A destination wedding can sometimes be born out of a want to have a small, intimate affair surrounded only by those most close to you to be part of your big day. Since you will only be inviting guests who you are closest to, you want to make sure that when you choose the location of your perfect event, you not only want to find a place you love, you also want to find a place your guests will equally enjoy. LeahAna and Jeffrey did just that and more. Their ceremony, held in front of 58 guests, was held on the white sand of Carillon Beach in sunny North Florida, the perfect romantic backdrop for their September wedding. So let the sand run through your toes at this beachfront wedding with photos by Florida Panhandle-based photographer Alena Bakutis Photography.
Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever? We want to know the particular!
We have known each other since we were 7 & 8 years old. Jeffrey lived next to my aunt and we spent many summers together swimming and hanging out. Jeffrey always and a little kid crush but we didn’t date until many years later. Jeffrey was a senior in high school and I a freshman in college when we realized we were always meant to be together. He confessed his love when we went sky diving together July 26, 2009. Just before he jumped from the plane, he looked at me in the eyes and said, ” i am only doing this because I love you!” From that day on, we have been inseparable.
Now for the proposal…details!
We were building our house and were so overjoyed that we would go by every single day to check the updates. I had been receiving clues for my “just because” surprise for a few months at this point. Nothing to really give it away though. I knew nothing other than that “it has a cushion.” I was really thinking he had special ordered a bike so that we could exercise together. Anyway, the week of the event, I had received roses placed randomly. My first rose was sent to me by text. He showed up at work on a Saturday and placed a single rose on the windshield of my car, It had a number 3 on it. I didn’t realize this until I got the photo and went out to get it. The next rose was left at his house for me to find after our dinner. It had a number 2 attached. Next, while I was off running errands, he got my mom to let him in my house and I found the rose with a number 1 on my bed when I returned. The next day we had dinner plans. I had been helping his Meme who had recently broken her foot so neither one of us had a chance to stop by our house. On our way to dinner, Jeffrey asked if I had been that day and because I didn’t we stopped in. I could tell that dirt had been moved and that was all that was changed. Nothing was there except for the foundation. As we got closer, I saw little spots all over. He stopped the car and when we got out, I realized it was rose petals that made a trail to the middle of our foundation where there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me. When I got closer, I saw that it had a tag attached. I was wearing a dress so I turned my back to Jeffrey to bend down “like a lady” and I pulled out the tag and read it as it stood up. “CUSHION TIME!” So I turned around to look at him and he wasn’t in view…he was down on one knee with a ring in his hands!!! I couldn’t even speak! In typical Jeffrey fashion he nervously pops up and says, “Well do you want it?!?!” Do you want it?!” I of course said, “Well, you have to ask first” He did and I said YES!
Can you give us an overview of the event?
All of our guest stayed in Carillon Beach in the condos and houses in the little community. Everything was located centrally so it was easy to take care of the events together. We had our rehearsal dinner at Castaways. It was outdoors and simply decorated with a few shells and beach themed treats. Burgers and fries were served. We all mingled and then went inside for a little karaoke. The day of the wedding we got ready at The Blue Lagoon on separate floors. We were all golf carted to beach walkover number three at Carillon Beach for the ceremony, It began at 5 in the evening. The reception immediately followed for guest. They were carted to the resort green that over looked the lake. They had hand passed items while the wedding party took photos. Then we all went to the reception and had a sit down dinner with music and dancing to follow.
Was there a specific theme or style? What inspired it?
We had only a few details to our wedding that were all a modern vintage beach theme. We had rustic picture frames, candles in lanterns and coral and ivory floral arrangements.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We had a shoe check at the beach and a chalkboard to inform guest to choose a seat instead of sitting on either a bride or groom side. We also had personalized water bottles for our guest at the beach walkover. Our sign in table had stationary for our guest to leave us a message in a bottle which was special to us. Our favors were also unique. We had little bride and groom shaped favors that were serving as favors and name card holders. They also held a lottery ticket and concealed our personalized m&m’s. We had our photos on the m&ms and some that stated our new name, our wedding date, and thank you. The most unique twist at our wedding was the bride and groom’s first dance. We danced slowly and closely to Etta James At Last then all of a sudden, we broke out on dance to Jump on it by Sugar Hill Gang. Our guest were totally shocked and it was a lot of fun for us.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Our decor came from etsy shops and hobby lobby. We assembled our favors and made our name tags ourselves. We also prepared the stationary for the message in a bottle station.
What was the most memorable moment?
I think that the most memorable moment was the feeling at the ceremony. In all of the time I have known Jeffrey, I have never seen him in that way before. All of the emotions were truly overwhelming. For Jeffrey, the most memorable moment was the surprise first dance. It was a little out of his comfort zone but worth seeing our guest faces when we started our silly dance.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
My wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses are from Alfred Angelo. My gown came from the modern vintage collection and is simple but elegant. It is lace over charmeuse with crystal beading, pearls, and satin flowers. My girls wore coral chiffon dresses that were age appropriate and perfect for the beach. The groom and groomsmen wore tan tuxedos. The groom had an ivory tie and vest while the groommen sported coral bow ties and tan vest.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
Our food and cakes were absolutely amazing!! We still receive compliments today. Allen served hand passed items during the cocktail hour. Our guest enjoyed mini crab cakes, bruschetta, and coconut shrimp. He presented the appetizer in martini glasses filled with tasty shrimp n pepper jack grits, following that we had a wonderful classic caesar salad with homemade croutons. For the main entree, Allen prepared a choice for our guest. They selected either almond crusted chicken or beef tenderloin with a shittaki mushroom reduction. Both meals were accompanied with red bliss potatoes and panko crusted fried asparagus. The children were served chicken tenders with mac n cheese and french fries. Our cake was dessert and was a not only a beautiful site but delicious as well. Tanis has mastered the flavor of her fondant. It complimented her traditional wedding cake flavor that was filled with a Bailey’s Irish creme. The groom’s cake was a complete surprise. He is a car fanatic and loves Porsche. The car was very cute and the chocolate flavor was also liked by all of our guest.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event?
Our music selection consisted mostly of oldies. We had a great time dancing to jitterbugging music and the kids just loved being out on the dance floor.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Just take everything in because it will pass by so quickly.
Venue: Carillon Beach Weddings | Photographer: Alena Bakutis Photography | Caterer: Paradise Cuisine | Cakes: Cakes by Tanis | Floral: Fisher’s Flowers | Linens: Destin Linens | DJ: Gulf Talent Services | Officiant: Kevin Tillman