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Bride Laura shares her romantic New Orleans wedding at Il Mercato.

Say ‘hello’ to today’s bride Laura! She and her beau Caleb met in medical school and these soon-to-be doctors fell in love over library study sessions and the occasional night out. Laura and Caleb were inspired to plan a wedding day with the old world feel that she had fallen in love with on family travels to Italy and Spain. Laura knew she loved New Orleans and its historic, romantic architecture, and upon discovering the Il Mercato, NOLA proved to be the perfect place for a destination wedding… of 275 friends and family! Y’all know we like our weddings like our hair here in the South, big! And what pairs well with big hair? Good food, of course! A girl after my own heart, Laura said, “A Southern wedding must also have lots of good Southern food.” And judging by their menu of such delicacies like barbecue shrimp and grits, duck confit, and blue crab beignets (!), I’m sure all their guests left with full bellies and full hearts!

Thanks to Lance Nicoll for sending this wedding our way!

With the national test looming in the spring, it was going to be extremely difficult to have time to search for a wedding gown. We decided to limit travel to locate a wedding dress. After a search of bridal shops in Jackson, we went to Tupelo, MS to a shop that carried a designer I loved. The shop was Willow Bride in downtown Tupelo. The dress I had been eyeing proved to not be “THE” dress. However, the dress I chose was not anything on my wish list, but when I put it on, we all knew it was “THE” one! It was a beautiful white trumpet gown by Alvina Valenta. The strapless bodice had a sweetheart neckline with encrusted pearls and jewels on the bodice. I loved it! The problem then became the stress over the distance needed to drive for the fittings. Every moment was precious to me, as I needed the time for studying. The problem was solved by Liz Rose, owner of Willow Bride, who brought the fittings – the dress and the seamstress – to Jackson, to avoid traveling several hours and losing precious hours of study time in the process! What a huge relief that was!

When we chose a first look it was not primarily for a “staged photo shoot,” but simply because we wanted an intimate moment to ourselves to catch our breath, calm our nerves, and say “I love you.” Caleb is such a calming force for me when I am anxious and this helped me get ready to say “I do” without being so nervous.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Two medical students met on the first day of medical school at UMMC and it was love at first body mass index (BMI)!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? I wanted to replicate the romantic, old world feel of Italy and Spain that I loved from family travels. I had attended graduate school at Tulane University and loved New Orleans and its architecture. I loved the idea of a New Orleans wedding. So, when we discovered the il Mercato in New Orleans, it captured exactly the feel I was looking for. The Spanish Colonial-style structure with its beautiful herringbone oak floors, plaster walls, Italianate chandeliers, beautiful library, and intimate brick courtyard proved ideal for our evening outdoor ceremony and reception. Walking down the aisle filled with flowers and floating candles filling the fireplace combined with the most perfect weather made the courtyard breathtaking!

Family is very important to us and we wanted to include our siblings and family in various aspects of the wedding. Caleb comes from a large family of 9 children and many are musically talented. Three of Caleb’s sisters sang “The Prayer” by Foster and Sager. The combination of their voices with the New Orleans Classical String Quartet was very emotional for me and a very special part of our ceremony. Also, having our young cousins and a close friend’s child walk out in a group as flower girls and ring bearers was very sweet. We had 6 children ranging in age from 18 months to 9 years.

What was Southern about your wedding? Southern weddings have charm and often some history to the church or venue. I felt our venue had that old, vintage, romantic look that occurs in many Southern weddings. A Southern wedding must also have lots of good Southern food. Our menu included many coastal and New Orleans favorites including barbecue shrimp and grits, duck confit, crab and corn bisque, blue crab beignets, cochon de lait, and shrimp ravigote. Late night partiers enjoyed mini cheeseburgers and typical New Orleans fare of cafe au lait and beignets!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? When I walked out the double doors that were covered with beautiful flower garlands into the courtyard and saw the joy on my dad’s face and then saw Caleb smiling was the most memorable moment. It took my breath away as I walked out. Also, when taking photos after the ceremony, my 3 year old nephew Hayes, who was a ring bearer, heard the photographer say “Ok, y’all kiss” and he leaned over and kissed the other ring bearer. Then he also wanted to kiss me in a photo! These moments are priceless to me!

The cake was a stunning work of art! It was a five tiered design with the top two tiers painted in gold leaf with cascading peonies in blush and white. The delicious cake flavors we selected were Italian cream cake with amaretto, olive oil carrot cake, and chocolate hazelnut soaked in Kahlua. The cake was phenomenal! Caleb’s favorite dessert is cheesecake so instead of a traditional groom’s cake, we had multiple cheesecakes displayed on different height cake stands in strawberry, Oreo, and pecan praline. He loved the cheesecakes and how they were arranged around our wedding cake.

Tell us all about the proposal! There was a mutual attraction when we met on the first day of medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. We were paired for one of the first exercises taking vitals for BMI using height and weight. I measure a whole foot shorter than Caleb’s 6’4 so we laughed as I tried to improvise the measurement. We spent the first semester as study partners and friends. After Christmas, we knew we felt something more than friendship. We began officially dating in January and knew very quickly we were in love. Our dates consisted of studying in the library, but we managed an occasional night out to relax. Our main focus was trying to prepare for a national test called the STEP, required for all second year med students, but we still managed to have time for each other. The fall of our second year, Caleb ask my dad if we could marry. The November after our semester exams, he asked me to go to the botanical gardens where he proposed. He left clues of the impending proposal scattered around the botanical gardens for me to discover. The clues which included pictures of our dates, concert ticket stubs, and items that he’d given me were overlooked!! However, Caleb was undaunted and led me to a romantic picnic with champagne where he finally proposed. His sister, who is a photographer, hid and photographed the moment! We celebrated that evening with my parents!
When did y’all get married? The wedding took place in New Orleans, LA on 5/26/17.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275 family and friends attended our destination wedding. Moving the wedding away from our hometown allowed us to keep the wedding smaller than at home.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We decided we wanted very joyful, upbeat music at our ceremony. When we selected the New Orleans Classical Quartet, they mentioned using a trumpet with the quartet and we loved the idea! The music then fell into place. We picked “Te Deum” for my entrance and our recessional was “La Rejouissance,” both using trumpets These are beautiful pieces and showed the joy we were feeling that day. Both my sister and brother used “Lord of the Dance” by Carter (uptempo) for the entrance of ring bearers and flower girls during their wedding ceremonies. This piece is so happy and reminds me of children dancing so the selection of that piece for the children was easy!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? I absolutely loved the invitation suite. They were a beautiful gold-engraved stationery on triple thick pearl white card stock. We had a vintage inspired double M monogram in sparkling gold that served as our design element that we carried throughout our accessories and program.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Finding a venue that I knew would be amazing and then getting to sample the fantastic catering the venue provided was my favorite part of the planning. Tasting all the coastal, New Orleans food from appetizers to dessert was a great preview of what our reception would be like!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Medical school demanded so much of my time that I had to turn many details over to my mom. I would try to touch base with my mom as much as I could to help with the decisions. She was great about keeping me informed, showing me photos and letting me select the details that were most important to me.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Using an initial budget and shifting more money into things that were important to me and taking away from things we felt we could live without helped us keep our budget in line while not sacrificing the items we really wanted.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? If you can afford the help of a wedding planner, it proves to be invaluable. If your budget will not allow a planner, ask a friend to assist at least on the day of with all the details so you will not have to worry about anything.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? The most fun detail that we came up with was our signature cocktail. It was a framed sign reading “Doctors’ Orders”: Bride’s Signature Cocktail, the “Painkiller,” and Groom’s Signature Cocktail, the “Transfusion,” with recipes included. We thought this was a fun, unique idea since we are both becoming doctors. I loved our flowers at the wedding as well. We used lots of greenery, orchid, and blush peony garlands around the iron gates and around the doors to the entrance of the il Mercato, which made such a beautiful statement. The inside chandeliers were draped in greenery with hanging orchids that added such a beautiful touch. I also adored the use of various sized floating candles in the fireplace and on the tables. I just thought everything was gorgeous!

Photographer: Lance Nicoll | Videographer: Take Two Video Pro | Planner: Ruby and Pearl | Venue: Il Mercato | Florist: Poppy and Mint Floral Company | Wedding Cake: Melissa’s Fine Pastries | Caterer: Joel Catering and Special Events | Rentals: Lovegood Rentals and Luminous Events | Lighting: Luminous Events | Ceremony Music: New Orleans String Quartet | Band: Musical Fantasy via Music Garden | Calligraphy: Becky Hopkins | Paper Products: Fresh Ink | Bride’s Gown: Style 9660 by Alvina Valenta | Bridal Salon: Willow Bride | Bride’s Veil: Ariel Jennifer Taub | Hair Stylist: Chuck Kelly (Bride) and Flawless Bride (Bridesmaids) | Makeup Artist: Melissa Vaccaro | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sora” and “Sheridan” in Fawn by Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals reply

    Thank you for featuring this beautiful wedding filled with love and amazing wedding vendors. Congrats, Laura and Caleb!

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Georgia bride Kimberly shares her peach-filled wedding at Vinewood Plantation!

Between meeting her husband while standing in line for brunch (it was love at first sight!) to her love of all things peachy, I’m fairly confident that Kimberly and I would be fast friends. Aside from our similarities, her words about exchanging vows with her husband transported me right back to my own wedding day feelings. “We looked into each other’s eyes and for a moment,” she says, “it felt like nobody else was there. At the same time, it was so meaningful to declare how we would love each other in front of our family and friends!”

Kimberly admitted to not having looked at any wedding inspiration until after getting engaged (when she promptly ordered every back issue of Southern Weddings!), and it’s so clear that every detail and decision she and Peter made came from a place of love and intention… which makes my SW-mission-filled heart beam with joy.

Kimberly, let us know if you have any extra peach wedding cake or are willing to share that bourbon peach sweet tea punch recipe :) Thank you to Rustic White for sharing this sweet day!

I surprisingly found my dress the one time I went dress shopping alone! I visited almost every bridal boutique in the DC area over the summer, and I had brought someone with me for every one. Every time, there was a dress that someone else thought was the one, but I never felt like it was quite right. When I tried on my Modern Trousseau dress, I knew I had found the one! It was so special to get in my dress for the first time on my wedding day when no one but me had ever seen it.!

I wanted to get married in my Georgia hometown because I think there is something so meaningful about returning to your home to begin your journey into your new life as a married couple. It reminds you of your roots and all of the lessons you’ve learned that you carry into your marriage. Since Peter and I are not from the same place, we wanted to find a venue that reflected both of our pasts. Vinewood was such a beautiful setting for a wedding and Peter grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, so having a barn wedding in my hometown felt like the best way to honor both of our childhoods.

Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, we did do a first look and I’m so glad we did! Peter and I weren’t sure about it at first because we thought it was a little too non-traditional, but we decided on a first look because it would give us more time with each other and with our family and friends – and because I was really afraid I would cry if I saw Peter for the first time during the ceremony!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? One of my favorite details was the cross we had a cross built for our ceremony altar. Peter and I originally wanted to have our wedding in the church, but we were so amazed by the beauty of Vinewood that we decided to create a church atmosphere outside instead. Now the cross is in our home as a reminder of our wedding and God’s presence in our marriage.

My other favorite detail is that my grandmama let me wear the promise ring my granddaddy gave her when they were teenagers. It’s a very dainty golden ring with a little diamond in it – my granddaddy borrowed the money to buy it from the cook at the boys’ school he attended because he knew my grandmama was the girl for him. My grandparents’ marriage is the model I aspire to in my own marriage with Peter and I was so thankful to have that first promise they made to each other with me during the ceremony.

What was Southern about your wedding? Since Peter’s family is from Wisconsin, I wanted to introduce them to the South and show them some good Southern hospitality. We did this in so many ways throughout the day, from inviting participation from our congregation of guests during the ceremony, to sitting family style at the reception so we could all feel like we were at a big family dinner together, to spending quality time with each of our guests.

The most fun Southern thing about our wedding was our Georgia peach theme — it was so fun coming up with all of the little ways we could incorporate it throughout the day! During our cocktail hour, we served a bourbon and peach sweet tea punch created by our wedding planner, who turned out to be an expert mixologist. We used fresh peaches in our decor. Since Peter and I are both lawyers, we had a set of scales of justice on display that was filled with flowers and peaches. During the reception, we served a menu of Southern food that my mama and grandmama created, including brandied peaches with goat cheese. And for dessert, we even had a peach wedding cake!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Believe it or not, before getting engaged I hadn’t looked at any wedding inspiration, so right after Peter proposed, I ordered every issue of Southern Weddings Magazine and dove right into planning! We read all of the magazines together and it was so fun to start a project with my now husband.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had a peach wedding cake with cream cheese icing! We had a lot of guests from out of state, so the peach theme was really fun for them. And I’m happy to say that the cake was a huge hit – we were lucky the top wasn’t eaten, too!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Peter and I met a little over two years ago while waiting in line for a popular brunch spot in Washington, DC and have been inseparable ever since – it was love at first sight!
Tell us all about the proposal! Peter and I were visiting my family’s lake house in Alabama for Memorial Day weekend. The lake house was a really special place to my family and me and I had told Peter lots of stories from my childhood there, so he knew how much being there meant to me. Shortly before the trip, my father sold the house to move to the beach in Florida since he wanted to retire where he grew up. So Memorial Day weekend was going to be our last weekend together at the lake house. On the last day of the trip, Peter woke me up early in the morning before anyone else was awake and asked me if I’d like to go on a walk around the lake. We walked down to the water and sat down next to each other in a little clearing by the edge of the lake. Peter held my hands, looked into my eyes, and told me that he knew how special the lake was to me and that he wanted to give me one final really good memory before I left for the last time. Then he said “Marry me, Miss Huey” and pulled out the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen. I was so happy I felt like I was in a dream and I asked him, “Is this really happening?” And then of course I said yes! Peter couldn’t have given me a better memory than saying yes to spending the rest of my life with my love and best friend!
When did y’all get married? May 19, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? Have any special readings, traditions, or participants? Tell us! We had nine members of the congregation stand and give the Prayers of the People asking for blessings in our marriage and our future together. Our three siblings gave the readings and were members of the wedding party. Having so many family members and friends participate in the ceremony was such a strong testament to the work God has done in our lives building a community of support for us as we embark on the journey of marriage! Peter and I wanted very traditional wedding vows, so we took the language from an old Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. We loved that we were making the same vows to each other as our ancestors had done in the past.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of our favorite things to do together is seeing live music. We fell in love going to concerts together, so during the reception we played songs from many of the artists we had seen. We had an amazing DJ who did such a good job of incorporating all of the different types of music we like into the reception. People were dancing all night! We decided to do our first dance to “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss because it was a song we both loved before we knew each other and perfectly said how we felt about each other.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Since we live in Washington, DC, we had to plan the wedding from a distance, which could be tricky at times. Luckily my sister, who was also my maid of honor, lives near Vinewood Plantation and helped with a lot of details. We also had an amazing wedding planner who did a ton of work for us and was really helpful! She helped us find all of our vendors and could go meet with them so we didn’t have to make as many trips!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There was a couple getting married at the same venue the next day! We shared some of our rental items, like fans and chandeliers, and it really saved us a lot! Adding one more day to a rental often costs very little.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? The most memorable moment was when Peter and I exchanged our vows. We looked into each other’s eyes and for a moment, it felt like nobody else was there. At the same time, it was so meaningful to declare how we would love each other in front of our family and friends!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are so many little details that go into planning a wedding, and as you get closer to the date, it can feel like a lot of work, especially if you have a full-time job. Fortunately, my mother and my wedding planner were so helpful and I was able to rely on them to take care of all the things I couldn’t do myself. Remember that your loved ones want to make the day amazing too, and they’re always happy to help!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Peter’s and my wedding was the very best day of our lives and we are so happy to share it with y’all!

Photographer: Rustic White Photography | Planner: Southern Flair Events | Venue: Vinewood Plantation | Florist: The Funky Shack | Wedding Cake: Cutie Pies and Cakery | Caterer: Tulla White Cuisine and Catering | Rentals: Crush Event Rentals | DJ: Brian Sires via Amp’d Entertainment | Special Details: Southern Vintage | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: “Katie” by Modern Trousseau | Hair and Makeup: Jaime Marsau Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Pixie Wedding Websites reply

    Love the pink blush bridesmaids dresses, so pretty!

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Bride Louise shares how she and her groom Christopher planned their Boca Bay Pass Club wedding, together!

Please meet today’s couple, Louise and Christopher! That’s right, I said couple. While we traditionally spend a bit more time focused on the bride, today we are following Louise and Christopher’s lead and focusing on the two of them together. I love how our newlyweds’ “same team” approach not only influences how they do life together in marriage, but how they tackled wedding planning, too. “Our advice would be to plan it as a couple!” Louise says. “If both the bride and groom can work together to plan their vision, then the actual wedding day feels like all of your mutual hard work paid off.” Keep reading for a few of the sweet ways they stay unified while preparing for their big day!

Big SW hugs to Hunter Ryan for sharing this sweet day!

My mom, sister, and best friend came to New York City to help me with my wedding dress shopping. Our first appointment was at Kleinfeld’s and by the third dress I tried on, I knew it was “the one.” I felt obligated to visit all the other wedding dress stores that weekend, but after Kleinfeld’s we all went to Eataly’s rooftop and ordered champagne to celebrate because I knew I found the perfect dress!

I think one of the most important goals for our wedding was to feel like we truly engaged and celebrated with our guests. By having a first look, it allowed us to have more time to see our guests and to show them how grateful we were that they traveled so far to support us. Seeing each other before the ceremony also allowed us to relax and have more fun throughout the rest of the day!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My grandmother plays the organ for her church and my mother was also very involved with her church and choir growing up, so I relied on both of their help to choose the ceremony music. In particular, my grandmother requested that we play “Chanson de Matin” by Sir Edward Elgar during the prelude and my mother suggested we have a live trumpeter play “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke during the bridal procession. Overall, we wanted the music for our ceremony and reception to feel upbeat and joyful, including our first dance song “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor!

Before our first look and the ceremony, Chris and I individually read letters that we wrote to one another. I’ve always been a big fan of writing letters and I think this method of sharing our vows privately felt very special to us. During the ceremony, it was meaningful to hear Chris’s favorite Bible verse read out loud (Proverbs 3:5-6). Overall, I think my favorite part of the whole ceremony was holding Chris’s hands and looking him in the eyes when we said our wedding vows. I’ll never forget how genuinely happy I felt at that moment.

What was Southern about your wedding? Chris and I both went to Southern schools (Vanderbilt and Elon) and although we now live in the North, we wanted to incorporate a lot of Southern charm at our wedding! For example, we included a family legacy table with portraits of our parents and grandparents. We also hung a bottle of bourbon with our wedding date from the Bayly’s house porch (we improvised from “burying the bourbon”) to prevent any rain. (And it worked!) Lastly, Chris and I went to college where it is tradition to paint a cooler and fill it with beer for your date before a themed date weekend. Chris and I designed each other’s coolers to reflect our personalities and used an amazing painter from Etsy (Kelsey Schild) who crafted the coolers for us. During our reception, we placed them next to our bar lounges for anyone who wanted to grab a casual beer and they were a big hit!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I love details at weddings because I feel like that’s when you truly get a sense of the couple’s personality. I wanted our guests to walk away from our wedding weekend saying something like, “that wedding totally felt like Lou and Chris.” So I would say one of my favorite details was our monogrammed crest that was sprinkled throughout our wedding (i.e. our ceremony programs, welcome bags, menus, bar lounges, etc). Our crest had unique little personal symbols including running shoes (for me), golf clubs (for Chris), and an apple (to represent NYC). I also loved how we decorated our bridal party trolley with fun wedding decor. Lastly, my favorite detail was our “Same Team” sign that was placed on the back of our chairs during the reception.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Chris’s parents live in Boca Grande, Florida and introduced us to the Boca Grande Lighthouse Methodist Church and the Boca Bay Pass Club many years ago. Both the ceremony and reception venues have always felt very intimate and special to us. The island of Boca Grande has a big place in our hearts because it’s where we often visit Chris’s family and it feels like our secret vacation spot. By having our wedding at these two venues, we felt like our friends and families could get a better sense of how meaningful this place is to us.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? I don’t want to be one of those brides who says “EVERYTHING!” but from start to finish, I truly felt like it was the most magical, unforgettable experience of my life. Some of the most memorable moments include: seeing Chris for the first time on Banyan Street, walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chris smiling and waiting for me, celebrating and dancing with our bridal party during the trolley ride to the reception, taking pictures on the beach with our amazing photographers, and not leaving the dance floor the entire night with all of our best friends and family.

And don’t miss Louise + Chris’s highlights film by Current Films!

The Wedding of || CHRIS + LOUISE || The Boca Bay Pass Club from Current Films on Vimeo.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Our love story is that we have always been – and will always be – on each other’s “same team.”
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris proposed when we were in St. Lucia for vacation before the Christmas holiday. On the morning Chris proposed, we were laying out and relaxing on a beach that was located in a remote, secluded cove area. Chris went snorkeling and when he came out of the water, I was lounging on a beach chair at the time. Chris knelt down and told me to close my eyes because he said he had found a pretty shell for me. When I opened my eyes, in place of a shell, Chris handed me a beautiful ring instead. There was a photographer in the background and a waiter ready with champagne on the beach – the whole experience was magical and unforgettable.
When did y’all get married? May 6, 2017!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? about 160 guests total
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? At every wedding we attend, Chris and I always make it a mission to take a break from the dance floor and taste the wedding cake. We both have a not-so-secret sweet tooth, so having a wedding cake was a must for us! One of our favorite drinks at Boca Grande is called the “hummer” (basically an adult milkshake) from the Pink Elephant restaurant in town. So we paired our wedding cake with mini “hummers” that were passed around the dance floor. We can’t forget to mention our favorite dessert, which was Mrs. Bayly’s famous chocolate chip cookies that were handed to our guests at the end of the evening.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? We were engaged for about a year and a half, so I felt like I really had time to plan out everything without feeling rushed. Chris and I wanted our wedding to feel like a weekend-long vacation (the advantage of having it in Florida!) so we planned activities starting with our Thursday night “Burgers and Beers” at the Bayly’s house and ended with a relaxed Sunday brunch. My favorite thing about wedding planning was going through the process with Chris. Oftentimes the bride and her family take charge of the majority of planning, but we wanted our wedding to reflect both of us (and both of our families). Therefore, we really shared the responsibilities and assigned each other different wedding tasks – Chris took care of the big vendors and I focused on the flowers and decor. Also, I could not have planned anything without my incredible wedding planners. Nicole Kaney Productions (NKP) Team helped me through every step of the way and I truly don’t think I could have done it without them!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? I think the hardest part was that we were basically planning a destination wedding. We live in New York City and Boca Grande is a relatively quaint island that is over an hour or two away from the closest airport in Florida. Initially, the start to our wedding planning felt intimidating because we didn’t really have any “word of mouth” vendor recommendations. We relied a lot on our wedding planners from Nicole Kaney Productions (NKP) to help us find vendors who really captured our personalities. The NKP Team was an incredible sense of support for us and really connected us to some of the most amazing vendors we could have ever asked for!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Before Chris and I even started to plan our wedding, we created a detailed Excel spreadsheet that had our estimated budget (including different tiers!) on every projected vendor and decor cost. Agreeing on this budget beforehand was really important for us because it allowed us to stay within a cost range for every vendor, or else it’s super easy to get carried away. We selected only a few big things to rent such as the tablecloths, chairs, and chargers, and then we utilized the Pass Club for everything else (tableware, glasses, food, drinks, etc.) to cut costs. It’s also easy to spend a lot of money on flower arrangements so we stuck to a less expensive flower (thank goodness hydrangeas are my favorite!) and used a lot of greenery to reduce costs. We also alternated between high floral arrangements and low floral arrangements on the tables. Lastly, I’m a huge fan of stringed lights and candles which are not expensive to rent. So rather than spending more money on decorations, we used a lot of hanging lights in the tent and candles everywhere to make it feel more intimate and romantic.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Our advice would be to plan it as a couple! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the minor details and the stress of pleasing two families and all of your guests, but at the end of the day planning a wedding is all about what makes you both happy. If both the bride and groom can work together to plan their vision, then the actual wedding day feels like all of your mutual hard work paid off. Also, give yourself some time to be an engaged couple without always worrying about the wedding logistics. Chris and I would joke that we had “no wedding Wednesdays” where we would have dinner and talk about everything but the wedding to give ourselves a break. Lastly, I recommend choosing vendors who are fun, supportive, and take time to get to know you as a couple. All of our vendors were absolutely incredible and helped us feel like we could relax and have a blast on our wedding day!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? We had a smaller rehearsal dinner (just our bridal party and immediate family) at the Boca Grande Club and then hosted a welcome party where we invited all of our guests for cocktails and food. Having a welcome party allowed us to mingle with all of our guests in a more relaxed setting which took off some of the pressure to see everyone on the actual day of our wedding. It also created a more fun kick-off weekend vibe for all of our guests to get excited for the next day!

Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo | Videographer: Current Films | Planner: NK Productions | Ceremony Venue: Boca Grande Lighthouse Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Boca Bay Pass Club | Florist: Becca Creighton of Flowers by Fudgie | Wedding Cake: Cakes by Ron | Rentals: Linens By The Sea and MMD Events | Lighting: U.S. Tent Rental | Band: The Royals via East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: Simply Jessica Marie | Paper Products: A+P Designs | Save the Date Design: LB McKelvy Designs | Save the Date Printing: 5 Thirteen Designs | Bride’s Gown: Pnina Tornai | Bride’s Veil and Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: James Griffith Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: The Dessy Group from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Attire: Ludlow Suit by J. Crew | Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party Venue: Boca Grande Club | Bridal Brunch and Suite: Gasparilla Inn and Club | Transportation: SRQ Trolley | Decorated Coolers: Lavish Lettering

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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