We're kicking off something new on this Wedding Wednesday! As most of you know, we focus specifically on South Florida - Rebecca and I live, work and play here, and it was important for us to be able to meet with/visit our vendor and venue guide members in order to recommend them. But in limiting our focus, we've had to pass up a lot of events from crazy talented photographers... weddings and parties we know you would love. So, we're going to start showing you a selective number of events from around the state. We'll do our best to pick those events that really showcase Florida and provide a ton of inspirational goodness!
Our first Elsewhere in Florida real wedding is a gorgeous beachfront soiree from Dede Edwards Photography. The beautiful couple - and high school sweethearts - Tara and Jason were married in a private rental home directly on the sand in Destin. They worked hard to creatively fill their wedding weekend with personal touches, and provide an amazingly fun party weekend for their guests!
I'm loving that bright pop of blue from the bridesmaids dresses. And did you catch the moss letters behind the groosmen, on the door of the home? So adorable.
I asked Tara how they met, and about the engagement:
"To start at the very beginning we must go back to 1996, we met at a high school party... the good ole days! Neither one of us could drive yet, if that tells you how young we were! It was love at first sight - high school style - from that night on. We were your typical high school sweethearts. We both went through the average adolescent ups and downs, and decided to spend some time apart during college. Several years later, we reconnected and picked up right where we left off. Two years later we married! We are firm believers in everything happens for a reason!"
We got engaged in March of this year. Jason surprised me with having both of our families and friends at the Grand Hotel on the night of our engagement. (In Point Clear, we live in Mobile!)"
Tara gave us some insight into her planning, and her advice for future brides and grooms:
"We got married at the Palazzo del Sol (a wedding type house) on Holiday Isle, which is a less commercial smaller community in Destin. This allowed for us to bring in our own alcohol, which helped the budget some... I wanted it to be a vacation weekend for our guests, so I wanted the wedding to feel like a party (keeping it's my wedding in mind ha!)
"We rented the house for 3 days and had the bridal bunch at the house on the Friday morning before the wedding. His family rented the house across the street, he and groomsmen stayed at a house I found on VRBO that was a few blocks away. I got deals at Sandpiper Cove Condos and East Pass Towers (both within a mile) on 2 night stays and special rates for our guests. We also rented a few golf carts to use that doubled as a shuttle. The after rehearsal was held at Fisherman's Wharf, and all 150 guests were invited.
"I am pretty creative so there were a few projects I got bridesmaids/friends to help with. We painted the painted signs from left-over fence boards (Jason assembled them) and door decorations. My sister made a really sweet DVD with pics of us growing up that was really sweet. Everyone gathered in the "football lounge", which was under a covered area during the reception to watch it... a few tears were maybe shed. I changed into a short dress before the bouquet toss, and kept the Erica Koesler belt I wore in the wedding tied around my waist... loved it! Everyone had a blast, especially in the photo booth. I highly recommend! We left in a 1934 Ford model A from Classic Car AL in Destin, he is GREAT!!
"My advice would be: 1. Don't sweat the small stuff... something will go wrong, let it go and enjoy yourself. Our bands broke down and didn't make it to our ceremony... found out right after our ceremony and just about cried. Luckily awesome DJ Brent pulled through last minute for us, and it ended up being our best dance party yet! 2. Enjoy every minute, its over before you know it! and 3. EAT. Take 15 minutes together after your ceremony to eat, just the two of you - and reflect on the magic moment you just experienced as husband and wife!"
I'd say that's perfect advice, Tara! Best of luck to you and Jason... thank you so much for sharing your sweet story with us and for giving us a peek into your day. And Dede, thanks for sending us the gorgeous photographs - Tara told us she "LOVED, LOVED" you and your girls (and that's the best recommendation I can think of!)
Ceremony/Reception Location: Palazzo del Sol in Destin | Photography: Dede Edwards Photography | Event Coordinator & Catering : The Eventful Planner | Florist: Florals by the Sea | Cake: Bake My Day | Photo Booth: Facetime PhotoBooth | DJ: Brent Lamb Events | Submission: Two Bright Lights