Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tim & Andrea's Beach Wedding Story

Our wedding day was PERFECT, I had such a good time and everything turned out just the way I pictured it in my head.

Before I get to the actual wedding day, I need to begin at the beginning.

If you haven't already, read this post about our wedding planning and a little about our backstory.

OK, Now that you are all caught up on how the planning went, we can jump forward to the day before our wedding:

APRIL 30, 2011: Tim and I were up before the sun and off to the airport to catch our 6:00AM flight from Kansas City to Miami.

We arrived at the Miami airport about 12:30 PM and made our way to the rental car counter. I had booked a Mustang convertible so Tim could have some fun driving a new Mustang through the Florida Keys, but when we got to the counter they didn't have a convertible available yet.

We were given the option to hang around and wait for the next convertible to come in, but we decided to take what they had available and get on the road. We ended up taking a Mustang hard top, and when we found it in the gigantic parking garage, it looked like this:

Ok, it was a bit BRIGHT for our taste, but we didn't really care. Quite an annoying shade of blue for a car, don't you think? I don't think we have cars this color in Kansas. We were glad we would be INSIDE the car, and wouldn't have to look at the bright blue paint very much. We loaded our suitcases into the trunk and made our way out of the garage and toward the highway.

We were headed to Key West, about 150 miles south of Miami.

We really enjoyed our drive through the keys. It was nice and sunny and about 85 degrees. It had been cold and gray in Kansas, and the sunshine felt wonderful for a change.

The drive was nice, I think Tim and I both began to relax a little during the drive.

We stopped along the way and had a nice lunch, and then continued our drive south. We weren't really in any hurry.

Our wedding officiant, Colleen called my cell phone as we were driving through the Keys. She wanted to check on us to make sure our flight went OK and  see if we were proceeding to the Keys as planned. We confirmed our meeting place at Smathers Beach the next morning at 10:00 AM.

While I was thinking about it, I texted Lorri and confirmed my hair and make-up appointment for the next morning also.

We made it onto the island of Key West about 6:00 PM, and found our hotel, The DoubleTree Grand Key Resort. Check-in went smoothly, they even gave us warm chocolate chip cookies!

The room was adorable:

Tim and I were exhausted from our plane flights and our 3+ hour drive down through the keys, but we knew we would only be in Key West until about noon the next day, and we were getting married in the morning! We wanted to make the most of our Key West visit so we decided to venture out to find dinner.

We drove past the beach where we would be married the next day and then we went down to Duvall Street, where all the action is, and we parked the car.

We started walking down Duvall Street taking in the Key West vibe, and the first restaurant we came to was the Hard Rock Cafe. Tim and I have a deal that we don't eat at any restaurant when we travel that we can eat  back home. Since there are no Hard Rocks in Kansas City (why isn't there one??) we decided to go for it.

We sat at a table on the patio, close enough to the street to enjoy the passers-by and see some of the Key West action. The first thing I did was order this:

Mmmm! It was good! Tim doesn't drink alcohol, so he just had an iced tea.

We ordered our dinner, and listened to the live music. We really enjoyed the ambiance here.

After dinner we went to the Hard Rock Cafe gift shop and we bought our Key West magnet.

Tim and I always buy a magnet everywhere we travel together:

We walked down Duvall Street for a little while. We window shopped, went in a few stores, and stopped to listen to some music coming from the open-air bars along the way. It wasn't long before we were just too tired to keep walking so we headed back to our rental car and back to the hotel for the night.

Back in our adorable room, I unpacked a few things to prepare for our wedding the next day. I made sure our room had an ironing board, although our wedding clothes really weren't that wrinkled. I hung up my wedding dress and got Tim's wedding clothes out, set my alarm clock for 6:00 AM, and we both fell asleep watching TV. We could hardly believe we were going to be married the next day! We were both really excited!

MAY 1, 2011-
Tim woke up at 7:00 AM, and he woke me up right away. OH NO!!! 7:00 already??!! How did I oversleep?? ON MY WEDDING DAY!!!!!

A quick look at my alarm clock and I saw I had set my alarm for 6:00 PM, not AM.........user error!! Silly me!

I jumped out of bed, and quickly showered and began ironing my wedding dress while Tim got ready.

At 8:00 AM, Lorri arrived at the hotel room to do my hair and make-up for the wedding.

Lorri was finished with my hair and make-up around 9:15 and I began to put my dress and jewelry on while Tim carried our suitcases out to the car.

Around 9:40 AM, Tim pulled the car around to the front entrance and then checked us out of the hotel. Then he came back to the room to walk me out to the car. Sweet of him to not make me walk out to the car alone!

We were scheduled to meet the wedding officiant and the photographer on the beach at 10:00 AM, and the beach was only about a half mile down the road.

Since Tim and I had scoped the beach out the night before as we drove by, we drove straight to the meeting place. We parked the car and walked onto the beach together. We had about 5 minutes to look around and enjoy our surroundings before Colleen and Gary showed up.

Colleen was our wedding officiant, and Gary, her husband, is the photographer. These two were SO SWEET! They really made our wedding perfect, and we had a great time with them on the beach that morning.

Colleen and Gary's beach wedding website HERE

Colleen gave me my bouquet, and we talked a little about our ceremony and what pictures we would like Gary to take.

We decided to have our wedding ceremony in the shade of a palm tree.

During our ceremony, Gary took some really great pics:

Here are the beautiful vows Tim and I said to each other on the beach:
(we chose these vows before the wedding)

This wedding is a celebration of the love and commitment you both share. In presenting yourselves here today to be joined in marriage, you perform an act of faith. This faith can grow and develop and last, but only if you both decide to make it so. If you would have the foundation of your marriage be the love and devotion you have for one another, not just at this moment, but for all the days to come, then treasure the hopes and dreams that you bring here today.
Your marriage is an outward symbol of an inward union of your hearts. Always remember that your love is a special gift and never forget how lucky you are to have found each other. Establish that your love will never be obscured by the ordinary in life. Always remember to laugh together, cry together and love together because life is more precious when you share it with the person you love. Treat yourselves, each other, and your relationship with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Let everything you do, be done out of love.

Only with this spirit can you forge a union that will strengthen and endure all the days of your lives.

The exchanging of vows is a commitment to make a life together and to share the uncertainties of the future, knowing that your love for one another remains constant through it all. Today's bond of marriage is the first step toward your life together as husband and wife. Please face each other and join hands.

TIM please repeat after me.
I, Tim, take you, Andrea, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, asking that you be no other than yourself, in all the ways that life may find us.

ANDREA, please repeat after me.
I, Andrea, take you, Tim, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, asking that you be no other than yourself, in all the ways that life may find us.

You have chosen to exchange rings as a sign of the promises you are making today. The giving and receiving of rings symbolizes your love for one another, which like the circle, knows no end.

Tim place the ring on Andrea's finger and repeat after me:
Andrea, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I will be faithful and honest with you. I will respect, love and care for you. I will share my life with you.

Andrea place the ring on Tim's finger and repeat after me:
Tim, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. I will be faithful and honest with you. I will respect, love and care for you. I will share my life with you.

May this day shine eternally in your lives.
May you care for each other in all sadness.
May you give cheer to each other.
May you give strength to each other in all undertakings.
May your life together be a source of inspiration to yourselves, your families, your friends, and to all whose lives you touch.

You have expressed your love and commitment through the vows you have taken today and with the exchanging of rings. By the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Florida, I have the pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife.

Here are some more pictures from the ceremony:

Exchanging of the rings:

You may now kiss the bride!!!

It was a very nice ceremony. I couldn't have asked for a better wedding.

After the ceremony, we spent about an hour with Colleen and Gary on the beach taking pictures. It was very windy, but we expected that. I have never been to a beach that wasn't windy.

Even with the wind, Gary did a really good job with the pictures.

AHHHHH!!! What a PERFECT wedding!!!! I would love to do that again!! (and actually, I have already asked Tim if we can renew our vows with Colleen and Gary on the same beach on our 5 year anniversary, so I may get to do it again after all!)

After picture taking, we said goodbye to Colleen and Gary and Tim and I hung around on the beach for awhile. It was around 11:30 AM on a Sunday and the beach was nearly empty. We spent some quiet time together, and collected our baggie of sand. We had decided before our trip that we would collect sand from every beach we were going to visit.

Around noon, we headed back to our car. We still had a full day ahead of us. We had a 3+ hour drive back up to Miami and some new friends to meet up with later that night. Now that our wedding was over, our thoughts turned to our evening in Miami and our 10 day cruise that we would board tomorrow!!!

We took a final drive around the island of Key West, promising each other we would come back and spend more time here, before we headed north toward Miami. It was a beautiful day, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

We made a few stops for gas and drinks along the way, but we made good time back up to Miami. As we got closer to the airport (to return the rental car) the traffic got a little hairy. Traffic?? On a Sunday afternoon? It was pretty evident that we weren't in Kansas anymore.

We made it to the airport, and unloaded our luggage from the rental car. Then we grabbed a cab and headed toward the Port of Miami. We were staying the night at the Intercontinental Hotel near the port.

The room was fantastic!!! We were on the 24th floor, and we had a view to die for. Tim and I spent quite a bit of time sitting in the huge windowsill taking in the view.

And look at the view!!

Soon after we got to our room, the hotel sent us a wedding gift:

So nice of them to send us Champagne and strawberries!!

We hadn't eaten much all day, other than snacks, so we decided to head to Bayside Marketplace to search for dinner.

Bayside is an open air market with entertainment and restaurants that was very near our hotel. It was an enjoyable 10 minute walk through a park.

I posed for a picture by a Banyan tree at Bayside marketplace:

I was still wearing my wedding dress and carrying my bouquet around. I knew this was the only day I would be able to do this, so I made the most of it. I got a lot of compliments on my dress and my beautiful flowers while we were walking around Bayside.

We decided to eat dinner at a burger place that had tables outside on the patio overlooking the bay.

My burger and my bouquet:

After dinner we walked around a bit more taking in the sights and sounds of Miami. We stopped at a little gift shop and picked out our Miami magnet:

Just before it got dark, we headed back to the hotel.

As we got in the elevator to go back up to our room, we got a text from our new friends Norma and Brian. They were in the lobby, and they wanted to meet us.

Norma and Brian were a nice couple we met online at the Cruise Critic website. They would be on the same cruise as we were going on in the morning and we both happened to be staying at the same hotel. We had arranged online to meet in the lobby the night before we cruised. We thought it would be fun to meet new people that we would be cruising with.

Tim and I went back down to the lobby and met with Brian and Norma. After we were there for awhile, we also met Sandra and Hameed, another couple that would be cruising with us. We all had a great time and we spent a few hours talking in the lobby.

Tim and I were tired, so we said goodnight. Before we went up to our room we all made arrangements to meet in the lobby the next morning and share a cab to the port.

Tim and I went back up to our room and repacked our suitcases before we went to bed.

It was an AWESOME wedding day!!!! The best ever!!! The whole day could not have been more perfect, and Tim and I feel we were just meant to be together at this time in our lives.

HERE is the link to our honeymoon cruise

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