Oceanfront Ceremony + Classic Ballroom Reception in Florida

Erin and Francis

Photographed by: Brooke ImagesLocation: St. Marys, Georgia, United States

When Erin Jennings and Francis McKenna were set up for dinner through their respective coworkers, the connection was felt immediately. “We didn’t want to go home because we were having so much fun together,” Erin reveals. They stayed up all night talking, despite having work the next day, and were known as a couple ever since. After their relationship grew, Francis was ready to propose on his beloved’s birthday – even though the ring wasn’t ready yet. Despite the jeweler being closed for a holiday, the hopeful groom couldn’t bear to wait another moment before popping the question and procured a stand-in ring for the moment. 

Now affianced, the New York couple decided to host their nuptials on Amelia Island in Florida, where the groom’s family has property. Selecting a venue was easy, as the lovebirds had stayed at a luxury hotel on the island multiple times. The resort also allowed for a picturesque oceanfront ceremony paired with an elegant ballroom reception, perfectly complementing the romantic theme desired by the bride. Before the big day, the couple was wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony, with the groom’s uncle serving as the priest. The next day, guests watched as Erin and Francis took part in an alfresco vow exchange with stunning views of the ocean.

A classic color palette of ivory with blush and gold accents transformed the reception space. “I wanted to keep the airy beach feel with a touch of the elegance and class of New York City,” the bride explains. The centerpieces alternated between arrangements of peonies, roses, and hydrangeas and displays of tapered candles with glass hurricanes, circled by blooms. The four-tiered cake was embellished with peonies and roses cascading down the side, with a monogram seal made of frosting denoting an “M” for the couple’s newly shared surname. 

The cousin of the groom sang “Unchained Melody” for the father-daughter dance, as it is the favorite tune of the father of the bride. However, the bigger surprise on the dance floor came later. Recalling her most memorable moment of the day, Erin shares, “Out of nowhere, all of our friends decided to pick up Francis and me while dancing around, and we were able to have a kiss in the air!” 

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