Getting married in an Italian countryside is a dream of many couples. Last June it was a reality for our clients, Cassie and Mary, as a small group of family and friends joined them to celebrate in this timeless, romantic setting.
When Because both had so many other family members and close acquaintances that could not share in this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, the couple decided to hold a local reception at a friend's spacious home.
Mary had contacted our creative director, Kent Billier, via our Florida Loves Weddings division last fall when she and Cassie were considering a local beachfront home as a destination.
While Kent, Brad, and myself kept saying, "How can we possibly top Italy," we were pleasantly surprised to find Cassie and Mary's main focus would be on a variety of cuisines and a party atmosphere just seven days following their destination wedding.
Lisa and Peter's home was the perfect venue with lots of practical entertaining space outdoors. Dotted with many Tuscan-inspired features, one could almost imagine it was a held in a villa over-looking the vineyards instead of a gated lake community in West Pasco County.
Since the home owners host an annual Halloween Party, they already had an entertainment grotto at one end of the pool's lanai area. We moved a few items around to accommodate a large bar and a professional photo booth. No dj was necessary with an outdoor sound system already cued for a variety of music.
Guests arrived at 7 p.m. to enjoy a short social with wine tasting and cheese-fruit parings. We featured a Moscato wine with baked brie with Granny Smith Apples and baguette rounds, and a Cabernet with white Cheddar and water crackers ... all surrounded by fresh seasonal fruits and adorable vegetable/fruit carvings.
The north side of the property featured a large wrought iron gazebo we simply decorated with flowing fabrics. Guests took their places for a Cassie and Mary's short wedding re-enactment. Each were individually escorted by family members.
We were very fortunate to have missed a major rain storm in the area that afternoon. Our staff members' watchful eyes helped us avoid a few sprinkles that snuck in an hour before the event was to begin.
The celebration continued hand-passed favorites of the brides including Caesar Salad (on a stick), coconut shrimp, petite Beef Wellingtons, and artichoke bottoms stuffed with cream cheese and spinach.
Simply decorated guest tables were available for guests in a patio area near the lanai. Mary and Cassie chose a floor length black cloth with damask runner and alternating black and white carriage lamps.
The food continued with our popular Paella along with Marinated Mediterranean Vegetables, Calypso Chicken Skewers, and Rice Pilaf.
Between the tasty wedding cake and the Bananas Foster Station, guests got their fill of food for the evening celebration. The 75 guests also enjoyed free-flowing champagne and full bar.
A special treat after dark were the solar globes that lit the top of the pool.
Many thanks to Cassie and Mary for allowing us to be a part of their celebration. Also thanks to their gracious hosts Lisa and Peter who opened up their fabulous gourmet kitchen for our on-site preparations.
Kudos to Kent Billiter and Bradley Dempsey for their design ideas. And a big thank you to our creative culinary team of my husband Bob, Chris Hazel, Heather Gunther, and "skewer queen" Rita Androlewicz, for making the cuisine just perfect.