Melissa and Daniel’s traditional downtown Tampa wedding was planned, postponed, and then changed a third time, all due to the COVID pandemic. However, the Tampa couple took it in stride and were able to host a stunning socially-distanced wedding for their reduced guest list of 170 friends and family.
“COVID presented many challenges during the planning of our wedding. Our original wedding date was April 25, 2020, which represented a 7-year anniversary of when we started dating; however, four weeks before the wedding the CDC basically put everyone on lockdown. We chose a new date, July 11, 2020, then in June our original venue notified us that their Grand Ballroom could not accommodate proper social distancing, so we needed to move the reception to a different venue that has a larger Ballroom,” the bride shared. “As time drew closer to the new wedding date, many guests changed their RSVPs because they were fearful of attending a large event or they had been exposed or actually had the virus. Our guest list decreased from 280 to 170.”
The couple had previously modeled for a Marry Me Tampa Bay wedding inspiration shoot and turned to the wedding publication for the planning and re-planning, of their special day.
“Marry Me Tampa Bay was a helpful resource during our wedding process. They gave us exposure to many vendors and helped us select vendors. We found our photographer through Marry Me Tampa Bay,” the bride beamed. “We also were models for a Marry Me Tampa Bay photoshoot which allowed us to meet several vendors firsthand.”
Melissa and Daniel’s biggest priority was celebrating with their closest friends and family, and they hired a seasoned wedding photographer who could capture the excitement of their celebration.
“When we were selecting a wedding photographer, the quality of past wedding pictures and communication with the photographer were the most important qualities. Carrie, the owner of Carrie Wildes Photography, was warm and passionate about covering our wedding. Her pictures were beautiful with much thought put into every shot!” Melissa gushed.
Over the course of her wedding day, Melissa remembers one particular moment that stood out above all the rest, just after the pair exchanged vows.
“When we walked out of the church as man and wife and saw a horse-drawn carriage waiting to take us to our venue, that was the best moment of the wedding!” the bride reminisced.
I was a Sundoll dancer at the University of South Florida. During a time out at one of the basketball games, I was on the court when the fan cam zoomed onto Daniel in the stands holding up my engagement ring. He then ran down onto the court and in front of the entire arena got down on one knee and proposed with the song Perfect playing.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
When we were selecting a wedding photographer, the quality of past wedding pictures and communication with the photographer were the most important qualities. Carrie, the owner of Carrie Wildes Photography, was warm and passionate about covering our wedding. Her pictures were beautiful with much thought put into every shot!
What was your wedding cake design inspiration?
We selected The Artistic Whisk because we tasted their cake at a bridal show and loved their flavors. We wanted each layer of the cake to be elegant and beautiful using our theme colors. Our flavor selections were almond raspberry and coconut with roasted pineapple.
What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID-19?
If a couple wants to get married during this pandemic, go for it. The people who want to see you marry will still be there for you and everything works out one way or another.
Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Reception Venue & Caterer: Tampa Marriott Water Street
Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Videographer: Resurgent Fire Films
Florist: The Bride’s Bouquet
Rentals, Linens, and Decor: Gabro Event Services
Cake: The Artistic Whisk *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Officiant: Friar Salim
Invitations: Lili V The Company
Carriage: Wind Chase Farm
Dress: CC’s Bridal Boutique
Tuxedos: Sacino’s Formalwear
Hair & Makeup: 7th Stage Salon
Violinist: Laurie Vodnoy-Wright
Photobooth: Complete Weddings
Dry Ice Cloud: Spark Wedding Events
DJ, Lighting and Cigar Roller: Wild Out Entertainment
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.