A Coastal Chic Wedding at the Drop Anchor Resort in Islamorada, Florida

Whitney Zigich (28 and an actuary) and Ryan Powell (28 and a medical sales representative) planned a fun, beachy affair at the Drop Anchor Resort in I

Whitney Zigich (28 and an actuary) and Ryan Powell (28 and a medical sales representative) planned a fun, beachy affair at the Drop Anchor Resort in Islamorada, Fla. with a color palette of coral, sea green and navy blue. “With our wedding and reception taking place in the sand along the water, we centered our theme around that,” says Whitney. The day started with a waterfront ceremony, Whitney and Ryan exchanging vows in the sand, followed by a night of dinner and dancing overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Handmade anchor escort place cards, a starfish ceremony backdrop and artful displays of driftwood, seashells, vintage bottles and lanterns brought the couple’s playful vision to life. Strands of bistro lights and lanterns were hung to cast a warm, inviting glow over the intimate outdoor space and local favorites, like Key Lime pie, gave guests a taste of local flavor. “The entire resort was rented out to our closest friends and family for the whole weekend,” says Whitney. “The resort was smaller with only 20 or so units and we loved the idea of having total privacy for the weekend. It made the whole atmosphere very personal and we knew it was the right place the second we saw it.”

To give guests a taste of the beachy destination affair to come, Whitney and Ryan chose a playful invitations suite with cheerful, summery colors, a playful illustration of the Florida Keys and seashell motifs. “The seahorses were amazing and worked perfectly with our theme,” says Whitney. rn
“For our centerpieces, we wanted something unique and natural that played off our surroundings,” says Whitney. Together, she and Ryan crafted decorated sand-blasted manzanita branches with silk flowers in shades of vibrant color to use as the focal point of the centerpieces. They then added starfish, seashells, wicker lanterns and gold votives to really play up the display’s beachy vibe. “My mom also antiqued blue bottles, which turned out to be amazing!” says Whitney.rn
Whitney and Ryan handcrafted the table numbers themselves, painting each number in sea green paint on small squares of distressed wood. The simple detail tied in perfectly with the centerpieces’ beachy accents and vibe.  rn
The day kicked off with an intimate ceremony on the beach at the Drop Anchor Resort. Bunches of pink hydrangeas and oversized greenery lined the aisles, adding a fresh punch of color to the sandy white beach. A simple bamboo wedding arch stood at waters edge, draped with airy sheer fabric and a whimsical backdrop of striking white starfish.  rn
The reception took place on the beach at the Drop Anchor Resort. Guests enjoyed an alfresco dinner of local specialties under the stars. Strands of bistro lights hung over the space, filling the beach with warm, ambient light as the sun set over the water. rn
Traditional just wasn’t going to cut it for Whitney, when it came to her wedding day look. “I really wanted a dress that was unique, but struggled to find something that wowed me,” she says. She came across what would become her wedding dress, while scanning Pinterest. “The dress was from a designer in California, so I tracked down the phone number and called not expecting for anything to work out,” says Whitney. But to her surprise, the designer had one dress left and it happened to be in her size. The one-shoulder column gown by Blac Mera featured an airy overlay decorated with a hand-painted red tree that added a pop of playful color. Whitney kept the rest of her look simple, adding a pair of crystal drop earrings and a ring that her great-grandparents made for her mother. “The diamond is so tiny, but carries so much meaning,” says Whitney. “They were married for almost 70 years.”rn
For their bouquets, Whitney and her bridesmaids each carried a single King Protea down the aisle. “They were simple, but had huge wow-factor,” says Whitney. “The color paired perfectly with the coral on my dress.”rn
Wanting the ceremony to have a personalized feel, Whitney and Ryan performed a knot tying tradition. “My cousin is also a Marine, so we had him be a part of the ceremony by presenting the rings to us,” says Whitney.rn
Instead of a traditional guest book, Whitney and Ryan had their friends and family members sign small white stones and place them in a small row boat.  rn
Whitney and her mother made the escort cards in themselves in the shape of small anchors — a perfect fit for the beach-inspired theme. They painted the painted wooden anchors with sea green-colored paint, wrapped them with jute and wrote guests’ names and table numbers on each. “We hung them on a ladder with fish net to display,” says Whitney. “They also double as a little memento from the wedding and can be used as a Christmas ornament.”rn
In addition to the handmade anchor ornaments, Whitney and Ryan gifted their guests personalized koozies. The sea green koozies matched the wedding’s color palette and featured two fish and a hook with the phrase, “Two less fish in the sea,” underneath. On the reverse side were the couple’s names and wedding date.rn
Before sitting down to dinner, guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the beach. Drinks were served at a bar setup inside a sailboat along the water, playing up the day’s beachy, nautical theme.rn
The reception tables were dressed in white and burlap linens for a bit of beachy flair, with gold chargers and coral floral napkins introducing touch a color and island glamour to the decor.rn