A Mermaid Gown Is the Perfect Fit for This Nautical Wedding
May 18, 2017
NauticalCountry ClubSummer Weddings
For her nautical inspired nuptials photographed by Sheryll Lynne Weddings, this gorgeous bride wore an intricate, mermaid-silhouette wedding gown by Sottero and Midgley. “It wasn’t at all the dress I had in mind when I started looking. But as soon as I put it on, I just felt different. It was special," she said. With its beaded bodice, perfect fit, and the layers of organza and lace, we most certainly agree – it looks as if this dress was made for her! But the dress is just the beginning...there's so much more goodness in this intimate celebration. See it all right here.
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Josh and Avonlea first met online. After a few weeks of sending messages back and forth, Josh asked Avonlea to meet for coffee. When Avonlea arrived at Starbucks on an icy Sunday morning, Josh was standing outside waiting for her. “That surprised me,” says Av. “It was so cold outside. I wasn’t sure if he was crazy or extremely chivalrous.” Right away, he struck Av as different from any other man she had met. The day after they met, Josh removed his profile from the dating site. “I finally found someone I wanted to focus on,” says Josh. Avonlea had been single and dating for nearly seven years, and had never met someone like Josh. His willingness to invest in one person and see where it would lead tipped her over the edge. “I was already in love,” she admits. “I knew right then he was a keeper.”

Josh proposed on the beach in his hometown of San Diego when Avonlea flew out to visit him during a weekend of training with the Navy. “I told him I wanted the center stone to be his birthstone, a sapphire. He surprised me with the ring. It was a dream come true. The man of my dreams asked me to marry him!”

The couple had two children each from previous marriages. Although they considered eloping, they decided that an intimate ceremony involving their children was the best thing to do. “We wanted our kids to know that this was about them, too. Our wedding needed to emphasize that we were coming together as a new family, and we wanted them to feel like a part of that.” They focused on designing an experience that placed more emphasis on celebration and less on tradition. From the beginning, the couple included their children in the wedding plans and let them help make small decisions. The kids selected their wedding day attire and were insistent that Josh wear his Navy uniform for the occasion. Avonlea says, “It was always a secret fantasy I had to marry a man in uniform. We used his background as a Chief Navy Diver to inspire most of the wedding theme.”

Avonlea wore a mermaid-silhouette wedding gown by Sottero and Midgley with layers of organza and lace. “It wasn’t at all the dress I had in mind when I started looking! But as soon as I put it on, I just felt different. It was special. The beading upon lace in the bodice was absolutely stunning, and the mermaid gown was perfect for our wedding theme! Every last detail was of the highest quality. The dress fit so well, and I felt that it really flattered my figure.”

The couple wrote their own wedding ceremony, borrowing examples from their pastor and doing research online for ideas on how to include the children in their ceremony. They decided to recite stepparent vows during the ceremony, promising to love, teach, and nurture their new stepchildren. Josh and Avonlea became tearful while reciting their vows, prompting the four children to cry, and moving all the witnesses to tears as well. A sand ceremony including the children followed, which shifted the mood back to smiles and laughter and set the tone for a solemn but joyful exchange of vows between the couple.

Following the wedding ceremony, the evening grew increasingly playful. The bride and groom’s parents and siblings delivered toasts that were touching, hilarious, and filled with love. Josh and Avonlea had taken ballroom dancing lessons and wowed their families with a choreographed first dance as husband and wife. The bride’s siblings flash-mobbed the wedding in gold parachute pants with a choreographed number of their own, and a wild dance party ensued. The bride and groom chose a sparkler send-off to coincide with a local state holiday, and as they made their getaway, the city sky was filled with fireworks.

“We couldn’t stop talking about what a perfect day we had as we drove off. Every detail was perfect, and most importantly, our guests had really enjoyed themselves. They’ll never remember what color the napkins were, but they’ll always remember how they felt at our wedding, and that’s the part that really matters."