All the fresh and bold beauty of a bright flower garden could be found in the much anticipated wedding celebration of Leigh and Steve. Upon arriving at Naples Botanical Garden, guests were greeted by a sweet and sassy lemonade stand, setting the mood for all the fun to follow. The couple’s closest friends and family looked on as they exchanged personal vows in an intimate ceremony that left the newlyweds misty-eyed and smiling. The bride wore a Romona Keveza gown with a belt by Elizabeth Bower, accessories by Kate Spade and gold Badgley Mischka shoes, her fabulous look complimented by her bridesmaids dressed in Ann Taylor. A reception followed at the waterfront banquet hall wedding venue in downtown Naples, Inn on 5th with gourmet cuisine, a delectable chocolate wedding cake and dancing inspired by Black Tie Entertainment. The Naples Botanical Garden’s Caribbean Garden served as the inspiration for much of the posh event’s bright décor, golden accents adding an understated and easy elegance from the first step down the aisle to the newlywed’s grand exit. Bask in the joy of this celebration with these images by Hunter Ryan Photo, a wedding photographer serving Florida and beyond!
Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever?
In Steve’s words: “It was late December and John and I were making the most of our holiday work schedule. In between our day’s activities we stopped at one of our favorite places in the city, Big Star, for some tacos and beers. We sat at the bar right alongside two beautiful girls in their yoga clothes. After some food and a few drinks the four of us started talking. John & Adrianne were going on about sports or something and I couldn’t stop myself from staring into Leigh’s eyes. I thought I was being sly, only later to find she noticed my fixation. The drinks and the conversation flowed and eventually it was time to go. As the girls were leaving Leigh grabbed my phone and entered her name & number, and called her phone from mine so she had my number as well. I didn’t waste any time in calling and asking her out. Initially she said yes, but then cancelled on me the next day. I persisted and the following week with John by my side, we met again. After a few more ‘group dates’ I finally got her to commit to a one on one. From that moment on we’ve had the best of times. She’s become my best friend, my partner, and my every thing. Which brings us to where we are today.”
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
I wore a Romona Keveza princess gown with an Elizabeth Bower belt and bracelet and Kate Spade Earrings and fabulous gold Badgley Mischka shoes. The bridesmaids wore Ann Taylor dresses.
Now for the proposal…details!
Our engagement couldn’t have been more perfect. I have been meaning to get to Europe for years, but I’m not much of a planner, so Steve made it happen right in time for my birthday. We spent the first day wondering around Barcelona, people watching, and taking everything in. The first night we sat down to plan our agenda over a glass of wine on our hotel rooftop. I was so excited about all the things we were going to do that Steve struggled to get my attention to the real matter at hand – the proposal. We spent the next 10 days on our pre-wedding honeymoon, celebrating in perfect company with great food, pastries and wine in Barcelona and Portugal.
Please give us an overview of the event.
When I was visiting my parents in Florida and looking for wedding venues, I fell in love with all the beauty at the Naples Botanical Gardens. It was very hard for me to pick just one garden for the ceremony. The colors in the Caribbean Garden was the inspiration for our bright color palette. Our guests were coming from all over the country in the wintertime, so we wanted a bright summertime vacation escape from the cold weather.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We created a lemonade stand at the Botanical Gardens to set the stage for a playful ceremony and a Beer Garden at the reception.
What was the most memorable moment?
Our ceremony felt so personal and Steve and I were both a blubbering mess. When Steve finished his vows with “I love you more than Bacon” the laughter cut helped everyone relax.
Was there a specific theme or style?
Happy and Bright elements that brought the idea of a bright flower garden in to everything. I brought in gold accessories to add a touch of elegance.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Everything. I didn’t have a wedding planner, so I flew to Florida a week early for a week of crafting. We made all of the signs and favors, and a friend of my mom’s helped with the decorations the day of.
After dreaming about your wedding since you were a little girl, find a way to let go of all expectations for the day. Instead of thinking about what you want your guests to remember most about your wedding, consider what you want to remember most. I always thought a crazy all night dance party was the most important thing, but it turned out that getting ready with my flower girls, exchanging our own vows, my brother fainting mid ceremony, and getting to talk spend time with all of our guests made the whole day so much more memorable. If you are enjoying yourself, your guest will be at ease and enjoy themselves as well. Everything that happens, good or bad in the moment will come together to create the best memories.
Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo | Ceremony Venue: Naples Botanical Garden | Reception Venue: Inn on 5th | Officiant: Special Florida Weddings | Rentals: CORT | Hair & Makeup: Jamie Lyn Cintron | DJ: Black Tie Entertainment | Wedding Dress & Accessories: Veiled In Elegance