Fairy tale weddings seem to be the proclamation of the day in this land of rolling hills, large lakes, majestic oaks, and tropical flora.
Someone might choose a wedding locale of sweeping vineyards, amid knights and ladies, or inside a Victorian-style building, but whatever the choice, Lake County has an abundance of locales and services for upcoming brides.
A Renaissance Wedding
Hear ye, hear ye, it’s time to travel yonder. Way yonder to 16th century England, where brave knights and elegant ladies, in richly adorned attire, came to a royal feast not only to honor their lord, but to revel in festivities.
Through a cast of some 80 local actors, it’s possible to experience your own royal wedding at the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire that happens each November.
The faire is an historically accurate replica of England during the Renaissance Period. Built on site is a castle and castle wall; other features include a pirate encampment and large period tents. And that’s just the beginning.
“The whole village will be there to witness the wedding. We could do all kinds of special things. They could come up on horseback,” says Carman Cullen, event sponsor. “The site itself is absolutely gorgeous. They would be treated like royalty. The chivalry of the era—it’s just so romantic.”
There are a variety of locations available for the ceremony.
“They could get married by the Maypole and have the dancers go around it as entertainment,” Carman says.
The ceremony and reception will be Renaissance fashion in period attire. There’s a King’s Feast of a reception, that can include soup, cheeses, steak, chicken, vegetables, pastries, and ale. Entertainment during the reception can include Celtic musicians, comedians, dancers, and much more. The event takes place at Hickory Point Park on State Road 19 between Tavares and Howey-in-the-Hills.
To assist the busy bride and groom with their plans, the entire wedding can be executed down to the minute details, including ladies-in-waiting helping the bride dress.
“We can assist in all details of the wedding,” Carman says.
Carman is executive director of the Educational Foundation of Lake County. The foundation sponsors the event every year, and Renaissance brides may be pleased to know wedding and fair proceeds all go to facilitating learning for Lake’s children. The foundation raises half a million dollars every year and funding goes to such tasks as providing school supplies for children from low-income families and teacher grants.
For more information contact Carman at (352) 326-1265.
A Horse and Carriage Wedding
These giant horses were bred as warhorses in medieval Europe. Though their thunderous, approaching hooves may have scared the daylights out of medieval peasants, the animals are actually gentle, says Barbara Turcyn, Hitch ‘N Time president and carriage driver.
Even at roughly 2,000 pounds, the draft horses are good-tempered animals.
“For such a violent beginning, it’s interesting that these breeds are all known as gentle giants,” she says.
Barbara, with Hitch ‘N Time based in Clermont, can travel to any location within Lake or Sumter County to give the bride and groom a Victorian-style horse and carriage ride to and from their wedding.
“It can be surreal, especially if it’s a bride’s dream come true,” Barbara says. “I believe that every little girl dreams of a Cinderella wedding. It’s what we try to provide—the ambience and the atmosphere.”
The couple may select from a variety of Victorian-style royalty carriages, and in addition Barbara and Kathy Smith, co-owner and assistant driver, can dress the part.
“We have a Dickens top hat, which looks like an old Victorian carriage driver’s hat,” Barbara says. “They can have the option of a formal top hat and tails, vests, bow ties, and white gloves. We try to do whatever they want us to do.”
In addition, carriages can make a lovely nighttime display.
“We can run all kinds of lights on them,” Barbara says. “Kathy is our decorator.”
For larger numbers of passengers other than just the bride and groom, there’s also a wagon, which can hold roughly 20 people.
“The wagon is more of an American West-type idea,” Barbara says.
Rides average about 45 minutes. Horses used can include Mister Ed, a brown and white Clydesdale, and two dappled gray Percherons named Danner and Dakota.
“Personally, it’s so much fun being in the business of love and horses,” Barbara says. “Love and marriage go together like a horse and a carriage.”
For more information call Hitch ‘N Time at (352) 394-8851 or go to www.ahitchntime.com.
An Over-the-Moon Event
Barbara Warner may help a bride and groom sleep a little easier the night before their wedding, along with making the whole process less hectic.
Through Over the Moon Events, with offices in Mount Dora, Barbara can plan weddings from small to large and everything in between.
Barbara and business partner Connie Pyles also show up on the special day to ensure everything flows smoothly.
“You get to actually enjoy your event,” Barbara says. “You just show up and be the bride.”
Barbara said because she and Connie know Central Florida so well, they are savvy shoppers when it comes to planning the right wedding day details for each bride and groom.
“We’ll save you money,” Barbara says. “Not every bride has the $20,000 budget.”
And then again, she can spare no expense.
“We can get as carried away as anyone wants,” she says. “If you want a laser light show—I know where to get it.”
“A lot of people will come to Lake County to get married,” Connie adds. “There are wonderful hidden places here that people don’t know about.”
“I have had nothing but the most wonderful experience with Barbara and the wedding planning experience,” says Eustis resident Kathy Booth. “I am so busy. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Barbara has been planning large galas in Central Florida for 25 years. She’s also organized events for Orlando-based companies throughout the United States.
Connie joined with Barbara about a year ago and has 20 years experience in customer relations, public relations, and event planning.
“The prices are very reasonable (on wedding vendors),” says Kathy, who is an upcoming spring bride. “She’s (Barbara) got connections for everything. They’re people she’s worked with for years.”
“We orchestrate everything from beginning to end,” Connie says.
Barbara and Connie can even plan an earth-friendly wedding, which may include additions such as organic foods, locally grown herbs and flora, and invitations on recycled paper.
“We have 1,000 different ideas,” Barbara says.
To find out more call Over the Moon Events at (352)735-1555 or go to www.overthemoonevents.net.
A Winery Wedding
This locale is against a backdrop of gently rolling countryside where luscious grapes are grown for wine. The Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards offers a unique wedding location for both ceremonies and receptions.
“We are sitting up on top of a hill here in Clermont. The vineyards cascade down the rolling hill,” says Scott Wehrung, the winery’s special events manager. “We have 76 acres of vineyards. It’s an exclusive venue for them.”
The winery sits on a 127-acre estate at 19239 US 27 North. Weddings can take place inside on a second level overlooking the winery’s retail shop, or outside in the vineyards.
If a wedding is held inside, the ceremony is usually held on an adjoining balcony, which overlooks the vineyard. The outside location can accommodate more than 100 guests.
“The vineyard lawn is where we do many of the ceremonies,” Scott says.
Scott adds that tents are used to accommodate guests outside.
Either way the bride and groom get an excellent view of the vineyards on their wedding day. Tours of the winery are included for both guests and the wedding party. Tours take about 20 minutes and start with a 12-minute video presentation in the winery’s upstairs theater. The video begins with the growing of the grapes and ends with the bottling and labeling of the wine.
The winery’s beverage service is available for weddings as well. Scott can also contract or help select food caterers and other services for the reception and ceremony.
“I work with them,” he says.
For more information, call (352) 394-8627 or visit www.lakeridgewinery.com.
A Victorian-style Wedding Chapel
This quaint Victorian-style chapel was built just for weddings, and is nestled among sweet smelling jasmine, roses, waterfalls, picturesque statues, palms, and other native flora.
Bonnie and Sean Matyjasiak were traveling through Gatlinburg, Tennessee when wife Bonnie spotted a wedding chapel there.
“I stood there and tears were coming from my eyes,” Bonnie says. “Sean said to me, ‘Bonnie you don’t have to cry, if you want one like that, I’ll build it.’”
And that’s just what Sean did. He built their 1, 350-square-foot chapel from scratch about 12 years ago, which includes a 750-square-foot seating area with a 65-guest capacity.
They’ve been holding ceremonies (for both locals and out-of-towners) at their Magnolia Ave. location ever since.
“They are coming from the UK, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland—from all over the world,” Bonnie says.
Weather permitting, couples can get married in the gazebos or on a bridge overlooking the pond and waterfall.
The chapel’s back rooms contain office space, along with video and sound equipment. There are also elaborate changing rooms and bathrooms for the bride and groom.
Photography and videos are included in wedding packages, along with special options like dove releases. The Matyjasiaks raise the doves themselves.
“We were really pleased,” said Jerry Kiger of Winter Park. “They provided everything for us.”
Jerry and Amelia married at the chapel in July, after looking for a locale away from the hustle and bustle of the Orlando area.
“We liked the idea of a small town atmosphere,” Jerry said. “It was really nice. They had beautiful grounds. The grounds reminded me of Switzerland. We lit candles inside the chapel. We opened up a basket and a couple doves flew out.”
Though Jerry and Amelia chose a daytime wedding, ceremonies can also be held at night.
“Our starlight gazebo ceremony has hundreds of lights and real candles, it’s just gorgeous,” Bonnie says.
Though they do not hold receptions, the Matyjasiaks readily recommend local restaurants and caterers.
Walk-ins are always welcome. The chapel number is (352) 483-2171; the website is www.chapeloflove.cc.
A Destination Wedding
The bridal party for the Heather Collins-Derek Cobb nuptials jump for joy about the couple’s lucky wedding date of 07/07/07.
Photo courtesy of Steve Yanni/www.yanman.com
With acres and acres of rolling hills, lakes, flowering gardens, golf courses, and trees, Mission Inn Resort & Club offers a breathtaking backdrop for nuptials.
Located in Howey-In-The-Hills, the resort has an array of venues for wedding ceremonies and receptions, along with elegant accommodations for not only the bridal couple but also guests. It also offers complete one-stop planning from pre-nuptial parties to post-ceremony activities.
Vice President Bud Beucher said the ability to accommodate weddings guests with overnight facilities—along with providing them with various recreational pastimes—gives the resort a unique edge as a “destination wedding spot.”
“I would say 90 percent of the weddings we do are referred to in the industry as ‘destination weddings,’ which are quite popular.” Bud says. “People may be more inclined to attend a wedding if they know they have resort accommodations and recreation available right there at the wedding venue.”
Brides can choose from several locations for wedding festivities within this estate of Spanish-style architecture. Courtyard weddings are often the choice, but many brides choose to marry down at the marina.
In addition, wedding services are available such as catering for receptions, rehearsal dinners, champagne breakfasts and other such functions.
With plenty of water, hills and challenging holes, Mission Inn is known for its championship golf courses. Golf, tennis, sailing, volleyball, bicycling and poolside swimming are just some of the resort’s activities.
For wedding-related events, couples have a choice of indoor facilities, which may include the ballroom, private dining areas, and even the billiards room.
“We have a wonderful billiards room that’s popular for bachelor parties,” Bud says. “It has TVs, a bar, game tables for cards, and more. The guys never have to leave the premises before the wedding.”
Mission Inn offers a variety of wedding packages and accommodations. For more information, call (800) 874-9053.