Elegant Downtown St. Pete Burgundy Wedding | The Birchwood

Tampa Bay Bridal Show Banner 2021

Michelle and Travis’ downtown St. Pete wedding featured classic elements set in a historic boutique hotel venue and an edgy portrait session among the area’s famous murals.

The Tampa bride and groom had been together for nine years so they decided to move forward with their COVID wedding because they didn’t want to wait any longer to begin their lives together. The pair incorporated sentimental details, including a dog motif in their stationery items (for their Corgis), and cardboard cutouts of their family members who couldn’t attend. To complement the style of their venue, they selected an autumn color palette with stone and metal accents for a modern twist.

“The cutouts were used during formal portrait time with the family and bridal party. We brought them out once the dancing got started and as you can see from the photos, they were a huge hit all night long! It was such a fun way to include them in the wedding!” Michelle beamed.

The bride and groom were partial to the Edge district of downtown St. Pete, so when it came time to find an ideal venue for their 68 guests, they wanted something with inherent beauty and charm and excellent food.

“For us, one of the most important parts of the venue search was to find somewhere that already had a finished look and wouldn’t need much more work to be wedding-ready,” Michelle explained. “Food is super important to us so this gave The Birchwood a slight edge over some of the other venues which would have required outside catering. The Birchwood being a hotel made get ready time very easy and straightforward. The entire team was awesome from the first time we reached out all the way through our day-after brunch. They are all seasoned pros who can answer any and all of your questions and concerns!”

With the help of Marry Me Tampa Bay, the bride and groom started to envision their layout based on photos of recent weddings.

“We used Marry Me Tampa Bay to look at other weddings at The Birchwood and get decor inspiration,” the bride shared.

Capturing the experience and memories of their celebration through photos and video was the number one priority for the pair. They wanted a videographer who would document the events and emotional moments, especially given that many guests would not be able to attend in-person.

“We wanted to find someone we could trust to be as artistic and creative as possible so we selected Bonnie Newman Creative. Bonnie is so much fun and has such a great eye for capturing emotion and magical moments. We knew she was the right fit for us the moment she suggested going to Dog Bar for our first meeting before she even knew we were planning to incorporate our dogs in the wedding!” Michelle raved. “Bonnie managed to get us our wedding trailer and full ceremony edit literally two days after the wedding so that guests who couldn’t make it because of COVID could watch! We told Bonnie that we trusted her to make the best decision for the best product and she certainly delivered.”

One of the most memorable moments of the day occurred during a special reading at the ceremony, which ended up being such a noteworthy surprise that it also made an appearance in the wedding film.

“We asked our friend to read a poem at the ceremony, and we didn’t know what the poem was until the ceremony. He gave a beautiful oration of a poem that was special to us from many years ago that we had long forgotten about. It was a moment that recognized not only the love Travis and I have for one another, but also the love we have for all of our friends and family who have been there for us along the way,” the bride reminisced. “And during our portrait session Bonnie was so excited about that reading, she ended up using it for our wedding trailer!”

What did you look for in a wedding videographer?
We wanted to find someone we could trust to be as artistic and creative as possible so we selected Bonnie Newman Creative. Bonnie is so much fun and has such a great eye for capturing emotion and magical moments.

We knew she was the right fit for us the moment she suggested going to Dog Bar for our first meeting before she even knew we were planning to incorporate our dogs in the wedding! Bonnie managed to get us our wedding trailer and full ceremony edit literally two days after the wedding so that guests who couldn’t make it because of COVID could watch! We told Bonnie that we trusted her to make the best decision for the best product and she certainly delivered.

Her Vow Book and Bride Engagement Ring, Wedding Band
Casablanca Bridal Lace Spaghetti Strap Fit and Flare Wedding Dress
Tampa Bride on Balcony of Hotel Wearing Casablanca Bridal Lace Fit and Flare Wedding Dress | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Groom Excited Face First Look with Bride Wedding Photo
Tampa Bride and Groom Kissing on Rooftop Balcony of St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom Kissing on Rooftop Balcony of St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood

The Proposal:
Travis had just graduated; it was the day before he earned his Master’s degree. We had both agreed to not get engaged until we both finished grad school, and now the clock was ticking! We had plans later in the week for an Alaskan cruise to celebrate Travis’ graduation, so naturally, I had assumed that this is when it would occur. Travis wanted there to be an element of surprise, so the Sunday before our trip, while we were out for a celebratory dinner, he had a friend come to the house and set everything up in the kitchen: custom dog tags on brand new bow tie collars that matched Travis’ shirt. The tags read, “I know it’s early. Will you marry me?” I obviously said yes, and then we were both able to enjoy and celebrate the entire cruise without Travis having to worry about dropping the ring off of a glacier!

Dog Wearing Tuxedo for Wedding | Tampa Bay Wedding Pet Planner FairyTail Pet Care
Tampa Bride and Groom on Rooftop with Dogs in Tuxedos | Wedding Pet Planner FairyTail Pet Care | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood

Why did you incorporate your pets into your wedding day?
Our dogs were involved in the proposal, so of course, they had to play a role on the big day!

Every vendor we met with recommended FairyTail Pet Care when they learned we wanted to have our dogs involved. We knew they were too much energy to have in the ceremony itself, but we saw other suggestions on how to include your pets in your wedding and that’s how we decided to have them greet our guests before the ceremony!

The Fairy Tail team did such a great job taking care of our crazy corgis and had them looking so dapper in little tuxedo bandanas. They picked them up from the boarding facility, brought them to the first look, had them greet guests, and then dropped them back off with boarding without us having to worry about any of the logistics or timing.

Bride in Lace Spaghetti Strap Fit and Flare Casablanca Bridal Wedding Dress, Bridesmaids in Burgundy Red Dresses, Groomsmen in Black Suits

What were your colors?
Copper, marble, and burgundy.

Bride Walking Down the Wedding Ceremony Aisle | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows During Wedding Ceremony | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows During Wedding Ceremony | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom Exiting Wedding Ceremony | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood

What did you look for in a wedding venue?
The most important parts of the venue search was to find somewhere that already had a finished look and wouldn’t need much more work to be wedding-ready. We felt it would be a better use of our budget to spend less on décor and more on top-quality vendors. Whenever people asked about our venue, our response was, “It’s in the hotel’s ballroom, but it isn’t the bland gray ballroom you’re thinking of!”

We had eaten at Birch and Vine before and loved their food! Food is super important to us so this gave The Birchwood a slight edge over some of the other venues which would have required outside catering. The Birchwood being a hotel made get ready time very easy and straightforward. The entire Birchwood team was awesome from the first time we reached out all the way through our day-after brunch. They are all seasoned pros who can answer any and all of your questions and concerns!

Tampa Bride Wearing Lace Spaghetti Strap Fit and Flare Casablanca Bridal Wedding Dress Holding White Floral Bouquet and Groom Outside St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom Crossing Street in St. Petersburg
Tampa Bride and Groom Unique Photo in Mirror | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
Unique Bride and Groom Photo in Front of Red Wall with Shark Mural in St. Petersburg
Creative Bride and Groom in Front of Colorful Mural in St. Petersburg
Creative Unique Bride and Groom Reflection in Water St. Petersburg

Where are you going on your honeymoon?
We will be doing a Rhine River cruise for our honeymoon, spending a few extra days in Zurich and Amsterdam. We were originally going in March but have rescheduled to October due to COVID. We wanted to do a European river cruise so that we could visit several countries conveniently; it’s basically a small floating hotel! River cruises are also much smaller than ocean cruises and tend to be all-inclusive which made planning very easy. 

Classic Wedding Reception Decor, White Linens, Wooden and Metal Table Number, Black Geometric Candle Holder | St. Pete Wedding Venue The BIrchwood
Tampa Bride and Groom First Dance Wedding Reception | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Birchwood
St. Petersburg Bride and Groom Photo on Rooftop Overlooking Downtown

What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID?
Accept that you can’t control everything. Things will be different than you imagined but if you remember the reason you wanted to get married in the first place, it won’t matter.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Birchwood *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Venue
Photographer: Concept Photography
Videographer: Bonnie Newman Creative *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Planner: Taylor Falcon Events
Bouquets: TheBloomingWreath (Etsy)
Floral Garland: Flaural (Etsy)
Live Flowers: Greenbouquet Allium Flowers and Greens
Rentals: Treasury Rentals
Cake: Elise’s Pieces
DJ: DJ Cory Barron
Piano: Charles Fernandes
Invitations/Signage: Do Tell Stationery and Design
Dress Shop and Designer: Satin and Lace Bridal BoutiqueCasablanca Bridal
Bridesmaid Dress Shop and Designer: Something Blue Bridal BoutiqueSorella Vita
Hair: Angelica Grace Style Studio
Makeup: Stephen McKinney
Pet Care: FairyTail Pet Care *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro

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.

Tampa Bay Best Local Wedding Venue 2021
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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