Gabrielle and Christian were glowing from head to toe at their industrial boho wedding in Lakeland, Florida!
Their love story is one for the books. They originally met when they were 14 and 15 years old through their church’s youth group. Although they both were crushing on one another, they weren’t ready for a relationship and silently agreed to just be friends throughout high school. When it came time for Gabrielle and Christian to go off to college, they were both inevitably busy and lost touch for three years. One winter break, they reconnected and started hanging out again. It wasn’t long before the couple started dating long distance.
This may sound weird, but I knew when I realized that I couldn’t imagine my life without him…He was- and is- my absolute best friend. I want to do life together in every way.Gabrielle
Christian planned to propose to Gabrielle during a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, but when that plan was derailed, Christian had to figure out when and where to propose on the fly. With the support of Gabrielle’s family, Christian found the perfect spot to propose. Gabrielle, of course, said yes!
I wish I could say I was smooth…I dropped to one knee, looked her in the eyes, and completely forgot the speech I had prepared. Remaining calm, I opened the ring box (backward), said that she truly left me speechless, and asked if she would marry me.Christian
Their industrial boho wedding featured beautiful peach and blush florals, with touches of warm gold hues, and modern decor. They included a unity candle lighting in their ceremony, which was a very special and symbolic moment for the couple and their loved ones. Gabrielle and Christian also included self-written vows, which brought everyone to tears.
Learn more about their love story and see the beautiful details below!
- Couple: Gabrielle & Christian
- Location of Wedding: Haus 820 in Lakeland, FL
- Wedding Date: 08/14/2020
- Photographer for Wedding: Jessica Jones Photography
- Wedding flowers: Gather and Grace Designs
- Favorite item on menu: Probably the baos or the tuna nachos!
- Bridesmaids gifts: The bridesmaids each got sterling silver necklaces on the wedding day and self care kits at the bridal shower.
- First dance song: L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole
How did you meet?
Gabrielle: Christian and I met at our church’s youth group in 2012 when we were 15 and 14 years old. At the time, we were both participating in a national art competition – known as Fine Arts – that our church became involved in. One of our mutual friends, Spencer, introduced me to two of his friends on the first day of practice- Christian and Alexis. Over the course of that year, we would all come to be best friends.
Christian and I competed in four of the same categories together and, as a result, spent many a weekend building our friendship. By the end of the season – 8 months later – not only were we the best of friends but were full-on crushing on each other.
Christian eventually tried to hold my hand, but I was so nervous that I pulled it away! At the time, it was quite embarrassing for both of us (I think we both thought we’d ruined our chances with each other) but we laugh about it today. By unspoken agreement, we acted like our feelings didn’t exist and carried on as if nothing had happened for the following couple of years. By the end of high school, we both became so busy with work and college preparation that we lost touch. I left to go to college at Florida State University and Christian stayed to attend the University of Central Florida. We wouldn’t reconnect for another 3 years.
Fast forward to 2018, our friend group – composed of Spencer, Alexis, Christian, and I – decided to connect over winter break and arranged to meet at a Starbucks in January. Before we knew it, we were hanging out almost every other weekend. By the end of that summer, Christian and I started dating long distance. We stayed that way until the summer of 2019 and then got engaged that fall!
Tell us all about the proposal
Christian: Now, if you know my wife, there are few things that she loves more than her family and the fall. So, in November of 2019, Gabi and I planned to take a vacation in North Carolina. It was her family’s “turn” for Thanksgiving, so we would take a few days to meet family, spend the holiday at her grandma’s, and cap off the trip with a drive up to Asheville for some R&R. From the moment we made those plans, I began to scheme. By September we’d solidified our travel plans, by October I’d secured her ring and in November I officially asked my now father-in-law for his blessing and let the family in on my plan (Spoiler alert: He said yes).
Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day. The days prior had been spent meeting some amazing family members, the Thanksgiving spread had been demolished, and we were set to drive up to Asheville the next morning. Sometime that evening, however, Gabi said the words that would completely derail my Asheville engagement plans: “Babe, my stomach feels a little off.”
November the 29th, 2019, I spent the day taking care of Gabi at her grandma’s house. It wouldn’t be until that evening that she felt well enough to go out, but both me – and her family – were invested in seeing our engagement through. So, we ventured out into town and visited a small, Charles Dickens festival. After about a half-hour of walking, we came upon it: a giant, inflatable snow globe. I locked eyes with my father and sister-in-law and said, “This is our Asheville.” It was all we could do to keep our laughter from giving it away.
I wish I could say I was smooth. But when we got inside, I dropped to one knee, looked her in the eyes, and completely forgot the speech I had prepared. Remaining calm, I opened the ring box (backward), said that she truly left me speechless, and asked if she would marry me. Somehow, despite everything that happened that day she said yes, and I will always be thankful for that.
How did you know they were the one?
Gabi: This may sound weird, but I knew when I realized that I couldn’t imagine my life without him. I couldn’t picture seeing him as part of the crowd on my wedding day or sending a Christmas card to him and his family. He was- and is- my absolute best friend. I wanted to do life together in every way.
Christian: It was simple for me. I let her walk out of my life once during high school. When she walked back in, I realized that I never wanted to let her leave.
We come from a Christian background and wanted to include that in our ceremony so we took communion and prayed together to represent three becoming one. We were also raised to highly value family and see marriage as an opportunity for families to come together. To include this, we lit a unity candle. Our mothers lit a candle representing each family. Christian and I then took each respective candle and lit a single, new one to represent us coming together. We were happy to include the most important things to us in our ceremony.
Describe your wedding style
Our wedding was organic, industrial, modern, and eclectic.
Describe your wedding dress and favorite wedding accessory
My dress was made in a gorgeous traditional style by LoAdoro. It had 3/4 sleeves with beading and lace embellishments throughout. The back and neckline were lined with lace and the skirt was tulle. My veil was customized with lace that closely matched the lace on my dress. My favorite accessory was my hair clip that was placed on the top of my veil.
What is the best memory from your wedding?
Gabi: My best memory was our first look. For the first time that day, it was just Christian and me. It was quiet and serene. After a busy and bustling morning, I loved being able to connect with him and calm the jitters before walking down the aisle.
Christian: My favorite memory was the moment I saw her step into the aisle during the ceremony. I will never forget the way she glowed when the curtains parted and she stepped into the light. It brought me to tears.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couple?
You can get so caught up in the planning and execution of your day that you can miss some of the little moments. Be as present as possible. Eat your food! Eat some cake! Dance! Enjoy your day to the fullest because it goes by so much faster than you think. That being said, if you can, hire a wedding planner! When you have an amazing one like we did, it makes your life a thousand times easier.
Advice for brides
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Planning a wedding is no small feat and usually, we have other things we’re doing/trying to figure out at the same time that make it a lot harder to devote time to. If it wasn’t for my family and wedding planner, we wouldn’t have been able to have the beautiful wedding that we did. They really came through and covered my blind spots!
Have a plan for completing after-wedding tasks in place way before your wedding day. This includes flower preservations, dress preservation, thank you cards, etc. Time flies fast!