Amanda and Alex's downtown St. Pete wedding focused less on the bridesmaids dresses and favors and more giving back to their local community.
“I know the wedding is supposed to be all about the couple, but we wanted to give back to the community where we plan to plant our roots,” the bride shared. “Our overall theme was environmental friendly with hints of beer, bands and baseball. Being eco-friendly is more than reducing your impact on the environment, but it’s also about using small, local businesses as well as charitable and non-profit organizations.”
The couple searched for a downtown St. Pete wedding venue that was close to the water, but that also served its local community.
“We only looked at affordable non-profit organizations in Pinellas County to ensure our money was going back to the community,” Amanda explained. “The St. Petersburg Museum of History was simply the right fit for us. The guests could explore the museum throughout the night, what better way to teach them about the history of the city we love. We were able to have the ceremony outside on the bay the Vinoy as our backdrop. I don’t know any other venues that can offer that.”
The St. Petersburg couple asked that in lieu of gifts that donations be given to organizations that enrich the lives of the those living with disabilities, such as Creative Clay and the agriculture program at the LaVoy Exceptional Center.
“When I dropped off the donation at Creative Clay, they were enthralled,” the bride beamed. “They even gave me a tour of the facility and introduced me to some of their artists. It was a humbling experience.”
To capture the important moments of their day, Amanda and Alex searched for a wedding photographer who had photojournalist style and was familiar with their venue.
“Not only did we love Kristen's portfolio [of Kristen Marie Photography], but she seemed to have an easygoing personality that meshed well with us. She appeared to embrace our creativity, and she was familiar with downtown St Petersburg,” the bride shared. “Kristen was also open and accepting of Alex’s brother, who was diagnosed with autism. That helped us feel at ease, because it was important for us that he felt comfortable at an otherwise potentially stressful time for him. In the end, she provided us with lasting memories and timeless photos. We could not be happier with our pictures.”
My family was in town during Memorial Day Weekend and rented a house by the beach. They encouraged me to join them for the sunset before dinner. When I came outside, Alex pulled me aside and popped the question in front of my family. I had no idea he was going to propose; I was so stunned, nervous and excited that after I said, “Yes,” I put the ring on the wrong hand.
What were the most memorable moments?
The ceremony was the most memorable. Our officiant is a mutual friend who introduced us. I could not have imagined anyone more appropriate for that job. We wrote the ceremony from scratch, with the help of our officiant to make it personal. We did not share our written vows to each other until the ceremony which made it authentic.
Both of us choked up tears at some point during our vows. Also, during the ring exchange, Alex had difficulty pushing my ring over the knuckle. I had to give it a little assist causing the audience to roar in laughter. It was truly a magical ceremony.
What made your wedding unique?
We got married on my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. It’s heartwarming to share the same anniversary and potentially start a family tradition.
I plan on donating my dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer based in Sarasota and my rehearsal dinner dress came from Brides against Breast Cancer.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
We were looking for a photojournalist style photographer who was familiar with our venue.
Not only did we love Kristen's portfolio [of Kristen Marie Photography], but she seemed to have an easygoing personality that meshed well with us. She appeared to embrace our creativity, and she was familiar with downtown St Petersburg.
Kristen was also open and accepting of Alex’s brother ,who was diagnosed with autism. That helped us feel at ease, because it was important for us that he felt comfortable at an otherwise potentially stressful time for him. In the end, she provided us with lasting memories and timeless photos. We could not be happier with our pictures.
What were your colors?
We chose various shades of teal, turquoise and blue, simply because they are my favorite colors, and I thought they were appropriate for getting married by the bay. I didn’t want everything to match or the colors to get drowned out. I wanted the colors to pop and complement each other.
How would you describe your theme?
Our overall theme was environmental friendly with hints of beer, bands and baseball. Being eco-friendly is more than reducing your impact on the environment, but it’s also about using small local businesses as well as charitable and non-profit organizations. I know the wedding is supposed to be all about the couple, but we wanted to give back to the community where we plan to plant our roots. We also feel that it reflects the culture of St. Pete. The city is full of local charm and artists.
How did you incorporate you and your husband's personalities into the wedding?
We incorporated the activities we enjoy to reflect who we are as a couple. Anyone who knows us, knows that we enjoy live music, craft breweries and a friendly baseball rivalry.
We included hops because it is an ingredient in beer. There were hops in my bouquet, a “hoppily ever after” banner and we only served locally made craft beers.
We met at a local music festival called Tropical Heatwave and enjoy the same type of music, so it was only appropriate to include vinyl records, a guitar case and a live 8'0s band.
We cheer for rival baseball teams: Phillies and Braves. As soon as I saw the Little Cooperstown Exhibit, I knew I wanted a baseball-themed photo booth.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
My words of wisdom are to get the small things done early. The closer the wedding gets, the small things seem bigger and tedious.
On the day of the wedding embrace every moment and stay mindful. Not only does it go quickly, but things will go wrong. A vendor may show up at the wrong venue. People will be late or cancel at the last minute. Hire a day of coordinator or trust a friend to handle the day of responsibilities or when things go wrong. It will keep your mind at ease and allow your day to go seamless. No one will even know that things didn’t go as planned.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: St. Petersburg Museum of History
Photographer: Kristen Marie Photography *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Vendor
Florist: Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft
Caterer: Hops & Props
Rentals: Bayside Event Rentals
Cake: Olympia Catering
Band: Screamin’ Donkeys
Officiant: Friend of the Bride and Groom
Dress: The Dressing Room
Bridesmaid Dress: CoralieBeatrix
Hair & Makeup: db Studio Hair & Makeup
Rings: Old Northeast Jeweler
Bridesmaid and MOB Jewelry: Strands of Sunshine
“Hoppily Ever After Banner”: Emellee Handmade
Groom's Bowtie: TieFetish
We are proud to have Kristen Marie Photography as a Marry Me Tampa Bay member!