After over a year of planning, stressing, and more planning – we did it! I got married on December 9th, 2017! It was on a farm with a big red barn and animals everywhere, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. There were so many times during the planning process that I literally said: “can we just elope?” But in the end, it was more than worth it. I wish I could just relive it.
And now that it’s over I can tell you more about it!
We got married at a place called The Barn at Crescent Lake in Odessa, Florida. It’s the perfect blend of rustic and woodsy but not too country. I wanted it to feel more like enchanted forest meets barn wedding. So it was perfect.
We opted for their all-inclusive package which is basically we pay for a set amount based on the date (a Saturday) and guest count. It included most of the vendors – Catering, DJ, Bar Service, Officiant, Cake, Florist, and Planner/Coordinator. We chose from their preferred vendors who we liked and felt most comfortable with. Then the vendors dealt with the barn directly for deposits and payment.
We ended up taking off some vendors (we were allowed to remove 2) because we had some personal connections. Nate, a football coach who knows everyone, hooked us up with a DJ who used to be one of his old players. Then for our officiant, Nate knew another coach whose business is marrying people. Not the typical officiant (he’d never done a wedding our size before) but still a friend and professional. Just having that personal connection to our officiant was so special. He just made the whole thing so comfortable and so easy. Honestly though, by the end of the night, I felt personally connected to all of my vendors. They were so friendly and they all did an outstanding job.
Besides the vendors, my family and friends really pulled through on this. They’ve all been a part of the process in some way. Whether it was crafting or building something for the wedding, planning the parties, making flower crowns, or just being here, providing emotional support – because we needed it sometimes. Even my mom was running around the day before buying candles and extra beer for the wedding. Or Meagan, my sister, who tolerated my talking in circles and endless worry, guiding me through it all.
We had so much support from everyone, near and far. We had people traveling from California, Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington DC – to name a few – just to be there for us. Oh yeah, and Australia.
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And it’s not like these are people that we knew in high school and haven’t talked to in a few years. No, these are people that Nate and I are close to, even if it was over 40 people. In my mind though, it still felt like an intimate affair with my closest and dearest friends. There wasn’t a single person there who we didn’t know personally (save for maybe 3 wives and significant others).
That’s what made it so special. To be able to have so many people we love in one place – that’s what I always wanted when I pictured our wedding and I would never trade that experience. We always say how lucky we are because no matter who moves away or has a baby or gets married, we’re still the same with each other. I don’t know many people who have the kind of the friends we do.
Without all these amazing people in my life and part of this whole process, our wedding just wouldn’t have been the same. My friends, my parents, sisters, and Nate – they all made it perfect. I know planning can be a huge pain in the butt, but it was all so worth it, in the end, to be able to share our love and commitment to each other with all our loved ones. I mean, that’s why you have the big wedding right? With the dress and the food and the cake. It’s worth it to share it all. Of course, it’s about us, but let me tell you when it’s the end of the night and all my friends are crying because they got to see it all and be there, that’s what makes it even more special. I think we would have disappointed a lot of people if we didn’t have this big wedding.
There’s of course so much more, all the details of our nerdy, rustic wedding that I want to share – so many DIYs and photos. But for now I really just wanted to tell you all how lucky I feel, and how amazing it was. And how now I fully endorse the big wedding. Even if you get overwhelmed with planning and feeling like you’re doing it for other people, as long as you’re with the ones you love, it’s all worth it in the end. I wouldn’t have changed anything.
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So look out for more photos and DIYs! Tell me about your wedding and what made it special. Does anyone else miss wedding planning? I’m going through withdrawals over here!
Christina is a twenty-something living with her beagle, Mash, and husband, Nate in their van. She loves traveling, shopping, art, and photography. She’s also a vegetarian, pop-culture enthusiast, book-lover, and Dave Matthews Band fanatic. Catch her somewhere around the country in a converted camper van or at home in Florida for a visit.