Jacqueline Nixon and Simon Gowdy met at one of the last places most people want to be set up: a wedding! “My cousin married the younger sister of one of Simon’s close friends,” says Jackie. “The bride sat us across from one another, hoping we’d hit it off (even though I was living in New York and Simon was in Toronto at the time), and she was absolutely right!” The good news is that Jackie is also from Toronto, and the decision to move back home after a year of long-distance dating was an easy one. Shortly thereafter, during a run on a snowy Saturday in December, Simon proposed. “I was totally shocked, and couldn’t wait to celebrate with our families," she recalls. "Little did I know, Simon had invited them over under the guise of a surprise birthday brunch for me, so we got to tell them all right away!”
Though the pair lives in Canada, Jackie’s family frequents the Windsor Club in Vero Beach, Florida, and a destination wedding on the water was just what the couple wanted. They set the date for November 4, 2017, and invited 224 guests to join them at Windsor Club’s chapel and beach club. “A destination wedding meant we could spend the entire weekend with our family and friends,” says Jackie. They kept the design simple, using white flowers, fresh greenery, sand tones—and lots of palm fronds. “We had palms on our save-the-dates, our website, and even on the chandelier at the reception!” says the bride. Photographed by Rebecca Wood and planned by Laurie Goldhar, this destination wedding in Florida combines island style with chic design elements. Keep reading for more!
Jackie’s bridesmaids donned robes (by India Armory) in a variety of blue prints as they soaked up the sand and sun before the wedding. Instead of a single gown, Jackie asked her bridesmaids to wear white dresses of their own choosing. “I asked them to be between knee and tea length, and all in a simple (not textured) fabric to contrast with the lace on my gown,” she explains.
The bride wore a fitted guipure lace and tulle gown by Mira Zwillinger, which featured a unique floral appliqué and a plunging neckline. “I have always loved Mira Zwillinger’s ethereal dresses,” she explains. But while she fell for the designer’s lace accents, her mom didn’t love the bohemian feel of a fuller skirt. “I saw the Noelle gown online, and was able to find a local salon that had it in their store," says the bride. "As soon as I tried it on, I knew it was the perfect combination of the lace I loved and the structure my mom preferred.”
Jackie carried an all-white bouquet that perfectly coordinated with the intricate details on her dress.
A bridal party in all-white (including the flower girls!) was a modern choice for the seaside setting, but it fit in perfectly with the Windsor Club’s elegant beach style. Simon wore a blue suit, while his groomsmen paired stone-colored plants with navy blazers.
The club’s chapel was the perfect place for Jackie and Simon to exchange vows. They said "I do" inside, where two arrangements of giant palm fronds flanked the altar.
“Simon and I didn’t have a first look, so seeing one another as I walked down the aisle was the most special moment," Jackie says."I loved the look on his face when he saw me!”
As guests exited the church, they were handed flutes of champagne to sip on their walk back to the Beach Club. And on the way to the reception, everyone walked through an underpass personalized with the couple's initials in palm leaves.
Beneath the sand-colored tent, long tables were set with white linens and topped with white flowers in a variety of vases. Bamboo-style chairs added a tropical accent to the simple setting, and, overhead, giant palm fronds were fashioned into organic chandeliers.
The four-course meal included an amuse-bouche of Florida red snapper ceviche, a grilled fig and burrata salad, a surf-and-turf entrée with New York strip steak and grilled tiger shrimp, and key lime tart for dessert.
The bride and groom cut into a French orange cake with cream cheese icing before taking to the dance floor. “Simon’s brother played guitar and sang ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton for our first dance,” Jackie remembers. As the night continued, the dance floor was packed—resulting in a number of guests jumping into the pool to cool off! Adds the bride, “Even Simon and I got in!"
Wedding Planner: Laurie Goldhar || Venue: Windsor Club || Officiant: Father John Morrissey || Bride's Dress & Veil: Mira Zwillinger, purchased from Powder Bride || Bride's Shoes: Nine West || Bride's Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. || Hair: Lindsay Naffziger || Makeup: Silvia Cavanaugh & Angela Stalikas || Groom's Attire: Vassi Menswear, Brooks Brothers, Ferragamo || Groomsmen's Attire: Brooks Brothers || Flower Girls’ Attire: J.Crew || Wedding Bands: Maison Birks || Floral Design: Forget Me Not Flowers || Paper Products: Paper Ideas || Catering & Cake: Windsor Club || Rentals: Atlas Event Rentals || Ceremony Music: Tropics Entertainment || Reception Music: Higher Ground || Transportation: Magic Carpet Ride | Photography: Rebecca Wood