West Michigan bride of the month: Tricia dishes on magical outdoor wedding

Credit: Katie Grace Photography

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – “I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” -The Chaos of Stars

A woman’s wedding day is often viewed as the biggest day of her life – a night she thinks about from when she’s just a young girl. It’s the night she marries her love, her best friend, and her forever roomie.

It’s not until you’re planning a wedding that you really realize all that goes into this magical day. Bring on the stress, the laughter, the tears, the romance, the nerves, the “bridezilla” moments, and more!

Each month we’re choosing one West Michigan bride to feature her wedding day and all the fun, crazy steps in between.

Meet our bride, Tricia Florida of Grand Rapids! Tricia put on a picture perfect outdoor wedding at her grandparents old Christmas tree farm in Rockford! She added some personal touches that reflected her time growing up in Brazil where her parents worked as missionaries. Read on to hear her charming love story…

Question 1: Tell us your engagement story…

bride of the month Tricia engagment

This story requires a little background information to get the full effect of how amazing it was. Trev and I met back in 7th grade when my family was on furlough in Michigan (My parents are missionaries in Brazil). Just before I left to go back to Brazil, Trev invited me to celebrate Fourth of July with his family at Silver Lake. It was on the shores of the lake under a cascade of fireworks that Trev and I had our first kiss, and it was absolutely magical. Fast forward seven years later, we were at Silver Lake once again to celebrate fourth of July together. We had just spent the entire day with some family friends at their cottage and tubing on the lake. Instead of watching from the lakeshore by the town, we decided to watch from the sand dunes where the fireworks are set off from. We got there early to get a good spot, and Trevor was unusually particular about where he wanted us to set down our blanket and picnic basket. I didn’t think much of it though. As the sun was setting just before the display was about to start, Trev asked me to climb to the top of the sand dune behind us so that he could “set up the picnic”. For some reason, at the time that didn’t sound suspicious to me. So I climbed the hill til I was out of sight of the picnic and just sat there watching the sun set for awhile. Pretty soon I heard fireworks going off and Trev came up the hill to let me know the picnic was ready. As we started walking down, I saw a display of candles set up in a crescent around our picnic blanket. I, of course, started crying immediately. Trev led me over to the blanket and knelt down on one knee. I said yes to spending the rest of my life with the most amazing man, my best friend. When I said yes I heard a burst of cheering come from the sand dune behind us and turned to see his parents who had been sneakily taking pictures the whole time. Trev and I spent the fireworks display eating chocolate-covered strawberries talking basking in complete bliss. God’s grace has brought us a long way since the day I sent a secret admirer note to the good-looking guy at my school in 7th grade. I still can’t believe I got to marry him!

Question 2: What month did your wedding take place?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

At the very end of July in 2016, on a day when the forecast was thunderstorms all day, but the rain held off!

Question 3: What was your venue?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

We had our ceremony at our church, Alpine Immanuel Baptist Church.

katiegracephotography-florida-914
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

Then, we had the reception in my grandparents’ backyard in Rockford, MI. My grandparents live on a piece of land that used to be a Christmas tree farm, and now all the trees are really tall and their backyard looks like Narnia. It was the most magical place for our wedding reception.

Question 4: Band or DJ?

We made our own mix and played it through Spotify. It was a wonderful mix with everything from Frank Sinatra to Earth, Wind, and Fire. Dancing to that music was one of my favorite parts of the day.

Question 5: What was your favorite part of the planning process?

My favorite part was seeing a year of hard work pay off as we set everything up the week of the wedding. Most of the planning took place over messenger because my parents were living in Brazil and my Uncle (who helped with the food and decorations) lives down in Florida. Seeing everyone arrive in Michigan and pitch in to bring the plans to life was such a beautifully incredible gift to Trevor and me. I loved having so many people we love in one place to celebrate with us!

Question 6: What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?

I wish I could have said goodbye and thank you to every single guest before leaving. Obviously, for a bride and groom, that is nearly impossible. We did the best we could, though. We are so thankful for everyone that came to witness the ceremony and celebrate with us, especially since many traveled hundreds of miles to be there.

Question 7: Did you do a first look? Why or why not?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

We did! I was hesitant at first because I had always thought the first time my groom would see me would be during the ceremony, but we planned to do a first look for the sake of being able to get most of our pictures taken before the ceremony. I’m so glad we did it because it was a really beautiful moment! The sanctuary was empty and I walked down the candle lit aisle towards my groom to soft piano music. It was nice to have a special moment alone to pray and reflect on how far God has brought us for this day to be possible.

Question 8: Worst part of the planning process for your wedding?

The most difficult part of planning, like I mentioned before, was having to do most of it long-distance. My parents and my uncle played such a fundamental part in the planning process, but they were in other parts of the world for most of it. We had a year-long wedding planning group message on Facebook where pictures were sent and ideas exchanged. Although it was challenging at times, the wedding was beautiful and all our hard work definitely paid off!

Question 9: How involved was the groom in the planning process?

Trevor was such a blessing to have throughout the wedding planning process. From the beginning, he told me that he wanted our wedding to be what I had always dreamed of. He gave his opinion on things that mattered to him and helped wherever he could. More than that, he kept me sane throughout the year of planning. Whenever I got worried about complications in the plans, he calmed me down and helped me see the big picture. I married a really good man!

Question 10: Was your wedding a black tie affair or casual?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

I grew up in Brazil where all weddings grand occasions, always black tie affairs. I wanted to carry that part of my culture over into our wedding, especially since we had so many Brazilians on our guest list. Even though it was a summer wedding, we made it a little more formal.

Question 11: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?

katiegracephotography-florida-918
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

Getting to marry my favorite person in the world was definitely the highlight. Even now it feels surreal being called “Mrs. Florida”. Another one of my favorite moments was during the wedding reception. We had Trevor’s uncle and cousin do some live music during the appetizers. While Trev and I listened to them play, we took a second to look around and take in the scene. So many people we love had come from all over the world to a gorgeously decorated back yard in Rockford, Michigan, to celebrate our wedding day with us. In that moment we were so overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness and love. It was beautiful.

Question 12: Describe your wedding dress…

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

I absolutely loved my dress from the moment I tried it on! It is semi-fitted, ivory-colored with crocheted floral appliques and sweetheart neckline. The train is mid-length and edged with the floral appliques. My favorite part was the lace overlay that I had on for the ceremony and some of the pictures. I absolutely loved how it added a delicate and unique neckline to the dress for the first half of the day. I took it off for the reception so I could have an easier time dancing. My other favorite feature from my “wedding look” was the veil. Trevor’s grandma made it for me, and it was such a fun, special process of shopping for the materials and talking through what I wanted.

Question 13: Did you go wedding dress shopping with an idea in mind? Did you end up liking that style?

I knew I wanted something delicate and timeless, but I did not have specifics beyond that in mind. The first and only place I went was Renee Austin downtown Grand Rapids with my grandmother and Trevor’s mom (my mom was in Brazil). The ladies at Renee Austin were extremely helpful in showing me dresses that fit my dreams and my budget. I knew from the moment I first saw the dress that it was “the one”. It was the third dress I tried on, and I ended up taking it home!

Question 14: What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?

In the months leading up to the wedding, I had lots of really meaningful conversations with people I love and really respect. Planning the day of the wedding was so much fun, but I knew that it was more important for me to prepare my heart for the marriage beyond that day. I received a lot of great advice, but the piece of advice that stuck out the most was to always view our marriage in light of eternity. Seeing our marriage in the grand scheme of God’s plan for His kingdom has helped us learn to keep God at the center of our marriage. It is a daily process of dying to our own needs or desires and lifting each other up in prayer. It’s not always easy, but we are learning to love each other better through it.

Question 15: What’s your best advice for staying on budget?

What matters the most is that you are marrying your best friend. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make it special! You can design and make a lot of stuff yourself if you’re willing to put the time into it. Grab your girlfriends and have a wedding craft weekend!

Question 16: Weirdest gift you’ve received?

Hmm…if only unmentionables were mentionable 😉

Question 17: What was on your wedding menu?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

My mom, uncle, and their wonderful team of helpers planned and cooked the entire meal. The appetizers included mini shrimp cocktails, veggies with dip, meatballs, and one of my favorite Brazilian treats: caldinho (black bean soup broth) For the main course, we had chicken stroganoff, white rice with spinach, noodles, red quinoa salad, tropical green beans, and spiced buttered carrots. It was all absolutely delicious!

Question 18: What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?

Ha! I was really careful to avoid bridezilla moments because I’ve seen one too many episodes of Bridezilla. I think bridezilla moments come from insecurity over the perfection of the wedding day, but I wasn’t worried about that at all because I knew how many sacrifices people were making to make the day absolutely beautiful. There does comes a point when you get tired of making decisions about literally everything and just need a break. And all the life changes that come from a wedding can make you pretty emotional. I think my moments had more to do with me being emotional and nostalgic than me being scared of things not going the way I wanted on the wedding day. My family and groom were extremely understanding and took good care of me in those moments.

Question 19: What wedding detail was worth the money? What could you have done without?

Credit: Katie Grace Photography
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

The photography was one thing that was definitely worth the money because the pictures are keepsakes our children and grandchildren will be looking at some day. I’ll confess, I had my wedding photographer picked out well before we were even engaged because I am such a huge fan of Katie Grace Photography. Katie and I were friends back in middle school (when Trev and I first met) and I was thrilled when she said she was available on our wedding day. Katie and her mom are a power team and they did an amazing job at capturing the big moments and the little details of our day. There really wasn’t any part of our wedding that wasn’t worth the money and time spent. It was certainly a carefully planned out occasion. With or without the little details, Trev and I would have gotten married that day. But all the little details that my family so carefully planned and carried out were giant displays of love to Trev and me, and that made the wedding that much more special.

Question 20: Best idea that you stole?

Some of our dear friends got married a month before us down in Indiana and we loved how they introduced the wedding party just before.

Question 21: What’s your best advice for brides-to-be?

katiegracephotography-florida-863
Credit: Katie Grace Photography

My advice for brides-to-be is much like the advice I received before my wedding. While the planning is such a fun and rewarding experience, preparing your heart and mind for the lifetime of marriage beyond that day is so much more important. My advice has three parts to it. First, keep in mind that it is important to be intentional about spending quality, planning-free time with your groom in the months leading up to the wedding. It is possible to get too caught up in the planning. Second, find people in your life whose marriage you really admire and respect, and spend time talking with them about what makes their marriage great. Finally, spend time in prayer and in God’s Word. This habit helps you to continually see your wedding day and marriage in light of an eternity with Christ and His Kingdom.

Want to see more? Here’s Tricia and Trev’s wedding video (credit: Hannah J Photography)

***Do you know a fab West Michigan bride who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name and contact info, and “Like” us on Facebook!

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