Portofino Bay Hotel Wedding | Monica and Zack

August 14, 2016 by Just Marry!

Senior Event Manager Leanna McDonald had the pleasure of coordinating the wedding of Monica and Zack on July 9, 2016 at the elegant Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. The happy couple shared some of the details about their engagement and special day. Read on to learn more about their wonderful wedding experience!

  1.  How did you two meet?

Zack and I met swing dancing at the University of Florida. The Swing Dancing Club held a formal dance event for the end of the semester that we both attended. We met during the lesson because we rotated partners. After the lesson was open dancing, so we danced again later in the evening.


2.  Tell us about the proposal.

Zack proposed on his birthday in Downtown Winter Garden. I did not suspect anything, especially since it was his birthday. He asked me to meet him at Downtown Winter Garden because he wanted to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Before going to breakfast he told me he had a surprise for me, which he has surprised me with things before. We sat down near the fountain and he sang a song he wrote about us while playing his ukulele. Throughout the song he asked questions of how we got to know each other. The last question he sang was, “Will you marry me?” Then he got down on one knee and proposed.


3.  Why did you choose the Portofino for your wedding?

We chose the Portofino Bay as our wedding venue because we liked that the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception could be in the same location. In addition, we liked the many picturesque opportunities, including the grand staircase.


4.  What challenges did you face during the planning process?

  • Getting the harpist’s license [insurance] accepted by the hotel.
  • Having our personalized cake topper arrive in time for the wedding, even though it was ordered three months before the wedding.
  • Printing the poster of the table groups for the reception.
  • Getting our guests to RSVP in a timely manner.
  • Keeping the entire wedding party updated as information and details changed.

5.  What was your favorite wedding item purchase?

Our favorite purchase was the nine-piece band, called The Buzzcatz, for our reception. Personally my favorite purchase was my wedding dress.


6.  What was the most memorable part of the day for you and Zack?

The whole day was extremely memorable. Not one part stands out more then the rest.


7.  What was your biggest fear about the wedding day?

Our biggest fear was messing up our first dance. We did not have a choreographed dance, but we did have certain moves we wanted to include. We began dancing salsa and switched to swing partway through the song. It was different practicing to a prerecorded song and actually dancing to a live band at our reception.


8.  Were there any particular elements of your wedding day that you considered unique or personal touches?

We enjoyed having a pastor we knew from our church and who knew us. He made our ceremony light hearted, God centered, and romantic. We used Unity in Glass for our unity ceremony, where you choose your glass colors and what you want your colored glass to be made into. We chose a vase.

To identify the tables at our reception, we labeled them with places Zack and I have visited. Each table had a picture of us in the place with a label of the location. During our reception we had a nine-piece band instead of a DJ and played a bride/groom shoe game. Zack and I sat back-to-back holding one of each other’s shoes. Questions like, “Who is the better dancer?” were asked and we had to raise the shoe of whom it applied to.

For the bouquet toss I had something called a fly away bouquet. The bouquet split into five mini bouquets with a romantic message, instead of staying as one. As our party favor, we gave an olive oil and vinaigrette pairing. We enjoy eating bread dipped in olive oil and thought it went perfectly with the Italian theme of the Portofino Bay Hotel.


9.  What advice would you give to other couples as they begin their planning process?

We would advise other couples to start early in planning their wedding and stay organized. Make sure to keep on top of vendors and your bridal party to ensure everything is completed on time.

10.  What are you most looking forward to in newlywed life?

We are looking forward to being together all of the time instead of having to travel to see each other.

Photo Credit: Ginger Midgett Photography

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