1. Kids & Family

From This Day: Over the top, from proposal to reception

Jared Gopman and Cher Hubsher flirted over slices of pizza at Satchel's in Gainesville. This first date felt like something different.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'If I could be with this girl, it would be amazing,' " Jared, 22, recalled.

Jared, a premed major, loved how Cher, a nursing student, was different from other girls he knew at the University of Florida: "She's strong and independent, has values and morals and isn't afraid to stick up for her beliefs."

After that night during freshman year, the two dated all through college. He proposed at the end of their senior year at the Kanahapa Botanical Gardens in Gainesville.

Jared had left Cher a note on the afternoon of April 22, 2012. He told her to visit the gardens. Wear a dress, don't be late. Today's a big day, it said.

When she got there, a woman in admissions handed her a clue and a map. At the spot marked on the map, Cher found a typed poem, a fresh bouquet of flowers and another clue. A photographer followed, capturing each moment.

At the last stop, Jared stood in the middle of a bridge with another bouquet and proposed.

"It was absolutely beautiful," Cher, 22, said. "I couldn't believe what was happening."

In 2007, the Tampa Bay Times covered Cher's over-the-top 16th birthday party when it was featured on MTV's reality show My Super Sweet 16. Cher said her wedding was going to be "much bigger and more elaborate" than her 16th birthday.

Cher and her mother, Dawn, planned most of the platinum wedding, which was themed "Happily Ever After."

Cher and Jared released 12 doves after they said their vows at Innisbrook Golf Resort on May 26. When the couple were announced as husband and wife, huge streamers shot 30 feet into the crowd.

Their 225 guests enjoyed two cocktail hours with everything from sushi to stir-fry dishes. Their all-vegetarian dinner included fare like Brie red pepper soup and butternut squash ravioli with mashed celery root. The entire reception area was covered in draped fabric, candelabras and flowers.

At the end of the night, the couple left in a white horse-drawn Cinderella carriage decorated in fresh flowers.

Despite the grandeur of the wedding, Cher decided not to pitch it to one of the many wedding reality shows on TV.

"(The thought) crossed my mind, but this wedding is such an intimate thing, so I didn't want to do anything that would cause negative attention," said Cher, a nurse at Brandon Regional Hospital and the current Miss Clearwater. "But it was definitely a nice wedding. It could have been on TV."

The couple, who live in Tampa, honeymooned for 12 days in Hawaii.

"You always need a partner in crime to help you do everything you want to do in life," said Jared, a full-time medical student at the University of South Florida. "Whether it's getting through medical school or just making a sign for Miss Clearwater, we're always there for each other through everything."

Sabrina Rocco can be reached at or (727) 893-8862.