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Elegant and Classic Florida Wedding at the Vinoy

The historical Vinoy in St Petersburg is a throwback to old Florida, and a dreamy setting for a classic wedding! Michelle and Colton chose to hold their ceremony in the lush tea garden, its fountain dripping in garlands from Marigold Flower Co, and then treated their guests to a gorgeous reception in the ballroom, where the blush and gold palette beautifully balanced the architecture. From the letterpress invitations by Olivia Grace Paperie to the images captured on film by The Ganeys, every detail is timeless and chic!

In their own words


How did you meet?
I met Colton at the University of Florida in 2011. My sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, had a joint social with Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. The theme was “Las Vegas” and I decided to skip dressing up because I wasn’t sure how to interpret that. Colton decided to go all out and got decked out in boots, jorts, a dealers vest (no shirt underneath) and a clear visor. We both had a mutual friend in his roommate and he introduced us at the social. We exchanged numbers and from then on were inseparable. There was just one little problem – I was playing hard to get and about to leave right after Christmas to study abroad in Madrid for six months. We visited each other over Christmas break and decided we would continue to be friends while I was gone.We talked every day and every night and after a week of being apart decided we were going to make it “Facebook Offish”. The next few weeks Colton booked two flights to come see me that semester. He always says he “had to come and get me”. We had two unforgettable vacations traveling across Spain, Italy and Prague. I cried so hard when he left! The entire semester I was literally counting down the days until I could be with him. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning and was basically on EST time zone so we could talk more. Finally, the six months were up and I moved back to Gainesville where I spent a blissful summer going out on real dates with Colton and talking during normal hours.

What is your proposal story?
Ever since we met, Colton talked about how cool it would be to take an All-American Road Trip together. In February, we started thinking about ideas of where we should go for his post-bar exam vacation before he started his job as an associate at a law firm. We began planning out an elaborate 17 day road trip that spanned the entire west coast from Los Angeles all the way up to Seattle with numerous stops in between. The place Colton was most excited about was Big Sur. He researched all the stops we should take along the way, booked the hotel and restaurant and planned out our entire evening a month before we even left – which unbeknownst to me included our engagement!

The day finally came and we began our drive from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. We had been worried for the past few weeks about the fires in Big Sur closing some of the state parks and attractions. Our worst fears came to light about an hour into our drive when the hotel called to cancel our reservations because the whole town was being evacuated! Thankfully, Colton wasn’t driving when he got the news, but we immediately went into panic mode. We both got to work looking for a new hotel and he recruited some “mom power” from our parents. The universe decided to throw us more obstacles when we found out all the state parks were closed (including the one he planned to propose at) and the restaurant called to cancel our reservation as well. After 30 minutes of stressful web searches, I was able to find a hotel in Carmel about 30 miles north of where we were originally going to stay. In my mind – all was good and the day was saved! Little did I know, Colton was texting with our photographer, Vanessa to come up with a whole new plan and location for him to propose. (Also, unfortunately for Colton I am scared of heights and had to have him drive the entire way, making it even more difficult for him to communicate with Vanessa.) Luckily for us, Colton hired the world’s best photographer who was more than willing to meet us in Carmel and came up with a beautiful location for Colton to propose at. She even made the dinner reservations for us!! We were so lucky to have her.

With the new location locked in, we made our way through beautiful Big Sur. There was smoke from the fire, but nothing could ruin the beautiful views. It is literally the most incredible place I have ever been and it was the best day of my life. Words cannot do the beauty justice. Colton was finally able to enjoy the day, but made sure nothing would go wrong from there – including running out of gas. So he paid $6.56 a gallon to be sure; we even waved to our hotel and restaurant as we drove by. When we finally made it to Carmel, we arrived at the most quaint, adorable hotel I have ever seen. The L’Auberge Carmel was a ten room bed and breakfast right on the water and it was perfect. We freshened up and decided even though we were in Carmel and not Big Sur, we were going to uphold our plans of having wine on the beach right before sunset – just the two of us. We headed towards a beach that Colton told me he found via Google. It was a private beach entrance for a community so I was a little confused as to why this was the beach he decided on, and I wasn’t even sure we were allowed to be there. We walked down to the beach and headed towards the big rocks to have the perfect spot for the sunset. Once we found our spot, Colton started opening the wine and stopped halfway and asked if we could go by the water. At this point the water was freezing, but I am a good girlfriend and reluctantly obliged! We made our way down to the water and I still had no idea he was going to propose, until he turned to me, grabbed my shoulder and said “Can you please stand over here” so that I was perfectly positioned for our engagement pictures (seriously who thinks of that?!). At that moment, I knew my life was about to change and a giant wave of pure happiness, shock and joy rushed over me as he said “Michelle, you’re my best friend, the love of my life, and the girl of my dreams… Will you marry me?”

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important thing was making sure everything was in one location and that the location was near fun things for guests to do! The VInoy checked all those boxes and that is what we splurged on.

What were your favorite parts of the day?
The best part of the day was saying our vows and the first look. It was a wonderful private moment to have together before the craziness of the day. it had been raining all morning and the rain cleared as we were saying our vows to eachother. It was perfect!

Did any of your wedding pros deliver a standout experience? Let us know the details!
The Ganeys! They were perfect in every way! Emily and Thomas are the dream team. Everybody was talking about how great they were all day and how amazing they were to be around. Our photos were breathtaking and I am so happy they were by our side on the big day.


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