Kiara and Andrew's love story began, "Like any good love story in the 21st century", on a dating app. Andrew thought she would be out of his league, but to his surprise they matched and immediately started talking about traveling, family, music, and Game of Thrones. They decided to meet up at Disney Springs for drinks and dinner. Andrew says they met around 7pm and were there until the lights came on, literally. Kiara said when she finally checked her phone (6 hours later) she had 1,000 text messages making sure that she was ok. When she replied they were relieved that she was safe, but also knew that he was a winner! Andrew said their conversation never got awkward, and by the end of the night both of their cheeks hurt from constant smiling.
When I asked Andrew about how he proposed, you can guess how the story went due to the pandemic. Since they are both Irish, they had scheduled a trip to Ireland in the spring of 2020, but due to Covid, the border closed. They were devastated because it was going to be Andrew's first time traveling to Europe and their first big vacation together. Andrew was especially disappointed because he planned an amazing proposal at the Cliffs of Moher where he even hired a secret photographer to catch the moment he got down on one knee on the cliffs. Having to switch gears, he quickly planned a trip to Epcot because Kiara loves Disney and he knew they had a United Kingdom pavilion so if they couldn’t go to the real country the next best thing was the Disney version. But, you guessed it, they closed down as well. Andrew was not going to let the pandemic cancel his plan to propose, so he booked a private sunset cruise on Saint Patrick's Day. Andrew asked the Captain of the boat to take a picture and then he got down on one knee and asked Kiara to spend forever with him. Kiara says, "It was the easiest yes I have ever said!" When they got off the boat all the restaurants they went to celebrate with drinks and that very day restaurants stopped serving alcohol, so they toasted with sweet tea! Andrew said that even though his original plans got altered several times, the proposal was still as magical as he originally wanted it to be.
When looking at venues, they started casually looking online. They knew they wanted something rustic, with a Florida barn vibe. They found Ever After Farm's website and after watching their video on the Peach barn they both teared up and knew immediately that this was their venue. Their date was available and they booked the barn on the spot! When they went to tour the venue, they said the pictures and videos matched their expectations perfectly!
Andrew says that their wedding colors and theme spread from their love of that rustic barn theme. From the table runners, to floral choices, to his tan linen suit and boots - they wanted everything to flow seamlessly with the barn. But seriously, aren't those linen suits amazing? They found them at Men's Warehouse!
Being a teacher, Kiara is super detail-oriented and loves planning. With Covid there was an extra layer of difficulty planning a wedding. Her dress was delayed and she didn't get to pick it up until the day before rehearsal. She had to just trust that it would all work out, which can be challenging for a planner! But just take a look at her in these photos, it all worked out beautifully.
Kiara recalls her favorite part of the day being the moment the barn doors opened and she saw Andrew standing there at the end of the aisle. Those 35 seconds were what her entire day was about! Andrew says that the biggest "wow" of the day was seeing Kiara and her beautiful dress. He says her beauty stole the stage.
As a self-proclaimed, "Huge Disney nerd", Kiara was super excited to have a Disney officiant for the ceremony. Since both of them get very emotional, and they both didn't want to cry during the ceremony, they decided to write their vows on cards and exchange them after the wedding. The tradition they did want to keep was the Irish handfasting ceremony. Two of Andrew's sisters tied their hands together while the officiant lead an Irish prayer.
One of Andrew's favorite parts of the day was just taking in all the planning and organizing they did over the course of months. They really felt all the love from their friends and family in attendance. Both Andrew and Kiara suggest to those planning a wedding - take a quick moment to be alone after the ceremony and before doing photos. The night goes by so fast and you spend so much time talking and socializing that you really don't get a moment to yourselves to reflect on how beautiful everything is and to really let it sink in that you are finally married!
When asked what advice they would give a couple planning their wedding Kiara reminds you to take a breath. Some things may not go 100% how you wanted it, but at the end of the night when it is all said and done, your guests won't realize or remember the little hiccups. They won't even realize that it wasn't planned that way. All they will see was how perfect the day was.
Andrew recalls, "My personal second favorite part of the day was the introduction to the best man's speech. My best man lead off his speech with the song 'Proud to be an American'. He knew how this song would always make me tear up, and low and behold I teared up as the entire wedding stood to their feet, raised their glasses, and sang the lyrics! God bless America!"
Wedding Planner: Karin Hill with Hearts and Souls Event Management
Hair and Makeup: Juliana Colon
Florist: Tallulah Rose Artistry
Officiant: Teresa Knox
DJ & Photobooth: Chris Gruler Excellent Entertainment
Caterer: Mission BBQ
Bartending: Premier Event Services
Wedding Dress: Athena's Bridal Boutique