For Julie Quittner and Stacey Howard, a seemingly ordinary moment changed their world in an extraordinary way when they first met in the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority at The University of Florida. Stacey was a freshman exploring her independence, and the two formed a friendship and special bond when they were paired as “big and little.” During the following months, their connection deepened and blossomed into a true romance by January of 2009.
“Our new relationship was as exciting as it was scary,” the couple says. “Having never felt this way about a girl before, we didn’t know what to do. So we decided to keep our love a secret.” It wasn’t until August of 2013 that Julie and Stacey slowly started revealing their relationship to family and friends, who responded with overflowing love and acceptance.
About a year later, both women knew they were ready for the next step. Julie decided to plan their engagement around Thanksgiving, since friends and family would be in town to celebrate. She then surprised her girlfriend with a beautiful proposal in Miami by the water, followed by an engagement party later that night.
“OUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WAS AS EXCITING AS IT WAS SCARY” JULIE QUITTNER & STACEY HOWARD
Stacey and Julie embraced every aspect of the wedding planning process, making decisions together and bouncing ideas off each other to create a wedding that reflected them both. “The wedding was going to be both of our days and we loved being able to share that,” Julie says. “For a wedding with a bride and groom, most of the attention is on the bride; but with two brides, we were able to split that attention, which was nice because neither of us were ever overwhelmed.”
The wedding was held at the grand and historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida – a gorgeous slate to begin with. A color palette of gold, ivory, and blush was chosen in order to create an elegant and timeless ambiance. Royal mirrored tables were placed on each side of the black and white checkered dance floor, and hundreds of floating candles were arranged down the center of the tables, reflecting light from every angle. Round tables surrounded the royals, featuring large floral arrangements and more candles, resulting in a feeling of pure romance.
For years, Julie and Stacey never thought their wedding day would become a reality. Naturally, emotions were running high and, like any couple, they wanted everything to go perfectly. Only one minor blooper took place during the ceremony when, keeping with Jewish tradition, the newlyweds had to stomp on a glass. They quickly realized that high heels aren’t ideal for glass breaking, which provided a laugh for everyone in attendance.
“We will never forget the most amazing day of our lives and we love sharing our story,” the couple says. “We are so thankful that we let our love run its course and look forward to a lifetime of happiness.”