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My husband, Brad, and I got married at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in February 2017. As I am writing this, we have been married for three months. Looking back at our wedding, there is really nothing that I would change. One of the best choices that we made in our wedding planning process was choosing the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art as our venue. After our wedding, our Rental Manager from MOAS, who by the way was absolutely amazing, asked me some follow up questions:
Sarah, congratulations on your wedding! What made you decide to get married at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art?
Early in the wedding planning process, my husband and I began looking for the perfect venue for us. We wanted to find a location that fit our personalities and the feeling that we wanted for our wedding. We both live in Orlando so we started our search there. We found a few places that we liked, but nothing that really seemed right for us. After our families suggested that we look a little more around Daytona Beach, I began my search online for a venue in that area. One evening after work I was doing my now daily search online to find the perfect wedding location when I came across a beautiful venue that said it was in Daytona Beach. At first, I could not figure out where this place might be when I realized that it was at the Museum of Arts & Sciences. It was perfect! The venue was beautiful and it happened to be in a place where I spent a large chunk of my childhood.
Are both you and Brad from the area?
I was born and raised in Daytona Beach, as was my father and my grandmother. This makes me a third generation Daytonian! I lived in Daytona Beach until I moved to Orlando to attend UCF in 2009. Brad moved from Ohio at age 12 when his family moved for work. Although he is not a born and raised Floridian, I think he is definitely one of us now.
What are some of your earliest memories of the Museum?
My earliest memory at the Museum was when I was in 2nd grade. I remember at the time you had to be 7 years old to attend summer camp at the Museum so I was really excited to be able to start. The first class I attended was something like "Around the World in a Week." We learned about different cultures and made crafts. I remember loving it!
I also remember waiting out by the sculpture garden near where the Children's Museum is now located. This was the pick-up and drop-off area for summer camp. This was also where some of my favorite activities took place. In this outdoor area, I learned how to make ice cream, fake blood, tie-dye shirts, I played tag, and this was pretty close to where I learned how to build a shed!
Do you remember what classes you attended as a Summer Learning Institute student?
I took quite a few classes over the years. I took a cooking class, a marine science class, an art class, a theatre class, a class where we built a shed, and so much more. I took a few classes every summer for years and loved all of them! A regular favorite activity during all of my classes was a visit from "the turtle lady," as I remember calling her. The "turtle lady" taught us about sea turtles and how we can help protect them. This was always a highlight of the week. This was not the most exciting part of my week, however. The most exciting part of the week was on Friday when we got to go to the Museum gift shop. As a child, this was the best thing imaginable during the week at camp! I always came home with a bag full of treasures.
You have seen the Museum evolve through the years. Do you have any favorite exhibits or areas that you enjoy visiting?
The sloth, of course! I was in camp when the new Children's Wing first opened. That was very exciting. Some of my favorite exhibits are the train cars, the African exhibit, the pirates' exhibit, and this one exhibit that I remember we would visit often during camp. This exhibit had paintings from maybe around Colonial time. We learned about how artists would complete the majority of a painting, including the body, prior to traveling to their subjects, and then they would paint the subject's face into the painting. I thought that this was really interesting and started to notice this in other paintings in that exhibit. I have seen a lot of change in the Museum over the years. It has been such a pleasure to watch at Museum I love to grow and thrive as it has over the years.
Museum weddings are becoming more and more popular. Do you think that there are some specific advantages to having your wedding in a Museum?
A wedding in a museum has a level of elegance without having to be too formal. Our wedding was able to be fun and carefree without sacrificing the sophistication we wanted our wedding to have. A museum also has built in interest and "entertainment" for your guests. My guests enjoyed being able to look around the Museum and see the exhibits. Museums also have built in decoration. Although I still had centerpieces and a few bits of decor throughout our ceremony space and reception, the space was already so beautiful, I did not feel like I needed to over decorate. On top of that, museums are normally kept pretty cool (I think because of the paintings) so when you have a giant wedding dress on you can still stay pretty comfortable. That was a plus!
When you think back, is there a specific moment during your wedding day that is extra special to you?
My husband and I opted for a sweetheart table for our reception. This offered us the opportunity to have a view of all of our guests. While we were eating dinner, I looked at my husband and said "Dang! We did an amazing job!" We had a quiet moment to be able to take everything in: our family, friends, beautifully planned details, and the vendors I had the great opportunity to work with for the past year. No regrets!
You and Brad chose to share not only the first dance as husband and wife but also a final dance at the end of the night. It was really beautiful. How much were you feet hurting at this point?
PRETTY BAD! My feet were killing me at that point in the night, but I had made the wise decision pretty early in the night to take my shoes off so my feet could have hurt much worse. One of the hardest decisions we wrestled with during the wedding planning process was what we wanted our first dance song to be? We had quite a few songs we were interested in and were able to pare it down to two songs we both loved. We had an argument for why each song would be perfect and either would have been perfect but we decided on a fairly modern song. When the song came out, we heard it and both thought it would be a great first dance song for us. There was a song on the list, though, that for sentimental reasons I wanted to be able to dance to. Rather than deciding between the two songs, we just had a first dance and the last dance. We actually look back more fondly on our last dance than our first in some ways. We were much more relaxed and in the moment during our final dance so it is a really special memory for us. It is a decision that was made out of not wanting to make a decision and I am so glad that we chose not to choose. It worked out just the way it was supposed to.
Finally, do you have any advice for future brides or grooms?
Before you get started with planning. sit down with your partner and envision what feeling you want your wedding to have. You do not have to nail down the details, but it is beneficial to know what is important to you: what moments you must have in your wedding, what you definitely do not want, and how you want to feel. The process of planning a wedding can be stressful and emotional. There are a lot of times in the planning process when you can lose track of what you want. It is easy during this time to be swayed by others' opinions and lose sight of what you really want especially if you yourself are unsure. Someone gave me this advice while planning my wedding: pretty is not a feeling. It is easy to get wrapped up in wanting your wedding to look good, but when it is all over it is the feeling you will be left with, the feeling of being surrounded by people who love you and know that this day is everything you and your spouse want it to be.