Coastal Inspiration

Kayla and Sam’s locally sourced wedding was an ode to the ocean.

Photography by Tara Koenke Photography

After spending two years abroad in Australia and New Zealand, Kayla Fitzgerald returned home to Stuart to begin a new chapter of her life. Little did she know that chapter would lead her to Sam Jacob. The two met in 2016 at Old Florida Bar & Grill in Jupiter and immediately bonded over their effortless, playful banter. “He’s just a very outgoing, fun guy, so our personalities clicked right away,” says Kayla. The friendship quickly developed into a romantic relationship, and two years later, they found themselves vacationing in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. As fireworks illuminated the coastline, Sam seized the opportunity for a picturesque proposal. “We were walking down the beach, and he was telling me how much he loved me and cared for me,” recalls Kayla. “He was speaking really, really fast—and then, all of a sudden, he was down on one knee.”

Like many brides, Kayla’s wedding planning began with Pinterest. She fell in love with a photo of oystershell garlands, deciding right then on a romantic coastal wedding theme. The bride-to-be set out to DIY her own garlands to use as centerpieces, enlisting the help of South Fork Kitchen, who generously allowed her to pick up buckets of oystershells from the restaurant over the course of a year. Kayla would take them home and begin sorting, cleaning, and bleaching the shells, and Sam would drill holes so they could be strung together. Kayla estimates they went through about 2,000 oystershells to perfect eight garlands. “Toward the end, it was like, we never want to see another oyster for as long as we live!” jokes Kayla.

To complete the centerpieces, Kayla and her mother, Valerie—who is a wedding/special events planner and owner of Blue Bridals—sourced other local materials. They found blue coral at Nautical and Nice and authentic fishing net at Crow’s Nest, and they collected driftwood from the beach. To highlight the oceanic centerpieces, Kayla hand-dyed cheesecloth and used it for table runners. She also collected Champagne glasses throughout the year from Goodwill and garage sales so each table setting had a unique vintage glass.

The rest of the decor mimicked hues of the oystershells and coast—dusty blues and soft grays. A watercolor seating display mirrored the couple’s invitation suite. Nautical seafoam lanterns framed the ceremony area, and mercury glass candleholders marked the sweetheart table. Kayla’s bridesmaids wore varying shades of blue, and her tropical bridal bouquet was crowned with beautiful white king proteas.

On October 26, 2019, the couple arrived at The Lake House in Fort Pierce. Kayla says the decision to wed at the venue was a simple one, owing to its lush greenery and waterfront views. “I think I knew it was going to be the venue before I actually saw it in person,” she says. “I love every aspect of it.” But the weather wasn’t cooperating that day, and they were forced to make a rain call: They could marry in the rain under The Lake House’s heritage oak tree, which Kayla had always envisioned, or move the entire ceremony under the venue’s veranda. They were set to endure a little rain so Kayla could fulfill her dream—then, moments before she was to walk down the aisle, miraculously, the rain subsided. The outdoor ceremony space was decorated with glass fishing floats, and the couple met at the altar, which was highlighted by a driftwood arch. A close friend performed a touching and personalized ceremony, at the end of which guests raised a glass to the newlyweds. “It was really special,” says Kayla.

After the ceremony, guests moved to the lakeside veranda, where long farm tables were set up under warm, twinkling lights. They dined on light tropical fare from S&L Events, which included pulled pork with mango chutney, chicken teriyaki, and grilled shrimp with fruit salsa (all taste-tested and approved by Sam beforehand). After dinner and speeches, the couple’s wedding timeline kind of went out the window. Everyone was having so much fun on the dance floor, they decided to skip the planned parent dances and bouquet toss to keep the party going.

“That was my favorite part in general, the dancing,” recalls Kayla. “It was just so nice to see all these people you haven’t seen in a while having the time of our lives together.”

Local Vendors: 

Venue: The Lake House, Fort Pierce (

Planner: Blue Bridals, Stuart (

Catering: S&L Events, Jensen Beach (

Flowers: Alma Elizabeth Event Decor, Fort Pierce (

Cake: Sandra’s Cakes, Port St. Lucie (

Ceremony arch: Southern Vintage Décor, Stuart (

Glass fishing floats: Crow’s Nest, Stuart (

Drinking goblets: ECP Event Group, Port St. Lucie (

Bridal gown: East Coast Bridals, Jupiter (

Wedding rings: The Jewelry Doctor, Palm Beach Gardens ( and Paul David Jewelry, Jupiter (

Bridesmaid dresses: David’s Bridal, West Palm Beach (

Groom and groomsmen suits: Tux Shop, Palm Beach Gardens (

DJ: Paragon Entertainment, Jensen Beach (

Photographer: Tara Koenke, Jupiter (

Videographer: Roman Films, South Florida (

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