Introducing Bowing Oaks Plantation

BowingOaks_Final-crop I’ve been keeping a secret! Please don’t hold it against me. For almost two years, I’ve been consulting with some dear friends that had a crazy idea to build a new wedding venue in Jacksonville. And now, that crazy idea is a reality! What started as a “simple pole barn” has turned into a magnificent venue with all the amenities you can imagine! Introducing Bowing Oaks PlantationBOCH_rear1_Seagrass_112213 (1) Plantation amenities include:

  • Indoor Seating for 200 Guests (with Dance Floor and Food Stations)
  • Wrap-Around Porches
  • Two Outdoor Ceremony Areas – Under Beautiful Oak Trees, Or Open-Air Chapel
  • Bride’s Suite and Groom’s Cabin
  • Catering Kitchen
  • Fully Air-Conditioned and Heated
  • Indoor Restroom Facilities
  • Ample On-Site Parking
  • Secluded and Private Location

Bowing Oaks Plantation is debuting this fall, with our first wedding booked for November 16th. We’re also booking weddings for 2015 and beyond! I will be handling all the bookings for this fabulous new venue, so feel free to contact me for more details! Be sure to visit our social media sites for more photos and construction updates: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Having A Detailed Backup Plan For Your Wedding

TPC Sawgrass Wedding - Tonya Beaver Photography

Here in North Florida, we see a lot of outdoor wedding ceremonies. Most venues have a great indoor space that they reserve as a backup, in case of rain. Which let’s face it, happens a lot here, especially in the summer months. (Side note: did you know that Jacksonville gets an average of 14 more inches of precipitation every year than Seattle, which is “known” for it’s rain?)

But what if you reception is planned to be an outdoor event? It may not be as simple as “we’ll just move inside.”

We’re working with a sweet couple getting married in October, and planning a “dinner under the stars.” Today we met at the venue to talk through all the logistics. As we talked, we came up with very detailed Plan A and Plan B options. Because of the logistics of the space, the two are very different. In fact, quite a bit of the reception schedule will change from Plan A to Plan B.

As you are working through your plans, be sure to think through all the logistics from the guest perspective. Talk to your venue staff about the timing of weather calls, which could be anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours, depending on the complexity of the setup. And communicate Plan A AND Plan B (and Plan C and D if needed!) to all the wedding professionals that will be on-site on the wedding day. But don’t wait until the day before! Preparation is key when dealing with Mother Nature.

Note about the photo above: we were playing beat the clock with a storm rolling in just before this ceremony! Luckily we made it, and Ashley and Matt were married in a beautiful ceremony at TPC Sawgrass.

Pure Barre: An Ideal Workout For Brides-To-Be

purre barre

Most brides want to take steps to look their absolute best for their big day.  That may entail things like getting a tan or whitening their teeth, but I’ve observed that, above all, most brides feel the need to tone up before their wedding. I certainly felt like it wouldn’t hurt to find a new workout routine, and when I found out that Pure Barre was opening a studio in my neighborhood, I thought I’d give it a try.

Pure Barre is a full body workout that’s becoming very popular all over the country, and has become a favorite among many celebrities. It’s a 55 minute workout that is sort like a mixture of yoga, Pilates and ballet. Every class focuses on working out arms, thighs, bottom, hips, and abs; trying to target all the popular women problem-areas. The whole class is low impact, protecting your joints by avoiding jumping or bouncing. Every strengthening section is followed by a stretch, making it easy to push through difficult workouts. One of the main keys to success of the class is to make sure you perform everything in small isometric movements to isolate the muscle group quicker.

My first class was extremely interesting; I’ve never done a workout quite like Pure Barre, and I’d like to think I’ve tried many different classes, but Pure Barre is in its own league. The class starts off with an intense warm up that includes planking and pushups, and then continues to go through all the different focus areas. The instructors are all helpful and encourage everyone in the class while playing fun and upbeat music to motivate all throughout the session. The next day I was sore in areas I’d never been sore before, but surprisingly enough I was eager for more.

Pure Barre has different package specials, including a bride-to-be package. If you’re interested in trying a Pure Barre class, make sure to wear pants or capris. Socks are also required and then all equipment is provided for you.

I took full advantage of the bride-to-be special and attend religiously. I love the way I feel after every class and can absolutely see that I’m building toned muscles.

Everybody will find their own desired way to bridal fitness but it’s important to remember to start the process early as there may be stumbling blocks, changes-in-direction or even a required push to step up results before the big day.  However, it’s critical to remember that this push needs to be healthful and energy-building as the months leading up to your wedding will be very full with preparation and lots of fun activities, and you’ll want to be your healthiest!


Love Note: Kyle & Brian (06.06.14) – Ponte Vedra Beach Wedding


What a lovely note in the mail this week!

Dear Heather,

Thank you so very much for all the help, support and handling that you cared for throughout our wedding celebrations. You made all of our planning and our visions just come to life! You cared for all of the little details and helped to ensure it was such a special day. Thank you for bringing it all together in a meaningful way.

Most Sincerely,
Kyle and Brian

(photo by Dawn McKinstry Photography)

Honoring Your Dad At Your Wedding

Mike & Marta Sat 0312 SPEC

Weddings are often full of very “girly” moments shared between the bride and her mom – picking out the dress, getting hair and makeup done, etc. Dad is usually expected to show up with the checkbook. In honor of Father’s Day, we thought we’d look at some ways to make Dad feel extra special on your wedding day.

  • Ask your dad for a military medal, a tie you particularly love, or a piece of jewelry you could incorporate into your wedding day ensemble as your something old.
  • If you won’t be seeing your fiance before the wedding, stage a first look with your dad. Fathers often get very emotional the first time they see their little girl in their wedding gown and veil!
  • Take dance lessons with him, and your father-daughter dance will be a big hit.
  • Create something special for him to wear. Dads often look like all the other groomsmen or ushers, wearing the same tuxedo or suit. Get a special tie for him to wear, or add something unique to his boutonniere.
  • Ask your dad to sign your marriage license as one of the witnesses.

Do you have a special way you are including your father on your wedding day?

(Photo above from Marta and Michael’s wedding earlier in 2014 – copyright Deremer Studios)