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.
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