SHERREE + JESSE | CROSS CREEK RANCH WEDDING | FLORIDA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
SHERREE + JESSE
Sherree and Jesse's wedding at Cross Creek Ranch was nothing short of a dream. It could have been the groom's silent tears that came at the sight of his bride coming down the aisle. It could have been the incredible venue and how even the coordinators were excited about this wedding. Maybe it was the perfect balance of a touching, intimate ceremony and a dance floor that wouldn't quit - whatever it was, Sherree and Jesse's wedding was special from beginning to end and is a day I won't soon forget!
The story of how Sherree and Jesse met is a classic "meet-cute" story. (If you don't know what a meet-cute is, it's worth a Google)! It was a Tuesday night in August 2012. Sherree was on a terrible first date with a boy who drank entirely too much, too early in the evening. Suddenly, she noticed a fancy group of people wearing suits and dresses. Sherree's date bet her that the group of people just got out of a wedding. Sherree said, "No way! Nobody gets married on a Tuesday night! I'm sure it was a work function." Well, the bad date wouldn't drop it, so Sherree decided to settle the bet once and for all! She walked over to the group and spoke to the most handsome of the bunch and asked where they had just come from. They talked for a few minutes and the boy asked her for her number. Sherree, being the honest person she is, explained she was currently on a terrible date, and did not want to be rude. She explained she was going to finish her date, but secretly gave the handsome boy her number and crossed her fingers that he would call like he promised. The next day, the handsome boy called and said "Hey, remember me? It's Jesse...we met last night." They talked for over an hour on the phone before he asked her on a date that Friday night; they've been inseparable ever since.
Sherree and Jesse were together nearly four and half years when Jesse proposed in the sweetest way imaginable. One of Sherree's favorite hobbies is scrapbooking; another is traveling. Jesse gathered all his favorite photos of them together over the years, and created a travel themed scrapbook for Sherree. At the end, he wrote a romantic story about the love he had for her, and though he didn't know what would happen in his life, he knew he wanted Sherree to be there. On their 5th Christmas Eve together, the two of them sat on the bed they had shared for over 4 years, with their dog Eli asleep beside them, and Jesse asked Sherree to his wife. She said, "yes"! The scrapbook Jesse made for Sherree was on display at their reception. I saw guest after guest flip through the book and smile over the love shared between their two friends. It is pictured above!
The scrapbook was one of so many personal touches Sherree and Jesse had seamlessly woven into their wedding day. As I write those words I realize I have been so hung up on the adorable romance between these two that I haven't even told you a thing about their wedding day! Okay, okay so this wedding was perfect. I mean PERFECT. First of all, if you are a bride-to-be in search of a venue please, please, please do yourself the biggest of favors and consider Cross Creek Ranch. The venue is unbelievable and the staff is second-to-none. I was fortunate enough to visit the venue with Sherree about a month prior to her wedding day and meet her coordinator, Nancy, along with a few other members of their staff. Everyone was so welcoming and gracious and excited to have us there! They gave a detailed tour, and helped us to visualize her big day. Nancy even helped Sherree perfectly time out her walk down the aisle so that she could cut the music just right! It took about 5 tries and Nancy was patient and seemingly just as invested in getting it right as Sherree was! This level of service never stopped. I loved working with this team from beginning to end! If you don't believe me when I say how great this group is, below is a photo of Nancy getting down on the dance floor at the reception!
From the moment you arrive at Cross Creek Ranch you are made to feel special as the bride. When Sherree arrived, everyone gathered around to see her ring the bell reserved for Cross Creek Ranch brides! It is such a fun tradition! From there, Sherree got settled in at the Bridal Cottage which is this ethereal, princess-like bridal suite nestled on the Cross Creek Ranch property. It is SO dreamy! Sherree got settled and then she took as second tour of the venue - though this time it was set-up for her wedding day. This was honestly one of my favorite parts of the day. It was really special to get to witness Sherree see her wedding day come together. There were quieter moments of her taking it all in, and then there were some funny moments where she pointed out most of the decorations and would say, "Jesse had to have that... I told him I didn't care, but he was right. It's perfect. I love it!" They are just the most perfect pair, it's unbelieveable.
After the tour, Sherree retreated to the Bridal Cottage to relax (and hide!) while Jesse made his arrival. Jesse spent the time before the ceremony spending quality time with his closest friends in "The Man Cave". Seriously, Cross Creek Ranch has thought of everything! Jesse relaxed, spent time with friends, and opened a sweet gift from Sherree before suiting up for his groom's portraits. He looked so handsome in his CUSTOM-MADE bright blue suit! One of my favorite details from the entire day is the fact that Jesse had his nickname "Biff" embroidered on the inside of his suit jacket.
Then it was time for THE DRESS. I put that in all-caps because Sherree's dress was STUNNING. There was an audible gasp from everyone in the room when she put it on. I had seen a photo of the dress prior to her wedding day and was so excited for this moment. Somehow, the real thing exceeded my expectations! Sherree, if you're reading this, I know I've said it a million times but... YOU LOOKED AMAZING.
She's gorgeous, isn't she?
Sherree and Jesse's ceremony was one of the most touching ceremonies I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. Like I mentioned before, their wedding was deeply personal and the ceremony was the pinnacle of that. Sherree's brother William (Billy) co-wrote the ceremony with Sherree and Jesse and was their Officiant. The ceremony was comprised of letters from loved ones who could not be in attendance, descriptions of what love is in its purest form, and vows written by the bride and groom. The ceremony was less about checking off boxes of traditions and more about sharing what becoming a family means to Sherree and Jesse (who are expecting a baby this fall - as if I needed ANOTHER reason to cry during their ceremony).
My absolute favorite part of the day was when it started to rain during the ceremony. This might be a photographer's least favorite part of a wedding day - but let me tell you why, in my opinion, it secured this wedding as one of the most heartfelt of all time.
The ceremony was about over when I felt a few raindrops begin to fall. I looked up and a dark cloud was slowing moving in over the venue. Then more rain started to fall and it was clear we had a downpour in our midst. To my knowledge. there really wasn't a back-up plan in case of rain once the ceremony had already started. I looked around to see what the coordinators might be thinking, I watched for any sign from Sherree and Jesse that they might want to move this thing inside, and I looked to the guests to see if anyone might be willing to offer up an umbrella... but no one was moving. No one even flinched. Not one guest looked around to see what we should do. The coordinators were calmly watching the ceremony. The bride and groom's eyes were locked on each other like they had been from the moment Sherree came down the aisle. It was like no one else could even feel the rain. They were completely enamored by the profession of love happening in front of them.
Sherree and Jesse are the lucky ones you hear about. These two people were surrounded my loved ones who would not flinch at any sign of misfortune. Who will sit still and witness their love and be better for having done so. It was a transcendent moment of stillness and assurance that we were all where we were supposed to be. Especially, Sherree and Jesse.
Together is where they are supposed to be, no matter the weather.
Together is where they will stay.
Following the ceremony and family photos, I got to spend some one-on-one time with Sherree and Jesse while we took their portraits! They describe themselves as best friends who are supportive, persistent, and ridiculously good looking. All three of those descriptions shine through in these photos - the last one, especially! While these two are social butterflies and have so many friends that they constantly entertain in their home or out on the town - it is clear they feel most at ease when they are together. Their portraits were intimate and so fun to take! They didn't require a ton of direction, because they were honestly taking it all in together and were fully present while enjoying these moments by themselves. Later on in the reception, we stole a few more quiet moments for some nighttime portraits!
I have to mention this one thing! Sherree and Jesse adopted the cutest, sweetest, most photogenic dog EVER - Eli! They love him so much that they found a pet-sitting service near their venue who BRINGS YOUR PETS TO TAKE PICTURES WITH YOU after your ceremony! Have you ever heard of anything more adorable in your entire life?! Fairy Tail Pet Care will do this for brides and grooms and it. is. amazing. PRO-TIP: Dress your dog in a tuxedo on your wedding day and call him "Tuxe-dog".
If there is one thing Sherree and Jesse know how to do it's throw a great party. As I mentioned before, this bride and groom are about to be mom and dad to a little one - but that did not stop Sherree from absolutely tearing up the dance floor! The DJ was amazing, the food and desserts were to die for, and all of the guests were SO much fun. Everyone literally danced the night away! I'll let the photos speak for themselves. :)
Sherree and Jesse, I hope it goes without saying that I love you both... and I LOVE YOUR LOVE. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for letting me share in your joy on your wedding day. All my love.
Venue: Cross Creek Ranch | Coordinator: Nancy Spooner with Cross Creek Ranch | Videographer: Life's Highlights | Catering: Catered by Vesh | Dessert Artist: Alessi Bakery | DJ: Jeff with Grant Hemond and Associates | Florals: Cross Creek Ranch and Terree Grubb (Mother of the Bride) | Hair and Make-up: Monique with Collective Creations | Bridal Gown: CC's Bridal Boutique | Groom's Suit: Custom-made at Men's Warehouse | Officiant: William Brown | Pet Care: Fairy Tail Pet Care | Transportation: Shuttle provided by Sheraton Tampa East Hotel