You could call it fate that Kathryn and Murat met as freshmen at Yale in 2005. "We were both on the cross country team, and Murat's room was directly above mine!" says Kat. Nine years later, under the guise of having dinner before their annual tradition of seeing the Nutcracker Ballet, Murat convinced Kat to head home from work early to walk their dog. "I was late getting home, and was worried we'd miss our reservation," she remembers. "Instead, I opened the door to find Murat and our dog waiting for me, with Christmas songs playing, a decorated house, and a ring in his hand." Of course she accepted his sweet proposal, and the pair spent the next 10 months planning a late-fall wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida.
"We wanted to have as much of the party outside as possible, from the oceanfront ceremony to dinner in the open-air courtyard. Plus, we wanted our guests to have a chance to lounge on the beach and relax!" says Kat. With Detailz Events spearheading the planning and Anastasiia Photography behind the lens, the result was an October 31, 2015 wedding that was a far cry from Halloween. Bright shades of purples and pinks, lush flowers, shimmering gold, and a ton of candlelight came together for one of the most elegant fall weddings we've ever seen. Take a peek below!
Invitations decked out in confetti were shipped in bold blue envelopes. The gold and pink metallic accents hinted to guests about the colorful affair to follow.
"Truth be told, I never felt quite sure of my choice," says Kat of her wedding dress. "I liked the matte finish, the texture, and the slim fit, but I never had that 'moment' you hear about." Even without tears at the bridal salon, Kat stunned in the Vera Wang "Gemma" gown, with ivory tulle and a smattering of sequins across the skirt. The elegant yet understated gown was amped up with a lush, vibrant bouquet of fuchsia peonies.
Kat loves bright colors, and was thrilled to find hot pink gowns her friends loved. They all wore Nouvelle Amsale, choosing a variety of necklines that were right at home on the soft white beach. "I chose long dresses for my bridesmaids, hoping they would catch the breeze. It ended up being so hot, we were all sweltering!" Kat reveals.
Murat and his groomsmen all wore navy suits with white shirts (a nod to the colors of the couple's alma mater!), finished off with pink ties to match the bridesmaids.
The ring bearer wore a miniature version of the groomsmen's outfits, with the flower girl matching the bridesmaids in hot pink. "Our ring bearer, Jackson, had been thoroughly prepped by his parents, and insisted on having something to 'protect' even though we had no intention of tying the rings to his pillow," Kat laughs. "And our flower girl, Claire, was so fun to get ready with. She was also incredibly efficient: She walked straight to the aisle, dumped out all of her petals, and started playing in the sand!"
The waterfront ceremony took place beneath a wooden altar draped with vibrant pink blooms. "We didn't write our own vows. We felt like we'd be trying to come up with something witty for the audience instead of something meaningful for ourselves," says Kat.
The pair did, however, personalize their ceremony with readings, including The First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (a nod to her Irish Catholic heritage), a poem by Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet (in honor of his Turkish roots), and an excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit.
For their luxe seated dinner, the bride and groom settled on a combination of round and long tables arranged throughout the hotel's courtyard. Tables were topped with navy, gold, and purple linens, and centerpieces ranged from clusters of bud vases to towering candelabras dripping with roses, ranunculus, lisianthus, and hydrangeas in shades of purple and hot pink.
Table assignments were printed onto gold-framed mirrors and arranged at the entrance to the dinner space. At their seats, guests received gold boxes full of candy — it was Halloween, after all!
The head table overlooked the courtyard fountain. Kat and Murat's chairs were draped with garlands and topped with gold "bride" and "groom" signs.
From the beginning, Kat knew she wanted gold flatware on the table, so gilded chargers and rimmed glasses were a no-brainer. Instead of standard place cards, each guest's name was laser-cut and placed on a navy blue or pink napkin.
"We really wanted a plated dinner, and wanted our guests to choose entrées that sounded great to them. Food is a big deal in my family, so we offered short rib, grouper, and risotto, all followed by cake, of course!" Later in the evening, guests noshed on brisket and crab cake sliders and satisfied sweets cravings with an ice cream bar.
Speaking of cake, the four-tiered confection featured layers of hazelnut and passion fruit filling and a lush display of purple and hot pink roses, hydrangeas, and orchids.
"Murat and I were nervous about choosing a band over a DJ, but they were simply awesome," says Kat. "We had a few interludes of Turkish pop and, as every Yalie knows, the night must end with 'Livin' on a Prayer'!"
Kat's advice to couple's is to enjoy the night as much as possible. "Don't believe people when they say you won't have fun because you're too busy talking to guests. We goofed off in the photo booth, ate dinner, drank wine, danced, and we still remember every detail. Your wedding isn't a performance, but instead an opportunity to have just as much fun as your guests!"
Venue, Flowers, Catering & Cake: The Ritz-Carlton Naples || Wedding Planner: Detailz Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Makeup: Duality Artistry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nouvelle Amsale || Flower Girl's Dress: Janie & Jack || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A. Bank || Wedding Bands: Tiny Jewel Box || Invitations: Bella Figura; The Dandelion Patch || Additional Paper Goods: Foiled; Miss Louise Designs; Better Off Wed || Music: Melodic Expressions; The Hit Factory Band || Videographer: iheART Films || Photographer: Anastasiia Photography
Can't get enough of this beach wedding? Then watch another couple exchange vows in Florida in the video below.