Simple and delicate – the words that best describe Jessica and Justin’s wedding. The soft motif they chose definitely went with their beach wedding. They were dressed up in pastels and khaki and so was the entourage. They also had a handkerchief specially engraved with their initials. Lastly, they had starfish as cake toppers.
What is your story as a couple, how did you meet & fall in love?
Justin and I met on an online dating site. It was a foreign experience, neither of us had ever tried before. I had moved to the east coast of Florida from Iowa to be a live-in nanny for a family I had just met. I had a bit of culture shock and definitely felt out of my element. As a single girl, in my 20’s who had just taken a giant leap of faith, I figured what’s another joining Match.com. Justin had recently moved back to Naples for a job opportunity from Ohio. He was also single and finding it difficult to meet a woman of interest, he joined Match. Needless, to say I was the first girl he contacted and the first date went on since joining. We both found comfort in knowing we were both from the Mid-West. We spent our first date on the west coast, in Naples. I watched him coach his soccer the team, we went to the beach, had a romantic dinner on 5th Ave, and walked to the Pier: where nearly two years later we would be taking our wedding photos. A few months later, I left my job as a nanny and moved to Naples to be with him. We feel in love, and knew early on it was a “match” made in Heaven.
What makes the two of you a perfect match?
First and foremost would be our faith. We are also friends, and really love spending time together and doing things with one another. Anything from shopping to watching movies, to cooking. We laugh a lot! We both have a very playful, silly side that helps keeps things light and fun.
How did he (or you) propose?
He proposed on Captiva Island, about an hour from where we live. We spent the afternoon at the beach and visiting a few local shops. Before heading to a casual dinner, he said he had one more spot to take me. I didn’t think anything of it! We pulled up to the Chapel by the Sea. The oldest church on the island, it was stunning. Quaint and quiet we walked to admire the beauty. The sun was bright, shining through the trees. When he turned to me, his hands were shaking and I immediately started crying. It was the most precious moment. I don’t remember exactly what he said but I said Yes and it was perfect. My face hurt for days, I couldn’t stop smiling! As were we walking to our car to leave, they were just beginning to set up for a wedding. I’ll never forget that day.
How long was the planning process? Did you think it was enough time?
We were engaged in April and married in December. I think it was the perfect amount of time. It gave us sufficient time to plan, book the venues and enjoy being engaged. I didn’t feel rushed and we could enjoy the planning process. I did little things, all the time so it wasn’t too overwhelming, but it didn’t feel like we were waiting an eternity to become husband and wife.
What was the best advice you received when you were planning your wedding?
Don’t stress the small stuff! Everything will come together perfectly. Don’t let the small details take away from the big picture. At the end of the day, we will be married!
What tips & tricks (can we use “hacks”?) can you share future brides that you yourself have
learned during and after your wedding?
My advice for engaged couples: do not let yourselves get so consumed by the details that you stop enjoying it. The planning process should be fun. It is your day, it’s impossible to please everyone and it’s really not your duty to do so! As a fellow bride and self-proclaimed perfectionist, I know the stress that the details bring. In the end, that stuff certainly matters but if you don’t have time or money for party favors, or boutonnieres it’s okay! Decide what aspects really matter and focus on those. If you can, a wedding planner can be a lifesaver in so many ways and they will really help organize the day so it flows smoothly. With outdoor, beach weddings: less is more. Let the already created and perfected beauty do the work. Enjoy every single moment, minute and breath of your wedding day. It’ll be unforgettable.
What were some challenges you faced while planning your wedding & what did you do to address them?
We really didn’t face a whole lot of challenges. Some minor mishaps you could say. For venue, reception, and budget reasons we had to limit the number of guests we could invite. That was difficult at first but we quickly came to understand the day was about us and we accepted that we weren’t going to be able to invite we wanted.
What inspired your wedding décor? Why did you choose the things that you did?
It was pretty easy for both of us to decide what we wanted to wear. My style is quite simple and delicate. I appreciate small touches of detail rather than bold statements. We wanted a feminine, natural feel that would really allow for the out of state guests to enjoy the beauty of Naples. My dress had flowers with pearls in the center cascading down one side which really brought in the outdoors, beach feel we wanted. I incorporated those pearls into my champagne sash as well. While looking for simple accessories, I came across the Tiffany “knot.” It didn’t take much persuading for Justin to love the idea when I took him to Tiffany and told him, ” it’s because we are tying the knot babe.” Even the associate wasn’t going to let us leave without it! It complimented the beautiful “knot” earrings he gave me the morning of the wedding. We wanted very natural and neutral colors, to match the beautiful venue of Naples beach, with touches of light pinks, and champagne.
What was the wedding budget?
We were on a limited budget. We didn’t have an exact number but really tried to limit costs as much as possible. We were conscious of everything we were buying. Things add up so quickly, some areas we were willing to make sacrifices and some we weren’t. I knew I didn’t want to spend more the $600 for my dress and I accomplished that.
Where did you save the most money?
The venue, because it was a public place the cost was minimal. Also in decor at the ceremony because it was so naturally beautful. We really kept to the idea that less is more. Since we didn’t invite a large number of people we are able to spend more in some areas.
What was the biggest expense?
The biggest expense was the reception. We had complimentary drinks all night, and the menu was elegant. How many guests were invited in your wedding and what was the final guest count? We invited 47 and the final count was 40.
How did you narrow down your list?
We invited immediate family and close friends.
What songs did you use during the ceremony?
We came up with a lovely playlist. It included: Michael Buble, Dave Matthews, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Ray La montagne. Hillsong United-Oceans which is what I walked down the isle too. The musician sang the song as the wedding party was walking and played it on the keyboard while I walked. It was perfect.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
With our busy work schedules, planning a wedding and buying a house, a honeymoon was just not at the top of our priority list. Last minute, our good friends graciously gifted us their time share in Aspen for a week. Living in Southwest Florida, a week in the snowy mountains was exactly what we wanted. The trip was perfect. We were greeted with “Congratulations Mr. And Mrs. Wittrock by the staff at Grand Hyatt Aspen. Wine, champagne and chocolate covered fruit awaited us in our spacious, cozy, lodge inspired suite. The fire place was warm and the view was amazing. Although I discovered skiing just isn’t my thing, I enjoyed hanging out at the base of the mountain sipping a warm beverage while Justin being an avid skier, hit the slopes. We spent an afternoon on a snow mobile tour through the mountains that was absolutely breathtaking. We loved experiencing all the local restaurants and establishments, Justice Snows being a favorite. We spent a day getting pampered at the St. Regis Spa, which was stunning. The locals and staff at all of our visits were accommodating, friendly and welcoming. We couldn’t have had a better honeymoon.
What are you most excited about for the future?
We are so excited to start a family and can’t wait to have children. We would love to conceive as well as adopt. We just can’t wait to be parents.
Do you have advice for couples still in the planning process?
My advice for engaged couples: do not let yourselves get so consumed by the details that you stop enjoying it. The planning process should be fun. It is your day, it’s impossible to please everyone and it’s really not your duty to do so! As a fellow bride and self proclaimed perfectionist, I know the stress that the details bring. In the end, that stuff certainly matters but if you don’t have time or money for party favors, or boutineers’s it’s okay! Decide what aspects really matter and focus on those. If you can, a wedding planner can be a life saver in so many ways and they will really help organize the day so it flows smoothly. With outdoor, beach weddings: less is more. Let the already created and perfected beauty do the work. Enjoy every single moment, minute and breath of your wedding day. It’ll be unforgettable
What inspired the wedding day outfits?
It was pretty easy for both of us to decide what we wanted to wear. My style is quite simple, and delicate. I appreciate small touches of detail rather then bold statements. We wanted a feminine, natural feel that would really allow for the out of state guests to enjoy the beauty of Naples. My dress had flowers with pearls in the center cascading down one side which really brought in the outdoors, beach feel we wanted. I incorporated those pearls into my champagne sash as well. While looking for simple accessories, I came across the Tiffany “knot.” It didn’t take much persuading for Justin to love the idea when I took him to Tiffany and told him, ” it’s because we are tying the knot babe.” Even the associate, wasn’t going to let us leave without it! It complimented the beautiful “knot” earrings he gave me the morning of the wedding. We wanted very natural and neutral colors, to match the beautiful venue of Naples beach, with touches of light pinks, and champagne. Justin naturally was interested in a linen suit, leaving out the jacket for a really relaxed and “beachy” look. Other then comfort, and wearing his favorite brand of shoes, Cole Haan, he really had no requests!
What was your favorite part of the day?
My favorite part of the day was the ceremony. I felt so present and calm. It was a reassuring feeling we were following what God had planned. It was beautiful. I loved saying our vows and becoming one. It was so special, personal to us and intimate. I was so focused on Justin and beginning our lives together.
Was there any Do it Yourself (DIY) projects? If so, can you describe them in detail?
Many of our ideas we created with the help of friends and family. Welcome Gifts were handed out at the hotel for the out of state guests consisting of Florida/beach themed goodies: salt water taffy; edible fish and sea shells; mini shots of rum and Coke; Sunchips and mini hand sanitizers. We had two local artists paint signs on old, distressed wood that were displayed at the ceremony and later moved to the reception. We used mason jars for center pieces, wrapped with burlap and filled with baby’s breath and light pink roses. Strands of pearls and votive candles were scattered throughout the tables at the reception. Our guest board was created out of an old pictured frame. Burlap was pinned as the background and pearls strung across the frame to hold the seating arrangements on card stock. The table numbers we put together using a wooden stick with a heart attached. I painted each and glued the numbers on them which were placed in to the mason jars on each table. Large sea shells sat near the white treasure chest that held cards from the guests. We used a large mason jar, for the guests to place their “well wishes” and advice, instead of a using a guest book. Our cake toppers were two star fish that looked like they were holding hands, as jute lined each layer.
What were the highlights from the ceremony & reception?
We were so thankful for our family and friends that traveled near and far to be with us. It meant so much to us. We truly took in every moment of our day, reflected and thanked God for all of it. We approached the day, with gratitude, excitement, and so much love. I can honestly say, it went perfectly. We had a wonderful musician, sing and play during the ceremony, a talented and gifted wedding planner and friend who orchestrated the events, and a reception venue that was accommodating, and easy to work with. The day couldn’t have been captured as perfectly as it was without our photographer who went above and beyond. The weather was great, the day flowed smoothly and we enjoyed it beyond belief.
Was there a theme for the ceremony and reception?
We didn’t have a theme per-say, we were going more for “feel”. We wanted our guests to experience and feel the day with us. We dreamed the day would be intimate, meaningful, emotional and a celebration of our love. 8th Ave where the ceremony was held, is known as the wedding beach. With the Gulf and white sand as the background, it needs no dazzling! We wanted the natural beauty to be our decoration and theme. The reception was held at a local restaurant called Ridgway that feels like the perfect mix of old Florida, and fine but relaxed dining. It was so romantic and personal
What part of the ceremonies do you think was the most memorable for you? (& your guests?)
I think our vows. The guests said they were beautiful and they felt like we were brought together. There was so much meaning behind them. We want that meaning to last forever. I hope it really spoke to people.