REAL WEDDING | Nautical Wedding on a Historic Ship | Ashworth Imagery

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Today couple were big history lovers and wanted to incorporate their love in their wedding. They decided on Elissa, an original iron-hulled tall ship from 1877. It looks amazing, it really does and I just love when couples incorporate their personalities into their weddings. They also did a ring warming ceremony, which I had never heard of that I loved too.  They talk about it a little below.  And they also had very unique vows, including slaying cockroaches and killing spiders…love it! And the funny part is that they actually didn’t share their vows with each other before hand but they ended up being very similar and balanced each other out perfectly.  Now that is true love. Check it out for yourself!

Gina & Ray

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Tell us about your wedding: We both love bear near or on the water, both love tangible pieces of history, and both wanted a wedding that was not in your usual sort of venue. Plus, paying for it all ourselves, we were on a tight budget. Someone on a message board suggested looking at historical sites, which I would have never thought of. Once we found out we could actually get married aboard the Elissa, that was it!! We booked it before we were even officially engaged. 🙂 The Elissa is an original iron-hulled tall ship (a barque, to be specific) from 1877, found at a scrap site and lovingly restored to her former grandeur. She is still quite sea-worthy and is taken out often, but for our wedding she was docked at her home, the Texas Seaport Museum. For our wedding we had the run of the museum, the ship and her below-deck exhibits, and the large brick pier connecting the two, all closed to the public.  The theme was definitely nautical, but we also let our nerd flags fly in different small ways! Just little touches here and there. It briefly tried to rain on us, but stubborn Sicilian that I am, I shook my fist at the heavens and even Mother Nature knew better than to push it. The skies magically cleared and the stars came out and it was magical. 🙂 We had found our officiant by accident, and instantly knew she was the one to marry us. In our year and a half of planning we met with her a number of times, and became friends. By the time the wedding rolled around she really knew us – and aside from our directive to have zero religion or mention of anything religious, we gave her pretty much full artistic control. And she did such an amazing job. We had also expressed to her that we wanted a ceremony full of love & whimsy & humor, like our relationship, and she ran with it. Wonderful nautical references, a perfect balance of brevity and light-heartedness, even a sprinkle of Disney references for the mouse-crazy bride.  One element I felt very strongly about was the ring-warming ceremony, and it turned out even better than I had hoped. So many people said that they had never even heard of that, but loved getting to interact with the ceremony and imbue our wedding bands with their love and warmth.  Our vows had the same mixture of serious and funny as we promised to kill spiders, slay giant cockroaches, protect the other from carbon freezing, and always adventure together through all the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. The remarkable thing was that we each kept our vows secret from the other before the wedding – and yet they were almost identical in content, balance, and overall feel. The very triumphant Throne Room music from the end of Star Wars: A New Hope played the moment we kissed, and it was perfect. Being Texans, BBQ was a no-brainer for the food! But with elegant china and real silverware and no finger-foods. The caterer we chose smokes all his own meats and makes his sauce from scratch, and all our guests raved about the food. They especially loved the s’mores station that we decided to have!  We had a photo booth that everyone had a ball with, and our awesome vendor even brought Disney props for me and Star Wars props for both of us. Our baker exceeded our already-high expectations in every way, and both cakes were not only stunning but DELICIOUS. Our main cake reflected the ocean theme we love so much, and his groom’s cake was a Lord of the Rings masterpiece – a replica of Bilbo Baggins’ book. Our cake table also held little representation of “us”… A miniature T.A.R.D.I.S. here, Mickey & Minnie there, seashells everywhere. Our reception involved more Star Wars music, lots of wine and laughter, and even a rousing, swaying performance of the Aggie War Hymn. (College football is KING here, and even the bride’s ringtone is the War Hymn!) A light breeze was blowing off the water, the fairy lights strung between the ship and the dock were twinkling, and we felt like characters in an historical novel as we stood, all dressed up, against the gleaming woods and soaring masts of the Elissa.Wedding Colors: Nautical – Navy and white, touch of silver How did the two of you meet? We met online and dated for a little while, some 18 years ago. Unfortunately, I was newly-divorced with a toddler and no support, and just couldn’t handle anything else in my life at that time. We ended up going our separate ways, but he was always kinda the one who got away for me. Then 3 1/2 years ago, we accidentally found each other again on the dating website Plenty of Fish, and I wasn’t letting him go again. 🙂 Describe your engagement: For our first (second time around) date, we went to wonderful wine bar at the edge of a beautiful lake. By the water’s edge we shared our first kiss. And a year and a half after that, he proposed in the same spot. I’ll never ever forget it. Personal or handmade details: I made many of the details myself, from the card box to the bathroom amenities basket to the centerpieces. It made me so proud to look around and see my hard work come to fruition. Describe your flowers: I LOVED my flowers. Cream roses, maroon accents, dusty miller greenery for a vintage touch. And one special detail — My father passed away a year ago, so I had a small photo charm of him made which was attached to my bouquet, and he got to be with me.  Memories and Stories about the Day: So many wonderful memories… First was having my handsome 21yr old son walked me down the “aisle”, and I was so incredibly honored that he did!  One element I felt very strongly about was the ring-warming ceremony, and it turned out even better than I had hoped. So many people said that they had never even heard of that, but loved getting to interact with the ceremony and imbue our wedding bands with their love and warmth. But the moments my husband and I both agree were the most special were during the first look. Best decision we made.. Not only for logistical reasons such as early photos and such, but because it was the most intimate, wonderful time of the whole day — and it was a magical day! It was an oasis of calm yet intense emotion, that carried us through the whirlwind of the rest of the day and evening. Walking up to the ceremony, I barely remember a thing. All those people were watching, and I was concentrating on not tripping, and getting up to where I needed to be, and not catch my train on anything, and a million other distractions… I don’t even remember seeing his face until I was standing there. But the first look, everything was calm… and I remember how the veil felt blowing against my face, and the bouquet in my hand, and I remember the look on his face and the tears in his eyes when he turned around and saw me. I remember the sweet words he said, and his beaming smile, and it was an incandescent moment of peace and joy — the calm before the storm. So, so glad we did it. The thing that we would have done differently is?  Not a thing. With age comes a certain “you and your opinions can go *$@# off”, and it’s frankly delightful. We had people not happy that children were not invited, people who were not happy that their god had no place in our ceremony, people not happy with dinner being out on the pier. But from the get-go we agreed that it was our $$ and our choices, and we never looked back. We also had no wedding party, and therefore, no drama. Definitely zero regrets there! Your advice for other plus size brides: Be thrifty where you want to be, but NOT on the foundations beneath your dress. I went to a specialty lingerie boutique, and was expertly fitted in a strapless bra (which I never thought possible.) I almost swallowed my tongue at the price tag, but sucked it up and bought it — And it made the dress fit so, so much better. And was comfortable! Three adjectives that describe the day: Ethereal, loving, joyful What has surprised you most during the first few months of marriage? That it feels as (wonderfully) different as it does. We’re middle-aged, I’m divorced and he’s widowed, we lived together for a couple of years before the wedding, we’re jaded. But it really, truly somehow feels more special, more intimate, more pure-awesome to be married.

Vendor Love – Photography: Ashworth ImageryVenue: The Tall Ship Elissa | Bridal Attire: David’s Bridal Caterer: Tastefully YoursBakery: Cakes by Jula | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Al’s Formal Wear | DJ: Bos Music Factory Wedding Planner: Michelle Payne of Polished Wedding PlanningFlowers: Downtown Blooms |

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Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.

About Shafonne Myers {Editor-in-Chief}

Shafonne Myers is a certified wedding and event planner who longed for bridal inspiration that looked like her. She has created a website and magazine that brings bridal inspiration to plus size brides. She does speaking engagements educating the world about plus size brides and self confidence.

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