An Intimate Wedding at Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina in Fort Myers Beach, Florida


                    For Chicago couple Michelle Susmarski (38 and in sales) and Neil Goodfellow (37 and in sales), Florida was more than just a vaca

For Chicago couple Michelle Susmarski (38 and in sales) and Neil Goodfellow (37 and in sales), Florida was more than just a vacation spot. They turned their love for the white sandy beaches and simple town of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, into inspiration for a destination wedding. Their ceremony decor, unity tradition and favors at Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina alone pointed to the oceanfront theme. Guests took their seats among rows of starfish-accented chairs during the beachside ceremony. Before Michelle and Neil said “I do,”  the couple and Neil's son took part in a unity ceremony. Together, they mixed blue, white and purple-colored sand to demonstrate their bond. Seashells also highlighted the altar space. And the couple sent everyone home with a token from the beach: a natural, starfish-inspired wine stopper.  With the help of their planner from the resort, everything came together seamlessly under a bold color scheme of blush, white, blue and purple. “We just made everything about the beach,” Michelle says. Annie Steele Photography documented every detail of their day, below.

Michelle and Neil's shore-inspired theme came out in every piece of decor, starting with the invitations. A neutral and aqua watercolor card encouraged their 75 guests to attend. A small clamshell stood out from the top, while its bottom border hinted of waves hitting the beach.
After visiting Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Michelle and Neil knew it was the ideal spot for their wedding. “We just fell in love with the powder white sand and simple beach town,” Michelle says. Their ceremony decor only highlighted the area with simple white folding chairs and a neutral runner.
“We just made everything about the beach,” Michelle says. This especially came out in their aisle markers. The couple brought a piece of the ocean to their sandy ceremony with oval straw wrapped around every white chair by the aisle. Its natural starfish accent made the decor even more aquatic.
The unity sand ceremony also let Neil's son play a part in their wedding. Michelle and Neil let him pour the first blue sand into the their personalized vase. Then they continued the unity tradition with a few more mixed colors. (How sweet is that?)
For the ceremony decor, Michelle and Neil left almost everything up to their coordinator, Dony, from Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina. She even designed the natural bamboo wedding arch where the couple shared their first kiss. White flowers, starfish and greenery marked the altar space above fabric-wrapped posts.
"Chic" only begins to describe Michelle’s dress. Wanting something comfortable and classic, she slipped on a silk gown with a romantic lace overlay and sweeping trumpet-style skirt. Her curled updo also highlighted its open, illusion lace back during their beachside recessional.
For her bouquet, Michelle had one style in mind: She wanted something simple that matched her romantic lace wedding dress. Libby's Flower Shop designed just that with a classic mix of blush and ivory roses, white hydrangeas, dusty miller, pink astilbes, pink lisianthus and greenery. A white ribbon wrap gathered every stem.
Making sure everyone felt welcome at the reception, Michelle and Neil ditched the idea of a seating plan. As noted by their festive chalkboard entrance sign, everyone was free to “mix and mingle” in the purple and white party at Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Amid the line toasts at their wedding, the newlyweds shared a few moments alone on the side of the reception. Michelle looked nothing short of classic with her a curled updo hairstyle and classic silver teardrop earrings. The accessories highlighted both her dress and new diamond wedding ring.
Before the night ended, Michelle and Neil sent their guests home with a token of the sea. They passed out starfish-inspired wine stoppers as wedding favors. Each box matched the color scheme and theme with a blue wave pattern.
Before they went inside for a some Chicago Blackhawks-inspired cupcakes, Michelle and Neil shared a few moments alone on the beach. Her sleeveless dress was an ideal cut for their beach celebration. Its ivory lace detailing extended into a chapel-length train that flowed along the sand; the same detailing also accented her sheer, illusion straps and the sides of its open back as they walked along the sand.