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Moody Secret Garden Wedding Inspiration

Call it the peak foliage, or the crisp cool smells of autumn, but I’m fully embracing this cozy, moody season. Rich hues and edgy color combos are calling my name. The pretty at hand? It fits all that criteria and more. Snug vintage rentals from The Salvage Snob, check. Black taper candles and green and gold accents, check. Delightful treats from Cloud 9 Bakery, check. Loads of greenery and florals from Julia Rohde Designs, check. Gianny Campos made my fall dream a reality with this gallery in THE VAULT.


From Cloud 9 Bakery“I love you as the plant that never blooms, but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers…” -Pablo Neruda

This quote, along with the rest of this poem, has been a long favorite of mine and my husband’s since we met in sophomore english when we were 15. Poetry and art about love mimicking nature and its beauty has always been so romantic and beautiful to me. It’s this constant inspiration that has propelled me in the design style I’ve always been fond of; landing me somewhere in the romantic, natural and ethereal style with a little dash of gold.

When we got married (back in January of 2007), we absolutely knew for sure that we didn’t want a ballroom wedding. It wasn’t us at all, but that’s all there was! We wanted the lushness of South Florida’s botanicals and nature to be the romantic back drop. This was long before pinterest, and all the weddings I saw in magazines just seemed to be blinged out, stiff and tight, and just not who we were as a couple. Despite that, we did what we could to bring our vision to life, and while everyone has always told us that our wedding was one of the most beautiful they had been to, there were still aspects of it that years later, I still wish had been different. I wish I had used my favorite color of green for the bridesmaids instead of listening to my crazy aunt telling me “it would look too much like christmas” with the deep red and cream florals we were using. I wish I chose the lace dress I really wanted but was forced into buying the dupioni silk one that I liked but didn’t LOVE because of eager sales women making me think I had run out of time (in July). So I always knew I would keep the botanical outdoors, and incorporate the greens, the natural white florals of varying varieties, natural materials and accents of gold. So you could say that the initial concept of this shoot was our wedding do-over, if you will.

I had also been inspired by a location I do a lot of work at that’s a highly sought-after wedding venue down here in Miami, Villa Woodbine, Bill Hansen Catering’s headquarters and exclusive venue. After doing my fair share of weddings there this year, it became obvious to me that this would be the perfect setting for what I was envisioning. Between the coral rock walls and steps that looked as though they were carved out by nature, the lawn filled with various shades of abundant greenery, the wrought-iron gates, the pergola patio surrounded by tropical plants, and peaceful wall fountain that seemed to almost be forgotten about other than the vines that were growing over it, it truly was the perfect setting.

Since I’m the baker, I started building a cake design in my head. I love the look of frilly florals, and I’m a real big fan of flower walls so I knew I wanted to do something that emulated that style, but wasn’t as excessive. I’ve never been into flashy things, and I strongly believe a design should evoke a feeling more than being so literal, which isn’t always easy to accomplish. I finally came up with a bottom tier that was filled with white sugar flowers, and kept the top tiers lightly textured buttercream to complement the other natural elements that would be present. I also did a two tier “barely naked” cake which I think looks so organic and natural, along with a dessert spread of mini key lime pies and bundt cakes, meringues, and rum balls.

Who did I choose for this shoot and why? Well, lucky for me, I work with some pretty amazing people here in South Florida. Gianny Campos Photography is still one of the few photographers that still uses film, and her work is just gorgeous. Her and I very much see things from the same page, and the ideas we bring to each other always enhances the other’s. I knew she’d not only be on board but bring ideas to the table that otherwise would not have been thought of. You would never know there was a giant tent set up for summer rain showers at the site where this shoot took place. Her ability to play with different angles to get the shot and dodge background pollution is unmatched.

Julia Rohde Designs’ florals are like poetry to me. Her “garden-picked” style I knew was perfect for this concept, and she had come up with an amazing idea for a hanging piece of vines, peonies and garden roses that I was so excited to see come to fruition. Needless to say, I was blown away the day of the shoot when I arrived on site and saw all the blooms (peonies that were literally the size of our heads!) and arrangements she had put together. Julia also wanted to debut her new line of calligraphy products, which were absolutely gorgeous. We decided on a black paper with gold lettering to give this shoot, while wild and natural, an accessible classic and elegant style as well. Her invitations and ribbon place cards could not have turned out more lovely.

Yvette of The Salvage Snob has quite an array of vintage pieces that I knew would be perfect for this shoot. After perusing through her showroom, our brains starting churning and that’s when Julia pointed out Yvette’s green couch. We all knew immediately it would be the perfect statement piece and green became a more leading star in the color scheme. Yvette was also incredible with her styling for the day of the shoot. Sometimes something in theory just doesn’t quite work out how you imagined it to, but Yvette had a bag full of tricks (and extra pieces!) to achieve a scene that was even more becoming than our initial intention.

Make Up by Hiara was our first thought for make up. She does absolutely incredible work, making the faces she touches look as if they’re simply just glowing. We wanted an au naturale make up look for our model, and she did her hair in almost a wild style, wanting to bring a little edge to balance out the other soft details. Her work was flawless on our model, Marisol, who was our saving grace at the last minute when our other models bailed out 2 days before the shoot! Our beautiful dress was lent to us by BHLDN. A gorgeous ivory lace and tulle dress with a nude underlay, and a floral motif bodice. We could not have been more thrilled with how it looked set against our garden scenes at the Villa.

Photography: Gianny Campos Photography | Floral Design: Julia Rohde Designs | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Cloud 9 Bakery | Catering: Bill Hansen Catering | Makeup: Makeup By Hiara | Calligraphy: Julia Rohde Designs | Venue: Villa Woodbine | Rentals: The Salvage Snob

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Fall Harvest Sangria Wedding Inspiration

Settle in sweethearts, because you’re about to experience layers upon layers of handcrafted perfection. Straight from the artistic lens of Ais Portraits, this inspo is the type of beauty that is sure to delight (and I’m not just talking about that ah-mazing sangria recipe)! It’s the type of perfection that demands a dedication to detail, and we’ve got them all waiting for you in THE VAULT!

From Ais PortraitsCypress Grove Estate House is pure Southern perfection wrapped up in a venue and made the perfect place to host a Fall Harvest inspired shoot. We chose a deep wine and berry color palette to remind us of all the beauty Fall has to offer: the change of colors, the harvest, and the hint of chill in the air.

Our bride wore an intricate and unique gown created by Eve of Milady with lace underlay and tulle panels. Her fine headpiece by Fabiola Capo Bridal Millinery adorned her hair with luxurious Swarovski crystals and vintage Venetian glass beads, finished with silk tassels. We chose a romantic and dreamy look for our bride’s hair and makeup to accentuate the softness of the color palette.

The stationary by Tassel and Trim Shop was done in gold script on black invitations, menus, and place cards for guests. Fleur Lumiere made a magical bouquet and table arrangements with a sea of anemone, David Austin garden roses, Jasmine, and more. The farm table provided and styled by RW Events was a focal point for inspiration for the shoot. It’s easy to get swept away by the beauty of the purples and wine colors of the tablescapes. The marble fireplace mantle held a garland filled with garden roses. The gorgeous cake by La Petit Cakes brought a lightness to the heavy colors of the session with cream colored icing and fresh flowers. To bring the whole autumnal theme together, we created a signature drink, Fall Harvest Sangria.

The recipe is:

1 bottle Malbec red wine
12 ounces Apple Juice
8 ounces black grapes
8 ounces red raspberries
4 sliced black plums
100 milliliters brandy
8 ounces blackberries
4 ounces of strawberries
4 ounces of blueberries

Combine all ingredients. Let soak overnight.

To give inspiration to all of the vendors before putting everything together, we came up with a story behind the girl at the fireplace:

James Worthington was not the type to be spontaneous, but when he saw Amelia Summers across the room in a cafe in Budapest, he knew he had to meet her. Sitting in a quiet corner engrossed in her favorite book, Amelia was surprised when someone asked to sit beside her. She was even more surprised to find herself talking to him for hours bonding over their love of French literature, traveling, and espresso. Amelia and James fell into a rhythm of meeting every day for coffee in cafe; over the months, their friendship turned into something more until, on a chilly day in October, James Worthington proposed to Amelia. They planned an intimate affair with their time spent in Budapest in mind coupled with her Southern heritage. She wanted to incorporate sayings from her favorite poets and he wanted to focus on the love between them. With the help of friends and family they gathered fruits and berries to naturally decorate their wedding space. Their love was a perfect union of Southern warmth and European style.

See our ultimate sangria recipe on SMP Living!

Photography: Ais Portraits | Event Styling: RW Events | Floral Design: Fleur & Lumiere | Wedding Dress: Eve Of Milady | Stationery: Tassel And Trim Shop | Hair And Makeup: Tracie Cervero Makeup And Hair | Venue: Cypress Grove Estate House | Bridal Boutique: Something New Bridal Boutique | Headpiece & Silk Veil: Fabiola Capo Bridal Millinery | Model: Allison Coney | Rentals: RW Events | Rentals: A Chair Affair | Ribbon: Honey Silks And Company

Intimate Garden Wedding in St. Augustine

This wedding has it all.  Lush, peach-hued florals from Jade Violet Wedding Florals, sweet details orchestrated by Coastal Celebrations and an adorable bride and groom who know everything there is to know about throwing an intimate + seriously awesome garden party. (Hint: There’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese.) Head to THE VAULT to soak in every moment captured by Still55 Photography.  It’s a must-see.


From Still55 Photography… When we first met Sara, her smile immediately lit up the room! Sara & Dan have such warm spirits, and are so thoughtful and bright, just like their wedding day. They truly admire their friends and family. The style of the wedding reflected Sara’s love for Florida and the timeless warmth of her soul. With the expertise of Lindsay at Costal Celebrations, Sara drew inspiration from the spring season at hand and the state she loved most. Thoughtful touches of mint and peach adorned the historic venue in the heart of our nation’s oldest city. The Pena-Peck House in St. Augustine Florida was the perfect place for Sara’s intimate garden affair. Gorgeous lush floral arrangements transformed the already historically tranquil courtyard into the ideal outdoor garden wedding.

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a private trolly tour of St. Augustine. Hand-crafted vintage oak whiskey barrels were placed throughout the garden as high top tables for guest to enjoy while sipping Sara and Dan’s signature cocktails. The tablescapes showcased their love for the Florida coast. Weathered lanterns were surrounded by understated arrangements that allowed guest to enjoy each other’s company from any vantage point of the table. Brimming colors, and carefully considered touches throughout her wedding welcomed guest in a way that will inspire any bride aiming for a colorful affair in the South. We can’t forget to mention the decadent dessert table! With seven cakes to try and fruity Starburst and Jolly Rancher candies, a sweet treat was absolutely irresistible.

From The Bride… From the historical sites and culture to the laid-back atmosphere of the pedestrian-only St. George Street, Dan and I love the warmth and history of St. Augustine. Both born and raised in New York, we were engaged in St. Augustine while on vacation. As soon as we began wedding planning, we knew we wanted to bring our closest family and friends back to the Old City to celebrate our marriage.

As a couple, Dan and I are low key, center-of-attention-avoiders who like to laugh and not take things so seriously. We prefer jeans and flip-flops to dresses and ties. It was important to us that we keep that sense of who we are on our big day.  So our vision was simple – an intimate day that embraced who we are as a couple and incorporated the city surrounding us. All printed materials, from the informal invitations and ceremony program fans to the menu (complete with southern staples like mac & cheese and collard greens) and craft paper placemats, were designed to give the wedding the laid-back, backyard get-together feel we were hoping to achieve.

To incorporate the City, the ceremony and reception took place in the garden of The Pena Peck House, directly on St. George Street. Guests enjoyed a trolley ride in between the ceremony and the reception where they toured the city and learned about the history. The wedding colors – peach, coral and mint – were reflective of the colors found on the old buildings throughout town and the “old Florida” feel we love about St. Augustine. Our favorite memory of the wedding was our sparkler exit onto St. George Street, where guests and random pedestrians gathered to cheer and shout well wishes as we departed on a pedi-cab.

In an effort to make the wedding reflective of our personalities, it was important to us that we vowed to love each other in our own words. We threw out traditions like a large bridal party and opted for a single Matron of Honor, Best Man and our nieces and nephew as flower girls and ring bearer. Instead of a tiered wedding cake with a formal cake cutting, we went with a number of cakes so guests could help themselves and choose their favorite flavor.

My favorite DIY element of our wedding was our seating placemats. Dan and I both work for civil engineering companies; it’s how we first met. To incorporate that important detail of our relationship into the day, Dan designed an engineering site plan “map” of St. Augustine with all of the important wedding locations as well as the tourist places we encouraged our guests to explore. We gave this map to our guests in their hotel welcome bags (tote bags printed with “Dan + Sara, Totes Gettin’ Married”) and also printed them on craft paper to use as seating placemats during the reception. It was a unique way to decorate the tables as well as incorporate the City and our relationship into the wedding.

My advice to brides-to-be is to never lose sight of who you and your fiancé are as a couple; don’t get caught up in all of the wedding traditions you think you should have. Not all couples (or brides) love to be the center of attention. Look at the reasons why you love each other and what you both feel comfortable with. Then incorporate those unique details into your planning. There are endless ways to make the day reflective of your own personalities.

See more Garden weddings in THE VAULT!

Photography: Still55 Photography | Event Planning: Coastal Celebrations | Floral Design: Jade Violet Wedding Florals | Wedding Dress: Casablanca | Cake: Publix Bakery | Bride's Shoes: Michael Kors | Catering: Purple Olive | Makeup: Amanda Hopcraft | Hair: Mon Petit Chou Boutique | Lighting: St John's Illuminations | Band: Oh No! | Officiant: Peggy LaRoche | Transportation: Ripley's St Augustine | Venue: The Peña-Peck House | Ceremony Musician: Deron Baker | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew | Pedicab: Pedicab of St Augustine

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here