Cory and I grew up in the same town, but didn’t truly cross paths until winter break of our freshman year of college. A mutual friend was having a birthday celebration, and upon arriving, we immediately made eye contact and gravitated toward each other, spending the rest of the evening talking and laughing. When it was time to leave, he kissed my hand and we went our separate ways. Cory was earning his civil and environmental engineering degrees from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I was attending the University of Georgia in Athens, a mere 1,400 miles apart. We kept in touch casually, but the distance was a lot for two 19-year-old kids. Fast forward a year, and my world was rocked. My dad was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and he passed away a few short months later. Around this time, Cory migrated back into my life. I needed to face grief and embrace healing head on, and Cory knew it even before I could come to terms with it myself. It would be years before we would move back into each other’s lives. This time around, he was stationed in Florida and I was living in Georgia, and we went out for frozen yogurt while he was home visiting family before a deployment. Cory returned from his deployment the next January and asked me to have dinner with him. I was terrified! Timing hadn’t been in our favor over the previous seven years and I didn’t want to get hurt. We planned to have dinner on Thursday January 23, but then wouldn’t you know it, my niece was born that day and I had to cancel on him. We rescheduled for that Saturday. He picked me up for an early movie and then dinner at a sweet little local restaurant. We had time to spare before dinner and the weather was frigid that night. He pulled the truck over, sprinted through the freezing cold into a local coffee shop, and came back with hot chocolate and a grin that stretched a mile wide. Then he kissed me. And I was a goner. We spent the rest of the night at our little table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant, laughing and catching up, completely oblivious to the world around us. It was finally our time
After our fabulous photographer, Cassidy Carson, recommended doing a first look (for a few reasons), we decided it was the best choice for us. Cory and I hadn’t considered a first look because we weren’t sure how it would impact the magic of walking down the aisle. Ultimately, we did a first look because it was a way for just the two of us to spend time together and soak in the joy; it forced us to slow down and be present in the moment on an otherwise fast-paced day. It didn’t take away from walking down the aisle in the least. The weather for our first look was absolutely stunning, which was our saving grace, as not 30 seconds after our ceremony ended, thunder rolled and we were caught in a torrential downpour!
When we were choosing our wedding location, we made two things a priority: community (friends and family who would be present) and the location’s significance to our story. Cory was stationed in Florida for the majority of our dating life and we would spend hours upon hours playing in the waves and exploring Seaside on 30A. It’s where we fell in love, where we first exchanged those words, and where we spent so much time dreaming about our future. 30A is a critical part of our story and we wanted our celebration of marriage to be a reflection of that. Eden Gardens is a little hidden gem about ten minutes inland–a quiet, historic plantation home with beautiful oaks and dreamy Spanish moss. It was the perfect way for us to incorporate a Southern-style venue while hosting friends and family in a place that means the world to us.
First order of business when Cory returns home from deployment is to celebrate and take a mini-moon (second small honeymoon) to celebrate his homecoming and the gift of marriage. We love to travel and explore new cities, which we plan on doing a lot in 2017 (and beyond). But we’re also excited for the slow Saturday mornings of cooking breakfast together and enjoying our home with our sweet pup, Luna. Leaning into newlywed life, growing as a couple, and creating our own family traditions have both of us excited about what’s next.
Day-Of Coordinator: Serene Occasions | Venue: Eden Gardens | Florist: Flowers by Milk & Honey | Dessert Baker: Charlie’s Donut Truck | Popsicles: Swell Pops | Caterer: Jim ‘N Nick’s | Rentals and Lighting: The Big Day Rentals | Ceremony Music: Top Hat Live | DJ: Rock the House | Custom Invitation Suite: Love Supply Co. | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: Paris by Debra Moreland | Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Awearness Kenneth Cole via Men’s Wearhouse | Gown Alterations: Rodica Lazarian