Sarah Jo and Matthew

St Augustine, Florida



Photography | Haleigh Nicole Photography | @haleighnicolephotography

Venue | The Marlin Club | @marlinclubevents

Event Planner | Events by Amanda | @eventsby_amanda

Floral Designer | Fifty Flowers @fiftyflowers

Gown Designer | Morilee by Madeline Gardner @morileeofficial

Gown Salon | Amour Bridal | @amourbridaltexas

Men’s Attire | Men’s Wearhouse | @menswearhouse

Hair and Makeup | Belle Dame Artistry @belledameartistry

Hair | Mel’s Old City Barbershop

Cake Designer | Shana Tyner

Invitation Designer | Vistaprint | @vistaprint

DJ | Pro Show DJ Services

SJ and Matthew were married on May 11, 2019 at the Northeastern Florida Marlin Club in Saint Augustine, Florida. Their colors were sage and silver, the cakes were made by the bride’s sister-in-law, and every single detail was perfectly planned! Their amazing puppy Sampsin unexpectedly passed away at the end of February. He was their ring bearer. To honor him, his collar they had purchased for the wedding was clipped to the flower girl basket and held the rings.

SJ was so joyful and excited about every aspect of her big day, from the design and decor, to her family and friends who joined from all over the country for their destination wedding from Texas to Florida. SJ and Matthew met in Saint Augustine at a Honda dealership where Matthew tried to sell SJ a car, and SJ tried to sell him insurance. Their interest in each other grew, and it was love ever since. Matthew proposed at a ping pong bar with an adorable speech. SJ responded, “Are you sure?” How cute is that???


It was amazing to watch SJ and Matthew interact with each other. There’s enough love between them to last a lifetime. One of our personal favorite moments from the day was watching their first look. Matthew, full of fun and jokes, was genuinely in awe of SJ when he turned around — so much so that he legitimately covered his mouth. When he embraced her and had her spin around to admire her, we could just tell how in love they were. Neither needed much direction in the way of photos as their chemistry was always there.

Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?

The inspiration behind our wedding was nature. We wanted a lot of natural elements incorporated in our wedding and reception. Which is why you won’t see a traditional wedding arch. The trees by the water provided the perfect backdrop for our ceremony. Our colors were sage and silver. We tried to incorporate that in to all of our details. Our invitations all included a greenery theme. The bridal jewelry was even leaf shaped.


Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

Most of our decorations were DIY! Our venue provided so much natural beauty looking over the marina that we didn’t want to take away from the view. So decorations inside were minimal. The centerpieces were made by the bride and bridesmaids the night before.


Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

We had a photo guest book that guests could take Polaroids with fun props and leave us a special note. Guests were also able to take the polaroids home with them. We wanted to see our guests having fun with it. The catering was done by the brides’ uncle, aunt, and cousins. They have an amazing bbq catering business that really made our day so special. The food was 100% made with love and we received so many compliments on it!


Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

Choosing our wedding day looks was an experience for us both. The groom had his suit custom made by Men’s Wearhouse and had so much fun with it. He was able to pick his fabric, jacket lining, pocket styles, and more. He even had the wedding date embroidered inside his jacket. He chose a patterned grey suit with a blue and multi-colored paisley lining. It matched his personality perfectly! I had a whole weekend experience picking out a dress. My mother Roxanne and her maid of honor Britt both flew to Texas to help search for the dress. We started our weekend with a road trip to Houston. We were treated to champagne and a private room for me to try on dresses. I probably tried on 8 – 10 dresses that day and was pretty discouraged at the end of the day. I had imagined this “ah ha” moment that I would just know when I found the dress, and I didn’t have any magical feelings that day. But Britt and mom helped me stay positive and get ready for the next day. Our next stop was just north of Austin.


Once again, we were treated to champagne and we were the only ones in the store! I was encouraged to try on dress styles that I may not have been thinking about beforehand. So I jumped in and found multiple dresses that were all very different from what I had tried on the day before. Dress # 1 already made me feel so much more beautiful than any of the dresses from day one. And then came dress # 2. I knew it the second I put it on. It was the dress. It was a gorgeous mermaid-style gown by Morilee. The underlining was a champagne color satin and the overlay was the most beautiful vintage lace. The sweetheart neckline was exactly what I was looking for and the train was three different layers flaring out. The bodice had dainty little buttons on the back going all the way down to the train. I had my “ah ha” moment and all the girls knew it. I tried on one more dress just in case but quickly wanted out of it and back in to my dress. It was the perfect moment shared between me and my mom and maid of honor.

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

Matthew and I met at his work. At the time he was selling cars and I was an insurance agent. A co-worker and I were visiting dealerships in our area to discuss us sending them clients who were looking for new vehicles and them sending us clients who needed insurance. It was April. We brought cookies and were handing them out when Matthew came over and asked if either of us were interested in a car today. I mentioned that I had been interested in a truck and he immediately brought me over to his desk to talk about it. I was annoyed and really had no interest in talking to him but I listened anyways. After that day we didn’t have any contact. But my coworker and I went back to the dealership a second time to follow up and Matthew overheard me talking about a young professionals group I was a part of in town. At my next young professionals meeting, guess who showed up? At that point I still found him annoying and not my type, but was friendly to him. Fast forward to August, Matthew was still coming to the young professionals meetings. I finally decided to have a real conversation with him and found out he was a football fan. My family and I have had season tickets for the Jaguars since 1995, so we bonded over football. I left the bar we were at to go see some friends, but came back to see if Matthew was still there. He was watching a Steelers game. I sat down next to him and we got to know each other better. He walked me to my car at the end of the night and we exchanged numbers. Since that day we have been practically inseparable. In college I played ping pong non-stop. I played in competitions and it truly was my stress relief and something I found a passion for. So when Matthew was planning his proposal, he knew he had to incorporate ping pong somehow. Matthew and I had just moved from Laramie, Wyoming to Austin, Texas (our second cross country move together) when we planned a night out downtown with some friends. Matthew had told me that he had found a ping pong bar to take me to and that I would love it! He even mentioned I should wear something nice since we might take pictures. I had no clue. We got to the bar that night and I was in heaven! Matthew’s friend Ryan was taking videos all night and I still wasn’t thinking anything of it, Ryan loves to take videos and is quite talented. Matthew and I decided to play a round and things got heated. We can get pretty competitive. At the end of the game (I won of course) he asked me to bring him his beer. I told him that as the loser he could come get his own drink. He then asked with such a sad face if I could come to him. So I did and he immediately put the drink down and grabbed my hands. He started a beautiful speech (that I have no remembrance of what he said) and I realize what was happening. In front of God and everybody he got down on one knee, pulled out a ring, and asked me to marry him. And I  responded with “are you sure?!”. Probably not the answer he was expecting. He pointed out that yes, this is a real ring, and that he was still on one knee. I had my hands over my face, teary eyes, and said yes! The managers of the establishment brought out champagne and sparklers and we celebrated with photos in the ping pong ball filled tub!


What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

For our wedding day we opted to have a “first look” together. That was one of the best and most special moments of the day. It was so intimate to have that moment to ourselves to be together and it helped calm our nerves for the ceremony.During the ceremony it was in our vows that we would love each other “for better or for worse, even during football season” as we both get pretty excited about our teams and love to trash talk the other.


Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

My biggest wedding planning advice would be to know when to ask for help. I tried planning our day on my own without any coordinator. I became a horribly stressed out and anxiety ridden person that no one enjoyed being around. I was constantly thinking about what other people would like and not what myself and Matthew would like. It took way too long for me to reach out to our coordinator, but it was one of the best decisions we made. Having a day of coordinator immediately took so much stress out of the day. It made it so Matthew, myself, our friends, and families could enjoy the day.