A Garden Wedding in Winter? Oh Yes They Did.
May 23, 2016
Classic WeddingsBackyardReligious Institution
We typically associate garden weddings with springtime. But if you're lucky enough to live in Florida, like this Bride and Groom, you can have a garden wedding any time of year. It simply takes a vision and vendors like Premier Party RentalsConfetti EventsA+P Design Co., and Showorks Events, and an incredible photographer to capture it all, like K and K Photography. Get inspired in The Vault!
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From The Bride...Our wedding weekend was unequivocally the best time Chris or I have ever had. And it truly was a weekend of revelry -- we celebrated New Year's Eve with our wedding party, followed by a wonderful New Year's Day rehearsal dinner with our families and out-of-town guests, crowned by our wedding day itself. So, my advice to other brides is to prioritize the fun for your guests, and most importantly, to let yourself enjoy that fun as well!

We were married in my sweet hometown, Bartow, FL at my family's church, and held our reception at a private residence owned by family friends. The gorgeous plantation-style home spoke for itself and we are so grateful for the unique opportunity to have held the reception there!

Our fabulous team of vendors carried out our vision for the day flawlessly. We dreamed of a romantic, organic winter garden wedding represented by a spectrum of jewel tones -- amethyst, emerald, wine, and gold. These colors were infused throughout the wedding, included in our linens, paper goods, florals and bridesmaids' dresses. Our cocktail hour was hosted throughout the house and outside on the patio, while the reception itself was held under a string-light lit tent in the backyard -- the beauty of Florida in winter!

Pinterest was a godsend throughout the planning process -- I pinned things I loved, from my florals to our wedding cake and groom's cake, and simply showed them to our vendors. It was my first practical use of Pinterest! As the wedding quickly approached, I became obsessed with personalization -- I wanted the day to be unmistakably ours. To that end, we wrote our own vows, made our wedding favors in my momma's kitchen, and filled the reception space with 'us'. One of our favorite personal touches was our place-themed food stations. Chris is from Oklahoma, I'm from Florida, and we met in Austin, Texas, so we had three food stations serving food representative of each of those places. Another favorite personal touch was quote cards that we placed on each table at the reception. Chris is an Army officer stationed in Georgia and I work in Washington, D.C., so we've spent most of the past year and a half apart and have written at least a hundred letters and cards to each other. We combed through all of them, and had our favorite quotes printed on cards for each guest table. At the last minute, we also incorporated a few DIY projects executed by Chris, like painted metal letters of our now-shared last name, a hand-drawn chalkboard with our hashtag (#happynewakers), and pine-sprig based centerpieces for the cocktail tables.

Two of the most special moments of the day were my first dance with Chris and the dance with my dad. Chris and I instantly knew which song we wanted to dance to, "If It Wasn't For Texas" by George Strait. I'll always remember two-stepping across the dance floor with him and hearing the best line of the song, "I wouldn't be standing right here right now, if it wasn't for Texas." We owe everything to the wonderful year we spent growing love in Austin, and it turned out to be a perfect choice for our first dance. Prior to the wedding, I spent an entire evening listening to finalists for the father-daughter song, crying the whole time. I chose "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor and surprised my dad with the choice. It was such a winner to him that we had to cut the dance a little short because we were crying too much!

Lastly, something, somehow, will inevitably go "wrong," so let it and revel in the story you'll always have to tell! For us, it was our favors. We chose to make fudge. For years both of my grandmothers made fudge at Christmastime to give out to family and friends, so we decided to combine the recipes and give it a shot ourselves. We must've made sixteen batches of fudge, a labor of love mostly by my mom and her best friend. The glitch was the cooling process -- the Florida winter temperatures were too warm for the fudge to set properly. So, at 11 pm Chris, our maid of honor, best man, and I packed all the fudge in the car to take to my grandparents' extra fridges to try again! The next day the fudge still hadn't quite set up, but we spent hours packaging 200 boxes of still semi-gooey fudge, laughing all the way.