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Intimate Santa Rosa Beach Wedding

This, my friends, is an amazing wedding.  It’s simple and sweet, set against a breathtaking ocean backdrop and filled with sooo much love, it’s palpable.  In other words, it’s pure perfection, from the soft, neutral color palette to the crazy gorgeous DIY details (the Mother of the Bride is awesome) to one beautiful moment after another captured by Jennifer Blair.  See them here.

From Jennifer Blair Photography… After becoming engaged, Taylor and Chase knew they both wanted an intimate celebration with their closet friends and family. Santa Rosa Beach was a natural choice, since both their families love to vacation there. Taylor loves meaningful details and infused that love into so many aspects of their day. Taylor’s Mom and family created the stunning family style table set up on the lawn adjacent to the beach. They filled the tables with Taylor’s favorite muted colored oysters (a nod to the seaside theme), a plethora of candles and handmade arrangements. Guest signed two boat oars that they will keep in their home. Even the officiant was Taylor and Chase’s good friend and Taylor’s old soccer coach.

Their love is so natural and they were both so joyful throughout the whole day. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed two people more thrilled to be joining their lives together. Everything about their day was beautiful, simplistic and focused on their sweet family and friends.

From the Bride… When Chase and I got engaged, a dear friend of ours told us that “Your wedding is the only time, this side of heaven, that everyone you love will be in one place.” With that in mind, we knew we wanted to do a destination wedding, where selfishly, we could truly savor every second.

Growing up, my family vacationed in the Santa Rosa Beach area each year. Some of my favorite memories are on that beach and now my favorite of all! Beginning Thursday, our friends and family took over a strip of 30-A and for all the times I have seen that beach, it has never looked sweeter than it did filled with those we love most. We welcomed guests with a Low Country Shrimp Boil on Thursday, held our wedding on Friday evening and spent Saturday at the beach with our guests.

In the beginning, above all, we knew that we wanted our wedding weekend to be laid-back and full of fun. We searched high and low for a venue that offered a seaside home with a lawn. We wanted a space that felt intimate but was large enough to accommodate our guests – The Highlands House offered just that. Being that the beach and venue were both so beautiful in their own rights, we chose a neutral palette to compliment the white sand beaches and seaside vibe of our reception venue.

At our rehearsal we laughed at the very idea of it because at best we hoped that everyone would simply make it down the aisle in some way. Our wedding party was disproportionate, included 14 children and my brother-in-law stood among my bridesmaids. One of our dearest family friends married us beneath a cross built by my dad, and the flowers were flown in and arranged by mom and her best friends.

The dresses didn’t match, but were rather hand-selected with love by seven women that I simply couldn’t live without. During the ceremony and the evening, babies ran around, danced and giggled and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. In the end, the sea air did a number on my hair and the dance floor but dancing with bare feet in a soaked gown with my new husband is one of my favorite memories of the day.

The small details, likely meaningless to others, were the most treasured to us. Both University of Kentucky alums, Chase gave his groomsmen UK cufflinks and the little boys each wore belts handmade in Lexington, Kentucky. We placed a “Thank You” note at each seat and every child received a box containing a headlamp, a pencil and list of items that were hidden for them to find throughout the night. For our reception, our guests enjoyed dinner brought in from our hometown and we chose family style seating as we regard everyone in attendance as such.

It’s true what we were told, October 10, 2014 was nothing less than a little slice of heaven. The day was filled with enough love and joy to last us a lifetime. We are so incredibly blessed by the people we get to do life alongside and we wouldn’t change one thing about the first day of the rest ours.

We are forever indebted to our families and friends who worked tirelessly, our guests who traveled far and wide, and to Jennifer Blair Photography for capturing the greatest day of our lives.

Photography: Jennifer Blair Photography | Floral Design: Sams Club | Cake: Publix Bakery | Invitations: Howl Creative Co. | Bride's Shoes: Jack Rogers | Hair & Makeup: Deana Kale | Band: The Atlanta Wedding Band | Tuxes: Jos. A. Bank | Bride's Dress: Mori Lee (significantly Altered) | Flower Girl Dresses: Smockadot Kids | Little Boy's Belts: R E Fennell Co | Location: Highlands House | Rentals & Lights: Highlands House | Ring Bearer Oyster: BHDLN

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Casual Elegance in Santa Rosa Beach

Seaside, Florida never fails to charm. Maybe it’s the darling little chapel or the white picket fences holding back beautiful greenery, but it sure does go hand in hand with weddings. Case in point? This soiree planned and coordinated with a whole lotta love by Christina Gillon Events. Dotted with blooms from Myrtie Blue, each moment from W&E Photographie is waiting to be oogled in the gallery.


From W&E PhotographieSumner & Drew were married on a bright, airy day in November. Seaside, Florida is known around the world for it’s pristine beaches and charming neighborhoods. Sumner and Drew’s wedding decor fit perfect with their surroundings. The Seaside Chapel is the perfect mix of classic and modern. It’s all clean lines and white, with the structure of a historic building. They added touches of loose greenery throughout, for a simple, understated beauty. Not only was their wedding a stunning display of classic details, but the joy that overflowed throughout the day was unescapable!

Photography: W&E Photographie | Flowers: Myrtie Blue | Wedding Dress: Rosemary Gown By Lea-Ann Belter | Cake: Sweet For Sirtin | Ceremony Venue: Seaside Interfaith Chapel | Reception Venue: Ruskin Place | Catering: Townsend Catering | Make Up: Kate Norrell | Hair: Deah Hollan | Band: Fountain City Players | Transportation: A Bride's Ride | Dress Shop: The White Room | Planning/Coordination: Christina Gillon Events

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Sweet Outdoor Wedding Florida Wedding at Santa Rosa Beach

A love story that took this adorable duo from Russia to Florida and then to “I do”, this wedding is not only beautiful, but so incredibly special too. Of course, it was planned to perfection by Serene Occasions with gorgeous florals from Floral by the sea, but it’s the love in all the images from Amanda Suanne that really shines through, and how can you not love that? See even more here.


From The Bride…My husband and I met in summer of 2008 in a little city of Omaha. Both being from Russia, it took us to go across the globe to find each other. We worked together for several weeks before he finally found the courage to ask me out. Several dates later and many romantic nights, our relationship grew into something bigger than what we expected. A few years later, he proposed to me on the Skywalk at The Grand Canyon, my favorite place in the whole world. And here we are today – married and ready to write a new page in the book of our lives.

Our wedding preparation began last summer. We chose a classic combination of gray and pink and followed the concept through entire wedding including the bridal party and color of the cocktails. At first glance it seemed like an easy task, my assumptions were far from reality. Hundreds of hours were spent on trying to find the best photographer, my dream come true reception and ceremony venues as well as other routine but necessary pieces of one giant puzzle called, the wedding.

The most difficult challenge was finding the dress of my dreams made by my favorite designer – Vera Wang. Trying to fit this beautiful dress that I dreamed of ever since I was a teenager into a budget was not easy but we did it! After countless hours spent in numerous stores with my parents and friends, here I’m, in my dream dress with my incredible husband!!! The best part of the wedding – surprise song from my husband and surprise video from our friends. It was so sweet! You can see the picture below.

Photography: Amanda Suanne | Wedding Planner: Serene Occasions | Florist: Floral by the sea | Cake: Sweet for Sirten | Bride's Shoes: Salvadore Ferragamo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Vera Wang The White | Catering: Pascalli Foods | Make up: Make Me Blush | Hair: Alison Jones | DJ: Exquisit Entertainment | Bride Dress: Vera Wang | Draper Lake coastal Village: Draper Lake | Get away car: Al Timo | Groom Shoes: Hugo Boss | Groom Tux: Hugo Boss | Photographer 2: Eka Shonia

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Shabby Chic Coastal Wedding

You can go ahead and file this pretty party under “seriously awesome weddings,” because, well… it sooo is.  A laid-back, yet totally elegant affair planned to perfection by Shannon Reeves Events, it’s what happens when shabby chic details and an adorable bride and groom meet the gorgeous shores of Santa Rosa Beach.  See it all captured by Woodland Fields Photography in the full gallery.


From Shannon Reeves Events… Pretty weddings are common, as I know you must know better than anyone. Pretty is usually a given. But easy, authentic, crazy-about-you, perfect-combination-of-over-the-moon-giddiness-and-calm-contentment is a bit harder to come by. These two had all of this in spades and you can just SEE it. And their wedding was pretty, too.

Jenn got engaged just about the same time I launched Shannon Reeves Events in October 2011. She was my very first client. Together, over plenty of phone dates and giddy emails between her home in Washington D.C. and mine in Tallahassee, we set a date, snagged the prettiest wedding venue you ever did see, assembled a to-die-for vendor team and filled in plenty of pretty details for a coastal wedding in Florida.

With Ian deployed, serving on the front lines in Afghanistan during most of the planning process, Jenn – sweet as she can be – focused more on the two of them then anything else. No big Pinterest projects. No over-the-top decor or filler craziness. Instead, a stripped-down, elegant affair with pretty flowers, southern lace, sweet handwritten vows and 72 of their nearest and dearest to share them with.

Bentley’s on the Bay, located in Santa Rosa Beach, is take-your-breath-away pretty. Classic white flowers, big wooden whitewashed tables, lanterns, mercury glass and textures galore was a perfect mix.

And some sweet cake with toasts to match and a packed dance floor on the waterfront, all under cafe lights on a summer night in Florida. Pretty perfect.

At the end of the June evening, the DJ played Jenn and Ian’s first dance song again, to end the reception just like it began. Such a sweet finale! And as though we drew it up perfectly ourselves, a summer storm hit the second the song ended and the DJ said farewell. And it downpoured the entire next day! We definitely didn’t forget to count our lucky stars.

The day was packed to the brim with grateful love. Real smiles. Adoration. She’s giddy-as-can-be and he’s the picture of happiness. It was the best big day I’ve ever experienced as a planner. I hope with these photos you can see it, too.

Photography: Woodland Fields Photography | Flowers: Florals by the Sea | Bakery: Sugarlilly Sweet Shop | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid's Dresses: J.Crew | Makeup Artist: Jamie Gummere | DJ: Greg Tish, GT Entertainment | Bride's Dress: Galina | Catering and Bartending: Bentley's on the Bay | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Bentley's on the Bay | Event Planning, Design and Coordination: Shannon Reeves Events | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew | Hair Styling: Denise Davidson | Vintage and Shabby Chic Prop and Furniture Rentals: Hemstitch Vintage Rentals

Dine by Design Catering Spotlight

Happy Wedding Wednesday SMPers! I think it’s time for a little spotlight, don’t you? We have our fair share of convo about gorgeous dresses, lovely blooms and the little details that make a wedding come together. But we don’t give the wedding dinner the love it truly deserves—what do you think fuels all that late night dancing?! So, we’ve brought in one of our talented caterers, Dine by Design to let us in on some of the tips that make weddings so tasty.

SMP: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is Dine by Design?

DBD: Over seven years ago, in March of 2006, I opened Dine by Design Catering in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Ever since, we’ve been happily catering from Pensacola to St. George Island, though most of our events take place along beautiful Scenic 30A, in south Walton County. At a “certain age”, my lifelong love affair with food led me to leave a successful career in the software biz and into culinary school in New York City. After graduating from The French Culinary Institute, I spent eighteen months in Paris completing an apprenticeship at a Michelin starred restaurant, before moving to Northwest Florida and opening Dine by Design Catering.

Dine by Design is a boutique catering company, which means that we don’t expect to be all things to all people. We are chef-owned, so our food is certainly a priority, and we cook everything from scratch. We have a passion for food and believe that it should be fun! That said, we take great pride in our customer service, and receive great reviews for that as well.

SMP: Favorite part of your job?

DBD: Menu creation! Our goal is to understand a client’s specific tastes, in order to be able to put together a menu that speaks to them personally. It’s always a challenge, but a fun one, and we get it right because we listen.

SMP: How early in advance should a couple meet with a caterer?

DBD: Our market is unique.The months of April through June, and September through October are very busy for weddings in this region. If a client is planning an event during those months, I’d recommend sealing the deal with your major vendors as soon as possible. There are also specific dates that book up quickly; for example if you were interested in 10-11-12, that’s the sort of date that you’d better hop on right away. In addition, the earlier you establish a relationship with your vendors, the longer you will have to develop a rapport with them; and a great rapport will a vendor will really help you during those final, dizzying, tense days!

SMP: What are some budget friendly ways to fancy-up a wedding meal?

DBD: In general, a buffet will be less expensive than a seated meal, simply because it requires less labor. However, if you stock your buffet with beef tenderloin and pretty grouper, it could end up being more expensive! Also, if you’re a foodie, and upscale food is important to you, you might want to consider scaling down the number of guests to serve the sort of meal you want. Another choice to consider is the number of dishes you serve. A caterer never ever wants to run out of food, so the greater the variety, the more expensive a buffet will be, because there are that many more dishes to “cover”.

SMP: What percent of a wedding budget do you recommend setting aside for catering?

DBD: The average is ten percent of your total wedding budget. Naturally that depends on tastes, however, so it’s possible that food just isn’t a big deal for you (gasp!), and you might be able to get away with a little less.

SMP: Any advice for Brides & Grooms on the big day?

DBD: BREATHE! Have fun! Take it all in, so that you remember the day well after it is over. If you choose vendors that you trust, they will handle everything for you and your special day.

Catering: Dine by Design Catering