Alison and Curtis got engaged in May and had planned and DIY’ed their intimate wedding in August. Three months to plan a wedding? Heck Yes, when you’ve survived four years of long-distance dating, that becomes your superpower. Not only did they plan a wedding, but they also planned their DREAM wedding with a guest list of 8, in their parent’s backyard. She wore a custom-made bell-sleeve lace wedding dress, that was breathtaking on her. She looked like an earth goddess in the rain while wearing her hunter boots, which were her something-blue. We say it time and time again, that brides like Alison, who show up as themselves on their wedding day, offer us all the inspiration we need to create the incredible dresses we do. How amazing it must be, to show up as the woman you’ve always wanted to be?
Grace Hannah Photography photographed their intimate celebration.
Their Love Story
We met while I was visiting mutual friends in Florida. Curtis lived there his whole life. I am from Ohio but lived in Florida for a year or so (in the same neighborhood as his family), but we didn’t meet until I was back visiting many years later.
It was fun. It was hard.
We dated long distances for about 4 years. We were creative through Skype and phone calls, We traveled back and forth to visit a lot, and we would watch tv and movies together on the phone by starting the shows at the same time and syncing up the sound. It was fun. It was hard. We had to talk our feelings out a lot more than you can in face-to-face dating. You really have to build trust, and we did, and eventually, Curtis made the commitment to move to Ohio.
Favorite Details of the Wedding
Too many details! I could not wear my wedding shoes but loved that my something blue was hunter boots I ordered last minute when I found out it would rain.
We created a “walk our story” by hanging every picture we took as a couple in trees as you arrived at the property. It took us 2 days to map out the placement for the frames, and it also started raining during the set-up. We bought a laminator a d laminated over 150 photographs. This way, they could survive the weather, and it was really cool. I enjoyed setting that up for the two of us, reflecting on our relationship.
The Wedding Dress
My mom found Dreamers & Lovers Online and sent me the link in a text, It was so beautiful and I needed it! We had been dating for a long time and with the pandemic in full swing when we got engaged; I needed something special and reliable and quick.
I saw Samantha and knew it was the one. I needed it quick with 3 months until the wedding. The customer service was so great! They were so helpful and I got the sample dress super quick. I ordered the dress using the rush service and my dress came even quicker than I thought. I had to have my fiance measure me due to not having my pace open to get it done. We did really close on the measurements and a local seamstress was able to adjust the minor mismeasurement.
We are in a whole new world that brings uncertainty and fear, among others about the state of our world, but today is all about a celebration…a moment to escape the world and focus on a promise of love, faithfulness, and respect. If you look around our setting…the people here, the extreme effort is given to create, the beauty of being surrounded by the natural setting, filled with trees and life… this too is part of that celebration.
But, we are also witnessing the unity of two families who will now be forever united, from Florida and Ohio, so in essence, today is ALL about unity. So, Curtis and Alison, your journey, both present and what is to come will begin today but as husband and wife.
I would like to share with you an adapted reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (de Benyéir) that the couple has selected for me to read today:
Love is a temporary madness,
-It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides, softens, and reflects.
And when that love subsides, one finds that a decision must be made.
And, within this decision-making and the growing process of us all, one takes in the wholeness of who he or she has been, who he or she is, and who he or she wants to be within that Love.
We must be mindful of the work of this process and whether our roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that they should ever part because a rootless tree will not survive.
We hope for and look to unite, to grow, and become ONE bound in commitment and shared existence.
And why?…Because this is what Love is.
We know that Love is not breathless, it is not a predicted excitement,
It is not the promulgation of a false or eternal passion because
That is just “being in love,” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when the innocence of being in love has burned away, and that is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches, they find that they are ONE tree and not two.
Love must be cared for, nurtured, remembered, and pushed to progress, rooted in what we want, offer, commit, and what the soul needs. That is true and committed Love.
Then we planted a unity tree.
We loved all our vendors. I called up my good friend Shannon for the cake and asked her to make me a naked buttercream cake with succulents. I trusted her completely. I sent her a few photos, and she did amazing and it was perfect. Totally stress-free!
The wedding flowers were also simple since we did not have a wedding party or wedding colors. I found a florist (@acornandevergreenofkent) with a vibe I liked and asked them to create a flower crown, bouquet, and boutonniere out of whatever looked good. I gave them an example as well and creative freedom and was so happy with the result! Trust your vendors! They will take great care of you.
My cousin Bri did my hair and held my dress up out of the mud. She would not put it down during the ceremony. She was like, “it’s too pretty, and it can’t get this mud on it!”
(GREAT) Advice for Future Brides
Get married! Don’t worry about the image you had in your mind for the perfect wedding. Elopement-type weddings are where it’s at!! You can still have and use that image, and if you roll with what comes (pandemic and all), you can create something beautiful and unique.
I’m Italian and have a huge family, and we have many friends who live in Florida, all of whom could not attend our 8-person wedding due to the COVID-19 safety recommendations. So it was totally not how I imaged getting married. Still, it was so special, and I think that only our immediate family and our officiants family added another layer of intimacy.
It’s ok not to be perfect. It literally poured rain on an outdoor ceremony all day. I bought the clear umbrellas last minute because I was getting married under the arch that I had spent weeks making collecting wild grapevines from the woods. I had poison ivy 3 times and had to take 2 rounds of prednisone, so I was getting married under it!!!
We were covered in mud and soaked. We lost power to the tent about 30 min before the wedding and needed a last-minute generator. My dad spent so much time working on the electric line to restore The power by the ceremony site.
The cello player was 20 min late, stuck in traffic because the freeway flooded. So My father, cousin, and I shared a nice bottle of wine out in the shed, waiting in the rain. We even spilled that wine a bit. So perfect, no, but my favorite memories of the day were
The ones that went wrong and all the love that went into making the day wonderful.
We made lemonade out of lemons, and it was so great, and I couldn’t stop laughing the whole day because it was sooo soooo ridiculous.
Those who think only sunshine brings happiness have never danced in the rain
You spend all this time planning the perfect day, and it can fall apart so quickly if you let it, so my advice is don’t let it!!!! Instead, make it the best day of the first day of your new lives together.
“Those who think only sunshine brings happiness have never danced in the rain.”