Tampa Fall Wedding from Jillian Tree Photography
November 4, 2013
Classic WeddingsBallroom WeddingsReligious Institution
It's always amazing to me how I seem I get to know the couples that grace the pages of SMP. It's like meeting a new group of friends each day, and getting a peek at their personalities through images as gorgeous as these from Jillian Tree Photography is just the icing on the cake. With a wedding this lovely, and a couple this darling this gallery is one fabulous way to spend a day. See it all here.
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From the Bride... Gabe and I met and became friends through the Lighthouse Church youth group when we were both in high school. Those were the days! I used to leave to go to school really early every morning in order to get a parking space (Cypress Bay was a very overcrowded high school), and Gabe would get there early on the bus most days…so he would come sit with me in my car until the bell rang. My mom encouraged him to do this so that I would not be alone in the “scary” parking lot; she referred to him as my body guard. Now, if you know anything about Weston or Cypress Bay (or my mom for that matter), you know that this was a ridiculously unnecessary precaution…but I did start looking forward to seeing him every day! Sometimes I would even bring him hot chocolate or some tasty breakfast treat =D Also, our houses were pretty close together, so a lot of times I would drive him home after school or he would just come home with me and we’d do homework together…

One particular day in January, my mom invited Gabe to come to the beach with us (us = me, my mom, and my sister). And yes, I said January (one of the perks of living in South Florida)! Upon arriving at Hollywood beach, we got some delicious pizza, and then my mom and sister decided that they were going to go for a walk (a total set-up!)…so, once they left, Gabe and I walked toward the water and plopped down in the sand. And, following some nervous stalling, Gabe told me that he liked me. After keeping him in suspense for a bit, I eventually told him that I liked him too! Then I asked him if we could take 2 months to pray about our developing relationship before we became “officially” boyfriend and girlfriend (of course, he agreed).

After a little over two months, on April 7th of 2007, Gabe took me out (on our first “official date) to an Italian restaurant called Tarantella. After dinner, we walked over and sat in front of the big fountain in Weston Town Center, and I told him that I would love to be his girlfriend. I will never forget how Gabe then prayed aloud the words that were in my heart for our relationship, and how I felt that God was smiling down on us - as HE was beginning to write our love-story.

Since then we have made tons of memories together – from our high school graduations, to road trips, to birthday parties, to cooking together, to theme parks, to picnics, to walks around IWU campus (sometimes in the snow), to concerts, to coffee runs, to classes together and LOTS OF STUDYING, to my college graduation, to ring shopping, to our epic engagement story – we haven’t stopped falling in love.

Sure, we’ve faced some challenges: many miscommunications, the living long-distance thing, times of sickness, excessive loads of stress at times, etc. but I can say that I am thankful for each and every challenge because they have been opportunities for our relationship and our love to grow deeper and stronger.

It is so wonderful to know now, without any doubt, that Gabe is so perfectly “right” for me, that He loves and respects me, and that He has chosen me to be his bride. And I would have never been able to imagine – at the start of our relationship 5 years ago – how very much I would grow to love and appreciate this man. But it is even more wonderful to know the love of God for me and to have Jesus as the foundational ROCK of Gabe’s and my relationship! In fact, this is what our “wedding logo,” the three roses, is all about! It is a symbol that God must be the center rose who intertwines us (the outside roses) – for we know that ONLY HE can satisfy our deepest needs and ONLY HE can give us the ability to love each other selflessly.

So, even though our upcoming wedding is a celebration of Gabe’s and my earthly romance and commitment to be faithful to one another for life…if you look a little closer, you will see that it is really a celebration of our heavenly “romance” and the never-failing faithfulness of God in our lives. In summation, “we love because He (Jesus) first loved us” (1 John 4:19).