Lakeside Soire

A waterfront home in Leesburg is the idyllic backdrop for this stylish backyard wedding.

Cricket Whitman

Love for a Lifetime

Clare Courtney, 26, and Carlos Saldarriaga, 27, met in Spanish class during their freshman year at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala. Clare describes her early relationship with Carlos as a typical teenage crush. “Once he got his driver’s license, he asked me out on a date and that’s when our relationship started to grow,” she says. 

They continued dating throughout high school and college. After 9 years, Carlos suggested they spend a weekend in Naples. “On our way, I remember texting my sister saying, ‘I don’t think he’ll propose this weekend, but we’ll still have a great time,’ ” Clare says.  Shortly after arriving at their hotel, the couple took a romantic sunset walk along a boat pier. That's when Carlos proposed. It was May 30, 2014. 

Clare gave herself exactly one year to plan her dream wedding. When it came to choosing a theme, there was one “must-have” on her list. “I wanted to make sure that all of the reception decor was very warm and inviting,” she says. “My husband’s family traveled from Colombia to be at the wedding, and since the reception was held at my parents house, I wanted everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable in our home.” 

Instead of focusing on a specific look for the occasion, Clare’s wedding coordinator and designer, Brandee Gaar of Blush by Brandee Gaar, chose elegant and rustic elements that fit with Clare’s vision while incorporating personalized touches that created special moments for both the bride and groom and their families. 

The bride and groom share a kiss. 

“The hand-drawn chalkboards placed throughout were informational pieces of art,” says Brandee Gaar, the wedding coordinator/designer

Clare chose navy blue mix-and-matched tops and coordinated skirts for her bridesmaids. 

Each wedding guest received a small bag of Colombian coffee beans—an homage to the groom's family.

he bridesmaids' chairs are highlighted with floral arrangements.

Blue china accented with a sprig of yellow solidago created a simple and vibrant table setting. 

Images of Clare’s grandparents taken on their wedding day adorn her bridal  bouquet.

Dining tables had tall birch pedestals of ivy, yellow solidago, and white hydrangeas, ranunculus, and stock blossoms.

Floral details and the couple's initials embellished the elegant wedding cake. 

Bridesmaids carried bright and cheery sunflower bouquets.

Carlos and his groomsmen wore coordinated dark blue tuxedoes.

The wedding invitations reflect the relaxed elegance of the bride and groom's big day.

Fragrant freesia was used in Clare's cascading bouquet.

The bride and groom's chairs are designated with chalkboard signs and floral decor.

Color coordinated lounge furniture provided outdoor seating.

The couple lead their guests in the “second line” dance—a celebratory tradition in New Orleans—in honor of Clare's family.

Decorative lanterns hung from the tent ceiling created a romantic ambiance for the couple's first dance as husband and wife.

A nighttime view of the celebration from the water.

A festive dessert cart with an array of after-dinner treats. 

Meyer Lemon Shooters


Design & Coordination
Blush by Brandee Gaar

Private Home

Lee James Floral Designs 

Pisces Rising 

Kaleidoscope Event Lighting 

Atomic Entertainment 

Wings of Sound 

Perfect Sky Productions

Party Flavors Custom Cakes

Dogwood Blossom Stationery & Invitation Studio

Hair & Makeup
LeJeune Artistry 

Sperry Tents Miami

Table & Chairs
A Chair Affair, Inc. 

Lounge Furniture
AFR Event Furnishings

Chalk Decor
Chalk Shop Events 

Desserts & Candy
Two Sweets Bake Shop

Bride’s Wedding Dress
Calvet Couture Bridal Boutique

Bride’s Reception Dress
Solutions Bridal Designer House 

Bridesmaids' Dresses
Bella Bridesmaids

Absolutely Fitting

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