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Love Bloomed at Rustic Garden Wedding

Joe and Brittany’s love story began in the fall of 2016 when they met through mutual friends in Tallahassee, Florida. Brittany immediately noticed Joe’s sense of humor and kindness, and Joe was captivated by Brittany’s beauty, inside and out. They spent time together almost every weekend at a local billiards hall, where they played pool and darts.

During the summer of 2017, Joe and Brittany quickly realized their compatibility after they had a long conversation about their upbringings and dreams for the future. At the time, Brittany thought they were just close friends, but Joe had plans for something more. During the fall of 2017, Joe and Brittany’s relationship blossomed as they spent more time together. They went to FSU football games, explored New Orleans, made home-cooked meals, slow danced in the living room, and prayed together at mass on Sundays. On January 7, 2018, Joe asked Brittany to be his girlfriend after he took her to their favorite restaurant for brunch, Table 23, and went for a walk at Alfred McClay Gardens.

After a year of memories and adventures, Joe proposed to Brittany at Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers on December 29, 2018. Joe and Brittany’s family were all visiting together for the holidays. During the tour of the estates, Joe hid the ring in the waistband of his pants and nervously waited for the perfect moment to pop the question.Joe walked Brittany down to the river to “take a picture” with her, and he told her that he spotted a dolphin. He pointed towards the “dolphin” in the water, and Brittany looked everywhere for it. As she turned around to ask him again to point it out because she couldn’t find it, Joe was down on one knee. He asked, “Will you marry me?” she, of course, said “Yes!” with happy tears in her eyes. As soon as he put the ring on her finger, Brittany laughed and said, “I’m guessing there was no dolphin?”

“My husband and I got engaged on December 29, 2018, so we had plenty of time to enjoy being engaged and wedding plan. I absolutely loved wedding planning the majority of the time. I had to stay super organized because I was also full time and taking graduate school classes part time. There were moments that were stressful when I had papers to write and deadlines to meet, but wedding planning was the fun part of that stress. It seemed that everything was going smoothly until the last month of wedding planning. Brides are always warned to be prepared for something to go wrong, but I never anticipated a worldwide pandemic. As our wedding day approached, so did COVID-19. We were filled with so much worry and uncertainty. Would we be able to have our wedding day? Should we postpone?”

“Joe and I decided that even if it was just a small ceremony with our closest family and friends, we wanted to get married on March 14. A couple weeks before our wedding day, we began to hear rumors that our wedding might be canceled due to the pandemic. We prepared for everything, and we even created plan Bs for every vendor and venue in the case they backed out. Needless to say, it was stressful. We originally had over 120 people on our guest list that had RSVPd yes, but as each day went by more and more guests shared that they would no longer be attending because of COVID-19. We understood their reasoning and wanted everyone to be safe, but we were SO sad. A year’s worth of wedding planning seemed to be falling apart, and it was completely out of our control. Two days before the wedding, I redid the seating chart and implemented safety precautions for our guests. With all that being said, our wedding day went perfectly. All the wedding planning and craziness right before our wedding paid off, and many of our guests facetimed relatives who couldn’t be there so they could be a part of our day. The day after our wedding, the CDC recommended that all events over 50 people should be cancelled. Joe and I were shocked and thankful that we were probably one of the last weddings before the pandemic.”

“Joe was so helpful and supportive during the entire wedding planning process. I took over the majority of planning because I enjoyed it, but he always helped me when I needed him.

Wedding planning can be stressful. No matter what happens, even a worldwide pandemic, all that matters is that you are going to marry the love of your life.”

Photographer: Elizabeth Lehman with Wonderstruck Media

Videographer: Adriel Conde with Eternal Image

Venue for Ceremony: Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas Moore

Venue for Reception and getting ready: Goodwood Museum and Gardens

Wedding Day-of Coordinator: Diane Bhardi with Sweet Tea Events

Catering: Social Catering

Cake: SoDough

Florist: A Country Rose

Dj: Abernathy Entertainment

Transportation: Classic Limo and Pro Limo

Wedding Dress and Groom/Groomsmen suits: White Weddings

Makeup Artists: Sara Beth McBride and Madi Cartwright

Bartender: Eric Sutherland

Rehearsal Dinner: Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant

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