Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Exactly 365 days ago I not only married the love of my life, but also my best friend and number one supporter through this crazy thing called life.
Now, we're pretty gross and basically fell in love at first sight, but here is a little back story for you all. We met through an online app called Periscope. For those Disney fans out there, this app was pretty cool back in the day -- ya know, before Instagram live and Tik Tok took over the world. I would basically wait for him to pop onto periscope in the parks just so that I could "chat" with him...even though he never knew I was there half the time.
One day, he decided to message me on twitter and honestly thats where it all started. Chris and I would talk for hours on end through texting, FaceTime, and on the phone in between our work shifts. We grew a really amazing long distance friendship that I never imagined would turn into anything more than that. Well, I was wrong because cupid hit us both with his love arrow-- HARD.
I vividly remember falling asleep while face-timing on multiple occasions, some while watching movies, or shows like Lost together. Of course, we were still living in two different states (MA and FL) and so we dated long distance for about 6 months before I decided to take a leap of faith and move to sunny Florida. We moved in together right away, which sounds like a bad idea, but we were older and could handle it. We have been through so much in just 4 short years-- I don't know what I'd do without my amazing partner in crime right by my side.
Chris proposed on my birthday, which just so happens to be my favorite day of the entire year, Valentine's Day. He gave me the ring of my dreams and I still to this day find myself staring at it all the time. He did not propose in front of the castle, but we made sure we got some pics there to celebrate how excited we were!
We decided to get married at The Grand Plaza Hotel in St. Pete Bech, Florida. The location was exactly what we were looking for and the price was also within our budget. If you are looking to have a gorgeous beach wedding with no stress at all I HIGHLY recommend The Grand Plaza. They were so easy to work with and made our day so so special. We had about 75 people at our wedding, but I know they can accommodate some larger groups as well..
We decided to get married on April 12, 2019. We wanted a spring wedding because the weather is usually in the mid 70s and 80s and we just knew it was going to be perfect. Of course, with Florida the one thing you wish for on your wedding day is no rain and that is exactly what we got. A gorgeous sunny day with beautiful, fluffy white clouds for miles. It was a little on the windy side but that made for some funny moments I will forever cherish.. ya know like getting my veil stuck not he side of the arch and whipped into Kelli's face who was holding both bouquets at the time.
We had our ceremony on the beach (dune facing side) and our reception inside in the gorgeous Presidential Ballroom at the top of the hotel. (Most of the inside shots were taken on my iPhone while setting up that morning)
We ended up staying at the Don Cesar which is located a few miles down the road from The Grand Plaza. I had always dreamed of staying there, and although it was a bit out of our price range to get married there, we still had the most amazing time. I suggest looking at websites like Priceline and Expedia for good sales on their rooms as I was able to snag 3 nights for a little over $300 total. (Most nights start at that price) I honestly have no idea how I even got those prices, but never give up and keep looking, you never know. I booked ours at midnight!
Because we got ready at The Don Cesar, we decided to do the first look as well as family pictures in their lobby before the ceremony to save some time. That way we would be able to spend more time with our family and friends after the ceremony. The Grand Plaza does not have much of a lobby area so utilizing our stay at the Don Cesar for most of our "formal" pictures was the best idea ever.
Here are some photos of us getting ready in the room: I hired Beaute Speciale for our hair and makeup
If you are looking for amazing photographers, David and Vicki Ardnt Photography is where you need to go. Not only are they amazing friends, but they take the most gorgeous photos and are able to capture the best moments from your wedding day. I love them so much and I know you will too.
We actually ended up getting kicked out of this lobby because another bride was about to come down-- ya know, a bride that was actually getting married at that hotel...whoops! This just so happened to be the most stressful part of the day and everyone handled it so nicely!
When you get married at The Grand Plaza one of the buffet packages includes a wedding cake, how amazing is that? We chose to go with Cakes by Carolyn for ours. (you can choose from tow different bakers) We had a 3 tier cake with amaretto yellow cake and a fudge filling, with our other their being red velvet. She was able to create the blue "ocean-like" ombre effect with the icing that we described to her perfectly. We had our florist add a few fresh flowers that matched my bouquet, and finally our cake topper was from Etsy.
Going back to the night before:
We had a wonderful dinner with both of our families and a mini rehearsal on the beach the night before. The sunset was gorgeous that day. Being able to spend time with both of our families at the same time was something so special. (Even writing this makes me choke up a little, because I am missing my family more than ever right now with everything crazy going on).
Here are some pics from our rehearsal:
We took this time to "test out" the drinks at the bar. I know my sister and I loved the blue Hawaiian. Most were going to be offered at our open bar so we decided to figure out what we liked so ordering the next day would be easier!
Chris and I brought these mugs from home that my mom had given us for Christmas, got in the Don Cesar robes, and took some photos (of course Chris had his nice camera with him). I posted this as my instagram picture the day of our wedding and it was so cool to see so many people repost it in their stories wishing us the best day ever.
The morning of our wedding I had my family as well as Chris' decorate and set up the reception room. I had everything organized for weeks and so it only took about an hour or 2 to set up everything the way I liked it. Normally, the Grand Plaza says you can have your bridal party set up. I thought it would be fun to do it all together and it actually is one of my favorite memories. I think we did a pretty amazing job.
Here are some iPhone pics of us setting up:
I made all of the signs, floral bouquets and decorations myself, and most of the "beach decor" was bought at TJMaxx. I made an entire Shutterfly book for our Guest Book filled with pictures from our 3 years of dating and our engagement photos.
Im planning on doing a more in depth breakdown of everything I made for the wedding and how I stayed within our budget. I was so proud of myself for making all of the decor myself and for bringing my visions to life. Remember, fresh flowers may be beautiful, but for a destination wedding they are hard to keep alive more than a few days. Silk flowers may be more noticeable, but I still have them in my home now and will have them for years to come.
To say our wedding day was the best day of my life is an understatement. We were surrounded by our closest family and friends, we had the most beautiful weather we could ask for, and I now get to spend the rest of my life with the absolute love of my life.
You challenge me every single day, you love me unconditionally, and you put up with my weirdness. I am so beyond happy to be your Mrs. DeRoche. I love you babe. Always Xo.
Oh yea, I forgot to mention, we ended our night with the coolest Sparkler exit ever. Something I have always wanted to do and it was AMAZING!
If you got this far, you're incredible. Here is our wedding video that was made by the incredibly talented Trevor Brown.