couple stand at altar

Nuptials in Naples: A Real Wedding


October 7, 2022
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Niki Marie Photography

Maria was in her first year, and Daniel was a junior in college when they met through mutual friends at a Christmas party. Even though they didn’t necessarily hit it off immediately, they kept bumping into each other throughout the next couple of years. After exchanging a few flirtatious tweets (like Daniel’s “just saw my future wife”), Maria decided to send Daniel a message on his birthday. After that, they talked every single night for the rest of the summer. Finally, after a few years of dating, Daniel proposed on a trip to Chicago, one of their favorite places.

While Maria and Daniel have only ever lived in chilly locations – the Windy City and Michigan – they wanted a break from the cold for their wedding.

“We didn’t want a huge, local wedding that blended together with other weddings, so we chose to have a destination wedding,” the couple says. “Plus, we wanted to give people an excuse to go somewhere warm during the Michigan late winter and get excited to go on a fun vacation post-COVID!”

Finding a destination that fit them took little effort. The first place which came to mind was their favorite vacay spot: Naples, Florida.

“[We] love the atmosphere there, so it was easy to pick the location,” the bride says. “It’s also an easy, direct flight from Detroit, and we wanted the traveling to be as simple as possible for guests.”

Additionally, the couple desired their wedding to be an elegant affair with tropical flairs, so Naples was a perfect location for that. Maria’s vision for her wedding day was classic, elegant, and timeless. She wanted her wedding style to be traditional, with a hint of tropical infusion. Luckily, the bride recruited the perfect person to help her carry out that vision – “our wedding planner, Courtney!”

“It was so nice being able to ship last-minute decor to her house and count on her to bring it to the wedding,” Maria says. “She was a lifesaver!”

Also fortunate for the couple was the ease of travel logistics. Guests simply needed to book a domestic flight and book a hotel through the couple’s room block or Airbnb.

“It was fairly simple, overall, which I think added to the appeal of joining us in Naples for the wedding,” the couple says.

Although the couple had around 120 guests, it was the perfect amount for them. Plus, having a destination celebration allowed Maria and Daniel to host a welcome party and beach party – “which added extra celebrations so it felt like our wedding was more than just one day.”

Daniel and Maria’s oceanside ceremony kept to neutral hues to not distract from the beautiful venue setting. After the ceremony, Maria and Daniel poured a champagne tower for guests to enjoy. The pair personalized their day with custom napkins with Daniel’s tweet years ago––”Just saw my future wife.” Their first dance was magical, ending in cold sparklers as a fun surprise for their guests.

Maria leaves other couples in the planning process with the same helpful guidance she received:

“The best advice I received was to remember that it’s a marriage, not a wedding. That message really stuck with me through the entire planning process and helped bring me back down to earth at times, and I would share that same exact message with all future brides.”

Vendors: Photography: Niki Marie Photography; Planner: Fabulously Chic Events; Venue: LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort; Florals: Floral Symphony; Cake: Sweetified; Rentals: Elements and Accents; Linens: BBJ Linen; String Quartet: Vanderbilt Strings; Lighting: Opulent Lighting and Design; Dance Floor: Dream Dancefloors; Seating Display: Script Me Pretty; Draping: Swag Decor; Entertainment: The RiverTown Band; Videography: Torres Tribe Films; Stationery: Leah E Moss; Hair and Makeup: Duality Artistry; First Dress: Rita Vinieris from Bella Bianca; Second Dress: Milla Nova from Joy Abendmode; Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulu’s; Groomsmen Attire: The Tux Shop on Woodward; Groom’s Attire: Tom James; PR: OFD Consulting

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