real wedding: homespun rustic elegance {kara & joe}

Morning all! I’ve got lots of loveliness lined up for you this Wedding Wednesday, with a pretty rustic wedding this morning and a brand new giveaway this afternoon that I promise you won’t want to miss!

This morning we’re sharing Kara & Joe’s back-to-basics wedding, submitted by Orlando based wedding and boudoir photographer, Tab McCausland. Their wedding journey didn’t go exactly to plan, taking the brave decision not long before their big day to make it, well, a slightly smaller day!  This decision may have taken guts, but it meant they ended up with the wedding they wanted, not the one everyone else expected.  So gone was the fancy ballroom wedding, and in it’s place a rustic, elegant and paired back celebration of the things they love.  Kara incorporated burlap and lace linens with clouds of baby’s breath displayed in mason jars running the length of the reception tables, with softly glowing votives in between adding a romantic glow.  Mini potted seedlings doubled up as escort cards and guests favours, with cute kraft paper luggage tags, and a table laden with homebaked treats made a sweet ending to their day.

Here’s Kara with their story ~

We met while working together at a department store back in 2004.  We were simply co-workers and friends for almost two years, when I introduced my sister to Joe, she picked up on something immediately.  She said “Kara, I see something special in his eyes when he looks at you”.  I brushed her off. One evening Joe took me to a local sports bar to watch a UFC fight, it was quite romantic I must say :) It wasn’t planned to be an actual date, but looking back it was the first time we went out alone on a Saturday night for dinner and drinks.  I’m not sure we even realized we were dating at the time, we just knew we were going out more and more frequently, just the two of us and before we knew it we were making plans to see each other multiple times a week.  We really started to fall for each other and it soon turned into something much more serious!  We still today feel like we are falling more and more in love with each other over time! 

We talked about getting married for a long time.  We had even looked at rings together.  I knew the engagement was coming, I just didn’t know when.  Shortly after, Joe wanted to take me hiking at a park we had never been to.  Since rose petals and candles aren’t really our style, I thought this might be the day!  We went on a really sweet long walk through the park and made our way back to where the car was parked.  We got in the car and headed home.  “Ok, so not today” I thought to myself.  The very next weekend Joe suggested we go hiking again.  This time he wanted to take me to a park that I like to call “my secret hiding place”.  It’s a nature reserve tucked back in a nearby neighbourhood that you might not ever stumble across unless you were really looking for it.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up though.  We hiked down the trail for about a mile or so.  In the back of the park there is a large clearing in the trees and you come upon a river.  It was so peaceful and beautiful back there that we spent a little while just enjoying being together in silence.  All of a sudden Joe got down on one knee, popped the question, and put a gorgeous ring on my finger!  It turned out the weekend before was a trick to throw me off track so I would be completely surprised when he proposed… it worked! 

We originally planned a much larger and more traditional wedding at a different venue.  After some bad luck, we called off the original plan and took some time to figure out what sort of wedding would really feel like us.  We realized a small intimate wedding was what our hearts desired.  An outdoor ceremony had always been my dream and when we stumbled upon the Dickson Azalea Park right in the middle of downtown Orlando, we booked it right away.  I did NOT want a hotel ballroom or catering hall type of reception.  310 Lakeside is a gorgeous restaurant with an amazing events coordinator.  The decor of the restaurant matched look and feel of my wedding inspiration. Everything fell into place and I planned our intimate wedding in 10 short weeks.

My favourite part of the day was the moment I laid eyes on Joe as I walked down the aisle.  We chose not to see each other before the ceremony, so this moment was really special.  There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this moment and it sure was magical.

In the early planning stages I had a difficult time figuring out a theme or figuring out if I even needed a “theme”.  I knew the elements I liked were burlap, lace, baby’s breath, mason jars, nature, wood, brown, white, and ivory.  I didn’t want anything too fancy or showy; I wanted more of a natural look and feel.  In the end it came together beautifully and maybe you could call it “rustic elegance”!         

I made the ceremony program fans, guest book MadLib cards, guest book table photo collage, and table numbers.  My Mom made the burlap and lace table runners, the cakes, and her famous chocolate chip cookies.  My mother in law painted the outdoor wedding signs and the “Here comes the Bride” sign that our flower girl carried, crafted the cards box suitcase, planted the jade plants for favours and attached the place cards to the flower pots, and baked the apple pie.  My now husband, Joe, made the 2 white cake stands by gluing together a plate and a bowl I purchased at the dollar store.

What was your first dance, and how did you choose the song?

Our first dance was “Bound to You” by Christina Aguilera.  This was an aspect of the wedding Joe felt strongly about so I let him choose our song.  About a month before the wedding he surprised me with dance lessons.  It was really neat to learn an entire choreographed dance to our song!



Photographer: Tab McCausland Photography // Dress: Sue Wong // Shoes: Colin Stuart at Victoria’s Secret // Veil: borrowed from a friend // Headpiece: Etsy // Bridesmaids dresses: Urban Outfitters and Calvin Klein // Stationery: BRIDES from Michaels craft store // Ceremony Venue: Dickson Azalea Park // Reception Venue & Catering: 310 Lakeside Restaurant // Flowers: Lee Forrest Design // Hair: Stephanie Harvey // Makeup: Makeover Station // Cake: homemade by bride’s mother // Music: Friend of the groom


After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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This was my son and new daughter-in-law’s beautiful wedding. When I first learned of the elements of the design (burlap and lace!), I really wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
But Kara turned all the simple “ingredients” into something magical. The arch behind the bride and groom with it’s mason jars hanging from the top filled with luscious flowers served as a lovely backdrop for the ceremony.
The venue was absolutely wonderful, with an outdoor cocktail hour on the patio facing Lake Eola in Orlando. The room was perfect and glowed with the small votives on the tables decked out in burlap and lace with mason jars holding more flowers. A good time was had by all and we danced all evening.
Although Kara and Joe had a rough patch with the first venue, I think that it was a blessing in disguise. They may have wound up with a smaller wedding, but it proved to be a beautiful night to remember.
I love you both xox


Thank you for commenting Rita, you should be so proud of your son & daughter in law, they created a beautiful day! So lovely to hear from your point of view too!! xo