Real Wedding | Brook & Lewis

I love the idea of getting married at your school’s chapel.  Not only are the chapels beautiful, they are often just the right size for a wedding with a hundred or so guests. And they hold extra special meaning to the bride or groom (or both) who spent their college years there.

Brook and James chose the chapel at Rollins College for their wedding. It is one of the prettiest chapels I’ve seen, and the perfect location for their lovely ceremony.

How he proposed
Valentines Day 2007 tied the ring to our dog, Hunter J’s, collar.

The ceremony
We really wanted a traditional ceremony, so we chose to get married in a church.  I went to school at Rollins, so the first place that came to mind was Knowles Chapel which is listed on National Historic Register.   It was the perfect choice because it wasn’t too big or to small out guest list was just over one hundred people and I wanted a space that wouldn’t make it feel like we were being swallowed.  The chapel is classically beautiful on the inside and allowed me to keep the decorating to a minimum.  I worked with the florist to add some of the wedding color to the inside without taking away from the beauty of the space. I was worried because it rained during the rehearsal the day before, but the wedding day turned out to be a perfect April day in Florida.  The inside of the church and the grounds of the college made the perfect backdrop for our wedding.

The reception
The reception was held at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Downtown Orlando.  The hotel has an art gallery downstairs and has various types of art work displayed throughout the hotel.  We wanted the reception to feel like a big party where everyone was included, but I wanted to make sure it would have a classic look and feel to it.  We had friends attending from as far away as Paris and Brazil, so we tried to ensure that people would have the best time possible.  We hosted cocktail hour was on the pool deck so people could enjoy the beautiful weather and the downtown skyline.  We then moved to the ballroom for dinner and dancing.  It was wonderful to watch everyone young, old, and in-between having fun.  We didn’t let the party end once the reception was over.  We went dancing afterwards with several members of the wedding party and guests to make the most of the night.

The moment Brook will never forget
The whole thing went by so fast, but I do remember during the part when my husband was supposed to get the garter he did it so fast the DJ just said, “Oh wow.  Well I guess that’s it.” and cut the music.

How she knew her wedding dress was “The One”
I probably tried on 10 gowns.  My mum and I had very different ideas of what “the one” was.  I am pretty tiny, so I wasn’t totally sold on a ballgown because I thought it would be overwhelming on my frame.  My mum on the other hand was afraid I was going to end getting married in something that looked like a slip.  This gown was the first and only on that I tried on that she and I both loved.  It was classic, so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about looking back at my photos in a few years and feel like I had dated my wedding with gown that was trendy at the time.

Her advice for other brides
Everyone who helped get ready that day commented that I was the most level headed calm bride they’d ever met.  With that said, I offer this piece of advice whatever it is that you think is wrong, if anything, probably cannot be fixed at this point, so just relax and enjoy your day.  No one will notice that your maids bouquets weren’t all white (mine were supposed to be), or that I had neglected to arrange my transportation to the church — one of my maids mother’s drove us there at the last minute.  In the grand scheme of things stuff like that won’t matter.

This is probably one of the biggest parties you will ever throw, and you will be so upset if you were too busy worrying about stuff that can’t be changed now instead of having a good time.  Oh and maybe have an after reception party.  We kept the party going after the reception.  That was awesome. And don’t underestimate lighting.  I neglected to follow up and ended up not having someone come in to do lighting for the reception, so we had to make due with what the ballroom had.  Lighting and white flowers for my bridesmaids that’s what I would change.

The other piece of advice is let your bridesmaids have some say so in what they wear.  I picked a color and fabric, and gave the choice of a few styles of gown since everyone was built a little differently.  It just so happened that everyone picked the same Amsale gown.  I told them they could change it to get the best fit for them.  My MOH made her hanger straps into a halter and wore it that way, she said it made her more comfortable, so she didn’t feel like the gown was going to slip down.

Brook’s Wedding Dress: Kenneth Pool / Photography:  Mike Briggs