If this occasion doesn’t make you want to relax in a beach chair with a piña colada in hand, I don’t know what will!  Erik and Jacque’s wedding was truly a vacation celebration, the turquoise waters and white beaches of Islamorada, Florida, transporting guests to a piece of paradise.  Clad in a khaki suit and sandals, the groom stood beaming beneath an arch of bamboo and tulle as Jacque walked down the sandy aisle, her own father performing the ceremony amidst the whisperings of the ocean behind them.  Following the “I do’s,” dishes of chimichurri skirt steak, chicken saltimbocca, and blackened mahi-mahi were served before all ventured to the tiki hut for a time of dancing at the lantern-lit poolside, mouthwatering desserts of wedding cake and key lime tarts only increasing the party’s energy.  But the act that holds the prize in the minds of all who attended the affair?  The newlyweds’ fearless plunge into the swimming pool.  Dive into this fun South Florida celebration with these images by Tremaine Photography, interspersed with commentary from the groom himself!

Color Story
Please give us an overview of the event. My wife and I were married on May 11th, 2013 at a private beach resort on Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The resort is called The Ocean House and consists of a 2 story, 6 hotel room setup all with picture perfect views of the turquoise blue waters. Our wedding was held on the resort’s private white sand beach. The venue was small and personal with 50 of our closest friends and family in attendance making the wedding itself very intimate and picturesque.

Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore. My wife’s dress (in her own words now) was an A-line Rivini dress with a Rivini sash. (Now my words…) The dress was very delicate with a satin/silk-like tulle and that’s about the extent of my dress knowledge. My wife’s wedding party consisted of her 3 sisters and 3 best friends. The ladies were dressed in a turquoise blue dress from David’s Bridal and they wore ivory colored sandals. 

Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever? The story of how Jacque and I met begins back in 2009. Jacque and I shared some mutual friends who had invited us to play in a two day soccer tournament. It was sheer coincidence, or fate if you will, that we met. As I recall, Jacque wasn’t even going to participate but decided to join the second day’s games. We played in a single game together and outside of talking on the field, that was the only time we had to meet each other. Not two months after that tournament, I was offered a job in Orlando, FL and off I went to make my living. Some months later, thanks to (you guessed it) Facebook, Jacque and I sparked up a conversation. But life and a new careers kept us both very busy as contact was sporadic until a winter storm hit the Seattle area. Jacque had made a Facebook note saying how she was forced to abandon her car on the hills of Seattle and walk, in the snow, the mile or so to her home. This proved an opportune time for me to brag about my warm 78 degree sunny weather here in Orlando. It’s amazing, looking back, that a seemingly unimportant message would lead to such happiness in our lives…but indeed that’s what happened. To this moment, I can’t think of a day after that cold walk home that we have not talked. Fast forward several months and the next thing we knew, we were planning Jacque’s escape from the cold weather of a winter in Seattle to the warm breeze and theme parks of Orlando.

Smartest savings… Save money through DIY invitations. They really are not as hard as you think to make something simple and beautiful. A lot can be done through free computer software trials and then it comes down to picking out the right material to make your invitations. It can literally save hundreds of dollars.

Did you DIY any of the details? Every last detail of our wedding was handpicked and created. The only exceptions to this statement was the outfits, the food, and the DJ equipment. The bamboo arch we created and decorated, the end caps of the aisles were created by us, the centerpieces of the guest tables, the lanterns around the pool and the candles inside them, the engagement notifications, save the date magnets, napkins, matchbooks, and yes, even the bar was self stocked. From top to bottom the event was DIY. 

Was there a specific theme or style? The theme could best be described (per our wedding coordinator) as “chic beach style.” Our ceremony decorations were tulle draped over our bamboo arch, and starfish hung around the ends of chairs for the aisle way to the arch. We used personally-found pieces of driftwood, different sizes of jars from slender to wide that held the different flowers that we selected (the colors of the jars were clear or turquoise) and personally designed/created luggage tags attached to wine bottle corks of starfish placed atop the dinner plates at each of the guest tables. Around the pool were large and small lanterns providing the only additional lighting that the tiki hut did not come with. The tiki hut had small LED light strips around the inner rim for mood lighting while the vegetation all around the venue had beautiful uplighting – again, setting a private and intimate feel to the whole evening.

What were your playful twists that made the event unique? One of the playful twists that we had was the shoe game between my wife and I where a series of humorous questions were asked based around who would do what or would be the first to do something. For example, a question that was personal to us was “Who is better at soccer?” Based on what each of us thought we’d raise the shoe of that person to signify our answer. With my wife and I being back to back and unable to see each other’s responses, the guests would get a good laugh from what we each thought. Another playful twist was in the fact that the resort had a private coral fire pit. We set up a s’more station consisting of different graham crackers, different chocolates, and even different candies such as Snickers or REESE’S to spice up the s’more selection.

What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event? Our DJ was excellent and provided an excellent transition of energy from the sweet loving atmosphere of the ceremony to the dinner followed by upping the tempo and excitement with great song selections. The DJ really was in tune with how the party was going and avoided a lot of sappy romantic slow dance stuff that some weddings have and instead kept the dancing going.

Wedding Professionals Photography: Tremaine Photography | Venue: Ocean House | Entertainment: DJ Buggy | Hair & Makeup: Beauty Boutique | Cakes: Cakes by Karol | Catering: Catered Affairs of Key West | Rentals: Florida Keys Party Rentals | Day-Of Wedding Planner: Just Save the Date | Floral: Lee Forrest Design | Wedding Dress: Solutions Bridal Designer House  

There are few feelings that measure up to  the excitement an editor feels when you close an absolutely gorgeous new magazine.  It’s partly a sigh of relief because all of that work is done, but also a gasp of excitement to see all of the gorgeous details you’ve collected over the past months come together on those glossy pages.  Best time of the year if you ask me.  So, as I sign off on the proofs and put our Summer 2014 issue into production I find myself saying once again, “This is our best issue yet.”  No really.  It is.  I can 100% say that and also that this issue IS The Stylish Bride’s Guide to Everything.  

Occasions_Weddings_Winter2014_Cover_5

With the help of some pretty amazing contributors we’ve curated only the very best wedding ideas captured by the most amazing photographers in town (eh hem, like Rustic White Photography who shot the cover above).  We’ve scoured our favorite shops for the best wedding finds and collaborated with our favorite wedding vendors to bring you honest-to-goodness great ideas and some seriously helpful insight on wedding planning.  You know me… I’m all about pretty things, but mostly what it’s going to take to get those pretty things at my party.  This issue is the epitome of what I’ve always wanted Occasions to be.  We’ve grown into our big girl shoes now and it feels great.  

New to the team is our Editor-at-Large, Mandy Kellogg Rye.  She is probably one of this most stylish women I know and brings to Occasions some seriously great ideas for brides and the everyday hostess.  This issue she brings out the colors of summer in our cover pictorial featuring dresses that are anything but white proving that there is no reason to be traditional if you don’t want to.  The shoot is a whopping 12 pages and if the cover doesn’t get you excited itself, how about  a behind-the-scenes video by Munn Brothers of all the looks?  You’re welcome.  Take a break from facebook and your overflowing inbox and watch this.  When you’re done you can pre-order your copy of our Summer 2014 issue here.  

Occasions: Brides of Summer from Munn Brothers on Vimeo.

The latest from our local editions

Yesterday I shared our complete Easter Dessert Table, and today I wanted to provide the how to’s for my sugar cookie easter egg tree.  Now, if I’m being completely honest, and only because of time and travel, I did not make the gorgeous cookies you see hanging here.  My friends at Whipped Bakeshop did.  However, I wanted to provide you my go to sugar cookie and royal icing recipes, both tried and true and made a million times, so you could create a tree for your Easter table this weekend.  Therefore, without further ado, I give you The Edible Easter Egg Tree.  truly, MKR  

easter egg tree

easter egg tree

easter egg tree

Concept & Styling, Occasions Editor at Large, Mandy Kellogg Rye  ||  PhotographyRustic White  ||  Egg CookiesWhipped Bakeshop  ||  CakesEileen Carter Creations  ||  Egg Plates & Platter,Williams-Sonoma  ||  Cake StandsWaiting On Martha  ||  Egg Cups & Speckled EggsWorld Market 

Classic Sugar Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size).
  7. Cool completely on wire racks.
OCCASIONS http://www.occasionsonline.com/
Royal Icing
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Ingredients
  1. 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 4 cups confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. In large bowl or stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add food coloring, if desired.
  3. Transfer icing to pastry bag and pipe as desired.
  4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
OCCASIONS http://www.occasionsonline.com/
Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Tree
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Ingredients
  1. 5-6 large cherry blossom stems, or any other flowery branches.
  2. Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
  3. Ribbon or twine
  4. Extra Large Vase
Instructions
  1. Cut 5-6 large cherry blossom stems and place into vase. If your local flower store doesn't have any flowery branches they can easily be foraged this time of year in practically any wooded area.
  2. Take your completed sugar cookies and punch a small hole in the top. I used a skewer stick to do so, you could also use a straw or anything else that would create a small hole.
  3. Thread ribbon through cookie and tie a knot at the top, and place on tree.
OCCASIONS http://www.occasionsonline.com/
 

When I began thinking about what dessert would accompany my Easter table and the bounty of cakes I immediately thought of homemade pistachio pudding.  There are few things as delicious and as easy to make as pudding.  Add the element (and color) of pistachios, and suddenly you’ve taken a classic and elevated it with both texture and flavor your guests will be impressed with.  And whether you care to divulge that it only took you 20 minutes to whip up, well that’s up to you.  truly, MKR

Pistachio Pudding

Pistachio Pudding

Concept & Styling, Occasions Editor at Large, Mandy Kellogg Rye  ||  PhotographyRustic White

Homemade Pistachio Pudding
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Pistachio Paste
  1. 1/2 cup salted pistachio nuts
  2. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons water
Pudding
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 2 large egg yolks
  3. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  8. 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
Pistachio Paste
  1. Place pistachios in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the nuts are in small bits.
  3. Add the sugar and water, and blend until relatively smooth.
Pudding
  1. Spoon Pistachio Paste into a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the milk and whisk over medium heat.
  3. Heat milk and pistachio until steamy and hot.
  4. While milk is heating, whisk together granulated sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Mixture will be thick. Keep whisking until it’s smooth.
  5. Pour about 1/2 cup of the steaming pistachio milk into the sugar and egg mixture. Whisk together. Add another half cup of hot milk and whisk to incorporate. Return the milky egg mixture into the saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Heat pudding mixture over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Whisk almost constantly.
  7. Boil for 1 minute, or until thickened.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract, until butter is melted.
  9. Pass cooked pudding through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl.
  10. Spoon into small ramekins, place plastic wrap over the individual puddings (so the plastic touches the top of the pudding), and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  11. Garnish with chopped pistachios.
  12. **Pudding will last, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
Adapted from Joy The Baker
Adapted from Joy The Baker
OCCASIONS http://www.occasionsonline.com/

There is no holiday where sweets take center stage like Easter.  Whether you’re a child with an Easter basket full of goodies, or an adult savoring seasonal cadbury eggs and sugary confections, Easter really does…well, take the cake.  So to help inspire your Easter celebrations I’ve teamed up with some amazing Creatives to build the ultimate Easter dessert table complete with an edible egg tree, pistachio pudding, and three…yes three different cakes (carrot, Baileys & butter cream and sprinkle)!

And make sure to check back tomorrow where I’ll be sharing my pistachio pudding recipe (it’s so easy), and  just how to build this edible Easter egg tree.  truly, MKR 

Easter Dessert Table

Easter Dessert Table

Easter Dessert Table

Easter Dessert Table

Easter Dessert Table

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Concept & Styling, Occasions Editor at Large, Mandy Kellogg Rye  ||  PhotographyRustic White  ||  CakesEileen Carter Creations  ||  Egg CookiesWhipped Bakeshop  ||  Egg Plates & PlatterWilliams-Sonoma  ||  Cake StandsWaiting On Martha  ||  Egg Cups & Speckled EggsWorld Market

The latest from our local editions