Kristen Thorson and John Bruenning planned on holding their nuptials on New Year's Eve, as was tradition for the bride's family. Unfortunately, those plans had to be revised upon receiving some devastating news.

"While it was supposed to be one of the happiest times of our lives," says the bride, "we learned that my future mother-in-law had been diagnosed with a serious illness and time was of the essence."

The couple made an easy decision to move their nuptials to April to ensure the groom's beloved mother would be a part of their special day. With only four short months to plan, they selected a bed & breakfast on the banks of the Manatee River that evoked Southern charm and sophistication for their outdoor ceremony.

The spring day could not have been more perfect. The bride looked ravishing in a fit-and-flare wedding gown with cascading layers of ethereal fabric. She carried a sunny bouquet of yellow roses, tulips, ranunculus, and oncidiums. Bridesmaids held arrangements of bright sunflowers, calla lilies, and greenery, with stems wrapped in a turquoise ribbon that matched their sprightly dresses. The groom and three groomsmen donned ashen suits, striped ties, and boutonnieres of lemon-hued billy balls to complement the cheerful color palette.

The heartfelt ceremony was both poignant and sincere. During one particularly memorable moment, the couple invited each of their mothers to the altar to assist them in watering a unity tree, which they later planted in their backyard.

Following the vow exchange, a motorboat transported the newlyweds and the rest of the bridal party across the river to a veranda where the cocktail hour was held.

Guests enjoyed a celebratory dinner seated at either round reception tables or long banquet tables, each of which was covered in charcoal linens of crinkled taffeta. Centerpieces on the round tables consisted of clear cylindrical vases that showcased bunches of lemons and branches kissed with yellow blooms. Banquet tables were decorated with candles in clear holders that rested atop duos of baby calla lilies.

The couple's wedding cake consisted of three square tiers framed with a ribbon of grey frosting and highlighted with golden blossoms. Another sweet treat -- candy bars featuring adorable wrappers that commemorated the special day -- were given to attendees as favors.

Like many brides and grooms, Kirsten and John felt as though their wedding flew by all too quickly. However, the newlyweds were left with loving memories and a sense of gratitude that will last a lifetime.

"We couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by how lucky we were to have such amazing people in our lives," recalls the bride. "I know the day was supposed to be about John and me, but it was about so much more."