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Destination I Do
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Warm Get Away to Naples Florida

Words by Lindsey McIntosh
Photos courtesy of Hunter Ryan Photo

The beautiful coast of Naples, Florida made Claire and Jay’s wedding a romantic day they will never forget. Eager to escape from the cold winter weather, they knew Florida would be the perfect destination wedding location. “We’re usually down there over Thanksgiving, and it’s where Jay first got to know and spend time with my family, so it [has] become a special spot for us,” says Claire, “A lot of my family and friends guessed we might choose Naples, so I don’t think many were too surprised. Nobody complained about having to travel (at least not to our faces!) and they seemed excited about having a reason to escape the winter.”

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 Planning the perfect destination wedding can be overwhelming and seem to be more of a monster task than it really is. “[We were] definitely challenged with not being able to meet with people and make decisions in person, but it was so fun to see it all come together in the end.” The couple also added, “It was great having people we trusted to make vendor recommendations and help with decisions.”

 During Thanksgiving, the excited pair had the opportunity to spend a week in Naples to start checking off their to-do list. They chose to show off their exquisite love for one another by decorating the Naples United Church of Christ and La Playa Beach and Golf Resort, the beachfront reception space, with pink and white flowers from Botanicals on the Gulf. The couple also felt confident Hunter Ryan Photo would capture every picture-perfect moment of them celebrating their love with family and friends. Claire mentioned, “I was lucky that my parents were down there in the months leading up to the wedding. [My mother was a] wedding planner extraordinaire… [who] did a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to working with the vendors.” When it came to unique touches, the bride found herself getting hands-on to create personal gifts for the guests. “I’m not very crafty, but one thing we did do ourselves were the favors. We had a little assembly line of friends making tiny boxes the day before the wedding,” she says.

We asked the couple to share some advice for future lovers ready to plan a wedding away of their own. “Enjoy the process! Even though it can be stressful, it’s such a fun and exciting time, and it goes by too quickly! We made sure to take a moment at the reception to step back and really take it all in, all the people who came so far to be there with us.”

Vendors: Photography: Hunter Ryan Photo, Wedding Planner: Side by Side Weddings, Ceremony: Naples United Church of Christ, Reception Site: La Playa Beach and Golf Resort, Florist: Botanicals on the Gulf, Stationery: Homescapes (Springfield, IL), Cake: Ella’s Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Salon Tease, Gown Designer: Oscar de la Renta, Bridesmaids Clothing: JCrew, Band: CTO High Voltage, Videographer: AMC Video

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