Destination: Wedding

A small backyard ceremony? A lavish country club setting? A sunset beach affair? Your wedding day should be one of the most cherished, memorable days of your life. And among all the details and planning that go into your special day, perhaps the most important (aside from who will be standing next to you at the altar, of course) is the location.

Central Floridians are fortunate enough to have a plethora of beautiful settings, both indoor and outdoor, all within a few hours drive of home. From rustic woodland barns and lush gardens to sandy white beaches and historic buildings, we have it all. And if a true destination wedding isn’t in your future, no worries. You can certainly incorporate some of the details and elements from these featured weddings to recreate the feeling and atmosphere at your own affair—even in your own backyard.


Written & Compiled By Karin Fabry Cushenbery,

MacKensie Gibson & Melissa Peterson


Photos courtesy of David Walter Banks & Kendrick Brinson, Our Labor Of Love,

The Bahamas

Less than 100 miles from the southern coast of Florida, The Bahamas was the perfect backdrop for Courtney and Brad’s nautical-inspired beach wedding. This was not your ordinary beach wedding, though. Following the morning ceremony, guests were treated to a unique breakfast featuring items like a cereal sundae bar and plenty of fresh fruit.

The shipwrecked-style décor featured plenty of blues and greens, not to mention lots of bamboo and rope. The contrast to the soft yellow flowers and greenery lining the tables was stunning. Much of the décor featured DIY projects shared between Courtney and her mom, including the chandeliers made from origami boats and lures!

To truly make their wedding an affair to remember, guests were encouraged to bring their bathing suits to change into following breakfast. And why not? Who can resist the emerald waters of The Bahamas? The afternoon and evening were filled with dancing, volleyball, swimming, bocci and plenty of other beach-style fun. And the best part? As a Central Floridian, you have a selection of beaches within an easy drive… no flying or cruise ships required!

Photos courtesy of James Linkowitz, James Linkowitz Photography,

Design/styling by Christina Nease, Celebrations At Home,

There’s something about a crisp, fall day that has the ability to make people happy. Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons, maybe it’s the upcoming holidays. Whatever it is, it works. The colors of autumn just seem to go perfectly together. And whether you’re planning a family feast, a bridal shower or a one-of-a-kind engagement party like this couple did, the decorative results are awesome.

What would a fall party be without some American classics like the candied apple and apple pie? To add an air of elegance to their party, the bride and groom got creative, using vintage picture frames as place settings. Wood crates were used to add height and interest to the centerpieces, along with plenty of texture-rich items like cinnamon sticks, burlap, pine cones, twine and even lace for a feminine touch.

Photos courtesy of Shipra Panosian, Shipra Panosian Photography,

Dover, Florida, Cross Creek Ranch

This (mostly) DIY wedding features plenty of country charm and personal touches. One of our favorites? The homemade jam favors! Beautiful and yummy. With no set wedding color to limit their creativity, Lauren and Jon opted for a spring palette with pops of brighter hues. Mission accomplished. Just take a look at the vintage quilt that adorned the favor table.

The décor in the barn was kept simple with twinkling lights, white paper lanterns and soft, gathered material, making for a very relaxed atmosphere—just what the bride and groom were hoping for.

When creating their woodsy affair, the bride and groom opted to use items normally found outside and in nature to add texture and style to their décor. Patio bistro tables with mismatched chairs adorned with simple flower arrangements added an eclectic flair to the couple’s day. Even the cake itself featured chocolate twigs to blend with the country qualities of the wedding.

Photos courtesy of Tasha Schalk, Redwall Photo,

Other services provided by Blend Beauty,; Riccardi’s Red Hots & Soda Fountain,; Kio Kreations,; RBK Creations,; Lillycakes,; La’Di Events,; Definitive Models & Talent;

Fun. If we had just one word to describe this unique 50s-inspired bridal shower, that would be it. Colorful would be a close second. Let’s face it, marriage may not be exactly what it was in the I Love Lucy era, but it’s sure fun to pretend it is!

Lots of cute elements were considered to make this shower a smashing success. One of our favorites? The dish soap aprons! With craft supplies and hot glue guns in hand, the girls worked on their projects as part of the shower’s activities.

If you’re engaged or planning a shower for a friend, don’t forget to be creative and think outside the box. You’re sure to create a memorable event that will leave guests talking for some time to come!

Photos courtesy of Jerry Yoon Photographers,

Miami, Florida

When Kristi and Paul learned they couldn’t elope to Italy and still include their family and friends in their special day, they began searching the United States for locations that could bring the sophistication and energy of Italy to them. They found several perfect locations in Miami. And the pictures are the proof!

The intimate ceremony was held at a Spanish monastery, which features stone walls that are more than 800 years old. Talk about the ultimate backdrop. For their vintage-chic reception, the couple chose the Biltmore Hotel in nearby Coral Gables. A very muted and earth-toned color scheme for the ceremony and reception was creatively punctuated with vibrant splashes of navy blue throughout: the bride’s shoes, the cloth napkins, vintage glassware.

Instead of fresh flowers, Kristi opted for an eclectic selection of dried flowers, wheats and grasses that not only easily withstood the humidity of South Florida but will remain intact and beautiful for years to come.

It’s no surprise that Kristi and Paul spent the better part of a year planning the elaborate details of their wedding day. From the vintage jewelry worn by the bride to the lockets containing photos of the loved ones who have passed, no detail went overlooked—and it shows.

Photos courtesy of Jessica Lorren, Jessica Lorren Organic Wedding Photography,

Sarasota, Florida,

Ringling Museum’s Ca’d’Zan Mansion

Elegant, modern and simply romantic, Billy and Heather’s wedding couldn’t have been more sweet. Married in the Ringling Museum’s 1920s Ca’d’Zan Mansion, overlooking Sarasota Bay, Heather used the mansion’s soft, neutral tones as her inspiration for décor, paper products and even the bridesmaid’s dresses. Each bridesmaid was asked to choose her own dress in warm mustard, ivory or blush, giving the bridal party a uniting yet unique style.

The lush museum grounds made for the perfect backdrop for the outside ceremony, with palms adding a bit of South Florida flare and massive, Spanish moss-draped oaks filling the photos. The bride chose simple yet classic bouquets filled with white and soft orange roses, again playing off the hue of the mansion looming in the background. Heather’s style never got lost in the wedding’s details—she even designed the invitations, menu and programs with one of her bridesmaids. Centerpieces were made of floral arrangements complementing the bride’s bouquet, and soft, neutral table linens were used, leaving the reception space feeling bright and dreamy.

With the perfect location, an airy color palette and a couple who is obviously in love, this wedding is sure to leave you lost in a day dream.


Photos courtesy of Jenny Raulli, Bloom Designs Online,

For all you girly-girl brides-to-be out there, this bridal shower will definitely pull on your pink, sparkly heartstrings—the napkins, champagne, candy, flowers, hors d’oeuvres and even the dress code were all pretty in pink.

The host, Jenny, chose a fitting tiara symbol and the bride-to-be’s monogrammed initials to replicate throughout the decor on everything from pillows to food labels to welcome signs. She even framed quotes from some of the most iconic women on the silver screen to place strategically throughout the party.

A gorgeous tiered ombre cake quietly stole the show, while big, majestic Chinese lanterns emphasized the sun-blocking umbrellas. Any bride-to-be is sure to be in awe of all the fabulous details of this totally Pinterest-worthy shower.

Photos courtesy of Genya Garrett, Vue Photography,

Carillon Beach, Florida

With a warm, salty breeze and the Gulf sparkling in the background, there are few things as awe-inspiring as the emerald waters of the Florida Panhandle’s coast. And when planning their wedding, Amy and Gary used just this—and Amy’s love for ballet—as the inspiration for their perfect day.

This wedding had personalized touches in every detail. Amy and her mom DIYed the escort cards, which were tied to a small tree, providing a unique, functional statement perfect for the outdoor space. Amy’s grandfather raised orchids, so to honor him, the boutonnieres and wrist corsages were made with cymbidium orchids wrapped in ribbon. Amy even had a large porcelain charm that dangled from her bouquet stamped with the couple’s names and wedding date. The bride and groom loved the bright, airy chapel so much that they kept the decorations for the ceremony minimal with only two large floral arrangements at the alter.

From the fitted tutu bodice and layered tulle skirt of her wedding gown to the huge pink and white peonies and fondant-sculpted lace cake, the bride’s ballet-inspired décor had just the right amount of feminine elements, creating the perfect understated, yet romantic, vibe.

Photos courtesy of Laura Gordon, Laura Gorbon Photography,
Design / Styling by Christina Nease, Celebrations at Home,

What do chicken wire, candy and an old window shutter have in common? Not a whole lot except that they all come together to create a gorgeous, rustic-yet-modern theme for this bridal shower.

Mixing warm yellows and reds with cool aquas and greens, along with vintage wood, cloth and brick textures, made this shower the perfectly eclectic soirée Claire dreamed of. A tiny chair, mismatched flower vases, empty frames and porcelain birds were tied together by the consistent pattern found on the paper goods, by Delovely Designs, and even the flags protruding from the delectable cake pops.

Fun extra details included IKEA vases for drinking glasses, oversized matchboxes to hold party favors and a big wooden ‘C’ for the bride-to-be’s monogram.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

Share this post


What's New at Ocala Style

Read These Writers

Our area has an abundance of authors. Check out some...

‘Water Shapes Florida’

The new exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History...

Mastering Your Garden

The dog days of summer can be a good time...

Alligator Allegory

My grandparents were the first to build a home along...

Making Moves

Meet the Ocala-based casting director who has steadily been building...

From France to Ocala

Dr. Jose Gaudier will lecture about the Olympic Games Paris...