One step closer..

Living in South Florida, I have a limitless amount of beautiful venues that I can choose from - however, my budget isn't limitless. Being on a budget, it's been a bit of a challenge to find a unique space that will not lead me to bankruptcy. Just when I gave up and was planning on eloping, I stumbled upon this venue while surfing the internet. I called as soon as their office opened, and made it over there that same evening. I loved it...and fell even deeper in love when I found out that I could actually afford it.

I can't say that I always knew what kind of wedding I wanted, but I just knew that I wanted it to be something unique. People go to tons of weddings in their lives and wanted mine to actually stand out. I'm not the kind of girl that likes to blend into a crowd. I wanted to create an experience for my guests while still staying as true to myself and my fiance. I truly wanted this day to reflect the both of us.

While searching for a theme I tried to keep it as authentic to us as possible, finding things that we both had in common. The first thing that came to mind was our culture as we both from the island of Jamaica. I then created my theme of Carribbean Luxe. With this in mind, the day I found this location was literally a breath of fresh for the both of us. We couldn't believe that only 20 minutes away from us was this gem in the middle of nowhere:

Here is a look inside of my tropical garden:

For a reasonable price I have access to the entire property but will have to hire my own catering, rentals, etc. The ceremony will be held in a garden that has a waterfall as a backdrop - cocktail hour will be held in a tiki hut which has fun elements such as a pool table, fooseball, lounge furniture (finger foods will also be served) - we will then move a big garden where the dinner and formalities will be held under a tent - finally we will move to another tiki hut for dancing the rest of the night away (this tiki hut has a bar, which will be perfect for replenishing guests). I can't wait for share this experience with my family & friends. I'm sure they will be a bit freaked out driving up to the venue as I was, since it's off an unpaved road LOL.

March 2010 it is...

I can't lie, I was really banking on having our wedding November 2009 to coincide with our 5 year anniversary - but it's not going to happen. I'm a little down about it, but there are more important aspects of this wedding I need to be thinking about instead of the date. We've decided to push it back a few months, and March 2010 seemed to be a comfortable time for us. It seems like forever but it is what it is. Tomorrow I plan on taking my father by the venue and I hope to put my deposit down in January. I plan on spending the next few months doing extensive research on other vendors that I like before making my final decision.

I can't wait to go back to the venue tomorrow - it is so unique and I can't wait for the looks on my guests faces as they arrive - they won't be expecting it at all. January, can't come fast enough for me...

Location, Location, Location

One of the most daunting aspects of planning a wedding is finding the perfect location to host your event - this is an even more difficult process when you're on a strict budget. I can't tell you how many times I've fell in love with a venue but had to walk away, but I'm not going to give up - there's something out there for me!

Our 1st Option: Our Backyard
For a young couple such as ourselves, we thought that an intimate wedding at our home would be ideal. We have a good size backyard, my mother and I would decorate & members of our family would all bring a dish for the reception. However, once we started to complie our guest list we were at 100 people - and this was the list of family members we knew would definently be in attendance. As far as we were concerned we could make it work. We started mapping out the layout - not so good. Then all of a sudden I started finding little things that began annoying me about the surrounding, such as an unattractive house behind ours which would be a major eye sore. Both creative minds, my mother and I started comming up with all these things which would need to be done to make the backyard "wedding ready", but for the amount that it was going to cost, we figured we might as well host the wedding somewhere else.

2nd Option: The Sea Watch Resturant
I actually found this place by Googling "Cheap Fort Lauderdale Weddings", lol. The location looked beautiful online so we decided to check it out. Once we got there we loved it, and then even more when we realized it was indeed very affordable. The resturant had a private garden with the beach in the background as well as a private beach - there were 2 locations to choose from.

I selected the garden so that our guests wouldn't have to get their feet dirty in the sand - the bridal party could then take pictures by the water
The inside was cute and had a vintage/nautical feeling to it - loved this place. But...we would only be able to have around 65 people :( but we decided to keep it in mind...

Option 3: Plantation Preserve
This was actually one of the first places that I visited and absolutly fell in love with! I wanted it so bad that I'd actually dream about it. They offered fantastic packages at affordable prices, the scenery was wonderful. But I didn't want to drain our account to pay for this place so I moved on. However, during one of my fathers visits I took him over there and he fell in love too...& then offered to help me pay for it...

Ceremony here
Cocktail hour on the patio... Dinner here

Perfect! I got my dream spot. I was actually supposed to be putting my deposit down this weekend, however when we started to crunch numbers again - it just seemed wrong. Although my father offered to help us out, if for some reason in the near future that he can't, we'd be screwed. If we paid for it ourselves, it would be ... like 80% of our budget - loved the place, but it just wasn't that serious.

So now we're on to the next...

Now that the venue that we were about to put our deposit on has been thrown out the door - I started from scrath to find something more affordable yet unique. So I searched, the word unique kept going through my mind as I once again went on my quest. Then BOOM - I FOUND IT! I viewed the website and was floored, I immediately called the venue and set up an appointment to view it that night. I dragged the whole family along, the entire time they kept asking me "How much does it cost?".

We got there and thought we were in a scary movie - it was off an unpaved road, and it was around 8pm. We kept driving and finally bumped into it - beautiful - waterfalls, tiki huts, beautiful tropical landscaping. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was back home in Jamaica. This place is a gem in the middle of no where, I had no idea it even existed. The owner showed us around, it was beautiful and best of all UNIQUE. You get the feeling of being a private island - a destination wedding in the islands without leaving South Florida.

Then came the big question..."How much does it cost?" wasn't too bad - for the price I get the entire property! However, I'm only renting the property - I have to get my own catering, chairs and tables, etc. One thing that I do like about this place is that I don't have to do much decorating - all I need is my table cloths and simple center pieces as we will be outdoors in a lush tropical garden. & even better, we don't really have a "time limit" - which is great just in case we should start late, we don't have to worry that we have to cut something short. My mom was in favor of no time limit as our family loves to party till the wee hours in the morning...

My father will be visiting this week and I plan on taking him over there. I know he is going to love it! Now that we're planning an early 2010 wedding, I'm not too sure if I'm going to be able to put my deposit down just yet.

We've also decided that we are going to hire a "Day Of Coordinator" - with the layout and various locations on the property that we intend to use, and now with countless vendors, it will make things much easier for us.

When I go back this week, I'll find out how soon I can put down my deposit to secure my date...I will also take pictures for you guys. I'm crossing my fingers for this one - I don't see any reason why I can't have it.



On Sunday May 11, 2008 I became engaged to the love of my life! A surprise proposal in front of 30 of my family members had me floored & I literally cried (happy tears) for 15 minutes before I was able to tell him "YES!". Now that the excitement has worn off, it's time to plan a wedding & more importantly the rest of our lives together. First things first - the budget! I'm not the strongest math student, but when it comes to money somehow I become a pro (my fiance teases me about that all the time). After crunching the numbers we decided on a number - I'm a bride on a budget. This would be hard for most women who have dreamt up these fairy tales weddings for their entire lives, but I love a challenge - so I am also now a DIY Bride.Besides being engaged and planning this wedding I will also be returning to college as a full time Fashion Merchandising student. In addition to that, I work part time at a bridal dress shop & I'm also a freelance makeup artist. My cup is full, but I'm having a great time. This blog is intended to be an honest look at my wedding planning process as I try to juggle everything else I have going on in my life.
Join me on my adventure...


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