With a proposal as properly planned as the wedding itself, this military Groom surprised his lucky lady and set off on a whirlwind adventure that reached it’s high point this summer day when they said “I do”. Created by Lisa Stoner Events, we have a bright and beautiful Floridian fete with never ending smiles and peony bouquets that Pinterest dreams are made of. Amalie Orrange Photography captured it all – head to our Vault for more!
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From Amalie Orrange Photography… During the fall of 2013, Francie and Max traveled to Morocco for a semester abroad. It was a small program, less than thirty people total. For the first two weeks of the program, Francie and Max lived in the same apartment building with different host families and each day, they shared a short taxi cab ride to and from the small Moroccan school in the city of Fes where they were taking classes. When they moved to Rabat where they would live for the rest of the semester, Francie and Max were inseparable. They fell in love walking to school together, passing notes in class, eating lunch with each other, and exploring the winding alleys of Morocco’s old Medina.
One thing Francie and Max quickly discovered they had in common was a love for travel. During their semester abroad, they traveled from the Sahara desert on the Algerian border all the way to the top of the highest mountain peak in North Africa. In addition, they toured Madrid, London, Dublin, Paris, Milan, Rome, and Belfast. It was in Dublin after a bar crawl with a group of friends that Francie finally coaxed a sheepish Max into asking her out.
The week leading up to Max’s graduation from the Naval Academy is called Commissioning Week. It’s a week full of parties, concerts, award ceremonies, a formal dress parade, and even a performance by the Blue Angels! The week culminates with the Friday morning Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony. In order to properly enjoy the week’s activities, Max’s parents Cindy and Greg, rented a beautiful home overlooking Harness Creek only a few miles from downtown Annapolis. In between events and parties, Max and Francie, along with a host of friends and family, enjoyed the waterfront home. Well, at least that’s how it appeared on the surface. In hushed conversations behind closed doors, Max spoke with his Mom, Dad, and brother, Chris, smoothing out the final details for the upcoming proposal. As Friday drew closer, the conversations became more urgent and excited. At last, Friday arrived. The entire entourage awoke early to prepare for the long day. Max dressed in his choker whites and Francie, in a beautiful red dress. It was a bright and brilliant day in Annapolis and the stadium was full with well-wishing family and friends watching their loved ones on the field receive their diploma and commission as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The ceremony ended with the iconic image of hundreds of covers flying in the air accompanied by a deafening roar heard all the way to Baltimore.
After too many pictures to count, everybody made their way back to the home on Harness Creek for a party to celebrate. With one milestone out of the way, it was time for a second one. When all of the fifty or so guests had arrived, Max’s dad Greg gathered everybody on the back porch. He gave a speech telling stories, thanking guests who had supported Max throughout the years, and thanking God for all His blessings. Then, Max stepped up to speak. Max thanked the many special people who had come to support him on his special day. He became emotional telling a story about one of his roommates, Auggie, with whom he had shared so many good memories. He thanked his family. Nearly overcome by the power of the moment, his brother Chris came forward and gave him a hug.
And as he gave Max a hug, Chris discreetly slipped a small black box into Max’s hand which was folded behind his back. Max’s Uncle Joe, sitting directly behind Max as he spoke, quietly teared up as he realized what was about to happen. Just as Max began to speak about the impact Francie made on his life, Francie’s older sister, Alston, quietly stepped onto the back porch. She had been secretly spirited to Annapolis from Houston to be there with her family and for Francie. Max smiled and asked Francie to come over to him. He spoke to his best friends and family gathered there, saying: “Now, I’ve thanked a lot of people here today but I think there is one more person that needs a thank you.” Francie stood there, arms crossed, suspicion in her already reddening eyes as the realization of the moment dawned on her. What happened next Max can’t really remember because it was so surreal. But according to his family, he dropped down on one knee, told Francie he loved her and asked her to marry him. Instantly, hands shot up to women’s faces and they cried tears of joy. The guys beamed with huge smiles and chuckled. And Francie began to cry out of happiness as she reached for Max to give him a kiss. When she still hadn’t said anything, Max quipped, “You still have to say yes, you know?!” To that, Francie, who couldn’t look more beautiful in Max’s eyes, choked out, “Of course I say yes!”
From the Bride… We really wanted to have an elegant and fresh feeling for the wedding! With pastels and a few hints of gold, we hoped to create a soft and timeless atmosphere. We did almost all the planning online and via Skype calls because of distance and so each piece was tackled separately. I focused on just loving each detail and hoped they would all complement each other the day of!
My favorite design element was the stunning flowers from Velvet and Twine! They somehow managed to totally understand my vision when I still did not and the peonies they had for us were the largest and most beautiful I have ever seen. From the urns at the altar, to the pew flowers, to the bouquets, and the table pieces, I was in love with all that they did. It was more than I could have ever imagined and they captured the effortless and elegant in the best way possible!
The most memorable moment of the day for me was our exchanging of vows. Standing at the altar in front of all our guests, but only seeing Max in front of me will be a moment that I will always hold close to my heart. I don’t like to be the center of attention but I felt like we were the only two in the Church. All the stress that I had been feeling about the day being perfect melted away as we stood there holding each others hands, committing to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives. In this moment it felt as if the world slowed down and our hearts beat as one. It was a mix of intense adrenaline and a feeling of total calm, and I knew that no matter where life takes us, we can make it through anything together.
Photography: Amalie Orrange Photography | Cinematography: Nate And Lori | Event Planning + Design: Lisa Stoner Events | Floral Design: Velvet And Twine | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: The Sugar Suite | Ceremony Venue: Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Interlachen Country Club | Hair + Makeup: LeJeune Hair & Makeup Artistry | Lighting: FyerFly Productions | Band: The Buzzcatz | Chargers, Stemware + China: Orlando Wedding And Party Rentals | Invitations + Stationery: Dogwood Blossom Stationery | Linen Rentals: Over The Top Linens