How utterly dreamy! I LOVE a coastal wedding, there is just something so carefree about walking barefoot on the hot sand & feeling the cool sea breeze in your hair. Natalie & Ricky's whimsical day does not disappoint either. There is Natalie's bespoke gown for a start all lovingly made & crafted by Catherina from My Eden with the most beautiful delicate lace & tulle; the back in particular is stunning! I also adore the decision to have separates for her Bridesmaids too, even though they did end up with the same top! And not forgetting the absolutely stunning Sandbar Restaurant reception. By day or night it looks absolutely striking and the decor by The Loft 5 is spot on! I love the hanging florals from the rafters, the tassels on the chair backs and those beautiful twinkling fairy lights give it that fairytale, magical ambience. Despite Natalie's advice to not get too carried away with Pinterest, I have a feeling you'll all be getting those pinning digits ready. How can you resist when there's all this pretty on display!

The Brides Fashion

Natalie The Bride: I had hunted high and low for my perfect dress, and I had tried what felt like hundreds of beautiful designer gowns all stunning but not quite what I had imagined or suitable for our particular wedding venue. I decided that bespoke would be best way to get exactly what I wanted from my dress. My Mother had seen Catherina from the show 'Don’t tell the Bride' she was local and after our initial consultation I was certain she was the right person for the job. She listened to every detail and feeling that I wanted to capture in my dress and was forever accommodating of my frequent changes to these (some of which were quite far on in the making stage) above all she made me feel at ease with the whole process (and for an indecisive Bride that is quite a challenge) and produced a dress that was beyond any of my initial expectations. 

The Groomsmen

The guys attire was left completely up to the Groom, to say the least they left it a bit to the last minute! however they pulled it together with the waist coat and trousers Rick wanted from Ted Baker to keep a preppy vibe whilst remaining smart for the day.

The Venue

We chose Anna Maria Island, Florida as our wedding location as it is a place we have been visiting together for over 8 years, We have watched the island grow and change but it never lost the laidback friendly charm and community we loved so much from our first visit. It's also where Rick and I got engaged so for us there really wasn’t anywhere else we would have wanted to say our vows. It also meant we could include a holiday for everyone which was a nice bonus! The Sandbar Restaurant is a local favourite, its beach front on the north tip of the island with amazing views of the sunsets. The food is always amazing and the service exceptional. Weddings have become one of their specialities over the years and they provide complete packages and wedding planning services which made the processes so much easier especially as we were trying to organise all of this from the UK. Overall the venue perfectly represented everything we wanted the day to represent, it was relaxed, effortless and naturally beautiful. It was an honour for us to be able to share this place as well as the day with our family and friends all of which have now fallen head over heels for this special place.


From the very start we knew that we wanted the decor and styling to be simple, romantic and natural but to overall compliment the venue and its surroundings. Pinterest was a gold mind of ideas as I’m sure most Brides find, but I was very easily confused by just how many styles and details there are. I had the best mediator in my Mother who spent endless days and nights researching suppliers and decor ideas and was above all my voice of reason when I was getting a little carried away with myself!. We had been to Anna Maria a year previous to book the venue and find local suppliers which is where we found AJ at The Loft 5, she had lots of experience in event styling and had endless props and ideas which we felt really reflected our chosen style. Overall it was a collaboration with my Mother sourcing beautiful extra details such as the lace lanterns, (from Hanging Lanterns - who were also extremely informative and accommodating -shipping directly to our venue) chair decor, bunting and the LARGEST sparklers you’ve ever seen! She also spent the morning of the wedding making sure that every detail was placed correctly - some would say controlling! But she is just a perfectionist and it was this dedication and organisation which made for the most beautiful decor and day.


Silvia was a true character, warm friendly and excitable she truly lives and breaths her craft. As we had wanted to keep our flower selection very natural, that meant wild and romantic really being the accent colours of the day (as everything else was shades of white and grey!) she thrived off of the opportunity to create as we gave her free reign on the concept of 'flowers hanging from the ceiling' and lots of small arrangement. Silvia worked wonders in creating the fragrant country garden vibe in the middle of Florida and pulled it off a treat.


My Bridesmaids are all quite different in their personal styling, I wanted the day to be relaxed and comfortable for them, so after much discussion and searching for different options we found the silk skirt at Zara and decided that they could all source their own tops to wear with it, this way there would be continuity whilst maintaining comfort and individuality for them. However in the end they all decided that they actually liked the same sequin front top so this is what we went with. The outfits were comfortable and appropriate for the setting of the wedding.


The Sandbar organises the ceremony sites for the beach wedding and Pattie our wedding planner was also our officiate and conducted our ceremony. It was kept short and sweet as neither Rick or I are that religious and we wanted the ceremony to be to the point and not to keep people sitting in the sun for too long. As is turns our it was all of approx. 12 minutes long including the procession...Including promises we had written for each other!


On our visit to book the wedding we came across Trevor. He had his CD in the local art gallery, as with most of our suppliers he is a local guy and his acoustic set was exactly the type of vibe we wanted for wedding dinner. Trevor played until the speeches which after rather controversially we opted not to have a DJ or band but for a spotify playlist. This choice was mainly due to musical tastes and wanting to incorporate certain songs that many local DJs wouldn't have been familiar with. As the venue is on the north of the island and outside there are local noise restrictions imposed on the venue meaning that we had to end our party at 10pm. We had arranged with another local Bar (Slims Place) which was across the street to continue the party with them, they accommodated our entire wedding party, and provided additional food and music until the early hours.


We opted for the Sandbar buffet the choice was vast and Pattie was happy to accommodate any request that we had. As we had eaten many times at the Sandbar Restaurant we didn’t have any worries with regards to the food and were proved right, we opted for sit down starters and buffet mains, the dishes were delicious and there was something for everyone, there wasn’t a single guest that didn't rave about the food, there was even heaps left over which the staff boxed up for us all to take home!


The cake we commissioned from Cindy at Hometown Dessert which is another local gem! Cindy’s cakes and muffins are some of the best we've ever tasted and many of our guests went on to visit her store for treats post wedding! We went with a key lime cake with vanilla cream icing, it was not only very refreshing but is a local speciality. We kept the cake simple and Silvia our florist decorated the cake with a small flower bouquet. Cindy also supplied us with our desserts for the reception boasting the best pie on the island and we had to incorporate this in our day, so she made us a selection of mini desserts including the famous pie and cheesecake as well and muffins.


Photography was one of the top priorities for me, as these were the moments that would be so special to us and I wanted to know that they would be captured fully and with the artistic direction that reflected our style and the day itself. I researched this part the most and invested a large portion of the budget towards it, in other words I was willing to compromise on a lot of the day but not this! I instantly connected with the style of Brooke Images work and after discovering that they had worked with our selected vendors previously, all of which spoke very highly of them I knew I had to have them capture our day and they didn’t disappoint. Both Ashley and Greg travelled from Jacksonville (slightly earlier than they expected due to my error of dates in the contract!) they were beyond accommodating and professional at all times but above all genuinely lovely people. They made everyone feel at ease and the images speak for themselves. I cannot express how happy we are with what Ashley and Greg have captured for us, and I feel completely justified in my decision to have prioritised photography and chosen exceedingly talented photographers.


Due to budget we weren’t originally going to look into Videographers but as the date grew closer we decided that it would be a valued addition to look back on and capture our day in an alternative way. Again we sourced local talent in Star Fruit Productions and Sage and her team were so sweet. Sage made sure she was able to capture all of those special moments as well as the bits that we were sure to miss. We cannot wait to see the end product.


When we started planning our wedding we wanted it to be above all relaxed and fun. Of all the things, ideas and paths we took along the way overall we managed to retain this. Despite creating challenges with organising everything across different time zones and with creative ideas being translated into emails proving a little more challenging then they may have been in person, overall everyone involved with our day made the processes simple and as stress free as possible. We were lucky enough to have both family and friends that were on hand and willing to help at every stage. not only did these people fly half way around the world to celebrate with us but many of them got stuck into tying all the last minute pieces together from hair and make to helping with DIY decoration and all important cake tasting! It was our perfect day and at the end of it we have been left with the most special memories of not just the day but the journey we took to get there. My advise to future brides, dont get caught up in trying to incorporate every little detail and limit your Pinterest will take over your life! Remember the core priorities for you on your day.
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Bespoke Gown: My Eden | Rings: Ernest Jones | Grooms/Groomsmen: Ted Baker | Bridesmaid Outfits: Zara | Venue: The Sandbar Restaurant | Decor: The Loft 5 | Cake : Hometown Dessert | Florist: Silvia's Flower Corner | Entertainment: Trevor Bystorm | Videographer: Starfruit Productions

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