Bryan & Sarah have an epic tale of how they finally made it down the aisle. It was a true roller coaster of emotions. Ups and downs, two families truly coming together, a last minute twitter campaign, and finally, summed up by Sarah’s Mom shouting out during the grooms speech
“Nothing has gone wrong, everything is perfect….You and Sarah are married!”.
So what happened? Well in November 2013… Bryan & Sarah got engaged. Sarah is from Orlando, Bryan from Newcastle. For a few months the couple were back and forth making a decision whether to get married where they live, here in the North East or whether to fly back to Sarah’s home state of Florida to get married. Eventually a decision was made, as they fell in love with the amazing location at The Hilton, Clearwater Beach, Florida, right on the Gulf of Mexico. They quickly started to plan their dream wedding.
I’ve known Sarah (& Bryan!) for about two years now, and I was over the moon when they asked me to be their photographer. Over the flipping MOOOON!!!
The time quickly flew around, and 5-6 days before the big day, the couple flew over with five of Bryan’s family members. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the trip that was supposed to take around 16 hours took nearly 48 (!) and they finally arrived after several flights, delays, missed connections, running around, misinformation and stress. In their hand luggage they had the wedding dress, and the rings. All the other things for the wedding (besides *some* of the decor) was in the hold of the plane. Except it wasn’t. All seven bags were lost.
What do you do when your wedding you’ve planned for over a year is suddenly lost? What can you do?! Well what unfolded was truly wonderful. The brides family lent the grooms family clothes, made sure they had whatever they could help with. They ran around getting back up outfits for the men sorted out and changed the style completely. Sarah’s Mom, Barbara was nicknamed ‘Plan B Barbara’ by us. Anytime a problem cropped up, she was calmly there with plan B. The support and love the couple and the families have for each other was just wonderful.
We arrived 3 days before the wedding and there was still no sign of the suitcases. The couple were being passed from person to person and no-one was taking responsibility. The day before the wedding myself and the maid of honour, the lovely Ashlie, hatched a last ditch effort to raise awareness of the situation and try and get someone to take responsibility, it was now a race against time! We turned to Twitter (@Katiebyramphoto) and in the 2 hours or so that it took to drive to the wedding location, we’d had over 150 retweets, had major blogs and wedding magazines retweeting, and the groom had even given an interview to a reporter who’d read about it and rang us.
It seemed we were getting noticed, but American Airlines said the bags would be there at 6pm the day of the wedding (aka AFTER the wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast). The couple had come to terms the situation as best they could. On the morning of the wedding, frustratingly the tracking system said three bags had already been delivered to the hotel, but there was no sign of them! I spent a while on the phone trying to get some information. They said it was a mistake, and and finally they said some bags would be there by around 8am. 8am came and went and finally, sometime after 10am – just a couple of hours before the wedding ceremony, the hotel porter ran out of the lift with a trolley of cases. So somehow, someone at the airline had taken responsibility and they managed to get some of the bags to us at the very last minute. WOOHOOOO!!
It was all GO GO GO from there!!! It was an emotional reunion with the cases, and we didn’t even know which bags were arriving….the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement every time something else was pulled out of the suitcases. There were even some tears when the cake topper was found.
(Above is the bride hugging the amazing hotel porter!)
After this it was all systems go and a race to get everyone dressed, things put in place and for Bryan & Sarah to say I DO! Phew!
Socks and sandals you say? Bryan bought socks for him and the groomsmen, but as only some of the mens formal shoes had arrived for the wedding, they decided to embrace the location and wear their flip flops for the wedding instead…(Obviously without the socks!).
Sarah’s beautiful fishtail shape gown came from Susan’s Bridal in Sunderland .
The wedding ceremony was outside right on the beach overlooking the water. It was truly amazing and very emotional. The officiant from Sensational Ceremonies read ‘On your wedding day” which reads
Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as husband and wife.
It’s a brand new beginning, the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although they’ll be times when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure
You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past
When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken
So live happy forever as lovers and friends
It’s the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes
From the moment you whisper ‘I do’
And with luck all your hopes and your dreams can be real
May success find its way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts
After the ceremony there was a cocktail hour with mojitos, followed by the wedding breakfast.
Then there was a break in the day where many of the guests chose to hit the beach and the children went for a swim- so nice!
The couple had created lots of their own centrepieces on a beach theme from things sourced in the UK and taken over a few months prior to the wedding (Phew!).
How cute is the mini wooden lighthouse?!
Confetti Events were the wedding planners overseeing everything and they did a fantastic job, everything went so smoothly!
Their florist Iza’s flowers was amazing. There were many floral touches on the day including on the ceremony arch, gorgeous bouquets with the rope tie and nautical ribbon, and blue and white hydrangeas were heavily featured… soooo pretty! And check out the little anchor place settings!
There were some heartfelt, funny and emotional speeches given. Poor Bryan planned to write his speech on the journey to Florida thinking he’d have plenty of quiet, stress free time (!) In the end he stood up and said everything from the heart and it was perfect.
The couple chose significant numbers for their table names and had a quiz for each table to work as a team and guess why they were significant. As you can see the above table were winners and very pleased!
Then Sarah & Bryan chose to meet with me around an hour before sunset and have a walk on the beach for some photographs. I was over the moon that they wanted to do this, and photographing barefoot in the sea was one of the highlights of my whole trip! The couple even went for a paddle!
It’s cliche to say, but watching the sun- like a ball of fire sinking beneath the sea was magical.
Sarah & Bryan’s custom made cake topper had been on an epic five day detour and finally made it two hours before the wedding, to take pride of place on top of their cake from Corey’s Bakery.
How cute are the flags?!
Being a huge Newcastle United fan, Bryan had his own NUFC shirt cake. Love it!
The couple’s first dance was Starship “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” which was decided months ago, but had so much more meaning after the crazy week the couple had in the lead up to getting married.
Keeping with American wedding tradition, they had a father-daughter and mother-son dance 🙂
The party kept going late into the night. The next day they invited everyone back for a wonderful brunch on the decking overlooking the beach. It was a great way to extend the celebrations.
Well, Mr & Mrs Howarth, you are now married and I’m sure have lots of wonderful memories from your special day! Thank you so, so much for having me as your photographer and I wish you all the best for a long, fun & happy marriage together. Congratulations!
(I also have to say a big thank you to everyone who helped with retweeting and raising awareness of their lost luggage situation with the airlines… you helped make a very happy wedding day)
All images & text copyright Katie Byram Photography and must not be used without written permission from the photographer.
If you’re looking for fun & relaxed wedding photographs for your wedding, feel free to drop me an email for a chat.