Taylor and John tied the knot this month during their Sweetwater Branch Inn wedding in Gainesville, Florida. You may remember my darlings from their firefighter engagement session a month or so back. John, a firefighter, and Taylor, a Doctor of Physical Therapy student at the University of Florida met me out at John’s station for their themed engagement.
My sweethearts actually met in Gainesville during Taylor’s junior year at UF. John had just moved back from Port Saint Lucie, Florida after having graduated from Fire College to begin his career. The two first locked eyes when Taylor walked into her friend’s apartment to visit. Their first encounter was somewhat a missed opportunity for love, as the two were seeing other people at the time. Months went by and the two continued to inadvertently hang out with one another through being a part of the same group of friends. It wasn’t until a cancelled group date by the majority of members, that John and Taylor found themselves on a date together – of course not intentional, but since everyone had cancelled it was just the two of them. Thinking back, I wonder if their friends had planned this all along!
That one fateful night when they were able to spend a moment along, John jokingly told the waitress that they were celebrating their four year anniversary and have been together ever since.
Taylor loves John’s strong work ethic along with his genuine and good-hearted nature. He always puts her first and lovingly told her that she was his best friend throughout the night of their wedding and during their vows. John loves Taylor’s humor and their connection, oh and also her butt! It is incredible to see a foundation of love that is also based on friendship. While the two may not have been close friends at the start, their love grew out of getting to know one another before a relationship came along. In turn, you can feel the support they have one another through their gestures and the way they lock eyes. Their love is truly beautiful.
Their ‘four year anniversary first date’ soon turned into a long term relationship and John knew he was ready to ‘put a ring on it.’ While Taylor was off exploring the Italian coast with her friend for a girls trip, John planned out an intimate romance based off the Nicholas Sparks novel the Notebook. Walking into the apartment after a long plane ride home, Taylor couldn’t believe her eyes. Sparkly lights and rose petals leading to the end of the hallway reading “My One?” laid before her – it must have been pure magic! John was so excited when she entered though that he jumped up to hug her before she could see him on one knee. After a shared kiss, John dropped again to one knee and asked for her hand in marriage with one additional surprise. The engagement ring was her grandmother’s ring, a family heirloom that has been around for over 150 years. His thoughtfulness and planning truly captivated Taylor’s heart and of course she said, “yes!”
With an engagement locked in, wedding planning was the next step on their list! The two wanted a very relaxed day filled that had a “light and airy feel” where “everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves,” as Taylor describes it. The two picked Sweetwater Branch Inn, an intimate bed and breakfast in the heart of Gainesville, Florida, for their wedding venue. The beautiful Inn has the small, intimate vibe Taylor wanted and radiates with southern elegance.
Our day actually started off with our handsome groom John. My groom and his groomsmen were getting ready at one of the cottages behind the venue. The groom’s party had us cracking up with last minute pizza orders and attempting (some successfully and some unsuccessfully) to add cufflinks to their shirts – in the end they went with a rolled up sleeve look that was perfect. My bride and her bridesmaids were upstairs in the main house having a glass of wine before things got started. Bringing her details down to the lobby, we found a royal pink, tufted settee that was the perfect background to showcase her bouquet and other lovely details. Of course, grandma’s heirloom wedding ring was most definitely my favorite piece of all of her details for her wedding.
After capturing her details, we had the girls come down for a few picture inside on the settee and outside on the plantation style porch. Taylor’s little flower girl was just darling in her flower romper. Photos of the gown and Taylor getting in the gown followed group shots before we headed out for a ‘first touch.’
One of the most intimate moments of wedding that we get to share with our couples are the ‘first looks’ and ‘first touches.’ A first look is where my couple sees one another, while a first touch is where my couple holds hands sharing a brief moment together. The emotion was overwhelming and John could not hold back the tears. Knowing his wife to be, his life partner, and his best friend was just behind him, holding his hand, was incredibly warming to his heart. The reality of what was about to happen flooded in and emotions took hold. Taylor leaning back on John, felt his strength and love before the two parted ways.
Their ceremony was just as emotional, filled with tears, a beautiful first kiss, oh and of course a private ring-bearer security guard… hehe. After the ceremony, we headed back to the white columns for family and wedding party portraits. Newlywed portraits took place throughout the grounds from hidden alcoves under the tree canopies to brick sidewalks underneath traditional street lamp posts.
First dance vibes were filled with guests cheering our couple on and sharing a quick dip and a few stolen kisses. The rest of the night flew by from dance offs to a tearful toast by dad. Wishing these two an absolutely incredible life together!
Venue: Sweetwater Branch Inn
Makeup & Hair: Mode Salon East
Cake: Sugar Redefined
DJ: On Fire DJ Entertainment
Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse