Blue and White Downtown Tampa Waterfront Destination Wedding


Melissa and Eliot met while they were residents at a hospital in Orlando, but there was no Grey’s Anatomy drama involved.

Two and half years later, while visiting Eliot in Hawaii, Melissa got the shock of her lifetime.

“We decided to walk along the beach to catch the sunset,” Melissa reminisced. “Eliot was snapping pictures of me the whole time. I finally told him to have a stranger take a few shots of us together. While I was occupied with the stranger, Eliot got down on bended knee and asked ‘Will you marry me?’ To which I said ‘Crap! What are you doing? Are you crazy? Oh my gosh! What are you doing?’ At that point Eliot asked ‘So is that a yes?’ and I  shouted ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!'”

Blue and White Downtown Tampa Waterfront Destination Wedding – Yacht StarShip

Although the bride is from New York City and the groom is from Key West, the couple decided to tie the knot with a destination wedding in Tampa, FL.

“We’re both big water people and really liked the clean colors of blues and whites and our favorite times have been sunset,” Melissa explained. “We wanted things kept very simple and let the venue (the ocean at sunset) take care of most of our decorating needs.”

While most brides like having the waterfront as part of their wedding ceremony background, Melissa chose to have a true Florida wedding and said her “I Do’s” aboard the Yacht StarShip.

“The biggest factor was the uniqueness of actually sailing out on a yacht,” the bride said. “We had both been to weddings on boats but they had always stayed docked and didn’t ever get out into the water. Having our ceremony out in the water at sunset was what we wanted, and Yacht Starship was able to deliver both.”

Since the bride and groom have stressful jobs, they planned a relaxing destination wedding by holding their wedding ceremony and reception in the same wedding venue.

“Having the entire event, from ceremony to reception, at one venue cut down on a lot of planning and details and made things much easier overall. We wanted things to be as low key as possible without actually eloping,” Melissa shared. “Our wedding overall was very laid back, relaxing and inviting which is how most people describe our relationship.”

Look back, Melissa’s most memorable moment came during her waterfront wedding ceremony.

“I never cry and there I was boohooing my way down the aisle walking with my dad and seeing my husband’s awesome smile,” the bride reminisced.

The biggest factor [of holding our wedding on the Yacht StarShip] was the uniqueness of actually sailing out on a yacht. We had both been to weddings on boats but they had always stayed docked and didn’t ever get out into the water. Having our ceremony out in the water at sunset was what we wanted and Yacht Starship was able to deliver both. – The Bride

I never cry and there I was boohooing my way down the aisle walking with my dad and seeing my husband’s awesome smile. – The Bride

It was great being able to sail away from the “world” with just our family and friends for a great night of celebration. – The Bride

It was important for me to incorporate some of my Chinese heritage. I changed into a traditional red Chinese dress with traditional Chinese jewelry for the reception. – The Bride

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
We all have enough stress in our lives, so remember the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the day and take it all it because it goes by so fast.

Tampa Wedding Venue: Yacht StarShip
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Angel He Photography
Tampa Wedding Florist: Flowers by Design
Tampa Wedding Cake: Pastries By Design
Tampa Wedding Invitations: The Stylish Scribe (Nevada)
Tampa Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup
Tampa Wedding Groomsmen Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse

We are proud to have the Yacht StarShip as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!


Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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