How did it feel to win the “Will You Marry Me?” contest?
I was really surprised! I knew ours was a great story and very meaningful for the two of us, and it was great to find out that other people could relate. I submitted the story not fully appreciating how great the prizes were—boy, was I in for a treat!
What was the planning process like?
I kept thinking that things would kind of fall into place, and my husband would then go behind the scenes and make sure that things fell into place! We got our act together after a couple of weeks as a team. We found out that he is a great information-gatherer, and I am very decisive.
Also, winning the prizes from the “Will You Marry Me?” contest got me really excited about the planning—I loved going to local places and meeting [vendors] who make Sarasota sparkle.
Why did you choose your venue, what stuck out to you?
When I arrived at the Garden Club, I was struck by how beautiful and peaceful it was. It’s a nonprofit organization, and a group of volunteers maintain the garden. Another thing that struck me was that there weren’t many professional pictures of it, which made me feel like I had more room to express myself and my vision.
Tell us a little about your vendors.
I had the best vendors in Sarasota! I wouldn't trade a single one. Because of the “Will You Marry Me?" contest, I got to meet Kara at La Mariee. When I found out what an incredible singer she is, I asked her if she would sing at our wedding. She is this adorable little lady with a big voice—wow!
Our cake was from Pastries by Design. It was an almond cake that was so light and fluffy, and not overly sweet. Even my mom, who has opted to cut all sugar from her diet, ate three pieces! She said it was worth it.
What was your favorite detail of your wedding?
I loved our ceremony at the Presbyterian Church on Bee Ridge. My uncle, who is a minister, came from California and married us. That was really special to Patrick and me.
One of the other things we loved was the giant house we rented for our family. They hadn't met before, and were all coming from out of town, so we rented a house to put them up and hoped they would all get along! It worked out great. On the day after the wedding, it was about 50 degrees outside, and a bunch of us grabbed a glass of wine, turned on the heat, and had a wonderful time hanging out on the sun porch.
What moment of your wedding will you remember most?
The night before the wedding, I stayed with my parents in their condo. My mom and I got up early and had a few quiet moments together over a cup of coffee before the day got started. During the ceremony my uncle talked about Patrick's ring and how Patrick's dad had worn it for forty years of marriage to his mother, who had passed away. The whole family was really touched by that - there wasn't a dry eye!
Also, a letter showed up in our mailbox this week from the best man, and in it he mentioned how sweet Patrick and I were on our way from the church to the reception. It was a quiet moment in the car where Patrick and I were excitedly discussing every moment from the ceremony and how happy we were to be married, and the best man was quietly listening from the driver's seat. Those moments, those little conversations, are what I will keep with me.
Read Heidi and Patrick's proposal story right here.
Photography by Cat Pennenga