe all the butterflies!!  We kept squeezing and rubbing our fingers as we held hands the whole time – just from the sheer joy that we were finally there together in that moment. It was the best feeling. The third was once we got back to the venue and walking in together to our families and friends – can I say how much love we both felt radiating in one room?! It was so amazing to feel their love, support and happiness.

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