This Couple's Dream Wedding Was Donated So the Bride's Grandfather Could Attend
There are some wedding videos that are just so emotional, so over-the-top or so absolutely stunning, we feel they deserve a bigger accolade on our site, like the title of Love Story of the Week! Alyssa found out her grandpa's health was declining, so she and Braden had to quickly plan their wedding so he could attend. Luckily, they had some incredible local wedding vendors will to help them put it all together!
1. How did you two meet?
We met on Facebook. We both had mutual friends and went to neighboring high schools. Alyssa messaged me first, but who reached out first might change depending who you ask…
2. How did the proposal happen?
With the grand opening of Alyssa Marie Gallery, I knew our families would be flying in from Colorado. During events, I would grab both of Alyssa's hands and bring her over to the person who wanted to purchase one of her oil paintings. I told a few people that they might want to grab their cameras and I went over to grab her. I pulled her into the middle of the gallery and got down on one knee. We had just started our new life in Florida and we were celebrating Alyssa’s decision to pursue fine art as her career full time—it just seemed like the perfect time. We had been together for nearly a decade, but we hadn’t talked about marriage even ONCE. We knew we were going to be together forever so it never mattered to either of us. I just couldn’t pass up the perfect timing with the opening and family being in town!
3. What are your favorite things about your relationship?
I love the unexpectedness of our relationship. Alyssa sees no limits to anything in life and isn’t afraid to chase anything that she wants. My life before her was plain and nothing ever happened out of the ordinary. Now each day is an adventure and our dreams are bigger than I could have ever imagined. I live life outside my comfort zone and it just feels right. Alyssa gives me the confidence to be someone I never knew I could be.
4. What was the first thing you did as an engaged couple?
We went to Disney! It was Alyssa’s first time at Magic Kingdom!
5. What was your budget and how did you decide on it?
We had NO budget—as in NO money saved up. Having just opened a small business without a loan or even any savings, we pictured getting married years down the road. Not even talking about marriage before the proposal, we were really starting at square one. That all changed when Alyssa got word that her grandfather’s health was declining. We had to fast-track the wedding from \"years away\" to as soon as possible.
6. What were your top three priorities when planning your wedding?
That Alyssa’s grandfather, Grampie, was there.
Close friends and family
Dancing and drinking!
7. What did you each think the first time you saw each other on your wedding day?
Thankfully, we have our first look on video! Alyssa made her dress and I didn’t want to see it in progress. When I turned around to see her, I couldn’t believe how absolutely stunning she looked in her latest handsewn art piece! She was radiating with joy and beauty. I couldn’t believe that I would be able to call her my wife moments from then!
8. Did you write your own vows? If so, what personalized details did you add?
Yes, we did! From the time I first met her, I have always written her cheesy poems. This didn’t stop at my vows. The first line was “Oh boy, for this, I’m going to need to stay strong. But if you think I didn’t make this rhyme, you are definitely wrong.” It was the perfect touch to our laid-back love-filled ceremony.
9. Alyssa, we're in awe of your wedding dress—tell us about the process of creating it and your vision for your whole look?
The vision for my whole look was fairytale bliss. When browsing, I fell in love with a Galia Lahav wedding gown which was adorned with little flower and butterfly accents. Using this as my inspiration, I went to Joanne Fabrics and scoured the aisles for clearance wedding fabrics that I thought would fit and photograph beautifully. I purchased various lace and chiffon flowers and butterflies in large quantities on Etsy and found the perfect top layer fabric that would bring my look to life. The dress is actually two pieces: a body suit and a skirt. I purchased a nude tulle body suit for $8 and hand-sewed the flowers and butterflies I purchased on Etsy to look as if they lay on my bare skin. The skirt consisted of four layers of fabric including polyester and tulle. And lastly, for the veil, I used a comb that was part of an existing veil a friend gave to me and cinch-sewed approximately three and a half yards of tulle to the comb, embellished with the butterflies and flowers along the base of the veil. I borrowed a sewing machine from a friend and used a mannequin attached to a pole as my dress form.
10. Braden, we also want to hear about your look! How did you land on that unique color suit and who was the designer?
Oddly enough, I didn’t have a suit color in mind when we set our wedding date. I was so excited about Alyssa making her dress, I didn’t put much thought into what I was going to wear. One night, as we were having a few drinks and talking about the big day, Express sent Alyssa an email about a flash 70% off sale. We jokingly said, “Maybe this is where we will find the suit!” When we clicked on suits, the coral was the first thing we saw. They happened to have the extra slim of my size in both the pants and the jacket, which was incredible seeing as they generally only had one or two mismatching sizes available. I said, “We will be anything but boring on our wedding day!” and they were added to the cart. So in all honesty, we can thank White Claw, Express and our laid-back attitude on life for the suit. We wouldn’t have had it any other way!
11. What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?
Braden: The first look for sure. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked. Her eyes were so green and her dress was absolutely breathtaking. I couldn’t wait for her to be my wife.
Alyssa: My dad’s speech was amazing. Also the limo ride back from getting our hair and makeup done. Thanks for the tunes, Lizzo!
12. What's your top tip to all soonlyweds out there planning their weddings?
Don’t listen to anyone. No two weddings are alike and you need to do what is important for you. Don’t want fancy food? Serve tacos. Don’t want that person there? Don’t invite them. Your wedding is a party for your love. It should be YOUR perfect day. Not anyone else’s!
13. Why would you suggest hiring a videographer?
Shannon captured our love so perfectly. From filming us on our first day sailing to dancing on our wedding day, Shannon was able to capture moments that showed who we are as a couple and that we'll be able to look back on and cherish for the rest of our lives.
14. Your wedding was featured in the news—so cool! Tell me a little about that—how they reached out, what people thought about the feature, what YOU thought about it.
We are part of a page called “I Love St. Pete” on Facebook. We reached out to the 40,000 members of the group when we first started planning the wedding so last minute. From the venue to the photographer, to the videographer, to the desserts, tables and chairs—everything was donated to help us put on a wedding that Alyssa’s Grampie could attend. Once we posted thanking all the selfless people who gave for our big day, news stations started reaching out. Everyone wanted to cover the story of how the wonderful people of St. Pete came together to help strangers put on a wedding!
15. We love all the personal videos featured in your wedding video—how did that come about?
That was ALL Shannon. She wanted to feature who we were as a couple in real life, doing the things we love!
16. Tell us a little about your gorgeous venue—how did you decide on this particular location?
The venue was the lake home of our dear friends Greg and Laurie Stemm. They offered the house to us without hesitation and at no cost to us. It slept 29 of our family members in three houses on the property.
17. Who were your favorite wedding vendors and why?
The Picture of Love (photography): Not only do we have a gallery of absolutely gorgeous wedding and engagement images, but Hannah also created a minute-by-minute breakdown of our day. We did not hire a wedding coordinator so she and Shannon played that role on top of capturing our big day. We literally don’t know what we would have done without both of them.
Shannon Kelly Films (videography): Shannon made videos on our sailboat, in the park, with our dogs and captured our big night. She was so much fun to be around and created videos that we have watched over and over and over again. Since the day we met her, we knew she was the perfect fit for us!
Swah-rey (dessert): The cupcakes we had at our wedding were absolutely to die for. The hardest part was choosing from the 30 options they offer! Having cupcakes at your wedding is perfect because they're bite-sized and you don’t feel guilty going back to try all of the flavors!
18. Anything else you'd like to share about your wedding or some details I didn't ask about?
We are just so thankful that we were able to bring all of our friends and family together on such short notice. This was 100% due to the kindness of the people of St. Pete. We could have never done it without people like Hannah, Shannon and Swah-rey. They made our wedding possible. There is no better gift you could give a young couple.
To watch more wedding videos by Shannon Kelly Films, click below.