Friday, March 17, 2017

Rachel & Ken | Epping Forest Wedding Planner

Mr. & Mrs. Brown

Last year, I had the pleasure of working with this very special couple. Ken, the sweet Groom, and I graduated from High School together. He was such a great guy back then, all-star football player, goofball, and a friend to pretty much everyone he met. Rachel and I got to know each other better during College. She was such an incredible supporter of Dairing Events from the beginning and I got to return the favor as she began the process of opening and running Pure Barre in Tapestry Park located off Southside in Jacksonville, Florida. Rachel is an incredible woman, wife, boss babe, and entrepreneur who has now opened her second Pure Barre studio in the Julington Creek area. When she asked me to be a part of their forever story, I couldn't contain my excitement. 

Looking back on this Wedding almost a whole year ago, it still gives me chills. I hope you enjoy reading Rachel's own words and responses to a few questions I had for her as she reflected over the day and the planning process! 

Ken and I were engaged for a year and a half. We wanted to take our time and enjoy the process. Ken and I love to travel and take on new adventures together. When we first started dating we made it a priority to take a few trips a year, even if it was just an hour away! Our most favorite trip was when we went to Sanibel and Captiva Island for a relaxing beach getaway. We ended up stumbling upon a beach as we toured the small island, and took a long walk collected shells, etc. We just spent all afternoon there and fell more in love. It became our special beach. 4 years later we took a trip back to our little private beach, and when we took the drive there I just knew he was going to propose. I remember saying to myself to take deep breaths act calm, but my heart was pounding and I was so nervous. We walked onto the beach and underneath the first palm tree coming from the walkway to the beach, Ken kneeled down and asked me to marry him. It was such a special moment, the sun was shining, the waves were calm and everything felt right.

 My favorite part of the planning process was the chance to sit down with my wedding planner and come up with my theme and the vibe of my wedding. I was nervous that I would not be able to focus on getting all my ideas sorted! However, after I sat down with Adair, we walked through everything one step at a time, and took it down to a simple Inspiration Board. Once things were on the board, and I saw the actual concept instead of the ideas floating around in my head it made everything so much clearer and I felt a lot more prepared to take on the rest of the planning with my set direction.

There are so many choices, so many options, many vendors, and venues, food choices etc. Personally, I wanted advice from the best to limit my selections and point me in the right direction for the vision I wanted for the day. Knowing my Wedding Planner has been doing this for years, and is a true professional I relied on her for her expertise in this category. She gave me a variety of choices and then from there I spoke with Ken and my family to make the best choice for us from the already awesome (and smaller!) group of vendors. 
I chose vendors who I felt comfortable with, who I felt truly cared and treated me as a unique and special bride. I would definitely meet with each vendor before you sign any contracts and make sure you all are on the same page, and the vendor understands your expectations and you understand theres. 

The most important planning elements to me were not only making sure to have Wedding Planner (or at least a Day of Coordinator), as well as keeping up with your guest count! Your guest count is everything. It keeps your budget in line, determines your venue, your seating, and the list goes on. Having a firm plan with your fiancé from the beginning on your list of people who HAVE to be there (A list) and then B list, people you would like to be there but if push comes to shove you could wake up the next morning after your wedding and be okay they were not there. You and your fiancé need to be on the same page with this, and making a decision and keeping consistent through the process will be the best way, in the end, to keep your wedding from 100 to 350- remember each person is another plus in the food budget which may mean a minus somewhere else. To touch on a Wedding Planner and their importance…they are the professionals, and in my opinion are the best resource for you! Having a Wedding Planner and or a Day of Coordinator, is the best way to stay organized, keep you focused, and have someone to lead you through the day so you don’t have to worry about anything except letting the day soak in!

I found my gown at Solutions Bridal in Orlando and it was designed by: Jim Hjelm by Hailey Paige, I also added a removable tule skirt for my walk down the aisle designed by, Rita Vinieres. I wore a hairpiece by Maria Elena Headpieces and Earings. 

The best part of my day was taking our vows. It was the most special moment, and to make that promise to love someone for the rest of your life is the most amazing thing, I believe, two people can ever promise one another. The first look though was a very close second. :)

My advice I would give to brides is not to compare yourself to any other bride, or any other wedding. At times, I felt a lot of pressure to make my wedding the most unique, the most romantic, have the most creative ideas for guest favors, you get the picture. But what is most important is what YOU love, what makes your heart flutter and get filled with butterflies and what makes you smile. In the end, it is really you and your fiancé’s day to celebrate your love, try not to forget the real meaning of the day!

Ceremony -
Reception -

Flowers -

Caterer -
Cake - Epping Forest

Ceremony Music - DJ Jacob Towe

Reception Music - DJ Jacob Towe

Photographer -

Officiant - 
​Michele Donovan

Hair -

Makeup -

Farewell Transportation -
​ Vintage Car - owned by Rachel's Dad

​Guest Transportation - East Coast Transportation ​

Rentals - 
​ (tent and lighting)​

(linens and napkins)

Charlie Whiskey Design, watercolor menu cards​

Uplights - 
DJ Jacob Towe

Bartender -

Paper Goods -
 Heather O'Brien Designs 

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