Marina & Ilana got married twice with a magical garden wedding

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride
Photos by Tom Rollo, Grace Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Marina, Patient Advocate

Her offbeat partner: Ilana, Cook and Student

Date and location of wedding: Sundy House, Delray Beach, Florida — March 14, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We were actually legally married on November 26, 2014 at The Bronx County Courthouse. The results of the Florida gubernatorial elections that took place earlier that month had us squirrely. Never in a million year did we think same-sex marriage would be legal in Florida in time for our wedding, so while we were in New York for the holiday we decided on a whim to go to the courthouse and get married. There is usually a three-day waiting period for marriage licenses but we were lucky enough to have been granted a judicial waiver and a same day marriage license because the judge considered it a hardship that we could not get married in our state. We underestimated Florida, though, because same-sex marriage was legally recognized in time for our wedding. It worked out well anyway, because we got to get married twice. I would have married her ten times.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Our wedding ceremony and celebration took place four months later at the historic Sundy House, which is a restaurant, inn, and botanical garden. From the first moment that I walked onto the property I knew that was where our wedding had to be. It looks like a fairytale, with winding coral paths, waterfalls, and Savannah-style gazebos. The entire wedding, from beginning to end, took place outdoors. The ceremony took place all the way in the back of the property where the gardens opened up to a lovely little field. The cocktail hour was directly after the ceremony around a naturalized swimming pool complete with fish and waterfalls.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We started with a traditional wedding ceremony layout and then altered it to make it our own. We had four bridesmaids: one man and three women. They all walked individually and they all carried white and black Gerbera daisies.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Ilana and I both walked down the aisle. Ilana walked first, with both her mother and her father. I walked last with my dad and my son. It was super important to me that she didn't see me or my dress until the moment when I walked down the aisle. We walked down the aisle to "First Day Of My Life" by Bright Eyes. I knew I was going to cry, but I had hoped to hold it together AT LEAST while I walked, so that I could smile pretty for the cameras. Nope. As soon as it was my turn, I walked up through the foliage and saw Ilana standing up at the front of the ceremony and I lost it. She looked so beautiful and was looking at me with so much love.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

My dad and my son were so proud to be walking next to me and taking part in the ceremony. It was just way too emotional. We had an incredible officiant that took so much care in making sure our ceremony fit us perfectly. About a month before the wedding she emailed a list of questions to each of us to answer separately. There were questions about what made us fall in love and what are some of our favorite memories. During the ceremony she shared some of our answers and memories, which was really cool because we were hearing it for the first time.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

We were introduced to our guests as Mrs. and Mrs. It was really exciting for some reason even though we had technically been married for months. The wedding made it feel very real. After our introduction we went right into the first dance. We danced to "Wild Horses" by The Rolling Stones. Our first dance was followed by the father/daughter dance. Since there were two fathers and two daughters we all danced at the same time to "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty. After that each father made a beautiful, heartfelt toast.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

We had a wide variety of food mostly chosen by Ilana because she is definitely the foodie in our relationship. She also has way more knowledge and experience from her work in a restaurant.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

For our centerpieces we chose Moroccan lanterns, candles, and a framed photograph of Ilana and me. We tried to add lots of little personalized touches. We had thank you cards made and set on each place setting. We also had little signs made and placed them around the venue in frames and on easels. We covered our gift table with a variety of family pictures in assorted frames. The frames were bought in random thrift shops and painted by my Maid of Honor and me.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Ilana does not dance, however she spent most of the reception dancing with me because she knows how much I absolutely love it. That made my night.

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

Magical garden wedding in Florida from @offbeatbride

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  1. Sometimes, wedding posts just make you (read: me) smile. This is one of them.

    8 agree
  2. I love everything about this. The love that is plastered on both your faces, the beautiful setting, and yes, the You can dance sign that made me giggle through my slightly misty eyes.

    4 agree
  3. Love to see other Florida weddings! Everything looks beautiful and the food looks amazing! Ilana's mother's dress is stunning!

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