From Bumby Photography: Kerry and O’Neal traveled to Orlando to exchange vows in their intimate ceremony surrounded by their family at Omni Champions Gate. Besides marrying his best friend, O’Neal wanted to make sure we planned the wedding and their portraits so they could have the optimal light for their portraits. Given his love for southern charm and laid back environment of North Florida there was one thing O’Neal requested: a location we could capture their portraits that gave him that feel. He wanted some beautiful oaks and hanging moss. Racking my brain for months of how I was going to capture this setting for them I knew it would be a bit difficult. However, I was not giving up. Just nestled of the corner of Omni I found a little wooded area of oak trees and hanging moss. I am grateful to have my colleague photographing along my side. As soon as we completed ceremony and some family portraits around the hotel. Jessica was standing by in the car to whisk us away to our found location. O’Neal’s eyes were beaming with excitement when he saw the trees. The lighting and setting was a perfect spot. I love that we captured their ceremony at a location that will forever be special to them and a setting they wanted for their portrait backdrop.
How they met from bride, Kerry:
O’Neal came looking for me but didn’t quite know it yet. I was at my job and he came in and was looking for the easiest and most inconspicuous way to bypass the line. He then looked to his right and saw me behind the counter and approached. My head was down when I heard someone say “Good morning.” I looked up and smiled and said, “How may I help you?” He explained he wanted to drop off a check but didn’t want to stand in the long line. At this point, I could have chosen to be mean and give a canned, generic response of “I’m sorry sir but I’m afraid you’ll just have to stand in the line” wish him a good day, and continue with my work. There was something about this one, however. Maybe it was in his eyes or his smile or the pitiful look on his face as he pleaded with me to help him. Yes, I think it was because of that look. I took his check and politely reminded him that next time he must join the line. He thanked me for my assistance and left. I watched him walk away and smiled and wondered if I would ever see him again. To make a long story short, he did come in again and gave me his number, but I took weeks to call him. I figured I had to string him out. “Out of all the people in the world why me?” I thought. My curiosity got the better of me and I eventually called. That was the call that brought us through pain and joy to this moment.
How he popped the question from bride, Kerry:
If I could relive that moment I would. We were in Jacksonville for the week of Thanksgiving 2015. O’Neal had gone to college and lived there for a while. He fell in love with the southern hospitality, country living, and laid back lifestyle, so this place is very near and dear to him. He says that when he left home at seventeen, the experiences he had here made him into the man he is today. We were staying at the Omni in downtown Jax and were doing the rounds visiting his friends and the host family he initially stayed with while at university. Our trip was drawing to a close and I was getting annoyed that we hadn’t spent any quality time with each other. O’Neal could sense this and came to me one night and said there was another Omni property he wanted us to see so that we could catch up and I could have him to myself. I will admit I wasn’t overly enthused nor was I disappointed, but I was tired and I believe he desperately tried to find a glimmer of enthusiasm under my veil of exhaustion (we spent the week doing lots of driving and visiting friends and even had a few late nights out). So the next morning we had some breakfast and were packing a few things for our trip. That afternoon we left downtown Jax for our 33 mile drive to the Omni property at Amelia Island. Bear in mind I had no idea what was about to happen as it was not unusual for us to have stays at different hotels when we are on vacation. We checked in, went to the room and looked around. O’Neal then said, “Let’s go for a walk on the beach.” I am still clueless at this point. While walking on the beach, I saw a photographer and figured that I would end up as a small fixture in some glossy travel magazine and dismissed it. On the way to Amelia Island we had a little misunderstanding at Chik-fil-A so we talked about it on our walk and straightened it out. He then said, “Kerry, after everything I have just told you that’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” At this point he was down on one knee and I froze. I asked him if this was really happening and he said yes. Of course I told him yes and leapt into his arms. He then spun me around and showed me that the gig was up and that the photographer was taking snaps of us the whole time!”I loved hearing their story. It is truly romantic and so adorably sweet.