Old Florida

Old World Inspired Florida Wedding


July 20, 2020
Words by Kinsley Brown
Photos courtesy of Evan Rich Photography

C.J. and Paiton loved life in Florida and were sad to say “goodbye” when C.J.’s dermatology residency took them to New York. After the couple got engaged, they knew a destination wedding was ideal. Plus, their families were spread out across the country and would need to travel regardless of where the couple chose to say “I do.” So, they took the party to their beloved home state of Florida.

Motive Cinemas on Vimeo

The wish list for a venue was simple: a place out of the mainstream, dawning an Old World aesthetic and somewhere Paiton could easily nail the design and layout for her wedding.

“I don’t know anyone that has been married at the Ancient Spanish Monastery, so it felt unique and exclusive,” the bride says. “I also wanted an Old World aesthetic and the venue is the oldest building in the western hemisphere!”

Taking on planning a destination wedding without a planner to help, Paiton felt painfully aware of how much she’d need to keep a tight grasp on every aspect of the planning process.

“We wanted to make it worth everyone’s while traveling to our wedding, so we decided to have a 4-day wedding weekend. It was a lot of planning and logistics,” the bride says.

C.J. and Paiton’s communications with their hand-picked vendors happened all over email, with a few calls leading up to the big day. Luckily, the couple didn’t run into any issues, but they did make sure to request samples and photos of the vendor’s work before booking them.

“I hired a day-of coordinator so I would not be stressed on the wedding day. Highly recommended,” Paiton says.

Even though they’d need to find a way to transport any D.I.Y. projects, the couple decided it was well worth the unique and original detail. The bride designed the couple’s save-the-dates, bar menus and welcome sign. Her mom stepped in and hemmed squares of velvet that would be used as napkins. Perhaps most important, Paiton repurposed a pocket watch with her late father’s photo and some of his ashes to attach to her bridal bouquet.

When the wedding weekend finally arrived, the couple’s guests had few issues traveling or getting set up once in Florida, partially thanks to a service called Digital Bride. The service sent out a welcome text to all guests with a breakdown of each day’s details, so they knew exactly what was going on, when, and where.

“Our venue was the middle point between two major airports, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, so they had many options. I made sure to include maps and lots of important information on our wedding website,” the bride says.

The weekend went off practically without a hitch. Although the couple feels they spent more money hosting their wedding in upscale South Florida than they might have in New York, C.J. and Paiton were elated to start forever in such a gorgeous setting.

“Try to stay true to yourself throughout the entire wedding planning process,” Paiton says. “Do what makes you happy! Customize your wedding to fit your needs and values. Change things up from the standard norm! Your wedding should ultimately be a reflection of you & your significant other as a couple. Have fun and enjoy every single moment.”

Vendors: Photographer: Evan Rich Photography; Day-of Coordinator: Maureen C. Weddings; Ceremony/Reception Site: Ancient Spanish Monastery; Florist: Julia Rohde Designs; Stationery: I Can Do That Design; Cake: Earth and Sugar; Hair & Makeup: Ivy Sims; Gown Designer: Essense of Australia; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Indochino; Videography: Motive Cinemas

Couple in Punta Cana doing a destination wedding by the ocean
Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Couple in Cancun doing a gazebo destination wedding
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres
Iberostar Weddings

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.