With a majority of their guests attending from out of town, Stephanie and Glen wanted to showcase the St. Petersburg area, but didn't want a beach wedding.
“We wanted the location to be accessible to all of the best Florida vacation spots for our families, and downtown St. Pete was the perfect place to host a wedding weekend,” the bride gushed. “The Sundial and local shops and restaurants provided entertainment, dining and shopping for everyone.”
To keep with the urban vibe, the couple searched for a downtown St. Pete wedding venue that was one-of-a-kind, but also elegant.
“We chose NOVA 535 because of how unique and beautiful the venue was. With the location in downtown St. Pete, it made for the perfect location and allowed me to schedule an entire wedding weekend for our friends and family around downtown St. Pete,” Stephanie gushed. ” NOVA 535 was an unique space, but still very classy and elegant. Once we saw the bamboo courtyard, we both knew we found our ceremony spot. My absolute favorite part was all of the theatrical stage elements the owner, Michael, included when he designed the venue. I have a stage management background and love theater. It felt like a professional performing venue.”
The pair found ways to incorporate the groom's Chinese heritage into their glam themed wedding.
“I wanted a wedding with glitter and sparkle. After touring our venue, I ended up with more of an Asian glam feel. I loved that the bamboo courtyard was so well complemented with Asian accents throughout the venue space. It was the perfect venue to blend both of our cultures together,” Stephanie shared. “Chinese weddings have a red silk fabric that is laid out on a table for everyone to sign; we chose to incorporate that tradition instead of a standard guestbook. We also found these lucky gold Buddha place card holders, and I used those to decorate the tables.”
The couple included a nod to their quirky wedding date, March 14, also known as “Pi Day.”
“We both love that Pi represents a perfect circle and is never ending. Subtly we tried to work in circles, like on the invitations and the cake table had actual pies. Glen had special Pi symbol cuff links that he got to wear,” the bride explained. “We are a light hearted couple that has saw a lot of adversity early on in our relationship so the wedding was meant to be fun and enjoyable. We didn’t want to stick to any rules that didn’t work for us.”
In 2013, we took a vacation to Los Angeles, California to visit Glen's family. His brother-in-law owns a jewelry store in L.A., and they invited us to try on rings. Glen was surprisingly very okay with this, so I was super excited to look at all the sparkly diamonds. While we were there, he had me try on a ring that his brother-in-law designed, and it was beautiful!
About three weeks after our trip, on a weeknight after work, Glen looked at me with this grin and said, “Okay, are you ready for this?!” We both sat down and he started talking about our relationship and everything we had overcame together. My stomach was in knots and I had the biggest smile on my face. He got down on one knee and pulled out that beautiful ring that his brother-in-law designed! We spent the entire night laughing and crying and cherishing the moment. It was perfectly intimate, and I was not expecting to come home to a proposal. Hearing him describe our relationship and how much he cared for me, I felt so blessed to have found this love.
What were the deciding factors for choosing your venue?
When we started touring venues we quickly learned what wasn’t our style. We weren’t beach people and didn’t love ballrooms. We chose NOVA 535 because of how unique and beautiful the venue was. Once we saw the bamboo courtyard at NOVA, we both knew we found our ceremony spot. The fact that it was a private space was probably the best part.
My absolute favorite was all of the theatrical stage elements the owner, Michael, included when he designed the venue. I have a stage management background and love theater. It felt like a professional performing venue. It was an unique space, but still very classy and elegant. I loved the exposed brick, high ceilings and how sleek and sexy the bar looked. My husband loved the staircase and the fact that we could make a grand entrance to the reception without being seen by the guests.
How would you describe your theme?
I wanted a glam style wedding with glitter and sparkle. After touring NOVA 535, I ended up with more of an Asian glam feel. I loved that their bamboo courtyard was so well complimented with Asian accents throughout the venue space. It was the perfect venue to blend both of our cultures together.
What were your colors?
Navy, gold and ivory. We picked navy since that is a color we both liked and felt it would look classic on our wedding party. In Asian culture gold is considered the best and often associated with weddings. In order to keep our colors feminine, I wanted to decorate with a glitter, sparkly gold with light ivory accents.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
It’s your wedding day so follow the traditions that you want and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. With both of us having such different cultural backgrounds, it wasn’t possible to include every wedding tradition or every Asian banquet ritual. We blended together what we could, and ultimately, it worked well for both sides of the family.
Plan a day that is unique to you and him. Pinterest and blogs are awesome and will help you find some great ideas and vendors, but use that as a guide and don’t feel you have to recreate something exactly as you saw it.