Vanessa and Robert tied the knot during their Kanapaha Botanical Gardens wedding. The lush greenery of the tropical gardens combined with the whimsical décor for their wedding day made for a bohemian feel.
It all began over coffee – having met online, Robert and Vanessa decided to meet up in person back at the end of May of 2014. Picking a low key spot, the two decided on coffee, which Vanessa later found out Robert dislikes drinking coffee, but their conversation flowed and ended with a night of bowling. Their laid back time together was the perfect way to get to know one another and soon many additional dates ensued.
Their romance and love for one another grew stronger and stronger each and every day. They realized that they had found the one. Even through Vanessa moving to a different state to take a job, they continued to take the time to build their relationship through late night calls and flying to one another. Robert knew from the get go that Vanessa was going to be his wife one day and after just six months of dating, was ready to pop the question.
While on a cruise to Mexico, the two wandered around the local shops near the port when they stumbled upon a jewelry store. Jokingly Vanessa said that they should look at engagement rings, which Robert responded that they should. In her surprise, it took a few moment for her to realize that Robert wasn’t joking and the two entered the shop. There it was, sitting amongst the glimmer of other diamonds, Vanessa’s ring. It was perfect, delicate and not flashy, simply elegant. The moment felt like a dream as she also found the perfect wedding band to complement the engagement ring. Heading back to the ship, Vanessa told Robert to hide the ring until he was ready – little did she know that the time would be soon and little did she know it would be on their cruise.
During a night out on the boat for dinner, the two were placed at a large table in the center of the room. Robert excused himself shortly after sitting down to go to the restroom and would be back in a moment. Finally coming back after what felt like ten minutes, he asked Vanessa after quickly eating if she wanted dessert. First sign – Robert doesn’t like dessert after a meal, or coffee. These odd timing meals seem to notion a milestone is about to happen from a first date to a proposal. And right there and then, the Maitre d’ announced, “well, now it’s not very often we have a this happen on a cruise ship, but I have Robert here who is going to propose to his long-time love.” Moving out of his seat and kneeling to one knee, Robert asked for Vanessa’s hand in marriage and the whole room cheered in excitement. Vanessa of course said, “yes!”
Love comes in many forms – it can be from a hug of your love wrapping their arms around you, the emotions in your grandmother’s eyes seeing you walk down the aisle, and also from the love above of a parent. In January of 2015, Vanessa and Robert tied the knot in New Orleans with Vanessa’s mother and her childhood pup as witnesses. Cheryl, Vanessa’s mother, would soon be departing for a two year missionary trip, so Vanessa wanted to make sure she would be part of the moment. They decided at the time that they wanted to honor their God by marrying one another before moving in and later have er a traditional wedding celebration. Two years later when Cheryl was to return, she passed away in her sleep. Now with God, her presence could be felt all around us as she watched her daughter tie the knot to the man she loved.
The vision of their day was relaxed and celebratory as they focused on the beauty in the love and kindness from their friends and family. Above all though, as Vanessa explains, “I envision God to be very prevalent throughout the entire night, and for Him to be glorified and visible through us.”
The love was truly felt all around from the beginning to the end. Starting off our time with our sweethearts, we captured Vanessa getting ready before Robert arrived for a first look. I believe that rain on your wedding day is a good omen and sure enough, it rained. Dappled in the rain from above, Robert waited for Vanessa to arrive. Vanessa radiated as she walked up to Robert with a little surprise of a watch for him to wear on their special day. Holding back tears, the two hugged on tightly to one another before it was time to depart for their walk down the aisle.
Raindrops trickled down from above as their said their vows and shared a first kiss. Formal portraits took place on the stage until we were able to take our newlyweds out to the nearby oak trees when the rain stopped. It was though the heavens above were looking down on the two knowing how much it meant to Vanessa to have time with Robert in the gardens for their newlywed portraits.
Roaming the property beforehand, I knew immediately upon seeing the cactus garden that I would just have to take my couple there. A little bit hidden and farther back in the gardens, it was worth the travel by cart to the back of the venue. After a few photos and a moment for Robert and Vanessa to have time together, we headed back to the reception hall to enjoy the rest of their evening.
Wishing these two an amazing life together, filled with the love of God, their faith, and their family.
Wedding Venue: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Getting Ready Venue: Towneplace Suites Gainesville
Coordinator: Kayleigh Blackburn
Caterer: Chef Brothers
Makeup: Ashley Murray
Cake & Stationary: The bride herself!
DJ: Special Day Entertainment
Officiant: Brian Zielinski
Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse