As soon as I started reading about Jillian and Adrian’s story, the song “Go the Distance” from the Disney movie Hercules popped into my head. They knew every mile would be worth their while, because in the end, they’d be right where they belonged: together, as husband and wife.
Both originally from South Florida, Jillian and Adrian met as students at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Jillian was an undergrad studying Japanese Literature and Adrian was in Dental School. They lived in the same residential community and one day Adrian saw Jillian walking to the mailboxes and wondered, “How come I don’t know her?” So, of course, he looked her up on Facebook (back in the good old days, when it was exclusive to universities) and actually found her!
Eventually the two met in person and found out that they had many mutual friends and similar Caribbean culture. Although they “clicked” immediately, they didn’t really consider dating because they were so different. Adrian was very traditional, logical and meticulous while Jillian was more liberal, creative and free-spirited. But a year and half later, when Jillian left to study abroad in Japan, Adrian realized he just had to have her! When she returned to the states in August 2007, they became exclusive and didn’t look back.
Distance crept in on them again when they both graduated in 2008. He went on to do his residency in Periodontics in Alabama and she went back to Miami to begin her teaching career. Against all odds, the two of them spent the next three years living in different states and maintaining a successful long distance relationship! Adrian proposed in November 2010 and they began planning their wedding for a year later.
Jillian struggled with choosing the theme for the wedding. She started out with a vision of “art deco fused with Caribbean zen” and ended up with more of a “geometric and vibrant” vibe. Finding the right invitations was just as difficult.
“I love fashion and art and am inspired by many styles so I was highly indecisive! The invitations were one of the hardest things for me to choose because I felt like it would be one of the first impressions guests would have of the wedding and I wanted it to be good. I had an extremely hard time choosing from pre-designed invitations because none of them fit my vision… I looked through hundreds of invitations over and over again before realizing that I could go custom. I was afraid initially to even consider custom design because it can get so pricey, but you had amazing quality, colors and — my favorite thing — fonts, at a price that fit our budget.”
To help our design team with her chosen concept, Jillian sent a picture of cascading hot pink phalaenopsis orchids. And thus, the Tropical Orchid Wedding Invitation was born!
Three weeks before the wedding, almost everything was ready to go. While visiting their venue for a final walkthrough, Jillian found out that all of the main roads surrounding the venue would be shut down on the wedding day for a city-held event, meaning none of the vendors or guests could access the roads for the entire weekend! Needless to say, panic-mode followed this discovery.
Luckily, their planner, Vanessa Oppo of Karma Goddess, succeeded in canceling their contract with a full refund and found a replacement location: The Bath Club, a breathtaking private venue in Miami Beach. Jillian checked it out right before her flight and found it to be “a dream come true.” A stunning courtyard, cocktail room, ballroom and private cabanas — fate had stepped in and she couldn’t have been happier about it!
No detail was ignored in the planning of Jillian and Adrian’s wedding! They wanted to represent the tropical vibe of Miami as well as their Caribbean culture, but still keep the wedding modern and elegant. The centerpieces featured bleached Manzanita branches with hot pink phalaenopsis orchids planted on them to make “orchid trees.” Jillian’s bouquet consisted of a simple cascade of hot pink orchids. The bridesmaids wore six varying styles of Amsale dresses in a slate blue crinkle chiffon to contrast with the hot pinks and purples of their bouquets.
To incorporate her love of travel and language, Jillian had each table card read “I love you” in various languages (Korean, French, Italian, Tagalog, German and Japanese, just to name a few!)
The musical selections for the ceremony were instrumental versions of modern songs, and during the reception, they played a mixture of old reggae, calypso and contemporary music. The wedding favors included Jamaican rum cakes made by Adrian’s grandmother and mini bottles of Appleton Rum to represent their Caribbean heritage.
Even though they had about 120 guests, the celebration felt extremely intimate and private. Their closest friends and family from all over the United States, Jamaica and even England attended. Plus, Jillian’s neighbors, who she’s known for more than 10 years, officiated the ceremony!
Jillian and Adrian agree that their favorite memory was at the end of the night: being the last two people on the dance floor and not even noticing anyone around. After years of oceans, countries and states between them and then a rollercoaster ride of wedding planning, they felt extremely grateful to finally be married!
All photographs courtesy of Maloman Photographers.
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