Veena + Ryan: LOVE STORY

I had recently moved to South Tampa in March 2012 for my new job.  In May, one of my best friends, Montana, was getting married and through all of her wedding festivities over the year, I became good friends with Lauren (Ryan's sister) who was also in Montana's wedding. 

Lauren and Montana had suggested setting me up with Ryan, but it wasn't until a year later that we actually went on our first date.  Ryan at the time was still living in Orlando, but he drove up to Tampa to take me out on our first date to Grille One Sixteen.  Four hours of conversations and bonding over donuts for dessert, we became inseparable.  After our first year of dating long distance, we decided to take a big step and move in together: Ryan became a South Tampa resident! 

Fast forward a year and a half after we moved in: December 2015..... This marks 2.5 years of love, adventure, two dogs, bike rides, vacations, travels, laughter, family and friends - we had built a wonderful life together.  We traveled up to Atlanta, GA to spend the holidays with my family.  My parents, my older brother, sister in law, my sister in law's parents and her sister all vacationed over the Christmas holidays at my big brother's house.

On Christmas Eve morning, my brother, stepmom and I decided to do some last minute shopping.  We left around 10am to grab a few outstanding Christmas gifts, when I got a phone call from Ryan asking me if I could be home around 3pm so he could give me one of my Christmas presents before Christmas Eve dinner.  I said no problem and continued my shopping daze.  About 15 minutes later, my brother got a call from his wife, and when he hung up he just mentioned to me that my sister in law needed us to be home around 3pm to help wrap some gifts.  Again, I responded with no problem, completely oblivious to what was about to happen. (I blame this on my complete immersion in shopping - my favorite hobby).

Once we got back to the house, Ryan immediately asked me to get back in the car because he wanted to go somewhere - just the two of us - to give me one of my Christmas gifts.  I started getting a bit skeptical but obliged.  My brother and sister in law just moved into a new home and neighborhood in Atlanta, so as we drove on the winding hills/roads to our unknown destination, I admired out the window the beautiful neighborhood and the winter season in Georgia that we unfortunately never see in Florida.  I was very distracted this Christmas Eve day which is very unlike me - I'm usually the one person that is difficult to surprise.

After 10 minutes in the car, I started to snap back to reality and started asking Ryan the typical questions, "Wait - where are we going?  Are we almost there?" Just as I asked him, we pulled into the Big Trees Forest Preserve.  Ryan and I often love biking on trails, taking our dogs to the park, and every year with our family always do a family trail hike over the holidays.  As we got out of the car I thought to myself, "Ok - something is up."  I was 98% certain I knew he was going to propose.  As I got out of the car, Ryan grabbed my hand and we walked into the preserve.  I saw a large gift bag and immediately thought - oh forget it, he's not proposing.  We walked into the preserve to a bench that overlooked the cliff, and Ryan gave me my gift.  I turned and opened the bag and pulled out 2 champagne glasses and a bottle of champagne, when I turned back around to Ryan getting down on one knee.

I flipped out!  All I could hear outside of my internal freak out was, "I love you - will you marry me?"  And we both started crying as I said yes.  He slid the most beautiful engagement ring on finger and the rest is history. 

I immediately called Ryan's parents to tell them good news; FaceTimed my best friend, Christian, as well as Ryan's sister and brother in law.  To my surprise - the biggest surprise of all - our families all knew!!!  Ryan had spent the night before going through his plans with my family after I went to sleep, and picked out my ring with his mom and sister a few months before he proposed.  When we walked back into the house, my entire family was there - cameras up, snapping photos, and popping a bottle of champagne!  It was the most special and unforgettable day of my life!!

We celebrated our engagement at an amazing Italian restaurant up the road from my brother's house, and haven't stopped smiling since.

Photos by Life Long Studios and courtesy of Veena. 

Betty + Kai's Rustic Powel Crosley Wedding: PART ONE

When I left my first meeting with Betty and Kai, my cheeks were on fire from laughing so much!  Not only did I love Betty's sassiness, I loved how Kai completely understood her and was there with us through the whole wedding planning process.  This beautiful lavender french country inspired wedding started off steamy hot but by the end of the night (and a little trivia), everyone was on the dance floor and didn't seem to mind the 90 degree temperatures.  An abundance of candles, organic foliage, lavender and a touch of blush fit perfectly in the chosen venue.   Don't take my word for it, take a look at the amazing photos by Cat Pennenga accompanied by Betty's advice to other brides... 

 

Why did you choose that location for your wedding?

We chose the Powel Crosley Estate because wanted a venue that had a Mediterranean look. We also wanted a venue that was more private and we wanted a venue that was located not too far away from our family that still live in Florida.

Wedding Day Weather?

For months prior to the wedding I kept saying I don’t care how hot it is on the day of our wedding as long as it doesn’t rain during the wedding (since our wedding was mostly outdoors).  Well, on the day of our wedding I got my wish.  It didn’t rain, but it was so hot that day everyone was melting.

Number of guests that attended?

We had somewhere around 90-100 guests at our wedding.

What was your theme for your wedding?

Our theme was a Rustic French Lavender theme. We wanted to feel like we were in Provence, France. We had lots of lavender and olive branches.

Where did you find your inspiration?

I’m a fan of lavender, olive branches and farm tables and the color purple. So I would spend hours on google typing in stuff like “lavender themed wedding” or “ Provence lavender wedding theme” trying to get some ideas or spend tons of time on Pinterest pinning stuff that I liked.

Biggest Splurge?

I guess I would have to say that our biggest splurge was the wedding venue. The Powel Crosley was the type of venue that we were looking for and we fell in love with it as soon as we saw it.

Biggest Savings?

One of the biggest savings were our invitations. I really wanted invitations that were letterpress, but those are usually pretty pricey. We also wanted a custom map of the area for our guests. We got a Black Friday deal from A&P Design Co for 20% off our entire invitation order so we were able to get letterpress invitations and a custom map for our guests with the discount.

How did you choose to personalize your wedding?

We go to trivia every week with our friends and we’ve gotten to know Monica Van Liew (the woman that hosts trivia) pretty well, so we asked her to be the DJ at our wedding. We also thought it would be a fun idea if she asked some trivia questions during dinner so we made up some trivia questions about us for her to ask our guests.

What was your favorite part of the reception?

Getting to hang out with everyone that we care about and love in one place at the same time was pretty great.

What are three things you’re super glad you did?

We are so glad that we hired the vendors that we hired. We had an amazing wedding planner Amy Kladis from Glitz Events. We are so happy that we chose Cat Pennenga as our photographer, she takes such great pictures and she is super sweet and fun, but also very professional at her job. And lastly, the caterers at Olympia Catering did such an outstanding job with the food. It tasted just as amazing as the day we did the tasting with them. We had so many friends and family members tell us afterwards how much they loved the food at our wedding. Without any them our day wouldn’t have been as memorable as it was.

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Finding a good caterer that wasn’t extremely expensive, but still had really good food within our budget. After we hired our wedding planner Amy, we told her about our challenge with finding a good caterer that would fit our budget. She recommended Olympia Catering because she had used them at her wedding and loved them. We are so glad she recommended them because they were perfect for us.

What is your best piece of advice to other brides?

Wedding planning can be pretty overwhelming at times, but it’s also pretty fun. Plan your wedding the way you and your future husband want it, don’t worry about what everyone else tells you, you should do. And when the big day comes, just enjoy it because before you know it, it’s over in a blink of an eye.

Stay tuned for part two of this beauty.....

Caitlin + Vince: LOVE STORY

Caitlin & Vince first met through a mutual friend, Todd, in college.  Todd and Vince were in engineering classes together and Todd's mission for the year was to show that engineers can be social!  He invited Vince over for a party in the dorms.  Caitlin was also invited, but did not know it was for a party...she came over dressed in sweatpants thinking everyone was just hanging out.  Despite that, Vince and Caitlin struck up conversation and learned that they were not only from the same hometown of Clearwater, but grew up less than 5 miles away from each other, were both in the catholic school system, both involved in high school theater and frequented many of the same places in town.  A few texts and hang outs later, they were officially dating.  

Five years later, Vince was ready to propose.  Caitlin and Vince have been traveling the world one country at a time, and it had become a huge part of the relationship.  As they started to plan their  trip to Peru, he knew that it would be the perfect time to pop the question. Leading up to the trip, Vince was very nervous but he knew this would be the proposal that Caitlin had always wanted.

The trip began in Cusco, Peru, where they were getting ready for a four day Inca Trail hike.  With the ring box in his pocket (checking every two seconds), and not knowing when the perfect time would be, he eagerly and nervously waited until the second day of the trek. Proving to be the hardest day, they came to a rest stop that was too picturesque to pass up!  As the group took a break, Vince told Nicole (the maid of honor) "Get ready because this is where it is happening."  As everyone began to take pictures, he turned to Caitlin, got down on one knee and asked "Will you marry me?" Caitlin said "Of course I will."  Now they are ready to take on the adventure of becoming travel buddies for life!

Photo credits to Ashlee Nicole Photography

See More Green in 2017

It's that time of year again!!  The release of Pantone's color of the year.  This year I'm uber excited because it just so happens to be a shade of my favorite color.....GREEN!!!!!

Introducing GREENERY....the color of 2017!

"Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment.  Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose"

- Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

It reminds me of life, trees, plants, veges, avocados (also one of my favs), grass, nature and olives (another one of my favs....especially in a martini).  This color also goes along with the continuing trend of more foliage and less florals within wedding decor for 2017.  As for color schemes, greenery is one of the ultimate neutral colors that you can pair with just about anything.... deep shades, pastels, bright colors, or even other neutrals.    

 

GREENERY WITH DEEP SHADES

 

GREENERY WITH PASTELS

 

GREENERY WITH BRIGHT COLORS

 

GREENERY WITH NEUTRALS

 

Whatever color(s) you decide to pair it with, you'll be sure to make a statement!  Cheers to more green in 2017!

 

 

Meredith + Ben: LOVE STORY

It was Memorial Day Weekend 2013. Ben had recently moved to Tampa to pursue a master's degree at USF while Meredith had moved back to the area after college.  The holiday weekend events landed Ben and Meredith at the same bar in a popular area of Tampa called SoHo.

The first official date took place a few days later over lunch at The Pub.  Ben thought things were going so well that he decided to invite Meredith to go see the new Star Trek movie after.  Meredith wasn't sure about Ben (he was a little too shy for her!) but agreed to join him for the movie.  Ben likes to say he "won Meredith over" that night while Meredith calls the date mediocre.  In fact, she wasn't sure she wanted to go on another date.  Luckily, she eventually agreed to a second (and third!) date and the rest is history!

Their relationship continued as Ben moved to Bradenton to begin medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine one year later.  Now, after two years apart and countless drives across the Skyway Bridge, they both live in St. Petersburg, where Ben is a Third Year Medical Student and Meredith works in advertising.

Proposal Story (from Ben's perspective):

I knew very early that Meredith was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  I started doing investigational research on a ring in the summer of 2015.  I had never experienced heart palpitations until I walked into the first jewelry store.  Soon thereafter, I custom-designed the the perfect ring for her.  After getting her parents' approval over the most nerve-wracking FaceTime call of my life, I moved forward with the jeweler.

I picked Eddie V's in Tampa as the location of our engagement that November, a few weeks before Meredith, her family, and I traveled to Green Bay for Thanksgiving.  A friend of mine hooked me up with the perfect set-up and offered to videotape the proposal.  Once I saw him walk out of the hallway with my phone recording, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.  After dinner, we spent the evening with friends and Meredith's family at Jackson's in Tampa.  The celebrations continued the next week in Green Bay.  That Thanksgiving at home with my fiance and both our families is something I will cherish forever.

Proposal Story (from Meredith's perspective):

As you can tell from our "Love Story," Ben was head-over-heels from the first date, so it should come as no surprised that Ben began talking marriage less than six months into our relationship. I quickly laid down the law and said we needed to be together for a least a year before I would seriously consider an engagement, which led to our first fight.  You see, Ben was CONVINCED he couldn't wait that long.  Looking back from this end of things, I find his persistence to be sweet. 

During the summer of 2015, Ben asked me to go ring shopping with him.  While I was now on-board with the engagement, I did not want to go to the jeweler with Ben because I wanted things to be a surprise.  This was all out of my type-A nature, which really threw Ben off.  After continued pleading for assistance, I gave Ben some inspiration photos that gave him very little room error ;).  From there, I was cut out of the process completely (as I wanted to be!).  Knowing an engagement was coming eventually, I found myself looking for the moment.  After the Reimers invited my entire family up to Green Bay for Thanksgiving, I fully convinced myself that it was going to happen during that trip.  To add to it, Ben planned for a tour of Lambeau Field on our first day in town, which struck me as "the moment" since I knew if the tables were turned, that would be Ben's "Dream Proposal."  Because I was so preoccupied with our Thanksgiving proposal, I didn't realize what was to happen the night of November 14th. 

Looking back, everything should have been more obvious.  Ben had planned for a nice dinner at Eddie V's and told me I should dress up.  Wanting to get dressed up and go to a nice steak dinner was not out of character for Ben, and after a tough fall semester in school, it seemed like a nice date night idea.  I did find the flowers at our table to be a bit fishy, but quickly put any thoughts out of my mind because I "knew" our engagement was happening a week later.  In the middle of deciding which wine we should order, I noticed a bright light out of the corner of my eye and one of our friends (who works for the restaurant) was clearly filming something.  All of the sudden, Ben gets out of the booth and say, "I have something to ask you."  And I totally blacked out from there.  I just started bawling hysterically and remember absolutely nothing.  Next thing I knew, there was a beautiful ring on my hand and the entire place was cheering.  In fact, the moment went by so quickly that I was certain Ben didn't get down on one knee...but we have video evidence to show that he did.  Ben did a phenomenal job with everything and the amount of thought and care he put into showing his love for me only makes me even more excited for our marriage. 

Jen + Jeff: LOVE STORY

I met one of Jeff's best friends (let's call him R) when I was working at a Greek restaurant in Orlando.  He and his family came for dinner and we immediately hit it off.  By the end of the meal, they had convinced me to go on a blind date with R's best friend and assured me we would be perfect together.  Even though about an hour before, they were all complete strangers to me, they were the type of people that make you feel like you've known them your entire life with one conversation.  R moved to Hawaii the next week, and I left for a trip to see my family in the Virgin Islands the next day.

When I got back, I went on my first blind date.  I had him pick me up at my house so that my sister (we'll call her "A") could meet him and identify him in a line up if he turned out to be a murderer.  As I am sure you are in great suspense, I will get to the point and tell you he did not end up being a murderer. Unfortunately, he did not turn out to be the perfect guy for me either…well not so unfortunately, actually, because while we were hanging out, I met his other best friend, Jeff.

The first time I met Jeff I thought he was a complete jerk!  Which I am sure he was because I have perfect judgement :-) …a week or so later, I was still talking to my blind date when we all went to a UCF football tailgate together.  We all had a great time, and when my blind date left, Jeff stayed and entertained me and all my friends, and I realized how funny and nice he actually was.  Later that night, my sister and my roommate kept commenting that they thought I liked Jeff and I told them they were crazy, but admitted he wasn't the jerk I originally thought he was.

A few days later, my blind date and I went out with friends again; Jeff drove.  At the end of the night we went to get tacos and being the foodie that I am, I ate way too much for the belt I was wearing, and I took it off in Jeff's car, while he drove us all home.  After that night, things with me and my blind date fizzled off.

A few weeks later, I decided I really missed that belt, so I asked Jeff if I could come by and pick it up.  We ended up spending the next few hours hanging out watching Top Gear and playing race car video games (I won).  We could not stop laughing the entire time and I decided this guy needed to become my new best friend.  He said we couldn't be friends because it would be weird since I dated his friend and I said you could hardly say we dated and that he and I would definitely be friends.

I was at a concert a few days later when I got a text from Jeff that he was downtown if I wanted to come hang out.  Obviously he could not resist having the world's most awesome friend despite his prior conviction.  After we left the concert, I ran home, freshened up, called my friend and told her we were going out. My sister and roommate kept asking me if I liked Jeff and I promised I did not; I just thought he was really funny and wanted to be friends.  They didn't believe me, which was really annoying because I totally did not like this guy!  We went out and both brought a friend.  Jeff tried to set me up with the friend that he brought, but he wasn't my type.  Later that night, Jeff told us that the next day was his birthday, so we stayed out until after midnight so that we could bring in his birthday.  By the end of the night, he had me in the Dirty Dancing Lift in the middle of downtown Orlando.  But I still definitely did not like him; we were just friends!

The next night we went out again for his birthday.  The friend Jeff brought the night before hit it off with another friend of mine.  The two of them were swooning over each other and singing to each other while Jeff and I amused ourselves with ice fights and jokes.  I remember the first compliment I ever gave Jeff was, "You're so normal".  He may not have taken it as a compliment, but after two years of living the single life and seeing who is out there to date, being normal was the greatest compliment I could have given.  We all went back to Jeff's friend's house and spent the rest of the night talking and laughing, and I finally realized what everyone else already knew....that I had feelings for this guy.  Our sense of humor was so similar.  The way we made each other laugh was honestly what made me fall in love with him and what makes me fall in love with him over and over again.  Now the random guy I served at my restaurant will be ordaining our wedding, my blind date is still one of our closest friends, and even though I promised my sister and roommate I did not like Jeff, TECHNICALLY, I didn't say I wouldn't love him, or date him, or marry him, so… :-)

This brings me to the next story.....Jeff told me that he had made plans for us on Saturday, but wouldn't tell me what they were.  He is more the planner in our relationship, so that wasn't something that set off any flags for me.  Of course in hindsight there are plenty of things that should have tipped me off, like the fact that after I got dressed on Saturday, Jeff said he thought I should change into a new shirt I had just bought or like how a week before he said I should tan haha...all very weird suggestions for him but very sweet once I realized he knew I would have to look at these pictures for the rest of my life :-)...  We went down to St. Pete and had lunch at one of our favorite spots to waste some time because whatever we were doing didn't start until 3pm.  Jeff went to the bathroom like 3 times during lunch, which I thought was excessive, but didn't think too much about it.  Plus, when he sat down he kept bouncing his leg like some people do when they sit, but he doesn't do that so I remember making a comment about it to him like why are you so bouncy today!

We finished lunch and headed down to the Museum of Fine Arts.  Once we were there, he took me straight to the gift shop because he had to go to the bathroom again!  (Luckily later I found out he was making phone calls to make sure everything was set up and didn't have any medical conditions we needed to worry about.)  I was excited to see the Museum because I love art and I had never been to this one, so when Jeff got back and we started walking around I couldn't wait to see everything.  I was taking my time looking at every piece of art for a few minutes before Jeff couldn't take the wait anymore.  He took my hand and said he had something to show me which was weird because I didn't think he had ever been before either.  Once we got into the next room I stopped to look at the art in there, but he kept pulling me passed every piece before I could look at any of it!  Finally, we get out to the garden area and I guess one thing you should know about me is that I have tunnel vision.  I never notice my surroundings.  We could walk by someone with 3 heads, and Jeff will say “Oh my gosh did you see that person with all those heads?!”, and I will have no idea anyone even walked by.  So that said, a normal person would probably have noticed the video camera that was set up out there or that there was a huge banner over my head that said “Jennifer will you marry me”, but I am not that normal person so I just kept walking.

Being used to my oblivion, Jeff stopped us, set down his handful of brochures, and took my hands.  At that point I finally realized what was happening and I pretty much blacked out after that.  He said something sweet that I can’t remember and pointed up to the banner.  I remember my hands were pretty much glued to my cheeks after that and he had to pull them down to get the ring on.  He cried (just a few manly style tears) which was so sweet and my favorite part, but my eyes were so wide with surprise that they had completely dried out and I was a terrible fiancé and couldn’t even get one tear out.  I said yes and heard the paparazzi in the bushes start to take pictures of us, but it turned out that his cousin was hiding in one of them with her camera and also that we aren’t famous.  Then, his parents came out from some other bushes and that was exciting, but they live right near us so not too surprising, but then MY parents came out of some more bushes (this was a very bushy garden) which was very surprising since they live a few hours away, and everyone was crying (except me, as we discussed I was terrible) and it was so magical!  And then even more magical, there was a festival across the street and for some reason right then, they started blaring “When a Man Loves a Woman” so we danced in the garden and it was just perfect.  Then I tried to call all my sisters and brother to tell them the good news and none of them answered because they, like me, are also terrible.  But apparently they all already knew, as another very sweet part of my engagement is that not only did Jeff call my parents to get their blessing on the proposal, but he called each of my siblings to get theirs as well, which is no easy thing considering I have 5 sisters and a brother.  Anyways, we just spent the rest of the day walking around downtown St.Pete, not doing much of anything, but it was everything to me, and I’ll never forget it.

Photos by Curtiss Bryant Photography ......except for the engagement photo....that was by the cousin in the bush :)

Vendor Spotlight: CUSTOM LINENS

What is the name of your business?

Custom Linens

 Tell us about the company and how it became.

Our company was started when we (my wife and I) were in the planning process of our wedding.  We searched for linen companies locally and out of state and were not completely satisfied with what was out there.  With my background in sales and customer service and my wife being a seamstress, we did our research and founded Custom Linens. 

How would you describe your product/service design style?

Our products/ design style is based on the clients needs and interests along with our personal touch. We offer a wide variety of fabrics and colors, and keep our linen selection up to date with the trends.  We also offer custom pieces for that hard to find linen.

How is your personality showcased in your company?

Our personality is laid back, relaxed, but passionate about what we do and excited for every event.

Tell us about your first order.

Our first order came through advertising on craigslist.  It was the easiest and quickest way to get our product out there.  The couple had a destination wedding and booked our services after meeting with them the first time.  They loved that we were a recently married husband and wife team and were easy to get along with.  

What makes your product/service different than your competitors?

The biggest difference with us versus our competitors is that we strive to be a part of every detail of the clients event.  I meet with them, make sure everything is what they're looking for, and if they choose setup, at least one of us (owners) is at their setup.  We are all hands on and like to the customer service experience stand out!

Any upcoming excitement for your company?

Our upcoming excitement will be continuing to add new products to our inventory and eventually adding more staff!

What is your favorite part of the wedding planning process?

Favorite part of the planning process is executing the event and seeing the room come together.

What are some trends that you are seeing this year?

Trends this year so far have been the use of silver, shades of purple, shades of green, and prints.

What is one tip to stay on budget?

Tip for staying on budget would be presenting everything you want regardless of price and then formulating what will work for your specific budget.  A lot of times a runner in a specialty linen is a good way to add something to the guest tables without spending too much.

What is one overall piece of advice you would give to brides?

Piece of advice would be not purchasing linens online with the hopes of reselling them after the wedding.  The table/chair size may be different than what you thought and won't fit or will be too short.  The linens may need laundered and will most likely always need pressed.  You will almost always NOT get what you want in price for the linens afterwards.

Where can we find your business?

You can find us on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and online at www.customlinenrentals.com

Caitlin + Joe: LOVE STORY

Our story begins about 5 years ago when Joe had recently moved to sunny Florida and I had just moved home from Morgantown, WV.  I went to our mutual friend's house, Scott and Brittany, and all I heard about that evening over dinner was how perfect some guy named Joe would be for me to date!  I thought Brittany was crazy for thinking dating someone who lived in Florida was a good idea, but she was adamant that this was the best idea she had ever had.  I remember she showed me a picture on their fridge of her and Joe and all I could think was how TALL and handsome he was... my interest was sparked, but reality told me it would never happen from over 800 miles away! (Little did I know Brittany was so confident in her match making skills, that she was telling Joe about me during this time as well!)  Life went on and the one week Joe was in town I was in Massachusetts visiting my grandmother and extended family... it just wasn't meant for us to meet yet!

Fast forward to a wedding in Peaks Island, Maine in the early summer of 2013.... There was one bed and breakfast on the island that we were all staying at, and I was lucky enough to share a room with the match making power couple! I finally met Joe and he was even taller in person and of course very sweet!  The wedding went off without a hitch (lobster everywhere!) and I found myself at the Peaks Island American Legion after the wedding (it's their only bar.. small island).  I was sitting at the bar waiting for a drink when Joe started chatting with me while he ordered.  The details are a tad blurry of our conversation since it had been a long day of dancing (and drinking), but I remember leaving our conversation thinking, "Brittany was right, he's so great, what a catch!"  We all said our goodbyes from the island's ferry the next morning and again went on with life...

Another year passed and Joe and I hadn't seen or spoken to each other since.  I was talking to Brittany (do you notice a pattern here? She really did know before we did!) and I asked how Joe was doing... she responded with, "OMG! He just asked Scott about you!" and there it was, the seed had been planted!  I made the first move and just sent a message to Joe to say hi.  My message turned into texting, which turned into hours long phone calls, which turned into me flying to Florida to see if there was more there than just the voice on the phone.  My first weekend in Tampa, Joe took me to Disney World and I just knew he was the one.  I remember we were sitting on the fountain in Morocco at Epcot and we threw a penny in the fountain to make a wish.... let's just say, my wish certainly did come true!  Every two weeks after our Disney adventure one of us was flying to see the other and we have been by each other's sides every since...

Earthy Industrial Boho Wedding

Last Summer, we were lucky enough to team up with an amazing group of vendors for a styled shoot.  In the mix of the boho craze, we decided to jump right in and create a wedding inspired strictly by none other than the beautiful Mother Nature!  Every detail, from the wooden dishes, to the air plants, to the healing stone favors, was created by Mother Nature herself.  Take a look for yourself!

 

Earlier this year, this organic shoot was picked up by Ruffled Blog.  Click here to see more photos from the shoot.

 

Our ROCKIN' vendor team....pun intended :)

Planning + Design:  Glitz Events

Venue: Rialto Theatre

Photographer:  Monika Gauthier Photography & Design

Second Photographer:  Renee Nicole Design & Photography

Floral Design:  Florist Fire

Bridal Boutique:  Isabel O'Neil

Cake:  A Piece of Cake

Rentals + Styling:  Tufted Vintage Rentals

Hair Accessories:  Be Free Hair Apparel

Stationery:  Citrus Press Co.

Jewelry:  Seaweed Souls

Terrariums:  Bottled Blooms

Hair + Makeup:  May Rodriguez Makeup

 

Wedding Week 2016

Marry Me Tampa Bay is hosting their very first Wedding Week here in the Tampa Bay area!  What is Wedding Week?  It's a week long wedding planning experience that consists of six unique events featuring some of the area’s respected wedding vendors.  One of those vendors being….yours truly!  We are extremely honored to be a part of two of the six events that week.  We will be doing our oh so popular Sweat & Sparkle and the Wedding Professional Panel.  There is also a venue crawl, registry event, fashion show, and workshop!

 

Here’s what you need to know…

 

WHEN?

February 15th- 21st, 2016

WHO?  

Brides, grooms, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, bridesmaids...practically anyone involved in a wedding!

WHERE? 

Various places throughout Tampa and St. Pete

HOW MUCH? 

Each event costs anywhere from $10 to $25 if you register during early registration (ends January 31st).  Prices go up in February.....OR.....to get the most bang for your buck, you can purchase and all access pass for $65.

CAN I PAY AT THE DOOR?  

Spots are limited so advance ticket purchasing is highly recommended.

 

For more information on event details, vendors, and registry     

http://marrymetampabay.com/weddingweek/

We hope to see you there!

 

Janet + Mason's Wedding in the Woods: PART ONE

For those who personally know me, know that one of my favorite parts of a wedding is the decor.  So when Janet first told me about her vision, I was ecstatic...Bring on the chandeliers, crystals, and glitter!  Combine this with the beautiful, natural scenery of the woods and it is a recipe for GORGEOUSNESS!  The wedding began with a surprise from the bride to the groom that gave me goosebumps...Janet sang to Mason as she walked down a natural aisle of pine trees to meet her handsome groom.  These two souls became one under a grand oak tree with crystals hanging everywhere.  Complete with a unity cross, guests singing Amazing Grace in chorus, a group selfie, and a prayer circle, this wedding was compacted with personal and "intimate" touches....as intimate as you can get with over 250 guests :)  Take a look at Janet's advice for other brides and the breathtaking images taken by Blue Lane Studios...

Why did you choose that location for your wedding?

I always wanted to get married in the woods.  Our amazing friend, Pastor Jake English, had the most beautiful piece of property and it was perfect!

Number of guests that attended?

Around 270

What was your theme/color scheme for your wedding?

Rustic Glam…blush & gold

Where did you find your inspiration?

Of course Pinterest was a big contender.  I mostly saw things that would inspire me to make a plan with the vendor to come up with a unique design or arrangement.

Biggest Splurge?

Let’s see…. I would say the décor… I had a pretty specific vision for the ceremony and it was perfect!

Biggest Savings?

Biggest savings was having my wonderful Wedding Planner Amy there to tell me what I really did or did not need!

How did you choose to personalize your wedding?

I wanted to have a unique wedding.  From the bridesmaid dresses, to the groomsmen's boutonnieres, to the crystal hanging from the tree…those were all part of my vision.  I think the most personal thing we had was writing our own vows, having our bridal party and their significant others sit with us, and using a gorgeous unity cross to signify joining together in marriage with God as our forefront.

What was your favorite part of the reception?

The décor!  Oh my goodness, it was gorgeous!  We had our initials hanging in moss with four beautiful chandeliers lighting up the feasting table.  

What are three things you’re super glad you did?

1 - I am extremely glad I had my bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done with me.  That way I did not have to worry about a thing.  Everyone was ready on time thanks to Amy and the amazing team at Creative Collections.  2 - I am super happy I hired Amy Kladis! Oh my gosh I cannot imagine trying to figure out how many rectangle/circle tables we need... how many plates…the logistics of the whole entire day... talking to every single vendor about every single thing.  Making sure the boys were in line (now that is a job in of itself).  Most of all she made my vision come true and more!  3 - I am super ecstatic I finally got to marry the man of my dreams, Mason Cain!

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Honestly, I can’t remember there being any big challenges….The challenge of walking in heels in the woods was overcome with those neat little “high heelers”!

How did you find and choose your vendors?

With the help of Amy, my Wedding Planner, and the recommendations from Blue Lane Studios, our awesome photographer company!

What is your best piece of advice to other brides?

Hire a wedding planner!  Just do it!  You save money, you save your sanity, and you save everyone else a lot of hassle.  Really take time to think about where you want to take pictures and the groupings of people.  I wish I spent more time on this part.  Do a first look!  It is still just as magical and nerve racking walking down the aisle after a first look.   I would also take it all in, walk around and look at the ceremony space and reception space and admire all the beauty...I wish I did that.

We leave you with this beauty... stay tuned for part two... coming soon!

View Part TWO and THREE of Janet & Mason's wedding here!

Betty + Kai: LOVE STORY

While Kai was attending college in Orlando, Betty was living in Sanford with her roommate Jason who was good friends with Kai’s friend, Neal.  At the same time, Betty was dating a guy who was good friends with the girl that Kai was dating….But Betty and Kai still hadn’t met each other….not for two whole years!  They were finally introduced by their mutual friends while hanging out in Winter Park.  Although Betty moved across the country, they kept in touch over the years.

At the end of Kai’s senior year at the University of Florida, Betty decided to move back and drove from Nevada all the way to South Florida.  She stopped by Kai’s apartment on the way to rest.  Being the gentleman that he is, Kai offered to sleep on the couch so Betty could have a good night’s rest in a bed after her long drive.  Two weeks later, Betty came back to Gainesville for a visit and they finally went on their first date.  Since then, they have spent 8 years together and were ready for the next step of their journey….the proposal!

Kai and Betty both enjoy travelling and have been to a lot of places together, so Kai knew that his proposal had to be special and must involve travel.  It was also very important to him that some of Betty’s family be nearby so that she would have people to be excited with too.  Since Betty always loved Seattle, they planned a trip to visit her brother Skot and his family.  Little did Betty know that Kai had some different plans for this particular trip.  After spending time with family and friends for a few days, they rented a car and took a road trip to a German-style mountain-town called Leavenworth.  On their first night there, they went for a walk through a valley where there was a path down by a stream.  As they passed over a bridge, Betty stopped to look at the sunset.  This was perfect timing! Kai got down on one knee and waited for her to turn around.  It took a couple of minutes, but Kai was very patient.  Betty finally turned around and was so surprised! After she said yes, they hugged each other but the moment was quickly interrupted. Betty saw a raccoon on the other side of the river and yelled, “Look, a raccoon!”  Even though the raccoon kind of stole his thunder, Kai was ok with it.  Both are looking forward to their wedding and so are we!

Photo credits to Cat Pennenga Photography

Relaxing with Rose Quartz & Serenity

With the year coming to an end, we are all looking forward to the spending time with our families to celebrate the holidays.   BUT there’s one more thing that every creative is also looking forward to….Pantone’s Color of the Year release.   If you don’t know this already, Pantone’s color release basically sets the tone (pun intended) for the upcoming wedding color schemes in 2016.  Be prepared to see these colors EVERYWHERE!

For the first time, Pantone has release a blending of two shades.  Introducing Rose Quartz and Serenity!  These colors are just so pretty and soft. 

Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.
— Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

 

ROSE QUARTZ

 

SERENITY 

 

Not only are they beautiful solo, they are gorg together as well.

 

You can also mix these soft tones with deep rich tones, other pastels, or even metallics.  Whatever you desire, you'll be sure to exude relaxing and soothing vibes to your guests with these fab colors.  Cheers to 2016!