Well, that looks familiar

It’s really a strange response to be scrolling through the latest blog post on your reader and suddenly stumble upon familiar images. While reading 100 Layer Cake today I came across a series of photos from a shoot that I recognized as “home.” “Wait, I think I know that fort, yes I definitely do. Wait, is that my beach?’  Though St. Augustine may not be my official home (close enough), it was home for this beautiful beach shoot inspired by the movie Princess Bride shot by Studio222 Photography.

I never thought I’d miss that sticky coquina sand as I do right now! Check out the full post here or the photographers themselves here.

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Simplicity at its best

Yesterday I had the opportunity to work a wedding at the Ocean Reef Club, a resort community in Key Largo. I was expecting a little hotel, maybe some extra restuarants and event spaces right on the beach. What I actually found was a very large “city” of sorts. Ocean Reef is a private resort with it’s own church, supermarket, golf course, residential community, hotel, private beaches, vacation rentals, and some of the cutest pimped out golf carts I’ve ever seen (vintage cars or classic cadillac carts anyone?).

My company does a lot of events down there, almost every weekend to be exact, ranging from small and simple to grand and uber expensive. This particular event was of the former and I absolutely loved it!! Their website offers a decent look at the property in general. We set up the ceremony right on the beach.

It’s hard to see in the picture but there is a pale green aisle runner in the sand as well. The reception was also on the water:

It was a pretty smal event (about 90 ish people) so there were only a few tables, circled around a gazebo which acted as the dance floor. Cloose up of the tables:

We also decorated the gazebo columns with fabric and flowers and hung lanterns from the ceiling:

As I mentioned, this wedding was really simple and I liked the style the couple chose. They had a string ensemble with the wedding, and a steel drum band with the cocktail hour which I absolutely loved!!!! For the reception they had a latin/island band play and simple food stations set up. Here is a picture of the sushi/ice station for their cocktail hour that they had the resort do:

It was a beautiful event. The weather was perfect! (thankgod because the entire event was outside) The bride seemed super chill when we met her earlier in the day delivering her flowers. She wore a sparkly short dress, which was very cute and age appropriate (she as a bit older of a bride), and the groom and best man (there was only 1 attendant on each side) wore khakis, boat shoes, and sports jackets.

All in all the wedding was very fitting for the locale and one of my favorite events to work as of yet. And I loved the steel drum band. 🙂

Murphys Law at its best (or worst?)

As promised, the elusive recap post has finally arrived. In case you forgot – the wedding I am referring to, was an event I did at the end of July. Read part one here. Anyway, the photos have finally arrived from Sakura Photo, the wonderful photographers who captured the amazing images. The couple had their ceremony at St. John Neuman Catholic Church in Miami with the reception at Signature Gardens (which has since closed or at least will be very soon). As mentioned before they had originally planned an outdoor ceremony so ultimately it came down to bringing the garden elements indoors.

The Bride wore a Maggie Sottero gown, which surprisingly she found pretty last minute, only two months before the big day.

As evident by her suede stilettos, the colors of the wedding were anchored with this rich plum. We brought the color into numerous details, starting with the shoes.

As part of the old, new, borrowed, blue tradition, Tatiana wore the veil her oldest sister had worn at her own wedding.

It’s a little difficult to see in this image, but her younger sister and MOH wore a dark plum dress.

Tatiana added these adorable I Do rinestones to the bottom of her shoes.

A family friend loaned the white stretch limo to the couple for the entire day as a gift for their wedding. You’ll see the brides bouquet is comprised of purple cymbidium orchids, white roses and stephanotis, the flowers were carried throughout the reception to continue the flowing garden feel. MOH carried a gerbera daisy bouquet.

Orchid and tulle pew decor made by the brides grandmother.

The entire bridal party was made up of 14 small children. The youngest of which are seen here. All the girls wore matching ivory tulle dresses and ballet flats.

Each of the Junior Bridesmaids also wore plum peacock feather headbands and tulle sashes.

A manzanita tree dripping in crystals and candles was created to hold the seating chart. Each table hung from the branches above the “guest book” at the entrance to the reception.

Instead of a traditional book, guests signed wishing stones for the couple and placed them in vase, to decorate their new home.

The centerpieces were tall glass vases holding orchids and manzanitas through the center with orchid, hydrangea, and rose arrangements on top.

You can catch a glimpse of the favors in the bottom right hand side of this image. Each family was given a sapling tree to take home in representation of the tree that Joe propsed to Tatiana under. Each family was also given a mix tape from the couple, which tied in the groom’s personality as he is a DJ.

Also, it is a little difficult to see in this image, but purple ribbons were tied to the base of every cocktail glass for the toast. Since the tables were white on white the ribbons were used to add color to the table top. The purple was also carried into the menu cards, tucked into napkins on each place setting.

When it came to the memories from the evening, the couple had one request. They absolutely had to have an image similar to one they had seen in a magazine. The result was the above photograph.

In addition to the traditional champagne toast, tequila shots were tray passed through the reception for a special toast to open the dance floor for the evening. Here the couple and BM take a second round.

Similar to the junior bridesmaids purple headbands the junior groomsmen all had matching purple chuck taylors. The groom (second pair of shoes) had custom pair of converse made for the evening.

In  special ending to the night, one of the junior groomsmen had a solo karaoke moment for the crowd.

All in all, the wedding went very well. It is common knowledge that something will go wrong. This is pretty much guaranteed. For my first event however, a lot of things went wrong – and strangely enough, most of those were things that I did not have a hand in prior to the day of. In the end everything worked out fine but some of those snafoo’s included:

1. There were chairs missing when the chivaris were delivered to the reception hall

2. The favor count was off and therefore required a last minute rearrangement on the table

3. Someone had failed to inform anyone in our party that there was a baptism scheduled a mere 30 minutes before the bride was supposed to walk down the aisle. Thankfully no one noticed, but that was a rough one to hurdle.

4. the florist was missing a boutonnieres and corsage in the order

4. There was not enough cash on hand to pay for all of the required vendors the day of and resulted in some ATM runs between ceremony and reception.

oh and the biggest whoopsie of all – the marriage license was left at home. This is a big deal when it comes to catholic ceremonies by the way.

All in all – things turned out well, and the evening was beautiful I did learn a few things however.

1. candy works wonders to bribe children down an aisle (thankfully it was a great bunch of kids too)

2. you can never give someone too many reminders

3. always have a plan B, which includes keeping extra floral pins on hand

4. never do an event alone. Had I not had the help of two lovely ladies whom I completed my certification with, I don’t know what I would have done. They were lifesavors. Michelle and Ana if you are reading this – Thank you for all of your help.

Now, a month ago I had a lot more to say about the event and the recap, but looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised with the bumps and potholes. It was the first of many events and I had a blast.

Sorry for the lengthy post – but god it is good to finally get that off my chest! (and off my to-do list!)

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

This past weekend I had the opportunity to cross two things off of my “list of things to do in Miami before I leave (whenever that is)” list.

The first was to FINALLY attend Miami Spice. I have been dying to go since I moved down here (5 years) and practically begging Dan to go since we got together. For those of you not in the Miami area, Miami Spice is pretty much the equivalent of Restaurant Week in NY. For a short period of time (usually August – September) a very lengthy list of some of the best (read EXPENSIVE) restaurants in the area offer a “spice” menu. Essentially, for $22 lunch or $35 dinner, they offer the customer a three course meal which they can select from a short list of options. For someone like myself, this is a fantastic way to have the opportunity to eat at restaurants that I would never be able to afford otherwise.

Sunday, the fella and I, accompanied by one of our “date night” couples, went to Gibraltar, a fine dining restaurant on Grove Isle, the private island in Coconut Grove. The restaurant has 3 glass walls with a beautiful view of Downtown/Key Biscayne/South Beach.

Gibraltar

It. was. amazing. There are really no other words for it. We had a very late dinner so it was pretty quiet, with only a few other tables in the restaurant. The food was awesome. I had a delicious pear and walnut salad for an appetizer, a steak and potato entree that was so tender it literally melted in my mouth, and the yummiest personal sized key lime pie I have had in quite some time. Unfortunately, being the upscale restaurant that it was I didn’t feel quite comfortable taking photos of said food, but take my word for it – it looks superb. I would certainly go back in a heartbeat.

Gibraltar actually brings me to checkmark number 2:

Visit Grove Isle. So slight backstory – Grove Isle as I mentioned, is a private island situated in the bay with awesome views. It also happens to be one of the more notable wedding locations in the area (and top location for me personally, but that’s besides the point:-)) Last fall a few ladies I knew from my certification and I had planned to meet with the on-site event coordinator and tour the facilities for vendor references. Unfortunately, weather and schedules prohibited the trip so I have been chomping at the bit to get on site ever since. Grove Isle has a large hotel (of the same name) on the island which is where most of the events are located. Not only do they offer the typical hotel ballroom events, but since it is situated on the bay they have BEAUTIFUL outdoor spaces, including open air patios and pavilions. I fell in love just from the website:

As per usual, the weather was less than stellar (again – it’s my curse) so I was not able to wander through the grounds and satiate my venue appetite. I did poke my head into some ballrooms and see the main building, and everything I was able to view was stunning. Hopefully, I will get to return some time in the very near future and view Grove Isle in the daytime, with a camera, so I can share my findings. In the meantime – I will have to continue to drool and daydream.

I have a few more list checkmarks up my sleeves for the upcoming weeks so we’ll see if I can scratch any of those, stay tuned!

* All photos from the Grove Isle website