after a short ferry ride, you open your eyes, surrounded by wild peacocks, private beach, and a gorgeous French chateau. What is more romantic than saying I Do on a private island?
I am thrilled to finally be able to share this Florida wedding with you as it is published on Carats and Cake today!
Fisher Island was the perfect setting to give Kaye, Scott, and their guests a European destination feel. It reminded the bride of her trips to Nice, the French city that sits sweetly on the country’s shoreline. Keeping with that relaxed feel, our consistent theme for the wedding was “carefree sophistication”.
So let me tell you about Kaye. She’s a goddess. Really. Have you ever met someone whose picture could be next to a word in the dictionary? Kaye’s would be “kind”.
Kaye exudes this effortless elegance that we were somehow able to bottle up and embody into her wedding day. The best part about working this wedding was that I had clients who trusted me to make their vision come to life. During our creative meetings, I was given some words, some ideas, some wants, some needs, and some “must not haves”. At Oh My Occasions, we specialize in a process we call Vendor Matching, which means we pair our clients with a team of vendors that match their styles and personalities. I was quickly able to handpick a combination of creatives who I knew would we perfect for this wedding.
With guests coming in from all states and countries, it was important for us to create a destination feel from the start. Guests received filled letterpress invitations by IBA Paper Goods. We worked to find the perfect font balance of a romantic swirl script and a timeless caps. Wording like “wouldn’t miss it for the world!” was chosen as a reflection of the easygoing personalities both Kaye and Scott radiated.
Each guest received a welcome box upon arrival. Setting the tone for the rest of the weekend’s pampering, the craft gable boxes featured a custom wedding logo that repeated itself on each TicTac container and water bottle. Inside, guests found matching wedding color koozies, energy drinks, mini alcohol nips, Advil packets, bags of popcorn and chips, a thank you card with wedding weekend agenda, and a history card with information about the island. Having a Florida wedding at a historic mansion was made a little but more fun by adding some facts about the venue.
The next morning, the entire island was preparing for the Sowder-Dixon wedding! The native peacocks began their morning (read: they loudly made their presence known).
It was late May, and just happened to be the season of baby peacocks! If you haven’t seen one before, Google it now. I’ll wait. Now, I’m a true believer in signs and life occurrences really coming full circle, so it was no surprise to me that a mother peacock and her chicks sat right outside Kaye’s window THE ENTIRE MORNING while she had her hair and makeup done. The birds are super meaningful to Kaye and her mom, so it was really neat getting to watch them proudly display their colors at the perfect photo ops. One showed up here.
Can you spot it here?
For this Florida wedding, and summer heat, the bride wore a strapless ivory Ines di Santo gown that looked as if it were made for her! The illusion back featured lace detailing and ivory capped buttons. In just a few hours, her Jimmy Choo shoes would peak from underneath while the couple danced to Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”.
Kaye and Scott opted for a first look, so we could fully take advantage of all the beautiful locations on the island.
Their son, Kennedy, even got a private reveal, and I don’t think I have a more favorite picture than this one!
(Okay, I actually have like 2798654 favorite pictures from this wedding because why not, when you have a breathtaking bride and an uber talented photographer?!)
The wedding party rented all of the hotel villas at the mansion, so it only made sense to take some photos in the villa courtyard!
The bridesmaids wore dresses within the wedding’s color palette of all different styles and cuts, which mimicked the contrasting tones and decor pieces throughout the wedding details.
Guests were transported to the island via private ferry and dropped off at the mansion’s Porte Cochère where they were greeted with French rose, light beers, and a gourmet cheese display. It’s hard to believe that this Florida wedding wasn’t on an island off the coast of Europe. The guests mingled and enjoyed some lively piano and guitar music, before they were invited over to the courtyard’s giant Banyan tree for the ceremony.
This Florida wedding in May was HOT but with refreshing drinks and gorgeous atmosphere, no one was complaining! Guests were seated while live music played. We used a mixture of geometric gold vases and concrete pieces for a natural-meets-trendy combination that worked out beautifully.
The bridal party walked out from the mansion library. The flower girl carried a cute pomander in a custom dress designed from Etsy with matching wedding colors
while the ringer bearer (Kennedy) held a wooden sign, before squealing with delight and sprinting toward his dad.
Kaye and her father walked under a draped archway and chandelier by Petal Productions.
A longtime family friend, Dr. Don Verhulst, officiated the ceremony while another close friend, Howard, shared a personalized reading.
Kaye and Scott committed to each other with hand written vows, that still give me chills every time I hear them (scroll to the bottom for their highlight video).
The mansion’s living room and ballroom terrace held the formal cocktail hour. Framed photos of Kaye and Scott’s engagement were placed on top each cocktail table.
For the perfect European touch, guests were asked to sign an authentic antique poetry book with their wishes for the couple. “Share your kind words | That we’ll look on for ages | Write from your heart | On these poetry pages”
I loved that this book would incorporate the ultimate collection of love poetry and the sentiments from their loved ones who came from all over the world.
Next to it was a vintage suitcase where guests could drop their gifts and cards.
Guests were then escorted to the outdoor terrace for dinner. In keeping with a slow reveal of all event spaces, the guests filed out through a single door to find themselves underneath a white draped tent with glowing romantic candlelight and glistening chandeliers.
We carpeted the mansion terrace, and you would never have known we were on Vanderbilt’s former pool deck!
Keeping with our mauves, grays, and champagnes, I chose textured linen and designed overlays to add a delicate touch. The white pearlized charger plates and satin ivory napkins added a tiny element of sensualness and modern sheen.
Tucked into the napkin’s pocket fold was a deckle-edged menu complete with course written in French. It really felt like these were pages torn from an old French diary!
For the centerpieces, we incorporated various shades of blushes, champagnes, ivories, and vast amounts of lush greenery for a real “picked from the garden” look. The original architecture of the mansion provided the perfect old chateau feel. We used tall loose and unstructured centerpieces, paired with mismatched light-washed wood boxes and flowing eucalyptus leaves.
The asymmetry of the tall pieces and the low cluster of wood boxes and arrangements provided this incredible sense of authenticity and true French laissez-faire attitude. While their guests were at cocktail hour, I escorted Kaye and Scott into a room to spend some time together and savor the special and private moment. I presented them with a gift, which was a custom drawing I commissioned for them.
I then bustled Kaye’s dress. This is one of my favorite moments with my brides. It’s a pause in the otherwise fast-paced day where she and I can connect, take a breath, and have that time together.
Kaye and Scott introduced their seriously fun bridal party and danced with each other and then their parents.
After dinner, the white and girly martini bar opened up, complete with dirty, espresso, and pineapple flavors.
The lower Terrace housed a French lounge of beige couches and wood accents where the guests could smoke their hand rolled cigars from a Cuban master roller.
Just up the stairs was a speakeasy accessible only by a password. I proposed this idea to Kaye, who loved this element of surprise. Side note: I love brides who aren’t afraid to take these creative chances and HAVE FUN! After the toasts, we announced that to gain access to the bourbon and bacon bar, you had to have the right word. We secretly chose the phrase “Big Daddy” (which is the father of the bride’s nickname) and soon enough, guests were giggling and passing it on. With the right phrase, guests had their choice of four bourbons and multiple dipped bacon flavors. Next to the cigar roller was a giant fishbowl filled with custom cigar matchsticks.
This gorgeous custom cake was created by the talented Elegant Temptations team. The blush fondant was such a subtle hue that complimented the edible gold foil and real flowers. For an extra destination island feel, we chose coconut and vanilla rum flavors. Cue the mouth watering.
We worked with the amazing, and oh so sought after, Hudson Project band from Elan Artists. Since Scott works in music, it was imperative to find the right musicians and artists who could properly execute the type of music Kaye and Scott desired (everything from Boz Scaggs to Bruno Mars)
At midnight the band led a conga line back into the mansion for the after party where guests again saw the Havana nights theme play out. One of Miami’s top DJs finished the night out in true “party after dark” style. Displayed were all sorts of late night bites like chicken and waffles, sliders, and donuts! With a quick bridal outfit change into something more comfortable, Kaye and Scott, and all their friends danced until 2am celebrating the new Mr. and Mrs. Dixon!