Bridal Portraits at Cypress Grove Estate House

Bridal portraits are some of the most important images of your wedding. The day will fly by, but your portraits will last a lifetime. Portraits capture the emotions and unseen moments and give couples a life long reminder of the bond they share.

Images: Kartsie Photography | The Heims | 28 North Photography

Every venue has those picture perfect locations for portraits, but there’s just something so magical about shots captured at Cypress Grove. Maybe it’s the southern charm and the lakeside sunsets 😉

Images: Lora Rodgers Photography

“Golden Hour” at Cypress Grove is 👌 For those of you who aren’t up-to-date on their photography lingo, golden hour is that time just before the sun fully sets, when the light is soft, glowy, and oh so romantic! It’s the perfect time to capture images on the tree-lined drive or along the shores of Lake Jessamine.

Images: Shauna & Jordon Photography | The Hendricks | Miranda Grey

Oh, and not all of your bridal portraits have to be focused on you as a couple. Take some time to get shots on your own, like the image of our bride above from Miranda Grey!

Xoxo,
Kim

Real Talk // Lindsey + Matt

Lindsey + Matt were the couple that knew exactly what they wanted – a venue that offered waterfront views, lots of trees, and one they could truly make their own. They found all that and more at Cypress Grove Estate House, and boy are we glad they found us! Their simple decor complemented the space so well and truly brought out it’s natural beauty 😍

Were there any unique elements you incorporated?
We tried to tie in as many elements of both us and our family and friends as we could. Some of which were physical items – on Lindsey’s bouquet, jewelry was added from both of her deceased grandmothers as well as pins from her bridesmaids. Matt wore his deceased grandfathers watch. We also carefully chose our music throughout the day and night to play songs that brought back many of our favorite memories between us and our guests. “

What was your favorite part of the event?
“It’s a tie between our first look and the ceremony! Each have a million different reasons. Our first look was a super sweet ‘wow’ moment that brought everything together. This was where we both thought ‘Omg. This day is here. We’re getting married!’ During our ceremony, it was so special for us to see all of our favorite people seated in one place, wholeheartedly supporting us as we made our commitment of marriage to each other. It was also special being able to share our personal vows that we had each written to one another.”

What made you choose your venue?
“We had a ‘vision’ for our wedding venue look and feel from the start! We felt like we walked right into the picture we had in our minds when we came to visit Cypress Grove Estate. We both wanted our ceremony to be on the water and surrounded by trees with a quaint, secluded feeling. We were so excited to find exactly what we were looking for, and more, in the city where we met and where it all began for us. Cypress Grove is truly stunning!”

What was your design inspiration?
“A lot of our design inspiration came from our venue. We didn’t want to take away from the natural beauty of the cypress trees, etc. so we kept things simple! We added pops of our personal styles and favorite colors to make our wedding uniquely ours.”

Featured Inventory: Bubba // French Country Chairs

Any planning tips you’d like to share with other couples?
“Our biggest tip would be to have fun! We definitely got caught up here and there with the stress of balancing work/life/wedding planning from across the country (we currently live in Las Vegas). When we learned to give ourselves grace, it became such an enjoyable experience. Some of our favorite planning moments were brainstorming together along with our cake and food tastings. Also, trust your vendors and let them do their thing! We were lucky to have an amazing team of vendors who put as at ease and blew our expectations out of the water.”

Xoxo,
Kim

Wedding Venue Tours 101

| How to Make the most of Your Venue Tour |

Whether you a pre-planner who already has every detail in place or you have never thought about wedding planning until he popped the question, don’t worry because our venue management team has some easy tips for making the most of your wedding venue tour!

The venue is {typically} the first stop on your wedding planning journey. Once you secure the site, your location and venue are set in stone and everything else can start falling into place. It’s important to note that popular venues book quickly for prime dates; make sure not to procrastinate! 

1) Discuss Details & Budget! 
Since the venue is generally the first step in wedding planning, it is a good idea to try to sit down with your fiancé and family to discuss preliminary details and the wedding budget. This will help you decide what style and price-range of venues to inquire with, and also makes it easier to know what questions to ask when touring.  

The two essential details to decide on prior to your venue tour are wedding date and budget! A venue maybe stunning but if it is out of your price range, you need to be able to make a decisive decision on price. Also you need to decide if you are flexible on date, or if the venue is unavailable if that is grounds to keep looking? 

Other important details to note would be your guest count (as some venues have limited capacity), location to nearby hotels or transportation, and venue aesthetics.  

*Pro Tip – Be open to touring a variety of venue styles! Who knows, you might surprise yourself and fall in love with something different than your original idea or vision. 

2) Make sure to schedule an appointment for your site visit! 
Every venue will have different schedules and ways of handling tours. Making sure you schedule an appointment ensures the venue will be available when you would like to view it, and there will also be someone available from the venue staff to show you around, discuss packages, and details with you. If you opt to walk-in to a venue without an appointment you risk the venue being closed for an event, or not having anyone able to assist you on your tour.  

*Pro Tip – Reach out to the venue staff prior to your visit and probe them for information, or even ask for an estimate prior to touring that way you can discuss your day more in-depth during the tour. The more information you give the venue, the more they can help you during your site visit. 

3) Ask Important Questions & Take Notes! 
This does not mean you have to bring a full on wedding binder (even those these can be extremely helpful in the planning process!). When your tour appointment finally comes it is a great idea to bring a list of questions, or a checklist of important amenities you are looking for in a venue.  

Every venue is very different in their pricing and packaging so bringing a new checklist for each tour will help you to remember to ask consistent questions for all, and make sure you are getting the information that matters to you. Plus once all your tours are complete you can use the checklists and notes to compare each venue on paper before making your final decision.  

*Bring a wedding planner binder and/or notebook with you to the tour. This way you can have questions already listed on paper ready to ask and an easy way to document the answers. Plus many times you will receive pricing information during your tour and this way you can file it away to review later.  Haven’t found the right planning notebook yet? Check out our shop, Miscellaneous Market, for some cute options!

4) Remember to have fun! 
Often times wedding planning can get stressful, but it is important to remember the real reason you are planning this joyous occasion to begin with! Remember to have fun while planning and try not to stress the little things. Booking a reputable venue, and wedding vendors will help ensure your day is beautiful and stress free! 

Good luck venue hunting! 

Xoxo,
Lacie 

Jewel Tones // Spring Inspiration

One of the things our couples love most about Cypress Grove is the Old Florida feel which is so hard to find anymore, especially in Orlando! Once surrounded by orange groves, we wanted to play into that old Florida citrus plantation feel and use the Estate’s surroundings to complement that aesthetic.

With the sunlight reflecting off gorgeous Lake Jessamine, golden rays project stunning shades of pinks and oranges which we wanted to capture in the showcased floral. The house itself stands beautifully in a crisp white with emerald green shutters to accent so the same palette was used for our linens and candy buffet. We wanted to show our couples the very landscapes they fell in love with could be implemented into their wedding day details.

We focused on rentals that our couples love to see – a unique dessert display, wood elements, and rustic chairs to complement. Our emerald buffet was the perfect accent piece to Florida Candy Buffet’s colorful display. Our Wesley farm tables and matching French Country Chairs added the southern elegance our couples love and paired wonderfully with our linen covered Captain’s tables! Incorporating two table styles adds such a fun design element 😉

Xoxo,
Alecia

Lakeside Garden Wedding // Real Talk with Jessica + Trent

We’ve hosted hundreds of weddings between Luxmore Grande Estate and Cypress Grove, but something we’ve never done is a real talk series with our couples. We’ll be sharing insights into the wedding planning process, what couples are looking for, and more! First up, Jessica + Trent and their lakeside garden wedding 😍

How did you meet?

Trent and I met working at the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the summer of 2016. When we met I really only wanted to be his friend but one night he asked me to go to Taco Bell with him after work and the rest was history… 🙂 We got engaged on Panama City Beach in December 2017 and I knew I didn’t want to wait long to get married. September 22nd was our date and even a 10 month engagement felt like the longest!

Were there any traditions you wanted to incorporate?
It was very important to me to find little ways to honor my parents and grandparents. I wore my mom’s earrings she wore on her wedding day, my grandmother’s bracelet she bought when she was visiting my mom when she was in college, and then in my shoe was a “six-pence” that my grandma wore on her wedding day, my mom wore on hers, and now I’ve worn on mine. I’ve always had the best examples of love in my life and honoring them was important to me. We also had Trent’s dad marry us, a dream we had had since we first started dating.

What made you choose Cypress Grove as your venue?
I had been researching venues way before we got engaged and found pictures of Cypress Grove on Pinterest. I was over the moon when I found out it was in Orlando. I always wanted an outdoor wedding and the amphitheater was absolutely dreamy. The first day we visited, I never wanted to leave. Trent always commented on how romantic it felt and when you were there you totally stepped away from the busy Orlando life.

Were there any challenges you faced in the planning process?
The biggest challenge we faced was whether or not to rent a tent. I was digging my heels so far into the ground on renting one. I fell in love with Cypress because of the outdoor amenities. Renting a tent and potentially have the wedding under the tent crushed me. We ended up renting a tent because this is Florida, rain is inevitable and I trusted the team to make it look just as beautiful underneath if it needed to be. My wedding was during hurricane season and it didn’t rain a drop on the day!

Photos :: The Hendricks

Any tips you’d like to share with engaged couples?
Do everything together!! Trent was with me for every single meeting. First visit to the venue all the way to our final meeting for floral. We talked everything through and he helped me find so much peace throughout the process. Also, we made a super last minute addition to have a photo booth and it turned out to be one of the best activities for our guests. It was a great way for us to look back at the night through our guest’s eyes.

Last tip 🙈 if you’re wondering if you should have a wedding planner you ABSOLUTELY should. Wedding planners have different packages to meet your needs but I wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding of my dreams without our planner, Bonny. She took every little dream I had and made it a reality. Wedding planners know the industry and think of things that you probably haven’t even thought of.

We absolutely loved working with Cypress Grove Estate House. The staff was so friendly and truly made our day more beautiful than we could’ve ever imagined.

Xoxo,
Kim

Make Your Wedding Unique

Most weddings have a similar structure – the ceremony followed by cocktail hour and ending with a reception. Incorporating elements that make the event unique to you and your fiance is what’s going to make the the day special and memorable! Maybe it’s your design style, your taste in cuisine, or what you enjoy doing together that will set your wedding apart from the rest. That brings me to our Cypress Grove couple, Tala + Michael. The two are amazing performers and they treated guests to a unique acro yoga routine during the reception. Did I mention these two are ah-mazing!?

Photos: JP Pratt

How did you meet?
“We were only acquaintances when we were asked to pair together as acrobatic partners for an upcoming show at The Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. We agreed and began practicing together every day. We fell in love quickly and the rest is history! We did our first performance about one month after being paired together to a sold out audience of about 200 people. (And nailed it! Lol).”

Why was it important to you to include a performance at your wedding?
“Acro was a huge part of our love story. It’s how we met, how we fell in love and something that continues to keep us connected. We wanted to express and share all of those emotions through our favorite art form. Plus, we like being hams for the camera! :-P”

What challenges did you face during the planning process?
“I really can’t say I faced too many challenges. Alicia was amazing in recommending vendors and walking me through a lot of the process. Of course I stressed over details and wanting everything to be perfect. The biggest problem is probably that there are TOO many options and ideas out there and having to narrow them down!”

What aspect of the wedding were you and your fiance most looking forward to?
“Michael will tell you that he was most looking forward to the moment he first saw me coming down the aisle. For me, gosh, the entire day was pure magic. I was really looking forward to the reception. I wanted the wedding to be a celebration where we laughed and danced with all of the important people in our lives and got to shout out love out to the world. And the reception and the entire day felt just like that. It was absolutely perfect.”

Video: KEJ Productions

Side note: grab a box of tissues before you watch their wedding film 😉

Xoxo,
Kim

Planning Tips // 30 Day Wedding Checklist

Planning tips for the days leading up to your wedding.

If you’ve met me, you know that I am all about simplicity and organization. Whether that means decluttering my work or personal space, planning out goals for the month, or just taking a day to refresh and reorganize. I’m a planner at heart and I thrive on schedules and knowing what the plan is. So putting together a checklist of wedding planning tips is right up my alley. 😉 This planning tip checklist is certainly not exhaustive but does include the essentials:

Four Weeks Out
  • Apply for your marriage license {can’t get married without one ?}. Florida marriage licenses are actually valid for 60 days. While you could apply for this a bit earlier, I recommend waiting until about a month out so it doesn’t get misplaced.
  • Write your vows {if doing your own}. Give yourself time to really think about what you want to say during your ceremony. We love these his + hers vow books from Foxblossom Co. so they can be kept as keepsakes!
  • Deliver any specific song requests {or do not play requests} to your DJ or band.
Three Weeks Out
  • Finalize RSVP’s. This is a great task for your bridesmaids. ? Have them run through your invite list and call anyone who hasn’t submitted an RSVP.
  • Confirm ceremony details with your officiant. Be sure to discuss what will happen during the ceremony {i.e. unity candle, ring warming, etc.} and review any readings and such. Pro tip: your officiant should do a full run through of the ceremony at your rehearsal.
  • Finalize any printed materials and favors . Now that you have your final guest count, confirm how many escort cards, menus cards, programs, etc. will be needed. If your favors are edible, wait until a day or two prior to the wedding to have delivered.
  • Make sure groomsmen submit their measurements and schedule a time to pick-up their suits/tuxes.
  • Purchase bridal party gifts. I LOVE gifting, and our new store, Miscellaneous Market, has so many cute items to choose from {including gifts for gents}!

    

Two Weeks Out
  • Confirm seating chart. Once all of your RSVP’s are in you can confirm how many guest tables you’ll need and who will be seated where.
  • Submit final numbers to vendors. This will include your caterer, florist, rentals and any other vendor that needs a head count.
  • Finalize the day-of timeline with your DJ and/or wedding planner.
  • Attend your final dress fitting! Don’t forget to bring your day-of undergarments, veil, accessories, and bridal shoes to make sure the full look is picture perfect.
One Week Out
  • Create a “getting ready” timeline. Provide a copy to your bridal party so they know where to be and when.
  • Pick up your bridal gown. Make sure it’s stored in a breathable garment bag and away from any clutter.
  • Pack your wedding night bag. A change of clothes/shoes and toiletries are a must!
  • If you’re honeymoon immediately follows your wedding, be sure to pack a honeymoon bag. This checklist from The Knot covers just about everything you’ll need!
  • Drop off day-of items to your wedding coordinator. They will typically take on the responsibility of delivering these items to your venue on wedding day.
The Day Before
  • Pamper yourself! Get a mani-pedi, massage, and a good night’s rest – just avoid facials and anything else that may cause skin irritation or inflammation.

Our team hopes this planning tips checklist will help you relax on the days leading up to your wedding!

Xoxo,
Kim

Portraits // Sweet Moments

Portraits are a big part of the story-telling process when it comes to weddings; they capture the essence of who a bride + groom are when they’re around each other. Do you swoon over those romantic images of a bride’s veil flowing in the wind while the couple is looking deep into each other’s eyes? Or do you picture yourselves laughing and playing with each other? Figuring out what style works best for you two ahead of time and making sure you’re on the same page with your photographer will help prep everyone involved prior to the big day!

We completely understand you wanting to get those ideal Pinterest photos, but the wonderful thing about Cypress Grove is that there are plenty of areas around the estate that could be perfect for you! Letting your photographer have the freedom to scope out lighting and find those intimate places will help give you more variety!

Not everyone was born to work the camera but finding a photographer who you’re comfortable with will definitely help! When you stop worrying about what your smile looks like or if your hands are funky, you can just focus on each other. Your photos will suddenly become more authentic ? Sharing inside jokes and giggling will help with those picture-perfect candid shots, or just remembering you’re marrying the love of your life will help the camera disappear!

Photo: Concept Photography

Xoxo,
Sarah

Rain or Shine

Being at an all outdoor venue, the Cypress Grove team is always prepared to help clients determine the best back-up options for their event. Every wedding is different, so we’ve got some tips to help you decide whether to tent or not to tent:

Guaranteed back-up plan :: tents are the ideal option for our clients when it comes to inclement weather. While we can accommodate receptions indoors the space is limited. A tent is the perfect solution because it allows us to accommodate larger events while keeping everything in the same space! If you’re getting married in a rainy {or cold} month, it’s wise to plan ahead and start researching your tent options early. Knowing your options will set you up for an exciting and stress-free time planning all the other details of your big day!

KV Photography

Providing shade :: Being in the Sunshine State has it’s perks – clear skies, temps in the 70’s and 80’s, and a light breeze. Clear skies are ideal for an outdoor venue like ours but it’s always nice to offer your guests the option of a covered space. Our clients, opted to reserve a smaller tent to host a comfy space with lounge furniture and cocktail tables, allowing guests the option of mingling in the shade.

Customized options :: tents have gotten a bad rep in the past for being an eyesore. That’s mainly due to lack of pre-planning and we want you to know there are SO many options out there if you start early! Tents are super versatile – we’ve seen white tops, clear tops, air conditioning, Sperry tents, the whole shebang! They can be as simple or extravagant as you want them to be =)

Jessica Perez Photography

Enhanced lighting + décor :: speaking of versatility, tents allow you add all sort of unique décor that otherwise wouldn’t be possible at an outdoor venue. Think hanging floral + greenery, romantic Edison bulbs over your head table, and more!

Just because :: Cypress Grove has a lot of event space to work with and we encourage couples to be creative with it. We’ve had couples do their ceremony in the amphitheater {typically used as a reception space} and then host dinner by the gazebo; and while we can only host tents on our grand lawn, the use for your tent is endless! Maybe you want it for an intimate dinner or so your guests have somewhere to rest after dancing the night away. Whatever is it, we always tell our couples to just “do you!” If you want to rent a tent just because, then we say go for it!

JP Pratt Photography

Xoxo,
Sarah

Macramé Madness

 

Macramé is a unique lace-like textile created by knotting or “hitching” cords, so naturally it makes the perfect decor for a bohehiam wedding {get it, because you’re “tying the knot” or “gettin’ hitched” ;-)}! This textile has been around since the thirteenth century and is popping up all over the wedding world. It’s typically used for items like tablecloths, bedspreads, and jewelry, but our client, Kendall, got creative and incorporated two macramé pieces into her wedding – one as a ceremony backdrop and the other as a photo backdrop. Macramé is traditionally crafted from fibers like cotton, hemp, and jute, so it can be dyed to match your color palette or left natural for that classic boho look.

Fun-fact: Did you know the word macramé in Arabic, migramah, means fringe {referring to the decorative fringe typically found in macramé designs}?

To Tent or Not To Tent

 

Forecasting Florida weather is always tricky – it’s sunny one minute and the next it’s raining cats and dogs. If you’re planning a wedding in one of those finicky months every good wedding planner will likely recommend having a tent on standby in case of a torrential downpour. Now, we know what you’re thinking – “We chose our venue because it’s stunning and a tent just isn’t pretty enough for our guests to enjoy.” That’s where the tent experts and florists come in =)

Tents don’t have to be an eyesore; they can be a gorgeous addition to the wedding experience and often times even lend to the comfort of you and your guests {whether it’s to shield from rain and wind or keep heat in during colder months}! With a little draping here and there, some floral, and ambiance lighting, you can make a tent look like it was part of the plan from the get-go instead of a last minute back-up option. So forget the white top tents with metal frames and feast your eyes on some of the beauties our clients have dreamed up!