A Natural, Oceanfront Wedding at Southern Diversion Estate in Marathon, Florida

“I knew I wanted a nautical theme, since we live in a coastal town and are out on the water as much as we can be,” Nicole Kokin (27 and a human resour

“I knew I wanted a nautical theme, since we live in a coastal town and are out on the water as much as we can be,” Nicole Kokin (27 and a human resources manager) says of her marriage to Zachary Karstetter (27 and an engineer) at Southern Diversion Estate in Marathon, Florida. Her Key West-style wedding was a tropical dream filled with neutral hues, bare feet and locally sourced Key lime pies. “I knew the backdrop of the ocean and sunset would speak for itself, so I wanted to stray away from any dark and vibrant colors. I knew blush would be the perfect color, and I couldn't be more happy with that decision,” Nicole says. Touches of blush could be found throughout her linens, her bridesmaid dresses and the groomsmen's ties. The two wed with crystal-blue water flowing behind them; afterward guests supped outdoors near a large tiki hut. “Our wedding, a mix of traditional and nontraditional, best reflects us as a couple,” Nicole says. “All we wanted was to have fun and for our guests to have fun, without getting caught up and stressed over the fine details. To future couples, I would suggest to really take the day in. Everyone says it goes so fast, but it really, really does.” —Ginger Harris

"I went with a dress that was more simple in style but still had the fine details: ivory with beautiful lace. It was fitted, but I could still move around and enjoy myself in it," Nicole says.
"I knew I wanted the driftwood arch. I had seen every blog on every Florida Keys wedding going back five years, and I just had to have that arch," Nicole says. For the rest of her ceremony decor, she borrowed lanterns from her neighbor, filled them with candles and white rose petals. "Other than that, we let the arch and ocean speak for themselves."
The head of the table was saved for Nicole and Zachary, who separated their chairs from the rest with laser-cut "bride" and "groom" signs.
White chiavari chairs, blush linens and flowers from Nicole's bouquet gave the outdoor reception a soft and comfortable yet elegant feel.
"I had menus printed that matched my invitations, which sat at each place setting. The florist worked her magic with wooden boxes filled with beautiful flowers and gold candle pillars," Nicole says.
Another item Nicole stumbled upon while searching for ideas was a boat bar from Caribbean Catering. "I knew I had to have it. Everyone loved that," she says.
Details like a wooden bucket for the flower girl's petals emphasized the old Key West feel.
"My ring bearers wore light gray shorts with nautical suspenders and a bow tie, which matched the guys' ties. We were all barefoot, to keep the laid-back feeling," Nicole says.
"Our ceremony and reception were at Southern Diversion Estate, in Marathon," Nicole says. "I chose this location because there are three separate living quarters on the property with a beautiful sandy, private beach area in the back. It was perfect to accommodate my family and my husband's family. Plus, we got to keep our boats on the dock out back, which was a must for my father."
Nicole and Zachary were engaged in the Keys and they were able to celebrate their first day as husband and wife there, too.
"No wedding cake for us," Nicole says. Instead, guests savored key lime pies.
Nicole knew she wanted a single long table and planned accordingly. All 25 guests were able to sit at one table for a family-style meal in the sand under strung twinkling lights.