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*Approved by MK!* Yachtside Drinks to the Bay View: A Breezy Florida Weekend Wedding

We met at Auburn University when Peter was a freshman and I was a senior in high school, but would take weekend trips to visit my older friends at the university. When Peter returned home from his first semester at college, he told his mom that he had eyes for only one girl, Mary Grace Burton. I loved the hometown feel of Auburn and became Peter’s girlfriend the September of my freshman year. We dated throughout college and became long distance after Peter graduated and he moved to Sarasota, Florida. Soon after my graduation, Peter took us to Venice, Florida to celebrate and relax before the “real world” with jobs and schedules took over. We dressed up for a nice dinner and went to the beach prior for a little picnic with wine and a charcuterie board. There he popped the question, and we stayed on the beach to watch the sunset and take pictures with the photographer he hired. When we returned home from the trip, my parents hosted the most amazing engagement celebration with all our friends and family in my grandparents’ backyard. We were engaged June 12, 2021, and planned our wedding in 7 months with the help of Chelsea Bell and Neillie Butler of Mariée Ami. I grew up visiting Boca Grande as my family’s “beach spot” and Peter and I have an immense love of sunshine and the beach. We wanted the wedding to be more of an intimate crowd, so went with a destination wedding for 130 guests. My parents (not coincidentally!) had just bought a house on the island, and they were loving the thought of spending more time there. We thought why not do a beach wedding, who doesn’t love the beach? So we picked the Boca Bay Pass Club because not only did it have an opening in January, but the venue is just gorgeous overlooking the ocean. I loved that the wedding ceremony and reception all took place in the same venue, and that guests didn’t have to move to another location for the reception. Boca Grande is a cute, yet private small town, so we couldn’t resist going along with an understated beach theme. It was a traditional Christian ceremony that was beautifully held by Pastor Michael Brock, who also ordained the ceremony for my twin brother in May of 2021. We encouraged and provided guests with crafts to decorate their golf carts, and my bridal crew and I drove around in Kappy’s Karts rental called the “Royal Ride.”

Obi (short for Obadiah) is one of three of my parents’ labradoodles and came along to “be” in the wedding. He did not attend the ceremony, but hung around for pictures and rubs, and so was deemed “best dog”. My favorite color is pink, so picking out the bridesmaids dresses was easy, and I went with a color called “blushing bride” that complimented the sunset and the blue ocean perfectly. When we started designing the invitations, I wanted it to pop the most. The goal was for a fun invitation that was bright, bold, and unique. We went with colors that mirrored the ocean. I wanted it to be an elegant, sea glass beach look with a slight hint of boho to bring in the theme of Boca Grande. For the overall fashion look, I went for elegance. I wanted a clean put together look, with the ocean’s ambience alongside flowers to represent movement and calmness. I also wanted it to be unique… something created, not copied. I got my bridesmaids matching earrings, and suggested their hair down, but otherwise told them to have their makeup done however they wish, and with whatever shoes and jewelry they wanted. I loved that it brought an element of each of the girls’ personalities. For flowers, we used Botanica and all credit goes to my florist Ian Prosser! We talked about the theme, vibe, pictures I’d seen and liked, and he proposed the most amazing creation. He selected twenty-three different blooms. My bridal bouquet was everything I was looking for and the roses were dedicated to the remembrance of John William Burton “Pop,” my paternal grandfather, and Levi Mayes Burton, my younger brother. Even though Peter and I might be considered “foodies,” we went with the classics for our menu. Caesar salad, lemon thyme roasted chicken, garlic roasted stripling of beef, loaded baked potatoes, butter steamed broccoli florets, and penne Alfredo. I told Peter after the tasting that chicken was the best chicken I’ve ever had! We also had a full bar and my guests are still raving about the food and provided cocktails. You can never go wrong with chicken, greens, and potatoes! We also had a variety of different hors d’oeuvres, including spicy crab sushi roll, grilled and herbed marinated chilled gulf shrimp, pan seared mini crab cakes, fresh mozzarella arancini, and duck confit wonton. Our first dance was “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran. It’s always been our song since it was first released. The father-daughter song was a mix-up, it started with “Wildflowers,” by Tom Petty and ended with “Let’s Go Crazy,” by Prince, which was a major crowd pleaser and so fun for me and my dad to let loose on the dance floor before everyone else. My favorite memory from the day was having all the people we love the most in one spot celebrating and cheering us on. It’s just the most wonderful blessing anyone could have and you get to have your best friend by your side experiencing it with you! It’s an overwhelming feeling you get when you are surrounded at one time with everyone who you love and who loves you! I also COULD NOT have done it without my mother and our wedding planners. There are five Burton siblings and four of us have gotten or are getting married in the span of 13 months (I’m the third in the line)! All the weddings have been so unique to each sibling and I give so much credit to my parents for supporting and encouraging all of us and being by our sides every step of the way. And my advice for couples planning their wedding: If you have wedding planners, I suggest you do as little or as much as you want! For example, I had ideas for my flowers, but don’t know too much about them, so I took the planner’s suggestion for a great florist. After just one conversation without specifics, he was able to create my vision. I did this in many aspects of my wedding. For me, it was so relieving to let the professionals do what they are best at. It will be beautiful, and you don’t have to come with a list of A-Z of what you want, a simple vision is just enough for them to work their magic!

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