Emily and Zack's Love Story:
Zack and I met through a mutual friend when we were in our junior year of college at the University of Florida.
It was a set up actually, which was random since set ups are awkward! My roommate at the time was dating a guy on the UF wrestling team, and he told me he wanted me to meet his friend Zack because he thought we would be perfect together. At first, I resisted a little because I felt uncomfortable, but finally we all went to a party together one night, and Zack and I have been best friends ever since. Obviously we're so happy our friend Kyle set us up, and he's one of our best friends to this day!
Zack and I started dating in February of 2010 and got engaged in February 2013, right before our 3-year anniversary. We talked a lot about getting married, so I knew he was planning on proposing soon, I just didn't know when it would happen.
On February 1, 2013, he set up a really elaborate proposal that involved my sister as well, because Zack lied to me to get me to show up at the site of the engagement. My sister told me there was some fundraiser event at the UF football stadium that night, and she wanted me to come with her, but when we got to The Swamp, it was empty so I knew something was up. The two of them were so clever in their lies, and I fell for it and continued to wander all around the stadium. I eventually came across a sign Zack had left for me, which led me down the steps where he was waiting. It was perfectly adorable and romantic, because he proposed at the 50-yard line, and I was completely surprised! I totally thought it was going to happen on our 3-year anniversary, but he tricked me and did it a week early.
Emily, a Tampa native, had her heart set on one location for her Florida beach wedding.
“Growing up in Tampa, I've always loved the Don CeSar and just knew that one day I wanted to get married at the beautiful “Pink Palace. Literally, the hotel is absolutely perfect,” the bride beamed. “On the drive home [from looking at wedding venues], my dad said, ‘Well, nothing else compares. There's really no decision,' which of course made me cry, because we had looked at venues before we really talked about budget or the price range. It was such a perfect moment!”
To complement the St. Pete Beach wedding venue's grandeur, the couple hosted a formal black, white and gold wedding.
“We knew we were only getting married once, so we knew that something so special and sacred deserved an equally formal atmosphere,” the bride explained. “We got married young, so although it was a formal wedding, it definitely wasn't ‘stuffy' by any means. The bridal party, per my husband's suggestion and tons of thanks to my MOH, made a choreographed dance that totally surprised me and was just fabulous! We also had a great DJ who played awesome songs and our friends danced the whole time, which helps keep the party feel.”
To bring their black and white vision to life, the couple hired St. Petersburg wedding florist Northside Florist.
“Northside Florist is fabulous! They have amazing reviews online and seriously impressed me beyond my wildest expectations,” Emily gushed. “They were so easy to work with and the centerpieces were absolutely beautiful.”
While most brides chose their wedding date first, then start hiring vendors, this St. Pete bride planned her wedding around her wedding photographer's availability.
“Parker Young Photography is so amazing and our pictures are breathtaking. He was amazing!” the bride shared. “It was really important to us that the pictures and video were really high quality, so we picked the time of day and the venue based off of how the photographer thought the lighting would look. We chose outside because he shoots great photos in natural light and it was well worth it.”
Looking back, one the bride's most memorable moments was seeing her husband emotional during the wedding ceremony.
“Zack had all of our wedding guests in tears because he was crying when I walked down the aisle! It was so sweet!” the bride reminisced. “We already had a first look a few hours before the wedding ceremony, so he totally shocked me when he cried at the ceremony! He almost couldn't even say his vows. It was so adorable.”
“It was really important to us that the pictures and video were really high quality, so we picked the time of day and the venue based off of how the photographer thought the lighting would look. We chose outside because he shoots great photos in natural light and it was well worth it.” – The Bride
“Northside Florist is fabulous! They have amazing reviews online and seriously impressed me beyond my wildest expectations. They were so easy to work with and the centerpieces were absolutely beautiful.” – The Bride
“Our wedding was unique because it really reflected our personal style. It was very glamorous and formal which was really important to me, but one of my favorite accents was that my wedding dress had feathers on it! The skirt of the dress had some white feathers so we asked our florist to add feathers to the centerpieces. I was worried it might start looking tacky or maybe too ‘matchy matchy,' but Northside Florist did a really nice job of just adding a few accent feathers, which tied the whole look together.” – The Bride
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Decide the things you absolutely must have, try and get those done, and then not worry so much about the other stuff.
There's a lot of planning that goes into throwing a wedding, so to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed, I made a list of the most important elements that mattered to me, and then went from there. For example, I knew I wanted Parker Young and I wanted The Don, so we booked those two first, and then continued to find vendors from that point on.
Also, we wanted to get married in the fall of that same year, so we only had nine months to plan, which meant I didn't have forever to make all of my decisions.
Wedding planning isn't always totally fun, but it's definitely one of the happiest times of your life! Savor it because the wedding will be there soon enough!
St. Pete Beach Wedding Venue: Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach Wedding Photographer: Parker Young Photography (Nashville, TN)
St. Pete Beach Wedding Videographer: Voila Cinematic
St. Pete Beach Wedding Florist: Northside Florist *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Vendor
St. Pete Beach Wedding Caterer: Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach Wedding Cake: Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach Wedding Linen and Charger Rental: Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach Wedding Officiant: Rev. Stephen King
St. Pete Beach Wedding DJ: DJ Dave Awesome
St. Pete Beach Wedding Dress: Brides by Demetrios
St. Pete Beach Wedding Hair: Shear Art Salon and Spa
St. Pete Beach Wedding Makeup: Don CeSar Hotel
We are proud to have Northside Florist as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!