Denée and Carl’s wedding day at Bella Collina in Orlando was a vibrant celebration, filled with colorful personalities and fun surprises. From the in-the-round ceremony and to the surprise Bahamian Junkanoo band to the most romantic vows, the day was truly a reflection of the couple and their partnership.

Having worked with countless couples over the years, there are some love stories that simply stand out. This is undoubtedly one of them! Denée Benton and Carl Lundstedt are both actors. They had their charming meet-cute in an undergrad acting class at Carnegie Mellon University. Fast forward five and a half years of love and career success, Carl pulled off a surprise proposal on a seemingly ordinary Friday night.

The Venue

Bella Collina | Orlando, FL

Their top priorities when venue scouting were a beautiful outdoor setting with lots of greenery, a history free from ties to slavery, and ample space for their guests. Denée is from Orlando and Carl hails from the Midwest, so they decided to return to her sunny home state for a January wedding. Bella Collina in Central Florida emerged as the perfect fit. Nestled amidst rolling hills, surrounded by lakes, and boasting an Italian villa-inspired aesthetic, it combined luxury with the capacity to accommodate their extensive guest list.

The Couple’s Vision

A Vibrant Outdoor Wedding Celebrating Community and Love

Denée and Carl envisioned a wedding day that was uniquely their own, centered on family and a whole lot of fun. They desired a blend of traditional and non-traditional elements. These included circular seating at the ceremony and a vibrant color palette inspired by sunset hues. Their goal was to create a laid-back vibe that beautifully celebrated the merging of two families into one.

Outdoor wedding ceremony with round seating at Bella Collina in Orlando.

Getting Ready Moments

Embracing Natural Beauty and Personality

On the morning of their wedding, Denée and Carl each prepared in separate on-site condos at Bella Collina. Denée’s bridal look was all about embracing her true self and avoiding an overly made-up appearance. Her Pronovias gown, with its simple silhouette, low back, and delicate beading on the neckline, perfectly embodied the natural, ethereal beauty she sought. Denée was keen on showcasing her natural hair texture, which she styled herself with stunning results! To complete her look, she added a handmade beaded headband, a veil, and comfy flats, ensuring she could dance the night away.

Meanwhile, Carl rocked a snazzy dark blue velvet tuxedo with paisley detailing from Robbie & Co. in NYC. His aim for the attire was to infuse fun and personality into his wedding day look.

Bride looking at her dress in the getting ready suite at Bella Collina.
Bride hugging her mom.
A close-up of the bride's grandmother's handwriting embroidered on a handkerchief.

First Look & Portraits

At the Bella Collina Clubhouse

After getting ready, Denée had the sweetest first look with her dad against the backdrop of Bella Collina’s Italian-inspired clubhouse. Their close bond really shines through in every photo.

Then, after this sweet moment with her dad, Denée had a quick but equally heartwarming reveal with her paternal grandma. Finally, she gracefully descended the steps to meet Carl against the venue’s picturesque ivy-covered walls. It was a moment they had dreamed of for nearly half a decade.

Read more of Denée and Carl’s love story featured in Vogue

Bride and groom portraits against the climbing ivy at Bella Collina.

The Wedding Party & Family

Mismatched Silhouettes Embracing Individuality

Denée’s bridesmaids had the freedom to choose their own dresses, all in sunset hues. Her priority was to celebrate their beauty as individuals and a group, ensuring each bridesmaid felt confident and comfortable in her chosen attire. Carl’s groomsmen complemented his dark blue tuxedo with the Huxley Outfit from The Black Tux. Denée’s niece was even a junior bridesmaid! We did photos with the wedding party as groups and individuals. Finally, we wrapped up the photo session with family photos!

Bride and her parents candid photo at Bella Collina.

The Circular Ceremony

A Vibrant Floral-Focused Event Under Twinkly Lights

The ceremony was incredibly romantic and intimate, set in a round configuration that allowed everyone to see the other’s reactions. You could really feel the love from their family and friends, especially during toasts and songs. Denée and Carl were deeply moved hearing each other’s written vows, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Denée’s grandmothers were meant to be her flower girls, but the passing of her mother’s mom, ‘Nanny,’ a month before the wedding, was a heartache. In her absence, Denée’s ‘Mema’ represented both grandmothers, wearing Nanny’s photo as a pin. A chair, adorned with Nanny’s cherished church hat, was reserved in her honor, and her presence was deeply felt.

Stunning outdoor wedding ceremony with round seating at Bella Collina in Orlando.
Bride and groom sunset photos at Bella Collina in Orlando, Florida.

Cocktail Hour

After the touching ceremony and sunset portraits, guests were treated to a spread of appetizers and cocktails in the courtyard. Towards the end of cocktail hour, a Junkanoo Band burst onto the scene, complete with a lead dancer, trombones, tubas, steel drums, cowbells, and an exuberant percussion ensemble. Denée shared the significance of this choice, honoring her late maternal grandfather’s Bahamian heritage. The band ignited an infectious line dance that weaved through the entire cocktail hour, pulling guests into the rhythm as they made their way down to the reception. The evening took off with an exhilarating dance party that had everyone breaking a sweat.

Floral chandelier at Bella Collina in Orlando, Florida.
Bride and groom admiring the memorial table at thei Bella Collina wedding.

The Reception

Touching Toasts and a Firey Dance Floor

The reception was an absolute stunner, set under the enchanting Florida night sky, bathed in the soft glow of string lights. The couple’s vision of unity came to life as guests gathered around long communal tables, making it a beautiful blend of their diverse community. The tables were decorated with vibrant blooms of yellow tulips, pink peonies, and red poppy flowers from Orlando Flower Market.

Other thoughtful details included a champagne wall adorned with lush green leaves, a neon “Drunk in Love” sign as a nod to Denée’s love for Beyoncé, and a baggo set in honor of Carl’s Midwestern roots. The Bay Kings Band had the dance floor sizzling all night long. And when the music finally quieted down, the newlyweds and their closest friends headed to their Bella Collina honeymoon suite to indulge in some late-night burgers and beers.

Sunshine Junkanoo Band
Bride's father ringing a bell as the Sunshine Junkanoo Band makes their entrance.
Sunshine Junkanoo Band
Sunshine Junkanoo Band leading the wedding party to the reception.
Candid moment of a bride and groom during speeches.
Bride and groom wedding reception cake cutting.
Planner: Modern Rebel Co. || Videographer: Mae B. Films || Dress: Calvet Couture Bridal || Tuxedo: Robbie & Co. || Groomsmen Rentals: The Black Tux || Makekup: Angelica Chrysler Beauty || Florals – Orlando Flower Market
share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instead of the usual spiel, let me give you the real scoop on what I do and why it might just be what you're looking for in your wedding photographer.

My approach? It’s all about capturing the raw, unfiltered joy and those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments. I believe in photography that tells a story - your story - with all its unique quirks, laughter, and, of course, love.

I’m talking about the tearful smiles, the spontaneous dances, and the silent glances that speak volumes. My style is a blend of candid documentary and artistic flair, ensuring each photo feels as real and vibrant as the moment it captures. I don't just take pictures; you don't just want your picture taken, you want your memories preserved.

Welcome to the party! I’m Katherine Marchand.

meanwhile, on the dance floor...

© 2016-2024 Katherine Marchand  |  Back To Top