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Real Bride Spotlight: Victoria

After a chick-flick-like start to their relationship, Victoria and Matt had a beautiful winter wedding that celebrated their love and commitment to one another.

Our love story starts at a country bar (you would never catch me in) my freshman year of college spring break. My best friend and I were in Clearwater Fl, and had been provided some suggested night life for people 18 and up.

This is where I found myself in that country bar that I swore I would never go to. The end of the night came quickly and we were all kicked out to wait for our rides, and that’s when I laid my eyes on Matt and his friend, standing at the curb.

I grabbed my friend’s hand and walked right up to them and introduced ourselves. They were two Clearwater locals, just out for the night. I boldly told Matt that he and my friend would be perfect for each other, and thus began a weekend of the four of us hanging out as I attempted to set up Matt and my friend.

The end of our trip came, and it was time to de-brief Matt on the situation. I pulled him to the side and asked him how he liked my friend and if he would try and stay in touch with her. He resisted and shrugged and said “ehh she's alright…” and I yelled at him, after all my hard work the last few days of trying to hook them up, saying “JUST ALRIGHT?! Why don’t you like her?!”

He paused and I could tell he was trying to collect his thoughts, and said “well…I….I…I actually like you…” This is when my jaw dropped and I felt the world spin around me. A small disclaimer: my friend was NOT interested in him, and I was just trying too hard to get two good looking people to date.

Plans officially changed and I was quickly no longer trying to get my friend and Matt together… Matt and I spent the next 12 hours, over night, sitting knee to knee, getting to know each other. The sun started to rise and 12 hours had felt like 12 minutes. My friend and I were leaving Florida in only 2 hours, and I was going to have to go back to Georgia, feeling like my life had been that chick-flick. None of it felt real. We started our drive back home and I impatiently waited on that first text from Matt.

I lasted a whole 30 minutes before I lost my patience and texted him a short, “This weekend was amazing, I'm so glad I met you.” And, within seconds, he responded, “OH MY GOSH I THOUGHT I LOST YOU FOREVER!! I DIDN’T HAVE YOUR NUMBER.” That day, I told my friends and family: “I just met my future husband.”

Matt visited me in Georgia 4 weeks later. All in the same weekend we had our first kiss, made our relationship official, and he met my family at dinner where my 12-year-old brother asked Matt if he was going to marry me. We spent the next 5 months thriving off of Skype dates and periodical visits with each other.

The summer was ending and I had to decide if we would spend the next school year apart, or if I was going to move to Florida. So to Florida I went. After 2 years of being by the ocean, I brought him back to Georgia and we continued to fall in love every day.

To Florida I went. Now, I proclaimed I was going to marry this man the DAY after he told me he liked me, and from that day forward, I spent every moment feeling affirmed in that statement. I made that extremely clear to him very early on, and bless his heart for spending 4 years with me as I harassed him about it.

Once I started nursing school, though, he didn’t hear from me about getting married. There was no way in the world that I was going to be able to plan a wedding while in the thick of nursing school.

Matt proposed on my 23rd birthday, the summer after my first year of nursing school. We had been together for 4.5 years at this point. I always swore I would know the day he was going to do it because he hides his nerves as well as a fire alarm. He told me he had a fun day planned for me, which didn’t make me suspect anything, because it was my birthday.

He didn't tell me where we were going until we had arrived at Piedmont Park. Matt set me up to believe we were doing a scavenger hunt, and he just had to take me to the first clue. On our way to the first clue, it started absolutely pouring rain. I mean an umbrella, poncho, and rain boots couldn’t have kept us dry. We embraced the sideways rain and continued towards this clue. When we got to the gazebo, it was still raining sideways and we were still getting soaked. He stood in front of me to block the rain with his body and umbrella and handed me a book.

This book goes back to my 22nd birthday...he had saved every single picture I had taken and sent to him, in the last three years, and put them together in a book to write his perspective of our love story. Fast-forward a year, this was the same book he handed me, and I could tell he had added to it. I read it from the beginning, reliving the story he had already written, and continued on to the stories he filled in from the last year. I was already in tears because of his wit and love I could feel through his words. I got to the last page and it held a blank photo with the words "here is a blank photo to fill in the rest of our lives…" I lifted up the photo and under it read "Victoria..." I closed the book still in denial that this could be the moment.

He reached into his back pocket and started to tear up… even now I thought he was gonna hand me a piece of paper with our next clue for this said scavenger hunt. His tears started to come and he said something along the lines of wanting to spend the rest of his life with me, but I was fully blacked out at that point. I wept with joy and excitement and we hugged for a solid 10 min... I still hadn't even looked at the ring, but it didn't matter because I was about to spend the rest of my life with the most amazing man. Next thing I know, my family is behind me all in tears with their video cameras out and more soaked than we were (if that was possible). Matt coordinated with my family to have them hide in the bushes across the pond to capture the entire moment for us!!! This part I am most thankful for, because it is true what they say about this amazing really are swept away and have a hard time remembering everything that you just experienced. Matt sprung the most romantic moment that included rain and tears, just like those chick flicks I talked about. He waited for the time I least expected it, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect.

So, that, my friends, is why I will never advocate to wait for the guy to text you first ;)

My wedding was “White Christmas.” It was 3 days before Christmas which gave us the perfect romantic theme. It was rustic/chic. We decorated the beautiful and classy barn with hand-picked Christmas trees from our annual tree-chop trip, wrapped and decorated only with white lights. We used evergreen branches in the form of wreathes, aisle runners, and table centers to create our main color scheme and had hints of burgundy and gold that came through the bridesmaids dresses, men’s ties, and our cute camping coffee mugs that went home with the guests. It was SO dreamy and simple, with the perfect hint of Christmas.

My wedding day was perfect from beginning to end, so it is so hard to pick just one memory. Something though that was absolutely amazing, is probably the one thing that every one of my guests have not stopped talking about. The Altar was set up at the inside of the barn in front of floor to ceiling barn doors. When I walked down the aisle, the barn doors behind Matt busted open in cadence with the help of the venue staff. The doors made an audible “whoosh” and all the guests gasped. It was SO dramatic and I felt the rush of the cold wind hit my face as I walked towards my groom. I had not cried ONCE that whole day (which was extremely rare for me), but at that moment, I LOST it. “Cant Help Falling in Love” by Elvis was being played by the string quartet, and I felt like this was the moment my entire life had led to.

Wedding dress shopping was the day I had literally dreamed of for as long as I could remember. I watched every episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” and knew I was going to walk down the aisle in a Hayley Paige…before I even had a boyfriend. I waited until the April after I was engaged (a few months short of a year) to go dress shopping because I desperately wanted to lose weight before I tried on my dress. I had dropped 30 pounds but I was still feeling insecure. I was sure my dress would have to be a long sleeve, ball gown that would hide my arms and my curvy hips… I also knew that my dream of being in a Hayley Paige was pretty unlikely due to my price point…Let's just say you should go into dress shopping with very few expectations, except that you WILL find the one.

I called Wedding Angels to make an appointment, and before I finished making the appointment, the person on the phone gave me a heads up that the day I was coming in happened to be a trunk show. She explained that it gave the brides an opportunity to look through a featured designer’s gowns that would have a 10% discount to the price-tag… “So is that okay? It will be a Hayley Paige trunk show.”

As if this woman had reached into my dreams and pulled them out on paper, I started to get emotional and girlishly squealed: “Oh yes absolutely!!! Hayley Paige is my dream designer!!!” we finished the phone call with her telling me she would get me into my dream dress.

We walked into the appointment and I just started crying with how heavenly the store front was. I was surrounded by sparkle, white, and blush clouds of wedding dresses. This sounds so dramatic, but once again, I found myself in a dream. It truly was so beautiful. I signed in and was told that the woman I spoke on the phone with was the store owner/consultant (Jacquie) and she claimed me as her bride.

She welcomed me with champagne and she pulled a handful of Hayley Paige’s that she matched to my personality just from our phone call. We made it into the dressing room and I put on my first pick: one of Hayley’s illusion long sleeve ball gowns. It wasn’t even half way up my body before I realized I didn’t like it, so I slid it off. Jacquie told me she wanted me to try the dress she pulled for me: The Reagan. I had seen this dress (of course) but never put it into my choices simply because it wasn’t long sleeve. She zipped me all the way up in it and had me turn around and the tears started flowing before I even had a full up-down look of the dress. Jacquie ran me to our private room while I was still feeling the emotions and I stood up on the podium and knew this was the one. Jacquie knew me more than I knew myself!

I declared the dress as THE dress only 5 minutes into my appointment, and after we all hugged and cried, Jacquie asked me if I wanted to try on the rest of the Hayley Paige’s. This was NOT something I expected since you always hear them say “never try on more dresses after you’ve picked the one…” But y'all…that is the furthest from the truth. After I made that bond with the Reagan, the rest of the gowns were just playing dress-up. I felt so youthful and so beautiful. Once we made our rounds through all the dresses, I put MY dress back on. I felt even more affirmed that this was the one, and we sealed the deal, thanks to the help of that 10% trunk show discount.

A few of my favorite things about Wedding Angels is how I felt like I was the only bride there. The private rooms with the endless flowing campaign, and the periodic visits from the other consultants as they shared their awe of me in each dress, made me feel like absolute royalty. I loved how I got to come back a few more times for my fittings that were each uniquely special. My most cherished moment was how I got to help HAND design a veil to match my dress. Jacquie ordered the fabric of my dress and the incredibly talented seamstress, Nina, worked extremely hard to hand place and sew the fragile applique in a design I fancied up. Not only was I getting my dream dress, but I was getting an original vail to go with it.

Every time I walked into the boutique I felt like I was at home. I honestly wish I had more excuses to go and visit Wedding Angels, but all I can do is try and convince every one of my friends to shop there so I can join!

My favorite part of this dress showed off a waistline I never knew I had. I felt sexy and modest, with the most beautiful neckline ever. Its asymmetrical ball gown made for the dreamiest twirls that showed off the unique and sparkly design. It's truly a dress to swoon over!

My advice for other brides would be, it’s good to have an idea of what you like, but also be open to trying on everything! I was so surprised with how my body was presented through gowns that I would never in a million years would look good on me! Wedding gowns are NOTHING like your typical shopping trip, and you will genuinely see yourself as a different (and confident) woman! Also…trust your consultant ;)

Photography: Outlander

DJ: complete music: Rich Moran 

Quartet: Bella Musica Strings 

Hair and makeup: Sonya Rivière



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