Ivy and Michael's boho-inspired Tampa Heights wedding combined lush foliage and floral with heirloom decor that showcased the bride and groom's intrinsic taste and sentiment. To complement the fall season, the pair chose a color palette of rich red hues and natural greens that would pop against the historic brick architecture of their wedding venue.
“I would coin our theme and design as vintage woodland. Our wedding day was inspired by the mere fact that I love plants and foliage, so we wanted to capitalize on that and then incorporate our personal style! We were also sure to take into consideration the time of year and what florals were actually in-season for our date. When guests walked in and saw all the plants, foliage, and decor, they said it looked like our home!” Ivy gushed. “Our main colors were dark burgundy and foliage green, but we really had a wide array of shades from those color families, such as mauve, blush, maroon, emerald, and more. It was a very eclectic combination of colors.”
The bride, who is also an event planner herself, turned to Marry Me Tampa Bay for budget-friendly ideas and vendor recommendations.
“I used the Marry Me Tampa Bay Facebook page to help find cost-saving ideas for things like the wedding party gifts. I also found my hair and make-up artists from a recommendation on that page,” Ivy explained.
The Tampa couple sought a wedding photography team that would capture every element of their special day in a way that felt both personal and professional. The husband and wife duo behind the lenses at Dewitt for Love Photography impressed the newlyweds with their technique and ability to seamlessly blend into the background.
“We picked Shannon and Brandon with Dewitt for Love Photography because their style of photography, editing finishes, and reviews blew us away! We also really wanted two shooters on camera, and when we learned they were a husband and wife team, it was game over. I love the passion and chemistry when couples work on a wedding; it creates a much more personal environment and intent. That's exactly what we wanted and they absolutely came through for us!” the bride gushed. “I was very anxious being on the bride-side of a wedding and relying on vendors to give me the comfort to be a bride and not look at the clock or the check-list and just enjoy the day, and they were without a doubt the right people for the job. It is rare and special when you find a photography team that is not just great at capturing moments, but great at being a part of the day, aware of the schedule, and effective in helping make the day what it's supposed to be. We love them and are still obsessed with them and communicate regularly!”
To pay tribute to the heritage of the bride's late father Ivy and Michael included a Scottish wedding ceremony tradition where the groom stands facing away from the bride during the processional until she reaches the altar and they share their first look. Family antiques, like toasting flutes and a special sweetheart table, graced the space and made the 115-guest celebration even more memorable.
“What made our wedding unique is that we truly made it reflect us. We made it fun but grand. There were so much personality and sentiment throughout the entire day. From our ceremony and vows to our officiant and song choices to the wedding favors and the furniture pieces used, even the single sunflower in my bouquet that represented my father, his favorite flower, you couldn't look around or listen without finding meaning in the details,” the bride beamed.
The couple surrounded themselves with special friends and family during the big day, asking their former high school teacher to officiate as they exchanged vows, choosing their Greek-life “Littles” as ushers for their ceremony, and sharing serenades with their sorority sisters and fraternity brothers during the reception. Although their decor was intentional and sentimental, Ivy maintains that their guests were what made their wedding day so memorable.
“We truly remember almost every part of our wedding day, but we love looking back and talking about how fun and full of life our family and friends are. The people in our lives who celebrated with us were truly there to celebrate our marriage and we felt that all night,” Ivy reminisced.
Our proposal was so fun and special! We spend a lot of our relationship encouraging the other to “just jump,” to take the step, be confident, and do it. For our engagement, Michael planned a birthday weekend (that had to actually be rescheduled two weeks due to Hurricane Irma) for us to go skydiving. I had no idea that was what we were doing until we arrived, but I was so excited! We went up in the plane, and I was the last to jump. As we descended my tandem instructor asked, “What does that sign say?” and I hadn't noticed anything prior. I read it clearly, a sign that read “Will you marry me?” We landed, and I couldn't have said yes fast enough!
What elements of your wedding were the most important?
Being an event planner for a living made every part important to me, but the most important part to us was our ceremony. We wanted to ensure it was unique and reflected our relationship as much as possible, more than writing our own vows. The first unique aspect of our ceremony was when I walked down the aisle. We merged the concept of a first look and a twist of the traditional Scottish entrance for a bride during the ceremony (as a nod to the heritage of my late father) where the groom keeps his back to the bride the entire time she walks in until they meet at the altar. Given that my father passed, he was unable to walk me down the aisle. So I wanted to ensure he was honored by utilizing this tradition, and I had the opportunity to feel his presence and have that moment with him. With that said, I am very close to my step-father and view him as a father and absolutely felt he deserved to be a part of this special day. Therefore, I walked from the bridal suite into the ceremony space and to the entrance row by myself, as my moment to be alone with my father, and then my step-father joined me to walk me the rest of the way. Michael and I had our first-look right there in the aisle. His back was turned the entire time until his best man and brother told him to turn around. This gave us that moment to see each other with no distractions of holding a dress or messing with my veil; no one was in our view but each other.
We wrote our own vows and did a bourbon whiskey toast (or rather a shot) during the ceremony. This represented the symbolic blending of two spirits, which is what bourbon whiskey literally is, the blending of different spirits through mixing and aging together combine to become something richer and more complex, much like a good marriage. We loved this addition to our ceremony because we felt it truly reflected our relationship. By the time our wedding came, we were approaching nine years together. We had spent almost a decade growing into the people we always strove to be, while also taking our time building the foundation of what our marriage would be. By being the best versions of ourselves, it's created so much more depth and richness in our relationship and given us the ability to blend and grow into something wonderful. To top off our ceremony, we were married by an old family friend who was also our high school teacher when we first started dating.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
When we picked Shannon and Brandon with Dewitt for Love Photography because of their style of photography, editing finishes, and reviews blew us away! We also really wanted two shooters on camera, and when we learned they were a husband and wife team, it was game over. I love the passion and chemistry when couples work on a wedding; it creates a much more personal environment and intent. That's exactly what we wanted, and they absolutely came through for us! I was very anxious being on the bride-side of a wedding and relying on vendors to give me the comfort to be a bride and not look at the clock or the check-list and just enjoy the day, and they were without a doubt the right people for the job. It is rare and special when you find a photography team that is not just great at capturing moments, but great at being a part of the day, aware of the schedule, and effective in helping make the day what it's supposed to be. We love them and are still obsessed with them and communicate regularly!
Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We took a southern Caribbean cruise! We chose a cruise because as much as we wanted to go on a crazy adventure, we had just spent so much time planning details and making decisions, that we wanted a chance to truly relax and have most of our trip planned for us. It was the best choice! After paying for a big wedding, it also allowed us to financially plan ahead since most items are covered.
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
I would coin our wedding day theme and design as vintage woodland. Our wedding day was inspired from the mere fact that I love plants and foliage, so we wanted to capitalize on that and then incorporate our personal style! When we were searching for our venue, we wanted natural brick or white brick, so we toured several venues. Once we finalized the location the rest of the design just fell into place. We were also sure to take into consideration the time of year and what florals were actually in-season for our date.
What were your colors?
Our main colors were dark burgundy and foliage green, but we really had a wide array of shades from those color families, such as mauve, blush, maroon, emerald, and more. It was a very eclectic combination of colors. We picked them because it fit our style, but it also fit the venue wonderfully and the time of year when our wedding was held.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Don't rush your planning, it's smart to have a longer engagement, shop around for vendors and once you pick them, trust them! Also, if you aren't familiar with wedding and event planning, hire someone to help, whether it's for all the planning, month-of, or just to get you through the day. Let someone else deal with the execution and allow you and your friends and family to enjoy yourselves.
Venue: Armature Works
Photographer: Dewitt for Love Photography *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Videographer: Corey Watson
Music & Day of Coordinator: Everlasting Sounds
Planner & Invitations: Vine & Divine Events (The Bride)
Florist: Petals, Presents and Parties
Caterer: Puff n' Stuff Catering
Rentals: Southern Chairs
Officiant: Pastor Tim Encinosa
Transportation: Skyline Limousine *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Dress: Kate McDonald
Bridesmaid Dress Shop: Etsy, Lulu's, Amazon
Hair & Makeup: Dare 2 Dream Salon
Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Empire Outlet Co. in the UK
Donuts: Krispy Kreme
Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
*Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.