A verdant, tropical paradise inside a Downtown Orlando modern arts center? Yes, please! Charlotte and Craig’s wedding was so much fun to bring to life! It was equal parts colorful, lush, and oh so joyful.
This beautiful wedding was originally planned for August of 2020 but as with so many things during the pandemic– it had to be rescheduled. However, that did not stop Charlotte and Craig from marrying as planned. They arranged an intimate civil ceremony on their original date and pushed the big celebration to January 8th, 2021. Charlotte often said during this time, “the show must go on!” and I feel this perfectly captures her positive, can-do sensibility.
When the time finally came for their proper celebration with all their family and friends, we did not hold back! Charlotte and Craig love the theater and from the start knew they wanted to have their wedding at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando. Charlotte’s initial references for the design of the wedding were the Vanderpump restaurants in Las Vegas, which feature tons of greenery and florals from floor-to-ceiling. She wanted it to look and feel like a magical garden.
Together with Lana from Fairbanks Florist, we created a plan to hang plants in a lush canopy over the reception space. Charlotte’s natural effervescence and love of color was translated into the floral design, which featured a huge variety of vibrant flowers, including pink hibiscus, red roses, purple anemones.
Citrus and ferns were incorporated to represent Craig’s strong family ties to both plants and small Cardinals were tucked into various ferns to honor those who have passed.
The mood was set early on, with custom stationery by Two Peas Paper Co which incorporated the flowers that would be used in the wedding design.
The First Look
On their wedding day, January 8th, 2022, Charlotte and Craig began by getting ready in their respective locations, then meeting for a very sweet First Look outside the venue. Of course, their darling dog Duke simply had to join in for the big reveal!
Meanwhile, inside the Dr. Phillip’s Center, the scene was set for Charlotte and Craig’s ceremony…
Black drapery with pin lights shining through created a starlight motif to contrast with the bold floral arrangements. They were an explosion of color with red, magenta, and purple flowers and would set the tone for the florals of the entire day. Charlotte was not afraid to go bold and it certainly paid off!
Guests gathered and took their seats for the couple’s nuptials. Charlotte was walked down the aisle by her father to meet her beloved Craig at the altar.
Just before their vows, Duke made his own trip down the aisle to join his paw-rents at the altar and look on as they said, “I do!”
My favorite moment: You may now kiss the bride!
After the ceremony, guests were ushered to the rooftop for a cocktail hour while Charlotte, Craig, and both families took portraits together.
As Charlotte and Craig split their time between New York and Orlando, many of the wedding details paid homage to Manhattan, including the entryway flower cart which featured bouquets for guests to take home with them. The custom artwork on the dance floor was created by Two Peas Paper Co and was designed to emulate the bistro tables on Fifth Avenue.
Inside, the reception design was in place which meant it was time for one of my personal favorite moments… Revealing the reception space to my couples!
Trees, potted plants, vines, and bold floral arrangements combined with string lights, crystal chandeliers, and candlelight to create a truly immersive experience. Mirrored tabletops beneath the canopy brought the experience full circle and the addition of vine-covered swings made for the perfect photo op and touch of whimsy!
After the private reveal, guests were welcomed into reception space to dine beneath the canopy before speeches, the couple’s first dance, and family dances.
Following dinner, guests lingered to chat over candlelit tables and danced the night away on the custom dance floor.
I believe it is safe to say, a good time was had by all and Charlotte and Craig’s love for each other radiated all evening long. They lived happily ever after, indeed!
Wedding Planning and Design: Lisa Lyons Events
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Dr. Phillip’s Center for the Performing Arts
Hair and Makeup: Kristy’s Artistry Design Team
Florals: Fairbanks Florist
Photography: KV Photography
Videography: KEJ Productions
Rentals: Gala Rental
Chandeliers: Get Lit Productions
Linen: Over the Top Rental Linens
Stationery and Dance Floor Design: Two Peas Paper Co
Entertainment: In Pulse Entertainment
What a dream it was to plan Anabel and Juan’s wedding! Anabel and I connected from the start. She has an effervescent personality and is a true joy to be around. Her warmth is contagious and we had such fun going over the details, big and small, for their wedding day.
The mood was set before the big day with custom stationery, monogram, and wax seal by the ever-talented Siuleth of Eleven Note. My personal favorite touch was the illustration of Anabel and Juan’s beloved dog, Daisy, for the reception cocktail napkins!
Anabel and Juan got ready for their wedding in separate suites at the Four Seasons Orlando, where the reception would be hosted later in the evening. Anabel’s bridal style was feminine and romantic, she wore a beautiful gown by Rita Vinieras from Solutions Bridal Orlando paired with Manolo Blahnik heels. The groom wore an exquisitely tailored tuxedo by Leonardo Fifth Avenue.
The couple were married in a traditional ceremony at the St. James Catholic Cathedral near Lake Eola Park in Orlando, Florida. The Roman Catholic Cathedral features beautiful murals and we filled the ceremony space with white floral arrangements.
The bride was walked down the aisle by her loving father in a dramatic, cathedral-length lace train.
Just married! Anabel’s joyous spirit is on full display in this heart-warming image.
Back at the Four Seasons, the manicured hotel grounds served as the perfect place for couple and family portraits.
Of course, Anabel and Juan’s wedding portraits would not be complete without their beloved dog, Daisy. It was a big day for Daisy too, her paw-rents were married! She shined in a matching lace dress with Mom. Could these two be any cuter?!
After their portraits were taken, I snuck Anabel and Juan away from the cocktail hour for my favorite moment – the reception space reveal. I believe this image will go down in Lisa Lyons Events history as one of the best reaction shots EVER!
The entire ballroom space was transformed into a dazzling, glamorous reception. White florals by Raining Roses wrapped around candelabras dripping in crystals. Metallic accents abounded with gold chargers, silver chairs, and mirrored tables to reflect it all. Fyerfly Productions set the mood with soft colored gels mixed with pin lighting. It was very much giving “Be Our Guest” if I do say so myself.
Anabel and Juan’s first dance was framed by a floral lined dance floor. The couple danced “on clouds” courtesy of a well-placed fog machine. And, of course, we brought the drama for the finale with cool sparks, courtesy of Fyerfly Productions.
After the couple cut the four-tiered cake, the party started! There were lighted stilt dancers, fire dancers, light sticks, and crazy glasses. The guests danced all night long.
The aforementioned fog machine made a second appearance in the hands of Anabel!
The evening culminated in a massive confetti release, a must for any celebration in my opinion!
Wedding Planning and Design: Lisa Lyons Events
Ceremony Venue: St. James Catholic Cathedral
Reception Venue: Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Photography: Kristen Weaver Photography
Hair and Makeup: Le Jeune Artistry
Videographer: KEJ Productions
Floral: Raining Roses Productions
Lighting: FyerFly Productions
Reception Chairs and Tables: Gala Rental
Linens: Over the Top Rental Linens
Stationery: Eleven Note
Entertainment: InPulse Entertainment
Wedding Cake: Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Seating Directory: Treasury Rentals
Wedding Dress and Veil: Rita Vinieris via Solutions Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Leonardo Fifth Avenue
Wedding season is in full swing with many making up for lost time during the pandemic. Plenty of time is spent talking about planning a great wedding for your guests and indeed this is important. But, what about the etiquette around being a great wedding guest to your hosts?
My Wedding Guest Etiquette “Golden Rule”
Let’s start with my golden rule of wedding guest etiquette: Avoid anything which may cause stress or worry to the Bride and Groom.
RSVP – The Sooner the Better!
Good guest etiquette begins well before the big day by ensuring you RSVP on time. Ideally, as soon as you know you will attend, send your response. We all know guest counts are crucial to the planning process so giving your hosts ample notice is a great courtesy.
And of course, please, please, please do not show up to the wedding if you did not RSVP. This would send the couple, family, and planner into a tailspin trying to accommodate you. See my golden rule above.
May I Bring a “Plus One?”
Unfortunately, if the words “and guest” didn’t appear on your invitation, the Bride and Groom are inviting you and only you. Much of wedding expenses are based on headcounts and they simply may not be able to afford for everyone to bring a guest.
Unless you are married, engaged, or living with someone, etiquette deems it acceptable for the couple to invite you on your own. Furthermore, it is considered impolite to call the couple to ask if you may bring a guest. Take it as an opportunity to sow your social oats! You may have more fun when you don’t need to worry about whether or not your date has met so-and-so from college.
What Should I Wear?
Follow the Dress Code as closely as possible, taking into account the location, time of day, and predicted weather. You may also want to find out what the wedding’s colors will be to inform your decision. Reaching out to a bridesmaid or groomsman is a good way to learn this information without troubling the couple. If you need help decoding dress codes, click here.
Kindly avoid wearing white. This is the Bride’s color and should be avoided so as not to detract from her big day. That includes off-white and cream shades, too. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the wedding invitation states it is a Black and White theme (even so, I’d opt for black to be on the safe side) or if you are specifically asked to choose shades of cream as a bridesmaid, both increasingly popular trends among wedding parties.
Finally, a note on wearing black… Did you know that in days gone by, wearing black meant you were displaying your disapproval of the marriage? Mon Dieu! Today, that is no longer the case and it is widely accepted that you may wear black to a wedding, but be sure to consider the context. A black dress at a sunny beach wedding may be less fitting than in a glamorous winter ballroom.
Wedding Gift Etiquette
If the couple has a registry, it really is best to choose something from there. Etiquette dictates you should send the gift to the couple before or after the wedding, rather than bringing it to the venue. Otherwise, someone will need to collect it at the end of the evening, which is an added stress and coordination.
Punctuality at a Wedding is a Must
Arriving on time is always polite and weddings are no different! When it comes to the wedding itself including welcome parties, rehearsal dinners, and the big day, kindly arrive on time. Weddings are significant occasions and the bride and groom have put a lot of thought into the events of and surrounding their wedding. Arriving on time means all plans can go forward smoothly!
Be present and avoid talking during key moments. This includes the entire ceremony, toasts, first dance, and during announcements. It is utterly impolite to whisper to a friend during these special moments. The chatter can certainly wait.
Furthermore, participating in wedding activities is simply good manners. Each of the events of the day was carefully chosen by the Bride and Groom, which means they are important to them. Even if catching the bouquet isn’t “your thing,” join in anyway.
One of the best things about weddings is the merging of worlds. Being a great guest means making an effort to be friendly and outgoing, provided it is something you are comfortable with. Introduce yourself, make new friends, and if you see someone standing on the sidelines who may not know many people, bring them in on the fun. Your hosts will be grateful that all their guests were comfortable and having a good time.
Dance the Night Away!
The conclusion of the Bride and Groom’s First Dance is, in most cases, the signal that guests may join the dancefloor. However, be sure to pay attention to the emcee or coordinator as special moments such as Father-Daughter or Mother-Son may be scheduled too.
Have Fun (But Try Not to Overdo It!)
Most couples want their guests to have a rollicking good time but it’s important to know when to temper your alcohol intake. I recently read an article where brides shared their biggest regrets. One noted how she wishes she hadn’t had to spend her evening caring for a too-drunk friend. No one wants to be that person.
An overly messy attendee can spoil the fun for others and in some cases, the bride and groom themselves! Don’t forget you are an invited guest, mind your consumption as best as possible.
Above all, wedding guest etiquette involves being considerate. Think about how you’d want your guests to behave if it were your big day. Be present, be thoughtful, be friendly, and have fun!
With a wink and a smile,
I know I talk a lot about details here, but if you are here and participating in this medium, I am pretty sure you’ll understand where I am coming from…
Weddings are more than “colors” and “themes.” Weddings are a communion, a reverent celebration, a story, (your love story!) and an experience for not only you, but for your family and friends to savor and remember for a lifetime.
The fact that this was Brittany’s sensibility when she met with me for the first time told me everything I needed to know and offered me the perfect charge! She and Barret had been on what I call the “wedding circuit.” So many of their friends and peers are getting married and it seemed as if they were going to a wedding every other month! Through these weddings she and Barret attended, she had seen, heard and tasted what seemed to be everything, and she wanted hers and Barret’s wedding to be signature, just like them! *wink.
First things first; starting the day relaxed and confident is the perfect approach to experiencing all of the beautiful moments that are ahead of you as the day unfolds.
This space here is to give you ample warning (and time to grab some tissues!) as to quite possibly the most emotional Daddy reveal I have ever seen. Now tell me these are not images that will turn into forever mementos!
Recovered yet? Shall I give you a moment? Here’s a sweet Bridesmaids reveal as you gain your composure!
How about a stunning look at Brittany’s processional, a sharp wedding party and some portraits of Brittany and Barret to look at while you take care of that pesky thing in your eye… *wink!
Brittany’s white, lush and romantic bouquet consisted of white garden roses peonies and, my favorite, ranunculus (seriously, I try to sneak them in every wedding that I am able!) against light touches of greenery. The trailing ribbons were soft, feminine and I loved how the bouquet moved with her in that striking Ines DiSanto gown.
I love that these portraits here are the perfect transition from the garden aesthetic from just outside Knowles Chapel to what we created inside the ballroom at The Alfond Inn!
So what sets this wedding apart from the others? Cue the details!
Designing a wedding reception in a ballroom needs particular attention to details that offer those 4 walls life. We opted for these tall centerpieces with cascading greenery and candles on top to offer a romantic and dreamy glow as guests dined.
I loved how the seating directory turned out thanks to Andi Mejia Calligraphy!
This wedding cake was very well deserving of it’s very own backdrop!
I had four custom trellis panels constructed where vines and greenery were interwoven throughout with touches of white florals creating a 10-12 foot canopy over our bars and cake. It was magical!
These chic, marble chargers with gold flatware and the vellum menu card with gold foil, were perfect, minimal, yet chic details-
First Dance, Daddy-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Dance; give me alllll the dances!!
Brittany and Barret, this is one I shall never soon forget! Your confidence and trust made my “job” so worthwhile, and I loved watching this beautiful day unfold for you!
May you forever wear these same smiles! xx, LS
Lauren and Justin | Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church | Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Lauren and Justin came to Lisa Stoner Events from New York and were high school sweethearts.
Lauren is very thoughtful and tenderhearted, she was always thinking of her guest’s journey for the wedding and their overall experience during the Orlando wedding weekend.
Lauren has been a life-long Disney LOVER! (seriously, how do these girls know and find me? I am guessing Like attracts Like!) Justin is truly a prince and he would follow her to the end of the earth and what I remember about him was how truly devoted he is to her.
The rehearsal dinner was at Disney’s California Grill located at the top of the Contemporary Resort. The welcome reception and a casual farewell brunch were held at The Summerhouse at the Grand Floridian. The majority of her portraits were taken at The Grand Floridian as well!
Lauren looked stunning in her A Line satin gown with sweetheart neckline; accented with crystal embellishments, chapel length gown and beautiful white Badgley Mischka open toe pumps with crystal bow. Lauren carried a full, round, hand tied bridal bouquet of soft pink roses wrapped in pearls and accented with lockets filled with family photos.
Their traditional Greek Orthodox wedding was held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Maitland and she arrived in a classic white Rolls Royce.
This ornate space was accented with an aisle runner, some simple white pew arrangements and full white arrangements on gold candelabras on the altar.
I suggested The Ritz Carlton Orlando for her wedding reception because it offered the flexibility she needed. The resort had all of the same luxe appointments that she was looking for, and I knew the service would be exemplary.
After the ceremony at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, guests made their way back to the Ritz Carlton’s Davinci Lawn. We were able to design a very gracious, elegant and grown-up “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.
Long luxurious guest tables with lush low floral pieces of full white hydrangea and soft pink roses were adorned with shimmering votive candles in gold glass and tall golden candelabras. The elegant tabletop design with simple white chargers, dupioni silk napkins and custom menu cards was complimented with gold chivari chairs.
This very open outdoor design in a u-shape not only created a chic space for dinner to accommodate 100 guests but also offered plenty of room for Greek dancing.
Thank you to all of the wedding professionals who brought this fairytale to life.
. Orlando Wedding Planning: Lisa Stoner Events
. Wedding Photography: Leah Jean Photography
. Orlando Wedding Videographer: Jeffrey Stoner Video
. Wedding Floral Design: Greenery Productions
. Orlando Ceremony Venue: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox of Greater Orlando
. Orlando Reception Venue: The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
. Wedding Band: Simon Sez Entertainment
. “Getting Ready”: The Grand Floridian, Walt Disney World Resort
. Hair & Makeup: Dale Dees
. Linen: Over the Top Linen
. Classic Car: VIP Transportation
. Stationery: 2U Creative
Angela and David | Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Angela and David came to Lisa Stoner Events from New York. They met through their work; Angela is a professional A cappella singer and David is an entrepreneur and sound engineer.
Angela seemed almost exasperated at a design meeting and was struggling to identify her wedding style. She exclaimed “I don’t really know how to articulate what I want to see in the design of my wedding, all I know is that my favorite color is red and my favorite movie is ‘Tangled!’ ”
You see, Angela has a legitimate (and relatable) obsession with Disney, and that was all I needed!!! I think we have our design elements, Rapunzel would be jealous.
Angela chose a beautiful white satin gown with a sweetheart neckline and shimmering gold and crystal embellishments.
The gown was complimented by her full, cascading bridal bouquet of white roses, phalaenopsis and cymbidium orchids and a pop of color with her stunning red pumps.
Her bridesmaids wore knee length red gowns paired with bright red bouquets to infuse more of the red into the design.
David and Angela enjoyed a First Look and some time alone in the beautiful Ritz Carlton gardens, before exchanging their vows.
As the wedding ceremony began David waited for Angela’s arrival with an ear to ear smile on his face.
The aisle to the Wedding Gazebo was lined with large antique lanterns and touches of red and white flowers. The gazebo was draped in a soft grey, sheer fabric allowing the stunning floral chandelier to be a focal point behind the couple.
The Florida sunset behind their outdoor ceremony could not have created a more beautiful backdrop.
Guests enjoyed a relaxing cocktail reception on the resort’s Tuscany Terrace.
The ballroom was ready for an exciting reveal and was draped in twinkling lights on the ceiling. In the center was a communal head table that formed a square that seated nearly thirty people. A tree with cascading orchids and over one hundred pillar candles filled the space in the center of the tables.
The guest tables were set along the softly draped walls and also had trees in the center filled with flowers and flickering candles. A formal place setting with a gold rimmed charger and custom menu card in red lettering completed the tablescapes.
Angela and David’s smooth, white butter cream, five-tiered wedding cake was adorned with cream, blush and pink roses that flowed down the cake and was set against a wall of lights.
The band kept the dancefloor filled the entire evening and they enjoyed some sweet treats and fun snacks while they danced the night away.
Thank you to all of the vendors who brought this fairytale wedding to life!
. Orlando Wedding Planner – Lisa Stoner Events
. Wedding Officiant – Benjamin Stevens
. Wedding Venue – Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
. Orlando Wedding Photographer – Jensen Larson Photography
. Orlando Wedding Videographer – Jeffrey Stoner Video
. Floral – Botanica
. Lighting – Fyerfly Productions
. Draping – Swag Décor
. Linen- Over The Top Linen
. Table Top – Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
. Ceremony /Reception Music – Heatwave Band
. Wedding Cake – Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
. Invitations / Wedding Day Stationery – Dogwood Blossom Stationery