A Tented Nature-Inspired Wedding at the South Seas Island Resort in Captiva Island, Florida

Elle Beard (28 and a consultant) and Jacob (Jake) Hempen (27 and a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps) met through mutual friends at a bar in Georgetown

Elle Beard (28 and a consultant) and Jacob (Jake) Hempen (27 and a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps) met through mutual friends at a bar in Georgetown and became engaged about four years later. Jake proposed while the couple was visiting Elle’s family in Crystal Lake, Michigan. On their first sunny day in Michigan, Jake came over to Elle and asked her two questions: "Are you happy that the sun is finally shining?”and "Are you happy with me?" After she said yes, he got down on one knee, and asked "Will you marry me?" as he placed the ring on Elle's finger. “It was perfect,” she says. Over the next 14 months, Elle and Jake worked to plan their wedding . “I always knew I wanted to get married at the beach on Captiva Island at South Seas. My paternal grandfather was among the first group of timeshare owners when the resort was developed, so I have been going to South Seas every summer since I was young,” says Elle. With an organic and preppy theme in mind, the couple chose a blue color palette. An unexpected rainstorm moved the ceremony in their clear tented reception space. It was decorated with cascading arrangements of baby’s breath along the aisle, wooden bamboo chairs and string lighting. “Overall, we wanted our wedding to feel natural since the setting was so inherently beautiful,” says Elle. After the couple said “I do,” their tent was transformed into a dance floor and reception space. Inspired by natural centerpieces of grapevine wood, yellow roses and white lisianthus, Elle and Jake decorated their reception with neutral linens, French blue napkins, rattan chargers and bamboo chairs. They served a seated meal of steak and fresh Florida grouper before treating their 145 guests to a champagne and banana flavored four-tier wedding cake. “For those that were not ready to end the night at 10 (nearly everyone), we shuttled folks from the tent to a bar that we had rented out on Captiva for late-night snacks and a DJ dance party,” says Elle.

The couple used images of seagrass and their favorite Florida animals, pelicans and manatees, throughout their stationery.
“I wanted to wear something that looked and felt natural, like it belonged on the beach,” says Elle. She wore an ivory Monique Lhuillier wedding dress with tulle, beading and embroidery.
Silver Jimmy Choo Wedge Wedding Shoes
Cascading Baby’s Breath Aisle Decor
Elle and Jake’s Ceremony
The couple accented their wedding with arrangements of white roses, green hydrangea, white lisianthus and pale yellow garden roses.
Jake and his groomsmen wore custom navy suits by Indochino with yellow Brooks Brother ties. Jake and Elle’s brother lined their suits with a matching American Flag print, says Elle.
As Elle’s bridesmaids lived throughout the U.S., she chose silk chiffon French blue Monique Lhuillier dresses from Bella Bridesmaid. Each woman chose her dress style.
Smiling Beach Couple Shot of Elle and Jake
The couple decorated their reception with round and family-style tables, rattan chargers, neutral linens, French blue napkins, floral centerpieces, bamboo chairs and grapevine wood accents.
The couple decorated each table with unique centerpieces of curly willow branches, white bottlebrush, grapevine wood, yellow roses, dusty miller and white lisianthus.
Complementing the couple’s natural theme, baby’s breath chandeliers were hung from their tented ceiling for both the ceremony and reception.
Whimsical Reception Accent with Greenery
Baked by Kakes by Karen, the couple chose a four-tier blue and white confection composed of white champagne cake with raspberry coulis and banana cake with dark chocolate ganache.
Garden Rose and Lisianthus Wedding Cake Flowers