Real Wedding Spotlight: Azalea Lodge at Mead Gardens, Winter Park, FL 

There’s a certain magic to a small wedding. The atmosphere becomes more intimate and every detail feels thoughtfully designed for the closest family and friends. If you’re dreaming of a wedding venue that prioritizes quality over quantity, consider the enchanting setting of Mead Botanical Garden. Nestled in Winter Park, Florida, Mead Gardens offers a variety of pretty locations perfect for an intimate ceremony or a bigger bash if you need it.

Our couple, Darlene and Jake wanted to create a cozy, family-oriented vibe for their wedding. Their goal was for everyone to feel comfortable and at home. Darlene said, “It was a non-traditional event, reflecting our unique way of thinking, which both of our families didn’t fully understand initially. We wanted to use this occasion to share our perspective with them while ensuring everyone had a wonderful time. With just family, we had about 50 people, which felt like a perfect, intimate size for us.”

Jake is from New Jersey and Darlene is from Illinois. Like most modern day couples, they met online. “We were both on tinder, Jake saw me on there but I never used the app so he added me on Snap Chat and one day I messaged the wrong Jake, who turned out to be the right Jake every day since.”

detail images of wedding shoes, vow books and rings



groom putting on his jacket

bride looking into her grooms eyes

A Ceremony Surrounded by Nature

Imagine exchanging vows under the dappled sunlight filtering through a canopy of ancient oaks. Mead Gardens provides a picturesque backdrop, where you can tie the knot surrounded by beautiful oak trees. Darlene and Jake made the ceremony all their own with a custom archway draped in red and navy fabric combined with beautiful flowers arranged by one of our favorite vendors, Flowers by Lesley. They even made their own custom designed programs featuring their engagement photos we took for them at Leu Gardens. We were so excited to see what they created using their engagement session images.

Darlene and Jake said they chose Mead Gardens because they wanted a non-religious venue that offered both outdoor and indoor spaces, providing flexibility in how they used the area. It allowed them to host both the ceremony and reception in one location.

custom designed wedding program

ceremony location with bride and groom at mead gardens

couple getting married

The Azalea Lodge: A Charming Reception Space

Since everything is in one place, the Azalea Lodge offers a delightful space to host your reception. This rustic-chic venue, with its new hardwood floors and soaring ceilings and white walls, can comfortably accommodate up to 175 guests.

The team at Dubsdread will help guide you through the planning process by arranging catering as well as the venue rental. Their staff are so friendly and they won’t have any shortage of suggestions if you need more help. Trust us, we’ve been to a lot of weddings and their mash potato bar is magical, or you could even say, “mash-tactic”.

Darlene added, “Dubsdread Catering was very accommodating and open to our vision for a non-traditional wedding, making it the perfect choice for us.”

You can even take your guests outside to their patio where you can make s’mores by the fire pit. Another one of our favorite things. Interactive desserts!

It’s All in the Details

The beauty of any wedding lies in its personalization. The venue has thoughtfully been re-designed over the last couple of years to be a beautiful place for any ideas you might have. Decorate the Azalea Lodge with market lights (oooo we love market lights) and floral arrangements that reflect your unique style. You can even take from the garden’s natural ascetic and bring some greenery to your centerpieces.

Our couple decorated the tables with flowers and table cards featuring pictures of them as they grew up throughout the years, so cute and always a nice touch. They also had custom designed favors along with some light-up glow-sticks for the party with their names and wedding date on them. Remember, when you go small on your guest count, you can splash out on custom designed elements because you’re not spending so much per guest.

table decor

envelope box at wedding reception

wedding favors

Our Favorite Things

The lush gardens offer so many backdrops for capturing those unique wedding photos. From the vibrant Butterfly Garden to the serene Legacy Garden, there are so many great options. It’s not our first time, so we can guide you to all of the perfect spots. When the sun starts to dip down low, the sky lights up in a bunch of amazing colors and we love taking the couple out for some great sunset and nighttime shots.

We always love hearing our couple’s favorite part of their big day, they said, “For both of us, our favorite part was the first look. After not seeing each other, the moment we were alone together was truly special. It took place in a quiet, intimate location, making it an incredibly meaningful and unforgettable experience.”

wedding couple on bridge

sunset portrait of a bride and groom

Client love

It’s always nice to hear that we helped make our couple’s wedding day awesome. Darlene and Jake left us the best 5 star review on google –

“Choosing Live Happy Studio as our wedding photographers was one of the best decisions we made for our big day. Kellie was an absolute gem at our engagement shoot, bringing positive energy, creativity, and making us feel completely at ease. Her ability to capture every heartfelt moment translated into a collection of stunning photos that beautifully narrated our journey.

On our wedding day, both Kellie and Lindsay were the epitome of professionalism and kindness. They worked seamlessly together, capturing every special moment with a keen eye for detail and emotion. Their friendly and approachable nature made everyone feel comfortable, allowing all the joy and love to shine through in the photos.

We were incredibly impressed with the vast array of beautiful images they took and how swiftly we received them for both engagement and wedding day, so much so that we’re having trouble trimming them down to fit in our photo album! It’s a wonderful problem to have, and it’s all thanks to the incredible talent and dedication of Live Happy Studio. We are truly grateful to have had Kellie and Lindsay as part of our wedding day, and we highly recommend Live Happy Studio to any couple looking for photographers who can capture the essence of their special day in the most beautiful and authentic way.”

Vendors for Darlene and Jake’s Wedding:

Photographer: Live Happy Studio
Venue: Azalea Lodge at Mead Gardens
Catering: Dubsdread Catering
Flowers: Flowers by Lesley
Cake: Naked Cupcake
Officiant: The Ginger Officiant


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