Not many people can say they married their high school sweetheart, but that was the case for Jennifer Gonzalez and David Reyes. With a custom-made gown and suit by Israeli designer Netta BenShabu, a butterfly release, live painter, and a grand exit in a vintage Rolls Royce, this celebration hosted at the historic venue, The Treasury on the Plaza, was beyond the couple’s wildest dreams.
Jenni and David grew up in South Florida and have been together since their sophomore year of high school. Of meeting David for the first time, Jenni says, “We were one and the same and we instantly connected. Initially, my impression of him was that he was cute, smart, and very kindhearted. Although we were both shy, we enjoyed talking to each other and enjoyed each other’s company. Most importantly, we complemented each other’s personalities.”
“The long - distance didn’t hinder our relationship. In fact, it made it stronger .”
David shares, “When I first met Jenni, I thought she was the cutest and nicest girl I have ever seen. I could tell that she was a very loving person that cared for everyone around her. From the moment we met, we were very comfortable with each other, and we felt like we had already known each other for years. I was very excited and happy to have made friends with such a wonderful person.”
Discussing the future was a big part of Jenni and David’s relationship from the very beginning. David presented Jenni with not one, but two promise rings in high school to honor his commitment to her.
“He promised his support, trust, and an adventurous future together,” Jenni says. “Even though we enrolled in separate universities miles apart, the long-distance didn’t hinder our relationship. In fact, it made it stronger. A couple of years later the time came and, on my birthday, David surprised me with a beautiful dinner with my whole family. My family sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and after blowing out my candles, David got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, with excitement, surprise, and incredible joy I said, ‘Yes!’”
Jenni knew her priorities as soon as the wedding planning process began. “From the beginning, the flowers were one of my top priorities,” she explains. “I am passionate about flowers and in love with their beauty and uniqueness. Planning our wedding, I wanted all my favorite flowers to be present. I was extremely meticulous and picky because I wanted specific flowers, so I needed a florist that was just as passionate. I needed a team that had a vision, that was knowledgeable and experienced in floral installation. I created a vision board with colors and the exact details of how I wanted everything to look on the day of our wedding. I was extremely specific in my details, such as my bouquets, the type of flowers that were to be used, centerpiece arrangements, the sweetheart table, and most importantly the flower arbor with the crystal chandelier. A special shout out to our florist, Raining Roses, that made the dream become reality and nailed every detail to perfection! It was everything and more. They truly understood my vision. It was beyond perfect.”
When choosing their wedding venue, the couple knew they wanted a unique and romantic space to provide the perfect backdrop for their special day. "St. Augustine evoked a historic and romantic feel," Jenni describes, choosing the nation’s oldest city as her wedding destination. "Not only was the landscape of the city absolutely perfect for our wedding, but the city itself hosts an abundance of attractions for our guests to enjoy during their stay. Ultimately, we chose The Treasury because it was everything we envisioned and more for our big day."
The couple also wanted their wedding day to be unique to their love story. "We made sure to include moments throughout the day that was only for us," says Jenni. "For example, we had a 'first touch' instead of a 'first look' and a butterfly release after the ceremony."
As an extra special touch, the bride and groom incorporated their fur babies into the celebration with their signature cocktails named after their pets including, "Mylo-ve's Treasure" (champagne, vodka, elderflower, sour mix, and lemon zest) and "Sir Dexter" (David's rendition of an Old Fashioned).
When it came to including loved ones, it was easy. "Our bridal and groom parties were made up of family members," Jenni shares. "We also included a seat marked with a Lily of the Valley flower for family members who had passed away, including David's father and my grandfather. My dad and I danced to ‘First Man’ By Camilla Cabello and then my second dad surprised me by performing ‘My Girl’ by Temptations on the saxophone with the band. Everyone went wild when he jumped off the stage to dance with me. It was certainly a highlight of the night. He hit every note perfectly, and it was just amazing!”
"When it came to the small details, I wanted to be very hands-on," she adds. "I drew and designed our monogram, which could be found on the napkins, envelope stamps, cake lettering, and hologram display for our grand entrance as well as our invitation."
The classic elegance of Jenni’s thoughtful details went hand-in-hand with the historic sophistication of The Treasury on the Plaza, St. Augustine’s first and only skyscraper that dates back to 1926.
"This venue was love at first sight," says the bride. "The Treasury team was incredibly accommodating and organized, especially when we had to reschedule our original wedding date due to COVID. They made sure everything came together smoothly for our big day and that every detail was perfect. We certainly had a real dream wedding."
Cinematography: That Moment Productions, St. Augustine, FL; Photography: Brooke Images, St. Augustine, FL