Spotlight Saturday Debut: #Wedmeward

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Meet Alexis

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A Custom Designer for Shaw Industries

Her Something Blue: Her mother’s sapphire ring

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Meet Brandon

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Southeast Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child

He brought his killer spongebob dance moves to the wedding


Jumbo Paper Flowers, Vintage Birdcages, Confetti-filled programs, and Chalkboard wine bottles don’t event begin to describe the beauty behind Alexis and Brandon’s Florida wedding. Although the gold overlay embarking the sweetheart table and the pillar candles lining the mantle were details that would turn any eye, the true spotlight behind this wedding was the immense amount of support that Brandon and Alexis received to bring this day together.

“We wanted it to be about us, so we used that as our baseline. A lot of it was traditional but small elements brought in artistic, conceptual elements. I didn’t want anything to be matchy or predictable, so I stayed away from themes, and color schemes for the most part. We just chose stuff we loved and ran with it.”

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With talented friends like Ellen Sortore and Meg Strahle to pull together floral arrangements, Chris Bahamonde to design the programs, and decorations by Anita Smith and Lori Begley, Brandon and Alexis were able to pull off this stunning affair at a budget of $16,500. Beyond the decor, Alexis and Brandon added many elements to their wedding that were a direct example of their relationship together.

“Some of the highlights of our wedding included our unity ceremony (pouring raw glass material together that we will take to have blown into a glass vase), Brandon turned his back while I walked down the aisle so that the first time he ever saw me that day would be at the end of the aisle, My dad seeing me for the first time in my gown that day, the speech Brandon’s dad gave at our reception, and our first dance to Rose of my Heart by Johnny Cash.”

The “must” that Alexis had for her wedding carried her artistic feel through long after the wedding day. Alexis was headstrong about not having “posed” wedding photos. SD Photography did an amazing job of having her dream come true. Rather than having “official” pictures they went with a journalistic approach, which truly captured all of the “raw moments” throughout the day.


Meet the Support Crew

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Adrianne Gargasz, Maid of Honor; Emily Carr, Matron of Honor; Alicia Wines, Bridesmaid; Jenn Ortega, Bridesmaid; Jamie Lynn Kara, Bridesmaid; Macey Waddington, Birdesmaid; Anna Ward, Flower Girl; Natalie Freed, Scripture Reading; Andrea Freed, Scripture Reading.

Jordan Ward, Best Man; Justin Gargasz, Groomsman; Austin Ward, Groomsman; Riley Fishcelli, Ring Bearer; Justin Bowersox and Hannah Prentice-Bowersox, Music.

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Alexis and Brandon mentioned many times that this wedding would not have been possible without the amazing support of their friends and family. “My dad and brother, and Brandon’s family were so supportive of us and keeping things calm and on the right track. I’m so thankful for the perspective they reminded us of when things felt overwhelming. They brought us back down to earth plenty of times.” If you are involved in the wedding planning process but are not the bride or groom, it is always important to remember the stress they may be going through, not only from the wedding planning, but also from the major life changes they are about to embark on.  As Alexis reiterates, “Encourage the bride in creative ways. Planning a wedding is a huge task and there is so much going on in a bride’s headspace. She’s dealing with opinions, hiccups in planning, and stress. She needs her girls to take her mind off the crazy but still keep her on track. Some great ideas for encouraging a bride can be each bridesmaid taking a month and sending a card with handwritten encouragement and affirmation, or a gift card for a date night for bride and groom sans wedding agenda. Get creative. No one can even begin to know what planning a wedding is like until you’ve done it. I used to laugh and mock “Bridezillas” because wedding hype is so trivial in the big scheme of things. But there is just so much happening that is out of your control that it is hard to always be the most grounded individual. Be understanding and encouraging, uplifted the bride and groom regardless of what other preferences there may be.”


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Fashion + Food

“We just wanted it to taste good. We did BBQ from our favorite place,Monroe’s Smokehouse, glass bottle sodas and wine bottles at specified guest tables. I wanted everything to be the least amount of bridal it could be, especially the cake. So we just went to one of our favorite bakeries, The French Bakery, and bought a cake we loved. It was rustic yet simple and modern and our florist just added a small handful of blooms on top. I loved it.”

Both the food and the fashion were consistent with the non conventional, artistic feel of the day. Barbecue, Coke bottles, and cupcakes from Camicakes comprised the menu for the evening. Dancing commenced outside in the courtyard of the Nocatee Crosswater Hall. The fashion, although not originally what she had intended, fit perfectly with the event.

“It was everything I didn’t want but when I tried it on I loved it and decided to go with it. I only went dress shopping one day and fell in love with my dress at the first store, but bought it at the second because at the second store alterations were included. It was by Maggie Sottero, the dress was called the Marianne in blush with ivory overlay lace. I got a blush veil to match, and wore a comb with fresh flowers in my hair. For the bridesmaids, I wanted the dresses to compliment their body type. So I just decided to choose dresses for them off Weddington Way that were different shapes but all cut from the same fabric. Nothing is more distracting then when a girl isn’t comfortable in her dress/ it’s the wrong cut for her. The guys I wanted to be different from brandon but still coordinate. So we put a gray jacket with navy pants and a patterned shirt. We kept the cut modern but conservative since the groomsmen all have different personal styles. We chose a patterned shirt to keep it young and unexpected. Brandon wore a blue suit from Zara. It was a slim cut and we kept everything monochrome (all navy). The groomsmen’s shirts had a micro-paisley pattern, so Brandon’s tie had a navy on navy paisley pattern in it. Too subtle to notice but a great detail to tie it all together.”

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A Word of advice from the Wards…

  1. “Just ignore peoples opinions. People make such a fuss about so many things when it comes to weddings. But it’s not about them. It’s about your marriage.”
  2. Just relax. It’s not about the brand names, or having the best, or being the best. It’s about y’all. Don’t get lost in the weirdness of wedding competition and just enjoy it.
  3. Take a month or two to just be engaged. Wedding planning can wait. Make a road trip to visit friends/family and have fun. And know what you want and follow your gut. If you want to elope then elope without question, if you want it small then keep it small, or go big. Wedding culture is so crazy now with all the resources and awesome talent out there if can be easy to get caught up in comparing decorations, status quo, or budget to other brides.

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*all photos take by SD Photography

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