Ava Lowry & James O'Shaughnessy first met through a mutual friend in college. The two were neighbors at the same apartment complex and had a few classes together, but nothing ever went further than friendly exchanges. Ava always thought James was a nice guy and a definite “catch,” but she never imagined running into him again, three years later on a Saturday night in downtown Chicago.
“He was a college football player with football player roommates,” Ava recalls. “He was very sweet and charming, but also very college-esque. But always very sweet. When we re-met in Chicago, he swept me off my feet! Like, who is this witty, smart, mature man?!”
“It’s game day, baby.”
The proposal took place on February 13, 2020. After the couple signed for their first home in Jacksonville Beach, James said he wanted to take a detour on the way to their house. He ended up parking his truck on the beach and proposed at sunset. Having been so distracted by the move, Ava was completely surprised. James also invited their closest family and friends, which turned their engagement into an extra special celebration.
Oh My Occasions was brought on board to oversee the wedding planning process, and Ava couldn’t have been more thrilled with the experience.
“Amber was an absolute angel,” she describes. “I immediately clicked with her upon our first phone conversation. I was like, ‘Okay, not only is she a great planner, but I can see her as my friend in real life too.’ She totally understood me, listened to EVERYTHING (she is so patient!) and was so confident she could plan an awesome wedding. I will be honest – I am not the girl that had premeditated any detail about my future wedding. When the time came, Amber walked James and I through so many questions that brought our creativity to light organically – which then led us to our vision.”
As an NFL player for eight years, James greeted their wedding day by saying, “It’s game day, baby.” Ava had butterflies “in the best way,” and felt ready and confident leading up to the wedding ceremony.
“We were very lucky to have such a helpful wedding party, family, and friends that surrounded us with love and joy,” she adds. “The entire day felt like a dream. I was actually somehow at ease; Amber had literally covered every single detail ahead of time, to where I had no other worries (besides a 30 percent chance of rain, haha). The trust I had in Amber and her team was unreal. She had everything under control so we could focus on soaking in every second of the day. We were able to keep our ceremony outdoors with Amber's guidance and support, and the first drizzle happened as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife. It worked out perfectly.”
After getting to know the couple in depth, Amber took the lead in designing a wedding décor aesthetic that beautifully combined various aspects of the couple’s style and personalities. Special details included custom napkins, a personalized charm on the bride’s bouquet, a sand-filled DJ booth, and an acrylic and mirror ceiling installation. She even tied in NFL inspired touches like a football for guests to autograph, menus that had a fun play on football words, and a VIP “Players’ Lounge” with a club vibe. Even with so many personalized, football-themed elements, the wedding décor still had a calm, zen-like atmosphere with a sophisticated and edgy twist.
“Our goal was to create a zen, neutral, moody, relaxed aesthetic,” shares the bride. “Amber had suggested we go with black room perimeter draping, and that was a complete game changer! We added a beautiful ceiling installation over the custom floor with greenery and pops of my white/neutral florals that pulled the entire room together. The entire space was so stunning. We had glass candles everywhere, including black candles and black sand filled vases, which was so unexpected and romantic! And multi-level tablescapes that enhanced the room.
The dance floor was black and white monogramed with ‘AJ’ – the ‘AJ’ was created by Amber and was used all throughout the wedding to tie everything in. One of our favorite elements was that we had two white modular lounge seats behind to the side of the DJ booth, almost like a club like setting. It was so well done; the entire room flowed so well. Amber designed this during our initial design deck creation because I told her we had some big NFL players who would definitely need to sit between dance sets. She intentionally created this lounge that felt like you were in the VIP section of a club, without ever having to be away from the party! We couldn't have been more stunned. I could go on and on.”
In true NFL fashion, James didn’t use his wedding as an excuse to take a day off. The groom actually brought his recovery equipment to the wedding, and would take breaks to stretch on the floor, rolling out his muscles periodically to stay loose throughout the entire celebration.
Since James had to go back to training with the Chicago Bears a week after their wedding, the newlyweds postponed their honeymoon and are planning a one-year anniversary trip to Greece or Italy in 2023.
Location: Miami Beach Edition, Miami Beach, FL; Planner and Event Design: Oh My Occasions, Miami, FL; Floral Design: Petal Productions, Miami, FL; Photographer: Kristy & Vic Photo, Miami, FL