Although the Sandra and JJ live in Tampa, their Tampa golf course wedding still felt like a destination wedding.
“We chose Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club because it felt like a beautiful getaway. Away from home, but not too far!” the bride gushed. “They have 25 huge, beautiful suites to stay and get ready in and a gorgeous space for the ceremony and reception. We wanted our wedding to be as comfortable and simple as possible for our wedding guests. We didn’t want them to have to travel from one location to another; we wanted to provide a location so that everyone could have a good time and be worry-free, without driving.”
With the proper planning in place, a little rain didn't damper Sandra and JJ's outdoor Tampa wedding ceremony.
“It rains all the time in Tampa, so having the outdoor ceremony space covered with beautiful white columns was a huge selling point for us!” Sandra said. “And sure enough, it rained on our wedding day, but it didn’t mess a thing up, thankfully!”
The Tampa couple integrated their deep faith into their religious wedding ceremony.
“One of our top priorities within the wedding was to keep our spirituality. It’s fantastic to celebrate, but we also wanted to make it clear that God gave us this day,” the bride shared. “We incorporated our favorite and meaningful Christian song into the ceremony as I walked down the aisle, and we incorporated the Unity Cross, which signified our love and passion to God as individuals and as a married couple.”
Wedding photography was a top priority for Sandra and JJ, so they hired Tampa wedding photographer Marc Edwards Photographs.
“I wanted someone unique, hip and good! I was looking for someone who would capture the moments as they were, instead of posing the entire time,” the bride explained. “I chose Marc Edwards because I looked at his previous work and loved everything about it. Not only is he an extremely talented photographer, he is an awesome guy. It was a true pleasure working with him!”
Since JJ and I were together for only eight months before he asked me, the proposal was a complete shock! We were eating dinner at his parents' lake house, like we typically do Sunday nights. After dinner, he asked me if I wanted to take the boat out to watch the sunset, like every other Sunday, I said “of course”!
JJ was holding me in his arms and funny enough I was telling HIM how unbelievably grateful I was for him. He turned it around with an amazing little speech and went down on one knee and popped the question, I saw him reach into the boat glove box to pull out a little red box, I FLIPPED! It was such a SHOCK, I immediately started crying tears of joy, kissed him and said “YES”!
My whole body was shaking, and I was sitting on his lap while he was driving the boat back. I asked him, ‘Who all knows?' He said, ‘No one, let's go tell my parents. We turned the corner to his parents' dock and from a distance I could see all of my dearest, closest friends and family waiting with sparklers in their hand and along the bank to congratulate us! I immediately started balling, AGAIN!
When we got off the boat to greet all of our family and friends we went back into the house and a gorgeous dessert bar with champagne was all set out. It gets even better, there were two chairs that said bride and groom on it on the patio (which was even a surprise to JJ). We were told to sit down and ENJOY. The love song “This will be” started playing and both of our parents started dancing to a choreographed dance, it was truly AMAZING! Better yet, towards the end of the song all of our friends joined in like a flash mob. My engagement night truly tops the charts.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
Good photography was one of my biggest requests for our wedding. I wanted someone unique, hip and good! I was looking for someone who would capture the moments as they were, instead of posing the entire time. I wanted good quality photos that were unique and different.
I chose Marc Edwards because I looked at his previous work and loved everything about it. When we met him, we had to say “Yes!” He was genuine, laid back, fun, in the know with things and very talented! Not only is he an extremely talented photographer, he is an awesome guy. It was a true pleasure working with him!
Marc truly cared what we thought about our photos, and he wanted us to feel comfortable. For example, it ended up raining towards the end of our engagement shoot, instead of just giving us the photos that we got, which was still a great variety, he gave us the option of doing it over. To me that was out of the ordinary and above and beyond; he wanted us to be happy.
What did you look for in a wedding venue?
One of JJ’s biggest requests for the whole wedding was that the ceremony and reception spot were to be at the same location. We didn’t want to have to travel anywhere.
We chose Tampa Palms because everything was there! They have 25 huge, beautiful suites to stay and get ready in and a gorgeous space for the ceremony and reception. I wanted an outdoor ceremony. It rains all the time in Tampa, so having the outdoor ceremony space covered with beautiful white columns was a huge selling point for us! And sure enough, it rained on our wedding day, but it didn’t mess a thing up, thankfully!
The services at Tampa Palms were FANTASTIC! I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the services, everything was smooth, stress-free and worry-free! We couldn’t have picked a better venue, the staff was amazing and food was delicious!
How would you describe your theme?
Simplistic, rustic elegance. We are very traditional and simple people; we knew we wanted something rustic yet elegant, so we intertwined the two.
What were your colors?
We chose simple colors: ivory, grey, brown and burlap. We love earth tones, so we stuck with that!
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Hire a day of coordinator. I cannot express enough how big of a blessing it was to have one on the big day. It gives the bride peace of mind and also gives your bridesmaids and moms a chance to relax with you instead of running around trying to coordinate things themselves.
Also, let go of the small things! If something doesn’t work out perfectly the way you planned, let it go. Chances are your guests will never know the difference. Plus you're just stressing yourself out with worry, instead of truly enjoying and taking the day in.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Venue
Photographer: Marc Edwards Photographs *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Vendor
Videographer: Fairy Tale Productions
Planner: Days Remembered by ND
Florist: Buds, Blooms & Beyond
Caterer: Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club
Rentals: Tampa Lights
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Vendor
Officiant: Pastor Joshua Hawk
Dress Shop: Jim Hjelm
Bridesmaid Dresses: After Six
Makeup: Danielle Sabatello Makeup Artist
Groomsmen Suits: Men's Wearhouse
S'mores Favors: The Southern Wedding Belle's