A Family-Focused Wedding in Fort Myers, Florida

Real Weddings

Jamie Zarr and Robert Ivany were a family long before they got married. By the time the pair got engaged on July 13, 2013, Jamie was already deeply connected to Robert's son, Jacob, and the couple was well-aware they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. But since Robert wanted to make their commitment official, he surprised Jamie with a proposal while on vacation in Houston, Texas. Shortly after their engagement, though, the couple got more happy news: They were expecting their first child together! With a new baby on the way, the couple tied the knot in a quiet Catholic ceremony on April 26, 2014, and planned for a big party the following spring.

With the help of Kelly McWilliams Celebrations, Jamie and Robert planned a relaxed, multigeneration-friendly celebration filled with gorgeous blooms. After 15 months of planning 109 of the couple's closest friends and family joined them at Southern Waters, an 18-acre event space in North Fort Myers, Florida, for the big day on March 7, 2015. Anastasiia Photography was on hand to capture every beautiful moment — from the ceremony held beneath a beautiful oak tree to the fun-filled tented reception.

With a laid-back vibe in mind for their wedding, Jamie and Robert went with unfussy yet elegant invitations. They turned to Etsy vendor Grey Snail Press for their typography-style stationery suite, which they finished off with floral stamps.

Jamie stunned in her form-fitting Cristiano Lucci wedding dress. "I have a pear-shaped body and this dress hugged me in all the right places," she says of the Alencon lace gown. "The crystal beading on top is to die for." She paired her gown with a pair of ballerina-inspired flats and a structured updo.

The bride wanted an unstructured bouquet with a mix of different flowers. The result was a gorgeous trailing arrangement packed with garden roses, blooming jasmine, ranunculus, sweet pea, tulips, clematis, lilac, and sugar vine. The most important part of her bouquet, though, was what was tied around it. "I had my florist tie my late mother's wedding band tied to a string around my bouquet," Jamie says. "I wanted to make sure she was with me when I walked down the aisle."

The groom paired his Vera Wang suit with a modern twist — a pair of black and white Converse sneakers! His ranunculus, jasmine, and seeded eucalyptus complemented Jamie's bouquet.

Jamie's bridal party wore mismatched gowns in pastel hues, which they paired with fluffy bouquets of baby's breath. Robert's attendants matched the groom in gray suits with comfortable sneakers.

The couple's two children, Jacob and Chloe, served as their ring bearer and flower girl.

The ceremony was held beneath a grand oak on the property's lawn. Jamie and Robert chose mismatched dark wood chairs, including an antique church pew. Although the couple said "I do" beneath a flower-covered arch, the real showstopper of the ceremony was the 16-foot-long tree branch that was wrapped in budding blooms. For an even greater floral impact, arrangements of baby's breath in galvanized buckets lined the aisle.

The bride's father walked her down the aisle before her stepdad stepped in to give her away. Since the bride and groom had already tied the knot in a religious ceremony months before, they chose to keep this one a bit more informal. "Halfway through, Jacob fell asleep on his dad's leg, sucking his thumb," Jamie remembers.

Following the ceremony, the entire party moved to the tented reception space to dine on classic comfort food. Guests found their seating assignments on mason jars, which they used throughout the night. An iced-tea and lemonade bar was set up at the front of the reception.

Tables were decorated with different floral arrangements, like wooden centerpieces that were filled with a mix of garden roses, ranunculus, blooming jasmine, sweet pea, tulips, and lilac.

Low centerpieces were offset by tall, gilded arrangements filled with baby's breath, a look Jamie had found and fell in love with on Pinterest!

After a dinner of chicken and waffles, chicken potpie, smoky short ribs, and mac and cheese, the crowd enjoyed slices of the couple's two-tier naked wedding cake.

Although they created a family-friendly atmosphere, it was important to Jamie and Robert that the reception had something special strictly for adults. A whiskey and cigar bar was set up just outside the tent as an alternative to the drink stations inside.

That wasn't the only interactive element of the night, though. A sketch artist took up residence inside the tent so guests could sit for a drawing. And if they wanted something more immediate, Jamie and Robert also brought in a photo booth to snap quick shots of friends and family. "I think having a sketch artist was a pretty original idea and we wanted the reception to be very interactive," the bride says.

Instead of a traditional guest book, the couple wanted something a bit more meaningful. Guests signed records, including one featuring Ray LaMontagne's "Hold You In My Arms," the couple's first dance song.

The party wrapped up at a family-focused 9:30 p.m. "We wanted a fun environment for our loved ones, many of whom were meeting for the first time," Jamie says. "It was perfect!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Southern Waters || Wedding Planner: Kelly McWilliams Celebrations, Weddings & Parties || Bride's Wedding Dress: Cristiano Lucci || Floral Designer: Isn't She Lovely || Invitations: Grey Snail Press || Rentals: Sweet Southern Charm; Island Events || Caterer: Tastebuds Custom Catering || Cake: Kakes by Karen || Ceremony Music: A DJ With Class || Photographer: Anastasiia Photography

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Looking for more Florida weddings? Then watch another couple exchange vows in Key Biscayne in the video below.

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