An outdoor wedding in Florida in early Spring sounds like perfection. And it was for Tyler and Ashley who married last spring at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando. With a long distance romance, they quickly realized that they wanted to be together forever and after a beach proposal with the song ‘Marry Me’ and made that dream a reality. In front of 150 guests, Ashley glided down an aisle decorated with a elegant rose petal design and exchanged vows with her soulmate. It was a wedding for the ages. Enjoy this elegant and timeless wedding with photography by La Dolce Vita Studio.
Tell us how you met…
I will tell you that I thought it was love at first sight. Tyler will tell you he thinks it was love at third sight. Tyler and I met through a mutual friend in Tampa, FL. He was down from New York for the USF football game and our mutual friend was dating my best friend. We all met up at a bar that night and I asked Pete (mutual friend) who is your extremely cute friend? Pete introduced us and Tyler ignored me the whole rest of the night. The next night after the USF game we all met up and that’s when Tyler and I really hit it off. I was extremely sad to see him go the next day but we both planned on me coming up to New York to visit. That’s why Tyler says it was love at third sight, when I visited New York. There is an actual street sign in Downtown Tampa where Tyler Street and Ashley Drive meet. It was meant to be!
Now for the proposal… details!
Tyler and I were long distance (New York to Florida) throughout our relationship. We were able to see each other about twice a month so we were extremely lucky. It had been about 4 months after we met that we started to talk about me moving to New York. We loved each other and I was ready for the next step, everything felt right with Tyler. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I had gotten out of work early. He suggested we go to the Clearwater beach since it was beautiful out. We brought a cooler, rented a cabana with chairs, were listening to music and I was happy and relaxed. I noticed that the “Marry Me” song had come on again and we just heard it. At that exact moment I looked over and saw Tyler down on one knee. He was so nervous and so sweet. It still makes my heart do a flip flop.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
Our wedding had the perfect amount of people and the most important to us. We had a wonderful group of people from Greenery productions that helped turn my ideas into reality. For the amount of people that attended the wedding it still felt intimate and special.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I had first spotted it in a magazine and when I walked into the wedding dress shop I was it on the mannequin and knew it was the dress for me. It was simple, elegant, unique and amazing. The bridesmaids wore a simple sweetheart neckline, tea length dress. I wanted something that would look good on all their different body types, especially since my MOH was 9 months pregnant.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Our wedding was an elegant outdoor ceremony that used a lot of the outdoor tropical elements of Florida. Our ceremony back drop was a beautiful pond that the golf course wrapped around. The ceremony archway was handmade by our decorating vendor and was made of birch tree base and cascading orchids tied to color ribbon. When you walked down the aisle you were greeted with an amazing rose petal design that coordinated all of the outdoor elements and the soft music of the harp. The reception was a wonder dinner draped with the colors of the wedding. We had both round and square tables and each had a different centerpiece. There were different textures and flowers throughout. Overall, the wedding flowed perfectly from outside to inside. We even used the ceremony archway for our backdrop before the cake. Adding candle votives for a romantic feel to the rest of the evening.
Was there a specific theme or style?
We loved the idea of having our wedding at the Ritz Carlton because we wanted the elegance and wow feel. However, Tyler and I are both laid back and also wanted our guests to feel comfortable. Our theme/style was casual elegance.
What inspired the theme or style?
We are both from Florida so we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather the lovely state has to offer. Our outdoor ceremony we used the soft pastels of the same color spectrum used for the reception. Since the reception was at night we used more jewel tones for a more romantic feel. One of my favorite colors is purple and felt like jewel toned colors would make for a beautiful backdrop.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Tyler and I took dancing lessons for about 2 months before the wedding. We had our first dance choreographed and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made. The bouquet toss/garter toss was pretty memorable for Tyler. Since Ty is a Police Officer in the NYPD I knew I wanted there to be some fun objects under my dress without him knowing about them. I had caution crime tape about a mile long, a cap gun, a night stick and some handcuffs. Also, my uncle drove down his restored car from Maine for our farewell under sparklers. It honestly seemed magical!
Did you DIY any of the details?
Our seating chart was DIY… thanks MOM! Inside of a normal seating chart we cut out hearts and wrote down the couples name and table number then pinned to the canvas. I saw it on pinterest and my Mom really made it spectacular. Our table numbers we personalized and DIY as well. Each number was important to us. For example, Table 79 was the precinct Tyler worked at in NYC; Table 1 was number of hours married, etc. Also, we had a celebration table. We displayed wedding pictures of our parents, aunts, siblings, grandparents and other family member on their wedding day. Underneath was a tent card with their name and how many blissful years they had/have been married. Combined there was over 150 years of marriage to wish us luck for our future.
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing the man that I will love for the rest of my life waiting to take my hand in marriage. It still makes me teary!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
Tyler is a foodie! This was the only part of wedding planning that I felt I had his full attention and not the eyes glazed over look. We loved that the Ritz let us have both sets of parents there with us to taste the food and wine. We had a simple salad wedge with ranch, bacon and tomato. The entree was prosciutto wrapped chicken breast and braised short ribs on top of truffle mashed potatoes and garnished with green beans and baby carrots. It was AMAZING! The cake was red velvet with cream cheese frosting and vanilla cake with lemon frosting… I wish I had a piece now.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
The entertainment was awesome! Our DJs really were the best and extremely outgoing but definitely not the cheesy outgoing. They had people up and out of their chairs onto the dance floor. We also had a photo booth in the back where our guests could take pictures and go home with a strip of memories. We used the extra copies as the guestbook and they could sign it… great idea!
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
I wish that it lasted longer. I felt like the night went by way way way to fast which means I was having so much fun!
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Best wedding advice I would give is… Just breathe. Don’t get too worked up over the small stuff and get the bigger items taken care off first so you have more time to prepare your DIY or unique projects.
Venue/Caterer/Event Planner/Wedding Cake: The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes | Photographer: La Dolce Vita Studio | Floral & Decor/Rentals: Greenery Production | DJ/LED Uplighting: Soundwave Entertainment | Videographer: In Motion Video Productions | Hair & Makeup: M3 Makeup Artists | Musician – Jan Jennings | Stationery: Write in Style | Favors: Chocolate Traditions of Orlando | Grooms Cake: Party Flavors Custom Cakes | Photobooth: Shutterbooth Tampa | Pastor: Andy McDonald