Real Wedding Wednesdays: Jennifer and Gary at the Hammock House

It is an absolute pleasure to feature the wedding of a special colleague in today’s real wedding blog. Jennifer Heckle is a member of the Perfect Wedding Guide team based here in Central Florida, and she and her husband Gary were recently married at a beautiful, scenic location on the Wekiva River.

Thanks to Jeff Hawkins Photography for sharing these gorgeous images of Jennifer and Gary’s wedding! And a special “tip of the hat” to Brandi Zrallack for her brilliant planning and coordination skills.

Here is what Jennifer had to share with us about her big day:

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Susan: How did you and Gary meet?
Jennifer: At a bar! We met at Jesse Black’s in Orlando. I walked in with my friend Tina and saw Gary immediately. He just looked so familiar to me; I even convinced myself that he was someone I knew and I couldn’t let it go. We later talked and I found out it was his birthday…I eventually gave him my phone number, and he called the next day and we had great conversations. FINALLY, over a week later, he asked me out and we have been inseparable ever since. I cried on the way home from our first date because I knew he was the one and it freaked me out!

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Susan: Tell us about the proposal.
Jennifer: While we were exchanging presents on Christmas Eve with our families and best friend, Tina (he made sure she would be there), Gary gave me my gift, which was very small, and he was acting weird. Well, it was the ring, and as I was opening it, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The whole family knew he was planning it, even his mom, who I had spent the day with and complained to about him wanting to build a mud truck when I wanted to build a life! I had no idea he was planning on asking me that night. What made me the happiest was his son’s reaction; he said, ‘It’s about time–now I can call you mom.’ It was the best Christmas ever!

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Susan: Why did you choose your particular wedding location?
Jennifer: I wanted an outdoor country wedding and the Hammock House was perfect. The ceremony was on the Wekiva River and the reception was on the front of the property with horse stables in the background.

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Susan: What was it like for you on the morning of your wedding?
Jennifer: My first thought was, I am freaking getting married today! But first, I needed some Cracker Barrel. I was trying so hard to enjoy the day with my girls and moms but was SO nervous. I couldn’t believe it was finally my wedding day and I wanted everything to be perfect.

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Susan: What were your thoughts as you walked down the aisle?
Jennifer: Stop crying, don’t trip, why did we put so much hay on the aisle, and smile!

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Susan: What was the most memorable part of the day for you and Gary?
Jennifer: The ceremony. Everything was about that moment…all the planning and even the reception afterward. The moment where we said ‘I Do’ was finally happening, and it was a dream come true.

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Susan: Were there any particular elements of your wedding day that you considered unique or personal touches?
Jennifer: All of the country décor. It was all designed to fit our style, from the bales of hay for ceremony seating, to the mason jars and burlap linens on the tables, and even the stationary all tied together and made the event feel very intimate.

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Susan: Based off your experience, would you share some advice for other brides and grooms who may still be planning their weddings?
Jennifer: Hire a coordinator–at the very least, a day-of coordinator. There are so many details that need to be taken care of on the day, and it was nice knowing that it was all getting done. I also now know why every bride tells you to relax and enjoy the day. It can be so nerve-wracking and goes by SO fast. I was in a daze all day and had to keep reminding myself to breathe and take in the moments.

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I hope you have all enjoyed this real wedding blog as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thank you, Jennifer and Gary, for sharing your story with all of us.

If you have questions on this or any other wedding related topic, please post for me here or send me an email to susan(dot)southerland(at)pwg.com. Also become a fan on Facebook by clicking here and follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

Your partner in perfect planning,
Susan