Belva and Nick's outdoor Sarasota garden wedding vow renewal was a poignant celebration filled with boundless love, unique music, and whimsical flora in a rainbow of striking jewel tones. Channeling the stunning nature in the surrounding garden space, curated blooms and warm wood chairs created a picturesque bohemian-inspired outdoor reception beneath the stars.
“Our wedding planner did everything. I showed her my Pinterest board, and she nailed it! We both love the outdoors and nature, and I love the rich jewel-tone colors in a hippyish/eclectic 70's style. We chose not to see anything beforehand, and it's like she was in my head! It was so perfect and beautiful,” the bride shared. “Our colors were jewel tones and natural because they fit our venue perfectly. The colors were mostly displayed in the flowers. Another cool thing was that our wedding planner picked all the flowers, and I did not see them. I bought flowers to put throughout my hair, and they matched. It was meant to be!”
The Bradenton couple were selected as recipients of a “Wish Upon A Wedding” experience to share with their 46 closest friends and family. Belva was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, which has spread to her lungs and bones. She hosts a TikTok show, Beautifully Metastatic, where she covers topics such as emotional healing, self-love, and how to live a beautiful life after diagnosis.
Recognizing the meaning and emotion behind such sacred wedding vows, wedding officiant, Bonnie Sanchez, owner of Weddings By Bonnie, volunteered to be a part of the wedding experience after hearing Belva and Nick's incredible love story. Bonnie took the time to get to know the bride and groom so she could artfully tailor the ceremony to honor the couple.
“Although I was given a brief summary of the challenges Nick and Belva had been faced with during their time together, the reality of the journey they had yet to face, had not sunk in. It was evident in the first few minutes of our first phone call that these two are more in love with each other now than ever before. Nick's sacrifices to care for his girl and their fur kids (Belva's four-legged homecare therapists) were obviously wearing him down as he worked double shifts and did everything he possibly could to make sure that Belva was comfortable and didn't have to worry about matters of maintaining the household. I can't begin to explain how many times the cliche saying ‘true love conquers all' came to mind. It was written because of Nick and Belva's love,” Bonnie revealed. “What many may not understand is that meeting two very special humans like Nick and Belva and sharing moments like this is a gift that never stops touching your heart. It was a reckoning. It was humbling, inspiring, and as beautiful as it is sad. And the best part, we still have Belva pushing through every day, sharing her courage, inspirational creativity, and her hippy-boho-nature-driven spirit, and that is the greatest gift of all!”
“Even though they had been legally married for ten years and this was really a reaffirmation of their wedding vows, I crafted their ceremony as a first-time visit to the altar that included extensive customization throughout. In my nine years as an officiant, having created over 1500 ceremonies, none have been as difficult to write as this one,” Bonnie explained. “Difficult for so many reasons. Finding the right words to express their love was not easy; they take ‘unconditional love' to a whole different level. Learning the challenges and hardships the two have faced since early on in their marriage with Belva's health struggles was a lot to take in.”
“Under normal circumstances, I can create a beautiful, very personal ceremony, within about two to three hours. Belva and Nick's took me ten evenings of writing, editing, re-writing, and sobbing episodes. She spoke to me with such strength and courage, with a deep level of understanding of what lies ahead. She explained that she wanted everyone to celebrate life and death; both have their own beauty and significance. She explained that she has lived and loved a lifetime already with her soulmate by her side. Many humans never get to experience that kind of love, in their lifetime.”
The offbeat couple ensured their individual styles were represented through their selection of unique attire and customized music choices. The results felt authentically ‘them' and made the experience personal and one-of-a-kind.
“What made our wedding unique was our style and the music. I wore hair to my waist and covered in flowers like Rapunzel, along with knee-high leather ‘elf-boots,' a corset, and a skirt that was handmade from rags of fabric,” Belva detailed. “The most important elements were the music, the handfasting, and our letter to each other that I read. The music was not mainstream but was personal to us; just look at my husband – he looks like he just played on stage with the Allman Brothers!”
A team of generous wedding professionals came together to gift this meaningful celebration to Belva and Nick, and every single vendor impressed the couple with their level of care, quality, and service.
“We cannot pick any one vendor that exceeded expectations; it just can't be done. Each one played a different part, and every part was completely beautiful and exceeded all expectations when it all came together.”
While every bride looks forward to their first kiss as husband and wife, Nick set the bar with a liplock that was so out of this world that Belva felt like she was on cloud nine for the rest of the evening!
“The most memorable moment for me was the freakin' kiss! I was so worried about the first dance being perfect and didn't give much thought to the kiss, but when it was time, Nick freakin' knocked my boots off! I think it was the best kiss we've ever had. I thought I was gonna pass out,” the bride beamed. “Once it came to the dance and he just swayed and smiled at me, and it didn't matter, the kiss made up for it!”
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Our wedding planner did everything. I showed her my Pinterest board, and she nailed it! We both love the outdoors and nature, and I love the rich jewel-tone colors in a hippyish/eclectic 70's style. We chose not to see anything beforehand, and it's like she was in my head! It was so perfect and beautiful.
What were your colors?
Our colors were jewel tones and natural because they fit our venue perfectly. The colors were mostly displayed in the flowers. Another cool thing was that our wedding planner picked all the flowers, and I did not see them. I bought flowers to put throughout my hair, and they matched. It was meant to be!
Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
We cannot pick any one vendor that exceeded expectations; it just can't be done. Each one played a different part, and every part was completely beautiful and exceeded all expectations when it all came together.
What marital advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
The best advice I was ever given was, “Pick your battles,” and that has helped me to prevent an argument so many times. And whenever you argue, don't call family or friends and get them in on it. They will pick sides and remind you of it. Work your personal stuff out in private.
Never talk down to or look at your partner in a bad way in front of others; if they upset you in public, wait until you get home to discuss it. You don't want to end up being the “Jerry Springer” couple.
Remember, you are partners, equals, and, above all, friends.