Love Unhatched: Reception

Ditching the rain on the beach, we headed to the West Wing to join our guests for the reception. I got to see the hard work my friends, family and wonderful new husband put into setting up the room and the view out the window was beautiful and added to the overall look. I was floating on air when we walked in.


Reception view


We greeted all of our guests and took several photos. Our photographer only covered the ceremony, but we have plenty of guest photos on our Wedpics App and some that my sister and mother-in-law took with a camera. Some may not understand the idea of no professional photos, but we love looking back and seeing things from our guests’ perspectives. This time was about thanking them!


My beautiful Grandma and I

Sisters Reception

My sisters and I

The food was supposed to be served family-style, but we forgot to take that into account when we downsized our tables. Oops! Our day-of-coordinator just nixed that and the waitresses brought the food out to us throughout the night. They were such sweet women and the food was delicious!

Reception keylime

Our delicious Key Lime Parfait

On the menu:

Chicken Satay Skewers

Caprese Crostini

Caesar Salad

Chicken Paillard

Grilled Mahi Mahi

Whipped Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Penne Pasta

Key Lime Parfait

The hotel had some jazz music playing in the background while everyone spent the majority of the evening intermingling. It was the first time some of them were meeting and we loved watching them laugh and joke with each other. To me, that was the best part of the night. Mr. SM and I also got to go around to the tables to chat with our loved ones throughout the night.

reception smile

Some of Mr. SM’s family

reception dad

My dad

reception whitney jarrod

W and J

After eating the food wrapped up, Mr. SM made a fantastic toast and thanked our guests and then it was finally time to cut our cake. We could not have been happier with the way it turned out. Originally, it was going to be stacked, but we had to change it last minute and ended up with two cakes. The chocolate, peanut butter filling and buttercream icing tasted perfect with the white chocolate shells.

cake reception

Our Beautiful Cake

cake cutting

reception cake feeding

We were nice to each other!

As the night was wrapping up and we started to get the reception space cleaned out, I happened to notice that Mr. SM had forgotten the favors for the guests to take home. I was a little bummed, but I think it was meant to happen. The night will be one of the most memorable nights and it’s all because of the forgotten favors.

When we explained to our guests that we made bottles to put sand in, they loved the idea and actually agreed to meet after we finished changing and cleaning up. Mr. Sea Monkey and I went and grabbed the bottles and met everyone but his aunt and uncle (they had turned in early) down on the beach. His parents even left their cocktails at the bar to meet us for a bit.

We got a few towels and went to sit by the water’s edge and watched the ocean change for the night. We stayed out the whole night and just talked and reminisced. It was the first time we all had to just relax and breathe and it felt nice. We all changed out of our wedding attire and sat around in sweats and dresses and just became people who were catching up.

Sunny Isles night

The most amazing part of the whole thing was watching the moon rise. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s not something we get to see back home. I am in love with sunsets and have been ever since I can remember, but watching the moon rise was something I had never seen before. It started as a tiny flash of orange in the horizon and then slowly got higher and bigger.


The moon rising over the ocean

We all still talk about how that was the best part of the whole trip. Seeing the moon rise was cool, but it wasn’t even just that. One of the best parts of that night was just sitting and talking with everyone we loved. My little sister did some gymnastics and just let her kid side out and the adults just got to relax and enjoy just existing.

In the morning, we went to breakfast that was sweetly paid for by Mr. SM’s parents. Mr. SM woke me up extra early, so that we could watch our first sunrise together before we left Florida.

first sunrise

Our first sunrise together

My family and his aunt and uncle all left early and his parents were headed to stay in Miami for an extended trip. My sister and her guy weren’t leaving until early evening and we were leaving mid-afternoon, so we got to enjoy one last beach day with them before we left. It was nice, because I don’t get to see them often.


He threw me in right after this.

My sister and her man

Our trip home wrapped up with us going to Fernandina Beach (a place Mr. SM loves and I had never been) and then Chattanooga, which is where my heart lies. I’ve always loved that area and was considering moving there at one point, so it was great to explore.

fernandina us

Mr. SM and I enjoying Fernandina


Lookout Mountain

Our wedding may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay. We love how it turned out and our guests enjoyed themselves. It was the perfect day for both of us and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it! All of our hard work that we put into the day paid off, so if you’re planning a wedding and feel like there’s no use or no end in sight, just know it is so worth it.

last one

On the dune: We returned to the scene of the crime before leaving Sunny Isles…Happily married.

In case you missed it:

  1. Love Unhatched: Nashville, TN
  2. Love Unhatched: Savannah, GA
  3. Love Unhatched: We’ve Arrived
  4. Love Unhatched: Be Our Guest
  5. Love Unhatched: Cake Dilemma
  6. Love Unhatched: Guests Begin Arriving
  7. Love Unhatched: Last Minute Details
  8. Love Unhatched: Pre-Wedding Set Up
  9. Love Unhatched: Let The Madness Begin
  10. Love Unhatched: Ceremony Time

Love Unhatched: Ceremony Time

Scene: Around the corner of the hotel sits the pool and bar area, the only thing standing between my dad and I and the dune that it overlooks. Out on that dune is my family, my best friends and the man I love with a big smile on his face. The sun wasn’t out, but that made for the perfect weather with the breeze coming off the ocean.


I, for the first time, saw all our hard work come together. From our aisle runner, to the programs and fans we made, everything came together so perfectly. The ocean was nice and calm and the people in the pool stopped to watch as I walked past. All I could focus on was Mr. Sea Monkey and his big smile when he saw me walking towards him.


In the opening, Charles thanked our friends and family for being there and then he talked about them being part of our circle of love. Today, that circle was going to be overlapped with a new circle that was our bond and the love between us. It was an amazing way to incorporate the ones we loved.


We surprised both of our mothers with the Rose Ceremony. Mr. SM handed a rose and handwritten letter to my mom and I did the same with his. This was something we kept our lips sealed about, so it was a complete surprise to them both. I know it is something that meant a lot to them.



While we were repeating our vows, Charles threw in, “Mr. SM, you are one lucky man!” He made me repeat it and then asked if he had gotten it right. I loved that so much and it helped me breathe a bit before repeating those words that would seal the deal. Our guests got a pretty big kick out of it too.


All jokes aside, we exchanged our vows and rings. We went with the traditional vows and not handwritten, personal ones. That was followed by the sand ceremony and let me tell you, that was harder than it looks! Sunny Isles Beach has some sand to remember our wedding day by. We both had shaky hands and the sand poured out faster than anticipated, but  we still were left with a beautiful frame and some happy memories.


Of course, the last thing we got to do was seal the deal with a kiss. Well, two kisses. He had him kiss me again and dip me which Mr. SM was more than happy to do.


Walking back up the aisle with my new HUSBAND was the best part of the whole thing. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole played in the background and I couldn’t think of a more perfect song.  Some people may find it silly, but the beach ball toss tied everything together (and yes, Mr. SM’s dad got him in the face. Haha). It was a lot easier to clean up than flower petals and some of the little kids that were in the pool enjoyed collecting them too.


After the ceremony wrapped up, we took a few photos with our guests and then they headed to the West Wing for our reception. Mr. SM and I went down to the beach to take some more pictures. Just as we were taking our last picture, it began to rain.




(All pictures credited to Fort Lauderdale Beach Weddings)

In case you missed previous recaps (or forgot):

  1. Love Unhatched: Nashville, TN
  2. Love Unhatched: Savannah, GA
  3. Love Unhatched: We’ve Arrived
  4. Love Unhatched: Be Our Guest
  5. Love Unhatched: Cake Dilemma
  6. Love Unhatched: Guests Begin Arriving
  7. Love Unhatched: Last Minute Details
  8. Love Unhatched: Pre-Wedding Set Up
  9. Love Unhatched: Let The Madness Begin




Love Unhatched: Let The Madness Begin

The morning had already been filled with so much, but now it was time for me to get ready. I couldn’t believe that the morning was already coming to a close and that this was actually happening. I had been so calm up until this point, but now I was definitely starting to freak out a bit and beginning to get that infamous ball-in-my-stomach feeling.

My mom owns her own salon, so it was only fitting that she was the one who did my hair. I gave my mom, grandma, sisters and dad the boutonnieres and corsages I made them. I told them all they didn’t have to wear them, but they loved them and were happy to do so. My mom thought I had bought all the flower accessories and was shocked when I told her I made them myself.

I am always really bad about picking my hairstyles. When I get a cut, I’m that annoying person who comes in with ten pictures and then we go from there. When I was younger, I would tell my mom to just do what she thought was best. Why change my ways now? I had given her access to my wedding hair Pinterest board, so she had a general idea how to do it. I had been keeping my hair straight the whole trip, so it would be a little easier to do. She got started on the tedious task of curling my crazy head full of hair and that took about an hour and a half.

I had bought one of those silky “bride” robes from The Knot, so I wore that and a strapless cotton sundress to get ready in. I was starting to feel like a real bride. I had originally wanted a photographer in the room while I was getting ready, but we never got around to planning that, so my mom took some pictures of the progress with her phone.


Before we did the actual updo. 


Mr. SM’s mother let me “borrow” her pearls. The first gift from his dad. Personal Photo

As we were wrapping up, I sent a few texts to check on progress of the decor and found out that the arch wasn’t built yet, but the hotel had graciously loaned us a cake stand to use that was perfect for our cake. Mr. SM sent some pictures of it for me to approve. The arch thing was making me a little anxious, but I needed to focus. I had to pass off the cameras for our WeddingMix video to W, so she met me in my mom’s room. She helped calm me down a bit.

After W left, I realized how far behind we actually were. My mom had finished my updo and had begun working on my youngest sister’s and realized she hadn’t given herself enough time to get herself ready. I was panicking inside and volunteered to do my own makeup. It actually wasn’t too hard, because I had my mom giving me step by step instructions. My grandma came up and helped me put on my dress (along with my father, yeah, that was a fun one to see) and my other sister finished putting on my lipstick.

finished hair 2

After I was finished, I sent a couple messages to Mr. SM to make sure everything was going smoothly and to let him know we were running behind. I hadn’t realized that W had his phone. They were all on the dune waiting for me and no one else in my family was ready. I started crying, between a mix of “Oh my gosh this is happening!” and “Oh my gosh, I’m THAT bride who is going to be late to my own wedding!” Mr. SM had jokingly called it before, but I was nervous he would think I left him standing at the alter.

I had my first bridezilla meltdown. I look back at it and laugh now, but it wasn’t very funny in the moment. I really thought Mr. SM was going to be upset. Of course, our coordinator was a little upset with us, but she didn’t let that stop her from doing an amazing job! My whole family rushed down together and I was still upset by the time we got down (ahem, 25 minutes late). Everyone tried to reassure me that a lot of brides run late, but I wasn’t hearing it.That all changed once we were in position, though. Deep breaths, my dad and I are walking down the aisle in 3, 2…

me and dad

You can tell I was upset by my face. That changed right after this picture.

***Again, all photos were taken by my mom or one of my sisters.

Love Unhatched: Pre-Wedding Set Up

Mr. Sea Monkey and I both had an early morning the morning of the wedding. I decided to start it off on a good note and surprised him with his gift. He was excited about that one, because he knew I had something for him and was curios as to what it could be.


Mr. SM looking through his gift.

While the wonderful Mr. Sea Monkey and his awesome father volunteered to get the cake, Mr. Sea Monkey’s mother took me out to get my nails done. We went to the giant mall Mr. Sea Monkey and I went to when we got into Florida. The woman who did my nails decided to go with a french manicure, but in ivory in lieu of white. They looked beautiful.

There were some of the late arrivers that I didn’t get to meet up with the night before, so they called me down to join them on the beach. I decided to go down since Mr. SM hadn’t gotten back yet and we didn’t have much to do. That was probably a bad call on my part, because we ended up staying on the beach a little too long. It was well worth it though.

on the beach

My sisters and I

pipe fish

Northern Pipefish my little sister found

kyle beach

Mr. SM got to join us for a few!

After Mr. SM and his father got back, it was time to kick it into gear. We had to start setting up the room for the Mocktail Hour/Dinner. The hotel was pretty impressed that we brought and made all of our own things. They also were amazed that we were doing our own set up. My grandma was awesome and volunteered to help me, as well as W and her fiance J. My sister and her guy ended up joining Mr. SM later on and helped run things around and put last minute touches on everything.

set up

I could only help out for a couple of hours, because I had to go get ready. Everyone that stayed and helped (including Mr. SM) did a wonderful job. It looked more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I’m so grateful to all the people who were willing to help. I couldn’t have done any of this without them. Mr. SM got all the problems solved without worrying me. I went and met my mom, so that she could get started on my hair and makeup. I couldn’t believe we had only two hours until ceremony time.

Love Unhatched: Last Minute Details

When I last left off, our guests had begun arriving and some of us met up for dinner. It was later at night when the rest of the crew arrived and there was a lot of unnecessary drama that went down. I was exhausted from it all, but there were a few things we had to finish up.

Mr. Sea Monkey and I rushed back to our room to get all the little last minute things done. We were getting married tomorrow and it still seemed like we had so much to do! One of the first things we focused on was taking inventory of everything.

Upon arrival, I realized we had left our beach chair place cards. I was more than a little upset (Sorry Mr. SM and thanks for putting up with my grumpiness!). I had worked so hard to find those and it would have been such a cute momento for our guests. I had even accidentally ordered way too many of them, so it put me out unnecessary money.

Luckily, my friend W, who made our ceremony programs, is awesome and hadn’t left her house yet. She immediately got on making us some replacement cards and they were just as cute. I’m forever thankful for her!

place cards

Photo by W

I also realized that we left the personalized bags that our favors were supposed to go in (they got stuck in the box with the chairs). That was another thing I got sad about, because they were so beautiful and that was something we couldn’t really reuse or resell. They had our names and the wedding date printed on them.

All in all, forgetting only a couple of things wasn’t too bad. The only other thing we had forgotten was our iHome for the music during the ceremony. Not bad at all!

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about the missing items, because home was a long way away. I took a deep breath and got started writing out the little “messages” that were going into the bottles. I used some off-white paper to ask them to gather some sand to take the beach home with them. I then tied it off with some blue or brown thread and placed the tiny messages into each bottle.

Mr. Sea Monkey worked hard on the centerpieces and glued some fake grass from Afloral down to some cake rounds. They turned out beautifully. We also had to put the water in the water gels we got for the flowers and pearls.

I bought a chalkboard sign for the ceremony table. I wrote on one side about taking a ball to toss as our send off and on the other, I wrote the information about the Mocktail Hour for our guests after the ceremony.

sign1 sign2

beach balls

Personal Photos

All that was left was gluing some bows onto paintbrushes for the guests to use to “brush the beach” off their feet. I had some leftover ribbon from the invites which was perfect for them.

brushes bin brushes

Personal Photos

We were exhausted and ready to crawl into bed after our final craft session. Surprisingly, I got some pretty good sleep that night. I couldn’t believe all of our work would be paying off tomorrow. All of our crafts were going to be viewed by our guests. Tomorrow was the Big Day.

Love Unhatched: The Sea Monkeys Are Back!

Hello everyone. First, I want to apologize about my absence from the Bee. Unfortunately, my computer completely died on me which meant I was out one for a couple of months. I had just uploaded all my wedding and honeymoon pictures onto it, so that was a bummer. Life has had it’s ups and downs since I was on here last.

I’m now back into the swing of things and have a little more time on my hands. Mr. Sea Monkey is also awesome and bought me a new laptop, because he was the one who broke mine. Married life has been awesome, at least.

Mr. Sea Monkey is the one who has been pushing me to get back to you guys and I agree that it’s time. I owe you guys my recaps and, again, I am so very sorry to leave you guys hanging like I did. I will go further into some of the reasoning I have been away in a later post.

In the meantime, you can catch up on my recaps here:

  1. Nashville
  2. Savannah
  3. We’ve Arrived!
  4. Be Our Guest
  5. Cake Dilemma
  6. Guest Arrivals

Love Unhatched: Guests Begin Arriving

So far, it had been all Mr. Sea Monkey and I exploring our surroundings and just enjoying Florida. We had done a couple of wedding related things, but it was just us two and some downtime.


It was nice, because we were just relaxed the whole time. I wasn’t overly stressed and neither was he, but getting back from Miami, reality quickly hit us in the face. We were getting the texts and calls that our guests were slowly arriving.


How can you be stressed with this view?

My sister and her guy got in around the same time as us and Mr. Sea Monkey’s parents and Aunt and Uncle were on their way. I slowly realized this is happening.

In lieu of a rehearsal dinner, Mr. Sea Monkey’s parents offered to take us all out to dinner once everyone arrived. We didn’t need a rehearsal since there was no bridal party and the ceremony was so small. Our officiant Charles sent us the script for the ceremony for us to look over ahead of time.


Mr. Sea Monkey’s family and my sister’s guy on the far left. My sister took the picture. 

My sister and her man, E, ended up meeting up with us for dinner. It was nice, but I wish all my family could have made it.


Mr. Sea Monkey’s parents


Now I have to say that I’m very appreciative of the dinner. It was such a nice thing for his parents to do, especially since we didn’t have a rehearsal. His parents are wonderful and have been there for me since we first met. I’m so blessed to have them in my life.

That aside, I think everyone was tired, hungry and grumpy at this point. I was feeling very emotional that my family wasn’t there, so I was extremely sensitive. I would say this was when everything became stressful and I officially was forced into bride mode.