It's rare we have a chance to feature a winter wedding that is also an outdoor wedding, but that's exactly what we have to share with you! Susan and John planned an intimate wedding at a state park followed by a reception at their home. I absolutely love how they leaned into the Christmas season and incorporated so many beautiful red and green details into their day. And how gorgeous is Susan's bouquet? The white roses and hypericum were an elegant and budget-savvy option. Enjoy this lovely December wedding! xoxo, Jessica
Susan + John
Palm Coast, Florida | Bulow Creek State Park – Fairchild Oak Tree + Private Residence
What was your budget?
We did not have a specific budget in mind, we focused on what we wanted, eliminating the things we didn’t want or needed and kept our focus on keeping it small and representative of us. We set out knowing that we wanted something small and intimate. We originally chose Central Park town center for our ceremony, but due to a double booking we had to change venues last minute and it turned out better than I could have imagined. Overall we spent about $13,500.00
Bulow Creek State Park: $150.00
Cakery Creations: $350
Pele’s Wood Fire Pizza: $1,400
Garden of Eden: $300
Invitations and printing: $100
Décor, lighting, and glassware: $1000
Dress and shoes: $250
Bridesmaid Dress and shoes: $100
Groom's suit and shoes: $200
Groomsmen's suit and shoes: $200
Wedding rings and jewelry: $2,800
Beer and sangria: $900
Plant a Memory Favors: $200
Wood, pallets, paint, DIY crafts: $500
How many guests did you have?
We kept the guest list at about 50 people, and an adult only reception.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We had a Christmas wedding, the Saturday before Christmas with a reception at our home in Palm Coast… how much more personal can one get? We wanted the feel of Christmas but wanted it simple-cranberries, pinecones, and Christmas pine. We designed every part of our wedding to meet our personalities and ensured that every aspect represented what we wanted and not cookie-cutter or traditional. We wanted whimsical and simple.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
We did a lot of DIY projects for our wedding. We painted plywood sections and pallet boards to create chalkboard signs. We created a bar and drink stations using stacked pallets and burlap. Make a dessert table using crates, burlap, spray-painted pizza pans, wine glasses, and candelabras. We made our own centerpieces by filling large mason jars with cranberries, cut pine, and floating candles. We created our own playlist and DJ-ed our own wedding. We spent many nights trial and error mixing numerous sangria concoctions to create our very own signature Christmas sangria.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
We were fortunate in many different ways for saving money. We have a large screened in back patio that served as a perfect area to have our reception. Having the reception at home allowed us to pick and choose every aspect of the dinner, drinks, and décor that worked within the look we were going for and the amount of money we wanted to spend. Having an amazing photographer in the family was also a great way to save cost.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
My best advice to anyone planning a wedding is to be original, don’t be afraid to break away from the traditional wedding expectations and rituals and do what you want. We broke tradition and made our day unforgettable and unlike any other wedding. It was whimsical, beautiful, intimate, and romantic but most importantly it was ours. We did away with a lot of the formality and traditional wedding pomp, focused on a beautiful ceremony and an intimate dinner surrounded by our closest family and friends.
What was your biggest splurge?
Our biggest splurge was on food. We wanted the food, like every other aspect to represent us. After a lot of looking, we found Pele’s Wood Fire Pizza, located out of Saint Augustine, Florida. Pele’s offered a mobile brick oven and we thought homemade brick oven pizza went perfectly with our laid back backyard reception. We spent $3000 on dinner, for about 50 people it was about $60 per person but it was unlimited from 5-7 and personal. People watched as Pele’s made and served unlimited BBQ pork Sliders and Corndogs for appetizers and a variety of their signature pizza creations for dinner. Our guests loved the food; it was simple and delicious and made right before our eyes. Given that my husband John and many of our guests were firemen, with big appetites the unlimited amount of food was also appreciated.
What was your favorite detail?
My favorite detail was my dress. I loved my dress. It was a light pale pink, lace and tulle knee length dress. It was simple, comfortable, and whimsical. I found it on Modcloth after purchasing two other dresses that just didn’t feel like me. I ordered my size and hoped for the best. It came in the mail, I tried it on, and it fit perfectly, needed no alterations, and was beautiful.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
The most memorable moment was the ceremony. It was incredible. It was perfect. The ceremony took place at Bulow State Park, in Ormond. It was 3:00 PM, 80 degrees and sunny, and the famous 500+ year old Fairchild Oak tree served as the backdrop. Fifty white chairs and a burlap runner were the only decorations we use. We had a violinist play Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray as I walked down the aisle escorted by my sister. From the moment I took John’s hands until the moment we kissed everything else stopped, disappeared, it was just us and our love for each other.
Photography: Joe and Jennifer Mackey • Ceremony Venue: Bulow Creek State Park • Photoshoot location: Low Plantation Ruins • Reception Venue: Our home • Flowers: Garden of Eden Florist • Favors: Blue Spruce Tree saplings • Catering: Pele’s Wood Fire Pizza • Bakery: Cakery Creations • Rentals: Rentaland • DJ: iPod • Lighting: DIY via Home Depot • Violinist: Emily Dwyer • Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal • Wedding Gown Designer: Chi Chi London • Bridal Shop: Modcloth • Shoes: JC Penney’s Online • Groom and Groomsmen Attire: H&M • Ties: Men’s Wearhouse