museum of commerce

{Mary and Ricky} Pensacola Museum of Commerce Wedding Sneak Peek!

{Mary and Ricky} Pensacola Museum of Commerce Wedding Sneak Peek!

I am so glad the gorgesousness that was Mary and Ricky's wedding is beginning to grace this blog!   You first read about them a few months ago in their love story post.  These two were the sweetest towards each other throughout the entire time planning their wedding, and their wedding day was absolutely beautiful.  It was filled with so many elegant and rich colors, and Mary's one of a kind wedding dress, designed and sewn completely by Ruthy was absolutely stunning.   Mary and I worked together for a bit more than a year to bring her wedding idea to life, and it turned out absolutely stunning.

Mary and Ricky's Love Story!

mary and ricky - grace and serendipity pensacola wedding

I am so excited to be sharing this with you today!  One of the things I'll be adding to my blog in 2015 is sharing Love Stories with amazing couples that I am planning weddings with!  I think this will be one of my favorite additions ... and I am hoping my couples will enjoy looking back at their pre-wedding memories in the future as well! The first pair of lovebirds I'm sharing with you for 2015 is Mary and Ricky!  They are two of the sweetest people I've ever met.  They live out of town, but Mary drives in monthly for us to meet in person.  Every single time we meet, I leave our meetings with butterflies of excitement of things we are working on together, because she is just so excited about her wedding day!  Goodness their wedding is going to be fun. And sparkly. And romantic. Just plain swoonworthy. Thank you to Megan of Southern Grace Photography for sharing the photos from their engagement session with me, and I can't wait to see what she captures on their wedding day!

Read about their love story below, and Mary and Ricky, enjoy these last few weeks of your engagement together!

Your Names:  Mary and Ricky

How did you two meet?  We hopped on the band wagon and met online!

When did you know that Ricky was the one for you?  I would say less than a week of knowing him, I knew he would be the man I marry.  I remember telling him that if we didn't get married, we had to be best friends. I'm so happy that I get to marry him AND he's my best friend!

Ricky, when did you know that Mary was the one for you?  Around the same time she knew, I knew she was the one for me.  It just made sense and was so easy being with her.  If there are such things as soulmates, I knew early on she was mine.

Alrighty Mary.  How did Ricky pop the question??  Were you surprised?  Did you have any idea??  It was in the most magical place in the world, Disney World! We had been planning a trip for a few months and I had my suspicions that this trip was it, we were going to get engaged. I was so excited. So we made it to Disney and I started doing some digging. I asked him if I needed to paint my nails for anything and snooped around his luggage to see if he was hiding the ring in there and nothing. He didn't break a sweat! So I decided that this wasn't it and I was going to forget and enjoy my vacation. Well the next day we made a plan to go on my favorite ride first. We boarded the Haunted Mansion (I'm obsessed!) and about a minute into the ride, he leaned toward me and said, "Babe, I know this is your favorite ride and I want you to remember this forever.  Will you marry me?" I was in shock!! I didn't even say yes at first! I just turned to him and said, "Are you serious?!" It was perfect.

grace and serendipity - pensacola wedding planner

When and where are you going to tie the knot?  Our wedding is in late February at the Museum of Commerce in downtown Pensacola. When we were deciding what date we wanted, it took us a while to figure it out. I wanted it to be cold (I can't sweat on my wedding day!) and he wanted to make sure it wasn't close to Christmas, so we decided on the end of February!aa

Describe your wedding day in three simple words:  Best. Day. Ever.

Now, share a few of the details!  Do you have a theme or feeling your wedding day will encompass? There's going to be a lot of purple, pretty gold and lace! It's going to be unbelievable! I basically just put together all of my favorite things and it's turning out to be perfect!

mary and ricky's engagement session - grace and serendipity wedding pensacola

Out of everything, what is the most important to the two of you on your wedding day, other than becoming husband and wife?  Since the beginning it was really important to us to have all of our families and friends there celebrating. Our families live so far apart that most of them have never met! So we wanted to make our wedding really fun. It's the only time all of our family and friends will be together. It has to be epic!

Do you have a favorite wedding blog or magazine?  Is Pinterest an option? Haha!!

What have you loved most about planning your wedding?  I have to be honest, wedding planning is not my thing. I have so much respect for wedding planners! Without Kristin, I would be lost. My favorite part of the whole process was early on. We were deciding a venue and I was trying to tell Kristin what I was looking for. It was like she was in my head! She suggested a venue that would be perfect for us and told us how we could make it extra special. I was so happy, I cried!

What has been the most difficult part when it comes to planning?  Planning a wedding is overwhelming. The most difficult part for me, was trying not to get too overwhelmed!

Have you always dreamed about your wedding day?  Or, was the day you got engaged when you first started thinking about it?  I had always known the colors I wanted but I didn't really know anything else until we were engaged.

Are you going to celebrate with a honeymoon after your wedding? We're going where it all began, Disney World! I can't wait! We're going to do all the things we did the first time.

grace and serendipity - pensacola wedding planner

Mary, what makes you the most excited about becoming his wife?  I'm mostly excited for things to stay the same but get better at same time. I can't wait to continue to see him come home from work everyday but as my husband. It makes me giddy just thinking about it!

Ricky, what makes you the most excited about becoming her husband? Waking up to her everyday and figuring out life together. Having a team mate for the rest of my life!

When it comes to marriage and your life together, what are you looking forward to the most? Besides the obvious stuff, we're both looking forward traveling with the same last name. It seems silly but that will be our favorite part.

Picture your lives five years from now. What do you see??  We see a lot of adventures and so many new memories.  In five years, starting a family and just enjoying every day together!

Do you have any advice for newly engaged brides, or those in the middle of planning? Don't panic! It's a lot. Just enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of it! Remember what it's all for. It's going to be great no matter what!

grace and serendipity - pensacola wedding


Congratulations Mary and Ricky, I am so excited for your wedding day to be here!

{ Kayley and Brian } Pensacola Old Christ Church and Museum of Commerce Wedding

{ Kayley and Brian } Pensacola Old Christ Church and Museum of Commerce Wedding

I am so excited to be sharing this wedding with you today.  Kayley and Brian were married last summer at Old Christ Church with their reception at the Museum of Commerce, and I have been waiting until this week to post it for a few different reasons.  Brian is in the Marines, and the majority of their guests who attended their wedding were also in the military, and wore their dress blues.  It was an incredible sight to see and amazing to be a part of.

This. This is Love.

kayley and brian - this is love - grace and serendipity

I happened to be scrolling through the photos I recently received from Cook Images to do a highlights post from Kayley and Brian's wedding day at Old Christ Church and the Museum of Commerce  this past summer, and this one photo literally took my breath away.

This.  This is love.  This was right after their ceremony, amidst 150 people, right after they walked through the sword arch, right before heading off to take photos with their Bridal Party. But even with all of the people surrounding them, they still had such an amazing love for each other that everyone around could feel it, they only had eyes for each other, and they were just so happy to be married.  THIS is why I love my job.  This right here.  And the way that Jeremy with Cook Images captured the whole day ... wow.  THAT is why you hire a professional photographer for your wedding day.  There are so many beauties just like this.  I can't wait to share them!!!

Congratulations again Kayley and Brian!


What Wedding Planners Do ...

what wedding planners really do - grace and serendipity

Many times, I am asked what my job really entails.  Yes, it is picking pretty flowers and linens to make a wedding beautiful, but that is such a small part of a planner's job in the overall scheme of everything.   This post may sound like a "hire me" read, but that is not my intention at all ... almost everyone that reads my blog is planning or looking for wedding advice, so that's what this post is for.  I want to just give you advice as to why hiring a wedding planner is important.

When you get engaged, you spend the first hours in total excitement, calling family, friends, and dreaming of what the day may be like, gushing over the new sparkly ring on your left finger, and feeling like you're floating on a cloud.  Then, the next thoughts pour in ... the date, the place, the people, the style, etcetera.  When you decide to actually start planning, you probably either pick up every wedding magazine you can find, tearing out pages and ooh-ing and aah-ing over everything you love, buy a "all things wedding planning" binder, or start to pin, pin, pin, pin all...the...time.  As those things are fun and make you feel giddy about the fact you're getting married, when you start to look at the lists of everything you need to do, you realize just how much work a wedding can really be, and it can quickly become overwhelming.

Don't think of it as an "I have to plan this wedding!", it would be great to think of it as "I get to plan my wedding!" It is the only time in your life that you will get to do this, so you might as well enjoy it as you go along, right?

Unfortunately, a lot of times, a planner is not in a bride's initial budget.  I have had quite a few brides contact me and say "a planner isn't in our budget, but we want to see if you possibly could be."  I want to explain to you a few reasons why a planner should definitely be in your initial budget, and why it can be really hard and stressful for you not to have one.

Offer insight, suggestions, andadvice.  I plan weddings.  It is my only job, which I do full-time.  I know what it takes to plan an amazing wedding, can recommend fabulous local vendors, and I know what is happening in the wedding world.  Why would you put it on yourself to plan a wedding, which requires so many little things, when you can have someone by your side to guide you along the way with a lot of experience?  I give professional recommendations and services based on the weddings I have planned and have learned over the years.

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Vendors, Contracts, and Management.  I know a lot of local wedding vendors, that have personalities that will blend well with yours, and are within your budget.  A budget is one of the first things you want to set when you are planning a wedding - if you spend more than 75% of your budget on catering alone, that doesn't leave much for everything else.  I can work with you to find the vendors that you'll love based on your personalities and vision you have of your day.  That alone can save a lot of time and stress - rather than going to meeting after meeting with vendors before you find the right one, your planner may know *just* the right one for you from the beginning.  Also, many have different payment times - I can keep track of that for you and remind you when your next payments are due, to help you stay on top of things.

One thing I want to add to that - I recommend vendors that I work with that are amazing and professional, that I would recommend based on those factors.  I am not paid by vendors to recommend them, and if I do have a relationship with them that gives a discount, I send that discount right on to my brides.

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Your wedding weekend should be the best weekend of your life.  NOT stressful.  I tend to not sugar coat things, and be honest and realistic with you rather than tell you everything always goes perfect.  Unfortunately, sometimes (not always!) things do go wrong leading up to the wedding day or on it.  You need two extra linens, a vendor is late, or the box with your cake and knife server, favors, and cake topper is missing.  You have a lot on your plate on your wedding day already, and you don't want to think about those things.  I can sometimes handle things without you even knowing - I can call a vendor that carries linens in-house, have my assistant go and purchase your missing accessories, and worry about the late vendor for you.  You don't have to do any of that.  Sometimes things happen that no one can control - the weather, traffic, and human honest mistakes (yes, we all make them), but a planner can help with all of those things and sometimes you don't even need to know I'm fixing them until after the day if you ask and really want to know.

Mediation.  This is a big one!  Grandma wants you to wear her veil, your mom wants you to use lilies, and everyone has their opinions on what they think you should do.  This can be a lot to take in to try to make everyone happy.  And sometimes, although their intentions are good, you want to please everyone which can cause a lot of stress for you.  I can help work with you on those pieces so that your relationships stay great.  If you are lucky enough to have your mom or another close friend or family member here with you when you're planning, you want to keep that relationship beautiful, and planning your wedding shouldn't cause it to become a strain.

I am here to work for you. On your wedding day, I am there to work.  I will mix and mingle with your friends and family, but my primary goal is to make sure that your wedding day goes smoothly, and any issues that may come up are handled quickly, quietly, and that you and your guests have a great time.  You don't want your mom, or friend, or anyone else there as a guest to have to do that.  They want to enjoy you getting married - not have to work.  This comes back to my own wedding day - I, sadly, didn't have a planner (and the day I returned from my honeymoon, this business was born) and my mother-in-law was setting up on the day of the wedding.  She barely got to enjoy the time before our ceremony - because she was working on centerpieces - and that is one of my biggest, biggest regrets from our wedding day.  It breaks my heart now when I have to hear a bride wants to put that on their mama that day.  Just as this is your only wedding day, this is the only day that they get to see you get married.  Let them enjoy it. Let me do the work.

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Setup, timelines, and breakdown.  What time will the cake arrive?  When can you get into the venue on the wedding day?  Who will run the rehearsal? A wedding planner can help you with all of those things.  There are certain venues where they have chairs and tables for you to use, but you need to set them up.  On the day of the wedding.  When there are 200 ceremony chairs, 200 reception chairs, and 16 tables to set up, do you want to have to do it?  And then after the wedding take everything back down?  Probably not.  Also, it is a fine art to balance a timeline, from what time you need to get your hair and makeup done so that your getting ready photos are done in time for the photographer to take those of your bridal party before the ceremony, to determininig the time for the caterer to arrive, and florist, and decor designer to make sure that everything goes smoothly and one vendor isn't waiting on another to do their part.  On wedding days, we all work together as a team to make sure that everything flows.  While you're sitting back, drinking champagne and getting pampered, I'm setting up tables, steaming linens, placing chargers, arranging placecards and putting out favors.  And then at the end of the night, I'm working with those vendors again to clean everything up, so that you can go on to your after-party or go and relax.  Who wants to clean up after enjoying a party, the night that it took place?  Probably not most people.  That is what I'm here for.

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And finally, I love what I do. I did not start out my career as a wedding planner.  I was a teacher for five years, until I had my own wedding (that's me with my husband in the photo above on our wedding day!).  Once I discovered this world, it has become such a passion of mine that I do not feel like I go to work everyday.  I get to do this job, and I have such a big love for weddings it's crazy.  I love working on wedding designs, new ideas, and figuring out just how to incorporate your family traditions into your wedding.  I get to be a part of the most important day of people's lives, seeing their love and happiness for each other on their wedding days, and working with them to create the wedding that has their personality all over it.  I love getting to know my brides and grooms, and think of them as my friends.  And you only want the best for your friends. When you meet with vendors, ask them simply why they do what they do - and hopefully it's something like that above.

It's incredibly important for you to find a wedding planner that you can picture yourselves as "friends in real life" with during your initial meeting.  They'll be the one you go to with happy, excited ideas, or sometimes teary bride-to-be moments.  You want to be able to trust them and know you're in good hands.  With me, I want you to know that you are always in good hands.  Again, I know that not every bride that reads this will hire me, and that's okay!  On the same spectrum, I know that not every bride that contacts me will click with me.  We have to be a good fit.  There has to be a level of trust you have for your wedding planner.  So whoever you hire, make sure they love what they do, you can have a great relationship, and you love them for it!

With Love,



The photos shown above were with weddings we planned with now married and amazing couples. The first photo shown is by Cook Images, and all other photographer credit is below each photo.

{Jessica and Blake} Old Christ Church and Museum of Commerce Pensacola Wedding

{Jessica and Blake} Old Christ Church and Museum of Commerce Pensacola Wedding

This was one of our favorite weddings this summer, we are so excited to blog about it! Jessica and Blake were married on August 6, 2011. Their desire to have a wedding with a vintage style and a modern twist for their wedding turned out beautifully.  Thank you so much to Cook Images Photography for their beautiful images!