I cannot say enough about Matthew and Morgan’s wedding day. It was stunning from beginning to end. From the venues, to Morgan’s stunning Pronovias gown, to how beautiful of people Matthew and Morgan are along with how much fun their family and friends are… it was the perfect day.
We started the day getting ready at the Fiji room at The Island on Okaloosa Island with the ceremony out on their Greenspace lawn. If you’ve never been to The Island, it is my favorite beach venue in our area. Whether you want beach, a lawn, a ballroom or the Tavern, The Island has it all and is beautifully done. After the ceremony, we made our way to WaterVue, another beautiful venue in Fort Walton Beach, for their reception.
When I asked why they chose their ceremony venue, they said:
“We chose our ceremony venue because it had exactly the look that I had always dreamed of! Perfect timing too–it had just opened in February and our wedding was in September. We originally planned to have the ceremony in my mom’s or his dad’s backyard on the water, but when Erika told me about The Island (huge shout out to Erika for that one!) we instantly knew it was the perfect look/feel. It also meant a much simpler planning and preparation process for our parents!”
And their reception space:
“Our reception was at WaterVue at Brooks Street. We chose this venue because Matthew’s dad owns it and because it was the perfect setup and feel for us! Because of the family connection to it, we’re both very comfortable and familiar with the space, which helped tremendously in planning exactly where certain decorations would go and where things would happen, and I think it made our guests feel more comfortable and able to let loose too!”
Matthew and Morgan chose to do a first look, reading their personal vows to each other and saving traditional vows for the ceremony guests. Tip from me (Erika): If you want to write personal vows to each other, but want them to be between the two of you only, do what these two did! Find a private time before the ceremony, or even after if you don’t want to do a first look and read them to each other then! It’s the perfect way to make promises to each other that are special and meaningful to the both of you without having all your guests listening in.”
Morgan and Matthew about their ceremony: “We wanted our ceremony to be beautiful and meaningful without being too long. We are not religious, so we had a ceremony dedicated to our love story and our marriage, which was perfect for us. We wanted elements that meant a lot to us and would make for memories that last our entire lives, and that’s exactly what we got! My uncle officiated our ceremony and he did the most amazing job crafting the messages. It was so special to have someone close to us be the one to marry us!
We did more “traditional” vows during the ceremony (but we definitely made them our own) and did our personalized vows during our first look. I knew that if we did personalized vows during the ceremony with 160 guests listening, I would wind up writing them for an audience instead of just for Matthew. The first look was so intimate and special, and was by far our favorite part of the whole day.”
About their wedding party…
Morgan: “I chose my bridal party because they are my absolute closest friends. My brother was my Man of Honor, my four best friends (one of whom is my cousin) were my bridesmaids, and my little sister was a junior bridesmaid. When I always pictured my wedding day in my head, they were the ones standing with me and going through all of it with me, so there was never any question that they would all be in my bridal party.
My brother wore the same suit as the groomsmen, and my bridesmaids wore Azazie dresses, styles Regina and Bonnie, in the shade Blushing Pink. I had always known I wanted navy and blush as my wedding colors, and this color and style was exactly what I wanted for them!”
Matthew: “They are all my brothers, blood or chosen. They would be there for me at the drop of a hat and I would do the same them. One of my groomsmen had to drive literally all night to get to my wedding on time, and I know all the rest would’ve done the same.
Myself, the groomsmen, and the Man of Honor wore the same slim-fit, Navy Blue Collin by Ike Behar suit from Dennis & Company in Fort Walton Beach. Dennis has been a long time family friend and who we have always gone to for formal-wear, so going to him for the guys’ suits was a given. I picked the slim fit style because it’s my favorite look, but left the color choice up to Morgan. Both of our dads and stepdads also wore the same suit for a cohesive look in photos. I wore an ivory tie and pocket square with a white rose boutonniere, the groomsmen wore pink ties and boutonnieres that matched the bridesmaids with pink rose boutonnieres, and all 4 dads wore navy ties with smaller white rose boutonnieres.”
Morgan’s wedding dress was possibly the most stunning gown I have ever seen with the most beautiful flowing train. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Morgan about her dress… ”
My wedding gown was by Spanish wedding gown designer Pronovias. I went dress shopping in Atlanta and went through 3 dress shops and close to 30 dresses. I knew my gown was the gown because I just got that “feeling”–I just knew! I was obsessed with the floating/tattoo lace on the shoulders and back, and I was even more obsessed with the length and elegance of the train. I discovered very quickly through the shopping experience that I needed a sizable train to feel like a bride, and this gown delivered just that! My veil was also Pronovias and was even longer than the train of my dress, meaning that it was longer than cathedral length. The lace on the veil matched the lace on the dress, and the veil had a bit of sparkle to it (my dress had no sparkle) which I loved together with the dress. Seeing the ensemble together, I knew I had found my winning dress and veil.
Matthew is only an inch or two taller than me, so I knew I did not want to wear heels and be taller than him, not to mention be uncomfortable all night. My shoes were Kate Whitcomb, white lace wedding flats. They were so comfortable and matched my dress with the touch of lace on the toe. I wore a bracelet and closely matching earrings, both from the Etsy shop GlamorousBijoux, and got my mom the same bracelet to wear. The diamond studs in my second earring holes were my “something borrowed,” as they belonged to my mother-in-law. There was no need for a necklace with the neckline of my dress!
What was something that happened on your wedding day that you didn’t expect?
“Matthew’s identical twin brother and one of his best men planned a surprise for us at the reception. We knew he was planning something but we had no idea what it could have been. He had been learning how to play the drums, and his surprise was him on stage playing the drums to one of our favorite reception dancing songs, “Cake” by Flo Rida! It was so special that he put so much time, effort, and thought into giving us a cool surprise, and he even let us keep the drumsticks he used as a memory.”
“Our first dance song was “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. We chose this song because it’s one that we have always loved and is a perfect description of how we’ve grown and changed together.”
“I think the funniest moment of the whole day was during one of the best man’s (Matthew’s identical twin brother) speech when he said that he was the first one to get to know me in high school and could have had me first. The entire reception burst our in laughter and it was such a great line. Another hilarious moment was my uncle, the officiant, dancing to “Pony” by Ginuwine with everyone circled around him–he was definitely the star of the dance floor!”
“One of our favorite moments was both of us making a beeline for the dance floor from different sides of the room as soon as we heard a particular song come on because it was so cool that we had both been waiting for that song to play and immediately dropped what we were doing to find each other.”
Advice for future Brides…
“Take it all in. Everything. Even the parts of planning that you may hate right now, because soon the day will come and go and you’ll wish you could go back and do it all again! Related to planning or day-of, don’t be afraid to say what you think, voice your concerns, and get what you want. This is one day that you can never redo, so it should be exactly how you want it. If a vendor or a family member does something that you don’t like or that doesn’t align with what you want for your day, speak up and make sure that your wishes and dreams come true! Even the tiny things. It’s also perfectly acceptable to double check and confirm details as many times as you want!
A final piece of advice is to only do what YOU want to do on your wedding day. If you’re mingling with your guests and a song comes on that you really want to dance to, GO DANCE! If you all of a sudden get a craving for another piece of cake or dessert or more food, eat it and don’t let talking to your guests keep you from it. Everyone understands that it’s YOUR wedding day and that you only get to do this once–make the absolute best of it and do whatever makes you most happy.”
Advice for future Grooms:
“Make sure you take every opportunity to soak it all in and really be present in the moment. Make sure the bride has plenty of snacks while she’s getting ready and throughout the day.” ????
Thanks goes out to:
“Our families for their love, support, and financial contributions through the entire wedding planning process and beyond. Without them, our perfect day would not have been possible.
Our bridal party for being there to help us get through the day and all the festivities leading up to it. We would have gone crazy without their love and support.
Our family and friends who traveled near and far to be there with us on our wedding day to celebrate! It meant so much to be surrounded by so much love.
Finally, all the vendors that made the day smooth and seamless. Without them, none of it would have been as perfect as it was. A HUGE shout out to Erika for being so amazing to work with, and for giving us the gift of absolutely stunning photos that will be cherished our entire lives and beyond.”
Morgan and Matthew, your wedding day is going to be a hard one to beat. You are both such beautiful people inside and out. Thank you so much for trusting me with capturing your wedding day. xoxo
The Wedding Pros who made it all come together: Ceremony Venue – The Island by Hotel RL // Reception Venue – WaterVue // Day-of Coordinator – Tiffany Merrell // Florals – Flower Girlz Inc. // Videography – StoryLive Productions // Cake – Publix cakes and Good Things Donuts // Ceremony Music – Charlie Roberts // DJ – Charlie Roberts // Hair – Destin Mobile Makeup Box // Makeup – Destin Mobile Makeup Box, Cedrian Greve (for bride) and Shelley Waller (for bridesmaids) // Catering – VIBE Productions // Officiant – Alan Fraebel (Morgan’s uncle) // Rentals – Beachside Ceremonies & Events, RSVP Events // Draping – Beachside Cermonies // Transportation – Emerald Coast Party Bus // Invitations – Etsy // Gown – Pronovias // Bridal Shop – Sweet Elegance Bridal in Atlanta, GA // Bridesmaid Dresses – Azazie // Groom’s Attire – Ike Behar // Suit Shop – Dennis and Company