This Couple Planned Their Minimalist Florida Wedding in Just Two Weeks
Not everyone can boast a proposal on a mountain and a roller coaster—but Garrett Jurss somehow managed to meld the two when asking his longtime boyfriend, Sean Walsh, to marry him. Three years into their relationship, Garrett set his plan to pop the question into motion by inviting two of Sean's best friends to Orlando, Florida, where the couple currently resides. "They said that they would be spending our spring break with us and visiting the Magic Kingdom while they were in town," Sean says. "I had no idea what was planned—but Garrett popped the question on the final drop on Splash Mountain (no pressure). I said yes, and was grateful that we got drenched on the way down because no one could see my tears of happiness mixed in with the water from the ride." The group then finished their time in the park together before meeting even more friends for a surprise engagement dinner.
Six-and-a-half years later, the couple decided to finally begin wedding planning—a feat they accomplished and executed in two week's time. The location was obvious: The pair chose Dickson Azalea Park, a locale they frequent often with their dog, Bagel, in tow. Though it's located just down the lane from their home, the park feels utterly transportive, says the duo. "It's full of beautiful old trees, tropical foliage, stone stairways, and a small creek," adds Sean. "A private place in the middle of an urban setting, which makes it very special."
Both small business owners with little time to plan a big-scale wedding, the pair established a mood for their nuptials that was casual, but not entirely informal. "We wanted people to know that this was serious, but not your typical wedding," says Sean. "We truly wanted it to be about us being in a place that was special to us with people who were special to us." The intimate nuptials suited the grooms perfectly, allowing them to focus on their vows and connecting with guests. "Our wedding was special because we made it about us sharing the moment with the people we love," says Garrett. "We didn't want a huge wedding. In fact, it turned out to be bigger than we originally intended even though some people would say it was a very small wedding. We kept it simple."
Realizing their dream wedding was a group effort—one that involved those closest to the couple. Good friends Justin and Amanda Brown of The Happy Bloom took all of the wedding photos and helped to style and coordinate the event. The pair's dear friend Zachary officiated the ceremony, "lending the vows an extra level of weight and sincerity as someone who knows us well," says Sean; their pal Brandon wrangled Bagel during the ceremony and provided transportation for the celebrants. "It was truly a family affair consisting of both biological family and chosen family," Sean says of their perfect big day.
Elegant Anniversary Notes
Because the event was planned in two weeks' time, the couple chose to forgo formal wedding invitations for personal phone calls instead. Beautifully calligraphed envelopes from Cake Papier were on hand, however, and anniversary notes to each other were handwritten on pages from Rifle Paper Co. "This was something that Justin suggested to us so that we have something to open and read for the next ten years on our anniversaries," explains Sean.
Two Dapper Grooms
Knowing that they'd be in nature surrounded by earth tones and foliage, the grooms wanted to stand out without clashing with their surroundings. "Blue jackets and brown shoes felt like a nice way to tie the outfits together, but that's where the similarities ended," says Sean. "Garrett's H&M suit is matching, while I went for a more mix-and-match look with a gray shirt and pink pants." Garrett's floral tie added some whimsical fun to his outfit, while Sean opted for a more muted option. "We definitely did all of our shopping together," adds Sean. "Part of the fun of being in a same-sex couple is that you can shop in the same department together." The Happy Bloom created boutonnières using herbs and plants mixed with roses from Garrett's garden.
Bagel the Beagle
The couple's beloved pup, Bagel, stood by their sides on the big day—which was quite the feat. "Sweet Bagel! We think he's half-beagle, half-pit bull. He is full of personality. We couldn't even imagine him not being a part of the wedding, despite his relatively bad leash behavior," says Sean.
Rose Gold Rings
The pair's rosy-hued wedding bands were fashioned of tungsten carbide, and purchased from a small business on Etsy, Luxuria Jewelers.
Burying the Bourbon (Sort Of)
"The bottle of whiskey is supposed to be buried at the wedding site a month before the ceremony to bring good weather on the day of the wedding. Since we didn't have a month, we brought it the day of," says Garrett. "We also did a celebratory shot together after the ceremony."
Pouches of dried flowers were distributed to guests so they could shower the happy grooms following the ceremony. "There was a mixture of rosemary, rose petals, sage, and lavender from the backyard," says Garrett. "Rosemary symbolizes honesty and integrity; rose petals symbolize love and passion; sage symbolizes wisdom and humility; and lavender symbolizes peace. These were all things we wanted for our marriage—plus, it smelled wonderful."
"The Happy Bloom provided the fans and Cake Papier did the calligraphy," says Garrett of the couple's ceremony favors. "We knew it was going to be hot, so we wanted our parents to have a way to cool down if they needed it."
A Meaningful Ceremony
Arriving at the ceremony venue with Bagel, who stayed for the proceedings, was one of Garrett's favorite memories of the day. "[It] was probably right after we finished doing photos before the ceremony," Garrett says. "Sean, Bagel and I were tucked downstairs in the park waiting to walk in, and I remember having an immense feeling of gratitude for this tiny quiet moment with my family before everything started.""We wanted our wedding to embody that unfussy sense of peace and tranquility," adds Sean of the beautiful, open-air venue that featured quiet pathways, sweeping stairways, and shady trees.
Literally Tying the Knot
The couple's nonreligious, spiritual ceremony was officiated by their dear friend, Zachary Hughes. "We wrote our own vows and did a knot tying ceremony to symbolize our joining together as one," says Garrett. Their friend Samantha provided the rope, which they used to tie a fisherman's knot: "It's a knot that becomes stronger under pressure. Sean framed it in a shadowbox that now hangs in our family room."
Sealed with a Kiss
The grooms sealed their wedding vows with a sweet smooch after being pronounced husband and husband.
The couple chose to walk back up the aisle to The Pointer Sisters' "Jump (For My Love)," the song Hugh Grant dances to during that iconic Love Actually scene. "I told Justin I wanted a photo of the first 'Jump!' in the song, and he nailed it," says Garrett.
The Cocktail Hour
The wedding party moved to The Guesthouse, a chic local watering hole where toasts were made to the happy couple and guests indulged in slices from a local eatery, Lazy Moon Pizza—the site of one of the couple's first dates. "The Guesthouse is our favorite bar in town," says Sean of their cocktail hour and reception spot. "The vibe is minimal and laid back, but also curated and elegant at the same time."When it came time to choose signature drinks, the couple stuck with a go-to—old fashioneds—since that's what the venue is known for. "Their house cocktail menu features some great classic recipes and they have a fabulous happy hour, to boot. We asked them to reserve us some tables, and when we arrived there were Champagne buckets and flutes waiting for us. We didn't even ask them to do that! That's just the kind of place it is."
An Extra-Special Prop
An Airstream trailer on the property served as a memorable backdrop during photos. "We've spent many Fridays lounging out by the Airstream during happy hour, so it felt appropriate to have a picture in front of it," says Garrett.
A Sparkling Send-Off
Guests lit the couple's exit with sparklers for another memorable reception moment. "We want our marriage to be filled with light," says Garrett, "so what better way to end the night than by creating so much of it?"