DIY, Garden Same-Sex Tampa Wedding | USF Botanical Gardens

DIY, Garden Same-Sex Tampa Wedding | USF Botanical Gardens

Daniel and Rick celebrated the beginning of the year with more than just a New Year’s resolution; they made a life long commitment.

“I knew I wanted to marry Rick when our first dog, Zoe, fell fatally ill. This loss was devastating for us, but the way Rick comforted me blew me away. I knew in this moment his heart was bigger than mine and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Unfortunately being a gay couple in Florida, marriage wasn’t an option for us at the time, so we made a promise to each other that once it became legal we would start planning our wedding together,” Daniel explained.

“We spent the next year living together anxiously watching the news and keeping our fingers crossed that we would eventually be treated as equals in Florida despite our homosexual lifestyle. And then finally the day came, January 6, 2015. For the first time in either of our lives, we were widely accepted by the majority vote. At last, we could start planning our wedding, and we were over the moon,” Daniel shared.

Within one week, the couple chose a wedding venue, purchased their rings and decided on a menu.

“Choosing our venue was a no brainer, we actually only looked at the USF Botanical Gardens. Most people can spend a whole year just choosing their venue, but the second we arrived, we knew it was perfect for us!” Daniel gushed. “Choosing it allowed us to create a wedding that reflected not only our style, but our lifestyle too.”

The pair spent the week before their Tampa wedding DIY’ing their venue space.

“We made all our own decorations, floral arrangements and table runners. We even made our own burlap seat covers and spray painted the chandelier to match our color theme.  So when we arrived at the venue and saw everything finished, all the vendors set up and food cooking on the grill, it was like a dream come true!” Daniel exclaimed. “It was surreal, the day had finally arrived, and it was everything I imagined and more! I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Not only was Daniel and Rick’s wedding day a special moment in their lives, it was also history making for their wedding guests.

“It was the first gay wedding I’ve ever been to, and the first gay wedding almost anyone else at our wedding had been too,” Daniel explained. “Wedding traditions went out the window in the most amazing way possible. I asked my mom to walk me down the aisle, spending the my final moments before getting married with her. Having her blessing as she gave me away brought me to tears, and I will hold that moment dear to my heart for the rest of my life.”

USF Botanical Gardens Wedding | Outdoor Tampa Wedding Venue

Peach Wedding Boutonniere with Greenary

Burlap and Lace Outdoor Tampa Wedding Ceremony | USF Botanical Gardens Wedding

Earthy Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Decor | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Tropical, Botanical Garden Wedding Ceremony Program

Burlap Fingerprint Wedding Guestbook

Groom Walking Down the Aisle with Mother | Same-Sex, Gay Wedding

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Ring Exchange

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding First Kiss | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Portrait | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Portrait | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

The Proposal:
I knew I wanted to marry Rick when our first dog, Zoe, fell fatally ill. We had adopted her early on in our relationship; she was like our child together. This loss was devastating for us, but the way Rick comforted me in this devastating time and the way he insisted on emergency surgery at any cost blew me away. I knew in this moment his heart was bigger than mine, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Unfortunately being a gay couple in Florida, marriage wasn’t an option for us at the time, so we made a promise to each other that once it became legal we would start planning our wedding together.

We spent the next year living together anxiously watching the news and keeping our fingers crossed that we would eventually be treated as equals in Florida despite our homosexual lifestyle. And then finally the day came, January 6, 2015. For the first time in either of our lives, we were widely accepted by the majority vote. At last, we could start planning our wedding, and we were over the moon.

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Portrait | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Portrait with Wedding Rings | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Outdoor Garden Wedding Reception with Hanging Lanterns and Flowers in Frame

Outdoor, Tented Garden, Botanical Wedding Reception with Burlap | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Burlap and Twine Wedding Centerpieces | Outdoor Garden Wedding Reception

Outdoor Garden Wedding Reception with Tropical Flowers and Vintage Chairs | Tufted Vintage Rentals

What did you look for in a vintage rental company?
Rick and I choose to DIY all the details of our wedding. We made all our own decorations, floral arrangements and table runners. We even made our own burlap seat covers and spray painted the chandelier to match our color theme, but, we needed some comfortable and beautiful furniture for our head table and lounge area. We were almost at a loss until we visited VHS Studio. We fell in love with all the beautiful pieces Tufted Vintage Rentals had to offer and just had to have a few for our special day.

The most important thing aside from style, was delivery. Having tons of DIY projects on our plate, we needed the ease of delivery and same-day pick up. Tufted Vintage Rentals day of service was the best; they were on time and actually set up in place before we made my our final arrival. It was by far the most effortless detail and made a huge impact on the design.

Outdoor, Tented Garden, Botanical Wedding Reception with Vintage Chairs | Tufted Vintage Rentals | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Burlap and Twine with Flowing Greenary Wedding Centerpieces | Outdoor Garden Wedding Reception

Modern, Twisted Unique Alice in Wonderland Style Wedding Cake

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Rings Portrait in Flowers

Same-Sex, Gay Wedding Portrait | Tampa Wedding Venue USF Botanical Gardens

Ceremony and Reception Venue: USF Botanical Gardens
Photographer: Ashlee Hamon Photography
Drone Videographer: Eagle Eye Assets
Vintage Rentals: Tufted Vintage Rentals
Rentals: Brandon Rental Center
Cake: Let them Eat Cake
DJ: DJ Tom Jones
Bar: Spunky Spirits

MEET THE EDITOR

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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