Classic Pink St. Pete Beach Winter Wedding | The Don Cesar
Wedding

Classic Pink St. Pete Beach Winter Wedding | The Don Cesar

Christina and EJ's St. Pete Beach winter wedding was a sunny 74 degree day that took place overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The wedding featured all of the things the couple loved most – the Tampa Bay Lightning, personalized cigars, and a gorgeous beachfront view.

“We really wanted a beach wedding and felt that St. Pete Beach would be perfect. We wanted a theme that was simple, classic, and timeless. This is the second marriage for both of us, and we wanted it to be beautiful but not overstated,” the bride explained. “We chose blue, blush, and ivory for our colors, taking inspiration from the beach, water, sunset, and sand.”

The Tampa bride researched Marry Me Tampa Bay's preferred vendors to select her planner, photographer, videographer, rentals, florals, DJ, and wedding officiant.

“The real wedding blogs and photos gave us some great ideas for our wedding photos and décor, and Marry Me Tampa Bay provided great advice about selecting vendors and about things we hadn’t thought of, such as purchasing wedding insurance,” Christina shared. “We found most of our vendors through Marry Me Tampa Bay, including our planner, photographer, videographer, florist, DJ, and officiant.”

Hosting their 55-guest wedding at the Pink Palace felt like a natural fit for the couple, who would often visit The Don CeSar for date night during their engagement. They even incorporated that part of their love story into their wedding weekend by hosting their rehearsal dinner at the resort's oceanfront restaurant Society Table.

The Don's beachfront was the ideal spot for their ceremony on the sand that featured a beautiful arch from Outside The Box Event Rentals, while A Wedding With Grace officiated and included a traditional Celtic hand-fasting ritual to honor the EJ's Irish heritage.

“EJ and I would enjoy the newly remodeled bar and restaurants at The Don CeSar after our beach walks, and one day we looked at each other and realized that the Don would be the perfect place for our wedding. We loved its style and history, and the location was perfect for accommodating our mostly local guests. We felt it was fate,” the bride beamed. “The indoor/outdoor space we had for our reception overlooking the gulf was perfect. Our guests loved spending time on the terrace mingling, eating, drinking, and enjoying the spectacular sunset! Nicole, her assistant Wendy, and the catering and hotel staff were amazing to work with, patiently answering our questions and making us feel at ease throughout the planning process.”

While Christina had found the perfect venue and vendor team to create their dream wedding day, she hired Breezin’ Weddings for their month-of-planning services to coordinate all the moving parts of the ballroom celebration.

“We were looking for a month-of planner to tie our ideas together, and we read several great reviews of Breezin’ Weddings. We were very happy to go with them after speaking with Jessie Soplinski and Katie Conner,” the bride shared. “We knew we’d be in great hands!”

Desiring an emphasis on classic and elegant memories, the pair selected Carrie Wildes Photography, whose high-quality portrait style and stellar reputation made her the perfect fit.

“We wanted someone creative with a fun, easy-going personality that we could be comfortable with and who would capture intimate personal moments. When we interviewed Carrie Wildes Photography, we knew right away she was the photographer we wanted,” Christina beamed. “Carrie and her assistant Linda made us feel comfortable and kept us smiling, and our pictures both on the beach and at the hotel were beautiful!

In addition to beautiful photographs, Christina and EJ knew they'd want video included in their wedding memories. The couple chose Iyrus Weddings for the team's easygoing personality and creative vision.

“As with our photographer, we wanted our videographer to be fun and easy-going. When we spoke with Will DeCosta of Iyrus Weddings, he was responsive, easy to talk to, and knew the mood we wanted to capture. Aron, our videographer, along with his assistant Christian, were fantastic to work with. They were funny and kept us laughing and were very creative in their approach. Our highlight video is amazing!”

The couple made sure to include their personalities in the details of the day with a nod to their favorite local sports team. The ballroom reception had an electrifying ambiance set by their wedding DJ, Breezin' Entertainment. The groom's vibrant suit could only be matched by Christina's lovely lace-sleeved a-line dress with her hair elegantly pulled back in an updo by Adore Bridal Hair and Makeup.

“EJ and I both love the Tampa Bay Lightning, drinking bourbon and smoking an occasional cigar, and we incorporated these in our attire and in our décor. EJ wore a Lightning blue custom suit with the team logo printed on the inside lining, and I wore a Lightning garter belt,” the bride revealed. “We had a small, personalized bourbon barrel card box and provided personalized cigars for our guests.”

Looking back on her wedding day, Christina shared that having those who she loved the most to unite and become a family and celebrate the love she and EJ share were unforgettable.

There were so many memorable moments! My daughter Kiah’s beautiful Maid of Honor toast and my son giving me away will always be cherished memories. Their father, my first husband, passed away from cancer, and it was so tough on all of us. They really embraced EJ and me as a couple, and we were so happy to have their continued love and support,” the bride reminisced. “Our first look was another. The love and emotion on EJ’s face was something I’ll never forget!”

What did you look for in a wedding videographer?
As with Carrie, we wanted our videographer to be fun and easy-going. When we spoke with Will DeCosta of Iyrus Weddings, he was responsive, easy to talk to, and knew the mood we wanted to capture. Aron, our videographer, along with his assistant Christian, was fantastic to work with. They were funny and kept us laughing and were very creative in their approach. Our highlight video is amazing!

Classic Blue and Gold Polka Dot Wedding Invitation Suite | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Wedding Accessories, Blue and Gold Polka Dot Wedding Invitation, Tampa Bay Lightning Garter, White Lace Ballet Flats, Gold and Crystal Headband, White and Blush Pink Roses Floral Bouquet | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Custom Blue Tampa Bay Lightning Bride Garter | St. Pete Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Custom Tampa Bay Lightning Groom Wedding Suit Jacket | Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Bride and Groom Tampa Bay Lightning Blue Jerseys | St. Pete Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography

“EJ and I both love the Tampa Bay Lightning, drinking bourbon and smoking an occasional cigar, and incorporated these in our attire and in our decor. EJ wore a lightning blue custom suit with the team logo printed on the inside lining, and I wore a Lightning garter belt. We had a small, personalized bourbon barrel card box and provided personalized cigars for our guests.”

-The Bride

Classic Lace Half Sleeve Bodice and Tulle Skirt Wedding Dress with Yellow Gold Rhinestone Belt | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Bride, Maid of Honor, and Mother of the Bride in Matching Monogram Robes Getting Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | St. Pete Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal
Bride Reading Card from Groom Pre-Wedding Getting Ready | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Bride with Maid of Honor Buttoning Wedding Dress | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | St. Pete Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal
Classic Bride Wearing Lace Half Sleeve Bodice and Tulle Skirt Wedding Dress Holding White Roses and Blue Floral Bouquet | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal

What were your wedding hair and makeup inspiration?

I read several great reviews for Adore Bridal and looked at a lot of photos of their work and knew they were who I wanted to go with. I wanted my hair and makeup to be classic and elegant, but I still wanted to look like me.

Emily Baca did a fantastic job with my hair and makeup, as well as my mother’s and daughters. She was fun to talk to as she worked, and she brought out the best of all of us. I never felt so beautiful!

Classic Bride and Groom First Look Wedding Portrait on Balcony of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal

What did you look for in a wedding photographer?

We wanted someone creative with a fun, easy-going personality that we could be comfortable with and who would capture intimate personal moments.

When we interviewed Carrie Wildes Photography, we knew right away she was the photographer we wanted. Carrie and her assistant Linda made us feel comfortable and kept us smiling, and our pictures both on the beach and at the hotel were beautiful!

Classic Bride and Groom First Look Wedding Portrait on Balcony of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal

The Proposal:
EJ planned a surprise proposal at Discovery Cove in Orlando on New Year’s Eve. We were swimming with dolphins, and one swam to me with a buoy in its mouth that said, “Christina, will you marry me? EJ.”

I was so surprised and had the biggest grin on my face, the picture is hilarious! Once we were out of the water, he got down on one knee and proposed with the crowd cheering us on.

Classic Bride and Groom First Look Wedding Portrait on Balcony of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal
Classic Bride and Groom Sitting at Bar at Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Simple Wedding Beach Ceremony Decor, Wooden Arch with Pink Linen and Floral Bouquets | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings
Classic Simple Wedding Beach Ceremony Decor, Wooden Arch with Pink Linen and Floral Bouquets | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Wedding Rentals Outside the Box Event Rentals
Classic Simple Wedding Beach Ceremony Decor, Hanging Candles on Stakes Lining Aisle, Wooden Arch with Pink Linen and Floral Bouquets | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings

How did your rentals enhance the ambiance of your wedding day?

Outside the Box Event Rentals provided the wedding arch for our ceremony. Once it was decorated with deep blush draping fabric and flowers, it provided the perfect backdrop for our beach ceremony.

Classic Bride and Groom Unity Ceremony with Ropes | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding Vows on Beach | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Officiant A Wedding with Grace | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don CeSar

What did you look for in a wedding officiant?

A Wedding with Grace was wonderful! We wanted a personal, non-denominational ceremony, and she had so many wonderful ideas. She is so easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor, and we felt she’d been a friend for years.

Grace took our ideas for our vows, our handfasting, and selected poetry and combined them into the most beautiful, funny, and touching ceremony. Our guests were raving about her all evening!

Classic Bride and Groom Kissing on Beach Wedding Ceremony Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Bride and Groom Exiting Wedding Ceremony Portrait, Guests Throwing Rose Petals | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings

What did you look for in a wedding planner?

We were looking for a month-of planner to tie our ideas together, and we read several great reviews of Breezin’ Weddings.

We were very happy to go with them after speaking with Jessie Soplinski and Katie Conner. We knew we’d be in great hands!

Classic Bride and Groom on Beach of St. Pete Historic Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Bride and Groom on Beach of St. Pete Historic Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Sunset Classic Bride and Groom on Beach of St. Pete Historic Wedding Venue The Don CeSar | Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Sunset Classic Bride and Groom on Beach of St. Pete Historic Wedding Venue The Don CeSar, The Pink Palace | Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography

What did you look for in a wedding venue? 

EJ and I would enjoy the newly remodeled bar and restaurants at The Don CeSar after our beach walks, and one day we looked at each other and realized that the Don would be the perfect place for our wedding. We loved its style and history, and the location was perfect for accommodating our mostly local guests. We felt it was fate

The indoor/outdoor space we had for our reception overlooking the gulf was perfect. Our guests loved spending time on the terrace mingling, eating, drinking, and enjoying the spectacular sunset! Nicole, her assistant Wendy, and the catering and hotel staff were amazing to work with, patiently answering our questions and making us feel at ease throughout the planning process.

St. Pete Historic Wedding Venue The Don CeSar, Pink Palace | Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Wedding, Custom Cigars Guest Gifts | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Classic Wedding Reception Decor, Gold and White Acrylic Table Numbers, Small Floral Centerpieces, White and Blush Pink Roses, Greenery Leaves, Blue Flowers | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | Wedding Rentals Outside the Box Event Rentals | Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings
Classic Bride and Groom First Dance Wedding Reception Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | St. Pete Wedding DJ Breezin' Entertainment

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?

EJ and I are both music lovers, and we put a lot of thought into choosing each song. We made a wedding playlist and spent a lot of time choosing just the right songs for our ceremony, cocktail hour, first dance, and cake cutting, as well as for dinner and dancing.

We wanted a DJ that was fun and would get everyone moving. Breezin’ Entertainment had several great choices, but when we watched Alex’s video introduction, we knew he’d be perfect. He really listened to us and put all our music together beautifully. Alex did an excellent job as DJ and MC and played a great variety of music. He did get a lot of our guests on the dance floor!

Classic Bride and Groom First Dance Wedding Reception Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography | St. Pete Wedding DJ Breezin' Entertainment

Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
All of them! Everything came together perfectly. Carrie Wildes and Iyrus Weddings worked together so well to capture every beautiful, intimate moment. Our planner, Breezin’ Weddings, did a wonderful job communicating with all of our vendors and keeping us on track with our timeline. The flowers and décor from Brides N Blooms were beautiful, and we really adore our officiant, Grace Felice. EJ and I loved our ceremony, and so did our guests!

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
When the reception is over, and the guests are exiting for your send-off, do the last dance. The few moments alone in each other’s arms, reliving the highlights of your beautiful day or just taking the time to breathe together, are well worth it.

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits

 

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