ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A St. Pete couple’s dream wedding was made possible – at the last minute – thanks to complete strangers.
Alyssa Marie and Braden Everlyare both artists. They moved to St. Petersburg and opened a gallery. They also got engaged last December, but their budget was tight so they decided to put off the wedding while they focused on the business.
“Then I got the call that my grandpa was having some declining health issues,” Alyssa said. “Ever since I was four or five years old, my grandpa has been telling me that he’ll live to see me get married.”
Their plan to wait became a scramble to put together their wedding on a budget, because no wedding could be the one of Alyssa’s dreams without her grandpa there.
Photographer Hannah Reynolds donated her time and talent to capture the Alyssa with her grandparents at Alyssa's Odessa wedding. (Hannah Reynolds)
They put out a call to the community for inexpensive and hand-me-down items.
“We’re looking to do a short and sweet, very DIY, put-together wedding. We’ll take anything we can get,” Alyssa said.
The response was humbling.
“When you break it down, there was a group of strangers that saw strangers reaching out for help and they said, ‘I can help,’” Alyssa said. “All of a sudden, it was, ‘I can drop this off to you,’ or ‘Can you come pick this up?’”
One offered a beautiful outdoor venue in Odessa. Someone else brought the chairs. Before they knew it, they had tables, linens, centerpieces, décor, and even cupcakes.
It was all donated by local businesses and members of the community who felt compelled to contribute – all in the name of love.
Alyssa and Braden were gifted their dream wedding. (Alyssa Marie)
Even the photographer, Hannah Reynolds with Picture of Love Photography, and videographer Shannon Gazdacka donated their talents and time.
Looking back, their wedding represented more than just the love between each other.
“Was completely surreal and as I look back I just think about the week and the love that infused that day because there was so much love from so many different people that made it come together,” Alyssa said.
Her grandfather made it to the wedding, with permission from his doctor to fly across the country from Arizona to Florida last weekend.