What do you get when you combine a stunning bride + lover of all things New Orleans and a handsome groom with a passion for his home state of Florida? Well, lovelies, you get one downright gorgeous Fort Meyers shindig infused with New Orleans style from start to finish. A shindig, mind you, that boasts lush florals from Fort Myers Floral Express, fab DIY stylings and an entire gallery of lovely captured by Riversedge Lifestyle Photography. Join me there for all of the pretty. It’s a must-see.
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From the Bride… I fell in love with New Orleans after attending law school there pre and post Katrina. There’s something about NOLA that just gets under your skin and into your blood- the food, the music and vibrancy of the city are things I miss now that I have moved back to my home state of Florida. In fact, New Orleans is where Ryan asked me to marry him. Right in front of Saint Louis Cathedral, in the middle of a crowded Mardi Gras street. By the time we were on the plane headed home, I had the whole wedding planned- a destination wedding in my favorite city! But when I asked my soon-to-be groom if he was on board he responded, “Honey, I want you to have the wedding of your dreams but I just have one request- I want to get married in Florida. It’s where we both grew up and where we’ve both come back to start our lives. It’s important to me.” Well who can argue with that? Not a problem- I would just bring my New Orleans vision to Florida.
My mom and I discovered the White Orchid at Oasis very late in our venue hunt. Someone mentioned to me in passing “an old house on the river” that they heard was now being used for parties. My fiancé Ryan grew up in Fort Myers, so being near the river was something I knew he would love and I was hoping to find. When I finally located this beautiful, old house and stood on its wrap around back porch looking across the long lawn and into the water, I knew this was it. The house is like a blank canvas and I was armed with a list of DIY’s to fill the rooms with. I got so much inspiration from sites like Style Me Pretty. I devoured the photos of real weddings that had been in New Orleans or had that old world, antique feel that I so badly wanted my guests to experience. My DIY projects turned out to be a family affair, with loved ones from both sides pitching in. My mom found the black, wrought iron centerpieces in a clearance sale and my mother-in-law’s best friend helped design and decorate our “New Orleans dessert room”- even crafting the “Café du Monde” cart that served chicory coffee and hot, powered beignets as our specialty dessert. And what a pleasant surprise to find my groom get inspired as well when he saw how dedicated I was to detail. He researched and then made a delicious homemade blood orange vodka that we used in our signature cocktails.
On the morning of the wedding, I walked into the house to find the loveliest gift. Ryan’s two Uncles, who lived in New Orleans for 10 years before Katrina forced them to move, had stayed up all night making us each an authentic, elaborate 2nd line umbrella. I was truly touched and these are two incredible pieces of art I will forever cherish. I must say that Jamie & Jacob Catering were wonderful also at embracing my vision and making it a reality. Their chef even made a crawfish tasso cheesecake recipe from my favorite New Orleans restaurant as an appetizer! Of course we had to finish the night with my favorite memory and a New Orleans essential made a reality by Mark Zauss and the Z Street Band- the 2nd line parade around the property including all the guests.
Wedding Photography: Troy Wells, Riversedge Lifestyle Photography | Ceremony Venue: Blessed Pope John XXIII Catholic Church | Reception Venue: The White Orchid at Oasis | Event Design + Planning: Bride | Floral Design: Fort Myers Floral Express | Catering: Jamie and Jacob Catering, |Wedding Coordinator: Leslie DiPlacido | Makeup: Shannon Van Horn with Lasting Luxe | Wedding Dress: Sottero and Midgley “Clarice” | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: J.Crew | Cake: Publix Bakery | Hair: Ben Thigpen | Band: Mark Zauss and the Z Street Band
Badgley Mischka and J.Crew are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.
This romantic couple proves that it’s never too late to get amazing images of you and your hubby. Nearly three years after their wedding this couple hit the road and met up with Hunter Ryan Photo for a styled e-session and wedding photo re-do and the results are a fabulous. Think Ivy league meets Southwest Florida with a traditional color palette of red, white and blue. See it all right here!
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From Hunter Ryan Photo… When Joel and Kristen contacted us about shooting and styling their engagement photos, as well as shooting an inspired wedding — we were so excited! They have actually been married for three years and never had swoon-worthy photos taken of them, so they were ready for an amazing “do-over.” They came all the way down from North Carolina to sunny Fort Myers, Florida, for the shoots, and we wanted to make sure they were blown away by their “new” wedding photos. We enlisted the help of Kehrin Hassan of JetSetWed to style every last detail. From the minute Kehrin saw Joel’s red hair, she envisioned a Tommy Hilfiger-esque shoot. So it all started with Joel’s red hair and developed into an Ivy League meets Southwest Florida styled shoot combo.
We wanted to keep the color palette the same for both the engagement and wedding photos. To keep with the Hilfiger theme, we chose rich red, navy and earth tones with some pops of silver glitz and fun for the bridal shoot. The engagement shoot started at sunrise with a theme of traveling together through the beautiful Florida woods for a lazy day by the Orange River. The setting was gorgeous — oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, paths of tall grass and an old dock to snuggle up along. Vintage suitcases, a collection of vintage books, an old hunting rifle, a few canoes and their dog, Sadie, rounded out their sweet riverside engagement.
Their sunset-inspired bridal shoot was nothing short of magical. We love how they even did a “first look” with one another. It was just really sweet to see how blown away Joel was by his beautiful bride of three years. She’d gotten dolled up all afternoon, and when he first saw her, his smile said a thousand words. What really warmed our hearts the most was just how happy they were with all the doting over them that they really “got into” the shoot and it totally showed in their images. The inspiration for their shoot piggybacked off of their engagement theme. We took the Ivy League theme and gave it a socialite wedding twist. The setup was simple — a backdrop of beautiful mossy oaks. A chic sweetheart table featured cream-colored, vintage highback chairs and an elegant tablescape with vintage goblets and a silver deer’s head adorned with florals and tiny red berries. Their cake was elegant and simple in white with a small pop of color and a little whimsy from an antler. It was such a blessing to work with Joel and Kristen. To give a couple new, beautiful images where they just shine from the inside out makes us smile.
Photography: Hunter Ryan Photo / Engagement Location: Along the Orange River in Horse Creek Estates in Fort Myers, Florida / Reception Location: A Lakeside Field in Horse Creek Estates in Fort Myers, Florida / Event Design, Styling + Planning: Kehrin Hassan of Jet Set Wed / Floral Design: Sue Bain of Signature Florals / Rentals: Sweet Southern Charm / Wedding Dress + Shoes: Vintage / Hair + Makeup: Carol Heitz of Salon International
My favorite kind of wedding is one deeply rooted in tradition. Where the details are not only stop-in-your-tracks gorgeous, but they also have a story behind them. And this Sanibel Island wedding at Traders Cafe & Store from Set Free Photography did just that. From the “roots & wings” theme and the quilt guest book to bride’s veil which incorporated pieces of fabric from both her aunt and sister’s veils, this beautiful celebration just may pull a bit at your heartstrings. See the rest right here.
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From Set Free Photography… Melissa and Andrew are a Tampa-based couple who were married on Sanibel Island in Florida. They chose the theme “Roots & Wings,” symbolized by birds and family trees throughout their decor, letter press invitations, save-the-dates and cake topper. Deep family relationships were highlighted throughout the wedding by family trees and portraits displayed throughout the reception, and guests were asked to write a note to the bride and groom on fabric strips that will be made into a quilt. The church in which Andrew and Melissa were married was long attended by Melissa’s grandmother, who passed away only months before the wedding. It gave her great joy to know that Melissa and Andrew would stand on a familiar altar and pledge their lives to one another. Andrew and Melissa opted to donate to the American Cancer Society in lieu of party favors, and they also kept their wedding as “green” as possible with attention and care to not waste or misuse local resources. The “M” on Melissa’s bouquet was from her grandmother, and Melissa’s veil was fashioned using lace from her aunt’s wedding veil, as well as tulle from her sister’s veil. Melissa’s wedding band belonged to Orlaida Salce, mother of the groom, and Andrew’s wedding band belonged to John Ariss, father of the bride.
Wedding Photography: Set Free Photography / Ceremony: St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Sanibel, Florida / Reception: Traders Cafe & Store in Sanibel, Florida / Wedding Planning: Along Came Stephanie / Floral Design: Bonita Blooms Floral Shop / Wedding Invitations: Lucky Luxe Couture Correspondence / Calligraphy: Kirby Wilson / Wedding Cake: The Bubble Room / Band: The Derek Trenholm Band / Linens: Connie Duglin Specialty Linen & Chair Cover Rental / Trolley Service: Adventures in Paradise / Wedding Dress: J.Crew / Hair + Makeup: The Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Artist Group / Bridesmaid’s Gifts: BCBG / Men’s Tuxedos: Tommy Hilfiger
J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.