Experienced-Filled St. Pete Beach Wedding | The Don CeSar
Wedding

Entertainment-Filled St. Pete Beach Wedding | The Don CeSar

Gordon and Rodger's St. Pete Beach wedding featured an extravagant affair at the iconic Pink Palace. The couple curated a night of exceptional entertainment to transport guests into their fairytale-come-to-life romance, including a fireworks show and surprise drag performance.

“We wanted something grand, an amazing experience for our guests. The day was like a production of the Academy Awards, complete with a soundtrack, hundreds of cues, both of our families fully involved in the event, special guest performances, and amazing sounds and lights; it was a wedding experience never before seen, and almost impossible to reproduce. It was a truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both grooms, our families, and our guests,” Gordon beamed.

The ambiance was a vital detail in constructing the dramatic flair both grooms hoped for. Seeking an all-encompassing winter weekend getaway that featured luxurious rooms and event space that could accommodate even the most high-tech of performances, the couple knew that the Don CeSar was a perfect fit.

“We chose the Don because of its visual impact, style, class, a willingness to allow our fireworks turned laser show, amazing food, and a great destination for our families. The Don was absolutely the most amazing place to marry. It felt like we were being married in a castle,” the groom shared. “They were close, attentive to our many demands, had a great backdrop for our pictures and video, had fantastic food, and perfect spaces for our ceremony, reception, dinner, and dancing. Our families felt like royalty staying there.”

As the Palmetto couple had a clear vision of their wedding day they needed an experienced wedding planner who could execute the plan into reality. Katy Turchich-Martin, the owner of Coastal Coordinating, organized the elaborate decor, dining, and live performances into a seamless event that entertained guests for the entire evening.

“We had a very complicated wedding, not the ordinary for sure. There were so many moving pieces, so many cues, and so many pieces of music and performances,” Gordon detailed. “Coastal Coordinating came highly recommended, and now I know why. They are amazing. I personally thanked them in my toast. Katy was fantastic. If she had charged me double or triple it still wouldn't have been too much. Katy had answers, was very responsive, and I felt very quickly that she could handle the very complicated event, and boy did she. She brought a team; I only expected her. They ran the event like a well-oiled machine like it had been practiced for months.”

Beneva Weddings designed a whimsical floral arch that featured muted fresh florals, pampas grass, and greenery. The unconventional shape and oversized design served as a stunning ceremony backdrop while romantic red rose petals were scattered along the aisle and altar.

“The best, Beneva for sure. We knew that our ceremony arch was atypical and easy to mess up. They nailed it. No regrets here,” the groom praised.

During the reception, an incredible lineup took center stage. In addition to their choreographed first dance, a champagne princess graced the party wearing a dress adorned with specialty blue champagne. The couple's 80 guests gathered on the fifth-floor terrace to watch an epic firework and laser show set to music.

“Truth be told, this wedding more probably accurately reflects my priorities than Rodger's. He did pick the venue, designed the cake, handled most of the flower arrangements, and helped pick the menu,” Gordon shared. “As a gay man, my right to marry was only established in 2015. Having spent most of my life thinking I'd never be able to marry, then thinking there was no one worth marrying, I was blown away when I met Rodger and couldn't imagine my life without him. When we decided to do this it was clear from the beginning that this was going to be a very very big thing.”

While Gordon reminisced on his whimsical wedding, it was a combination of both traditional and unconventional moments that made the entire day memorable for him and Roxger.

“Our entrance from the top of the staircase was most memorable, and our re-entrance to the reception was complete with a choreographed dance routine. Our families came up the aisle, but Rodger and I made our entrance from the top of the three-story staircase in grand style,” the groom reflected. “An amazing laser show choreographed to music was beamed from the roof of the Don visible to our guests on the 5th-story terrace, visible to many hotel guests gathered below, and visible to everyone on St. Pete Beach for miles in both directions. We finished the night with special guest performances by some of Florida's best drag queens.”

St. Petersburg Beach Wedding Venue the Don Cesar
Classic Black and Gold Wedding Invitation with Calla Lily Boutonniere
St. Petersburg Beach Wedding Venue the Don Cesar
White Florals and Greenery Elegant Wedding Décor | St. Petersburg Beach Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Florida Florist Beneva Weddings
White Florals and Greenery Elegant Wedding Décor | St. Petersburg Beach Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Florida Florist Beneva Weddings

How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?

We wanted something grand, an amazing experience for our guests. The day was like a production of the Academy Awards, complete with a soundtrack, hundreds of cues, both of our families fully involved in the event, special guest performances, and amazing sounds and lights; it was a wedding experience never before seen, and almost impossible to reproduce. It was a truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both grooms, our families, and our guests.

What were your colors? 

My favorite color is blue and Rodger's is green, so blue and green.

What did you look for in a wedding florist?

The best, Beneva Weddings for sure. We knew that our ceremony arch was atypical and easy to mess up. They nailed it. No regrets here.

White Florals and Greenery Elegant Half Arch Wedding Décor | St. Petersburg Beach Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Florida Florist Beneva Weddings
Pink and Greenery St. Petersburg Florida Wedding Ceremony at the Don Cesar | St. Pete Wedding Planner Coastal Coordinating

What did you look for in a wedding venue?   

We chose the Don CeSar because of its visual impact, style, class, willingness to allow our fireworks turned laser show, amazing food, and a great destination for our families. The Don was absolutely the most amazing place to marry. It felt like we were being married in a castle.

They were close, attentive to our many demands, had a great backdrop for our pictures and video, had fantastic food, and perfect spaces for our ceremony, reception, dinner, and dancing. Our families felt like royalty staying there.

Pink and Greenery St. Petersburg Florida Wedding Ceremony at the Don Cesar | St. Pete Wedding Planner Coastal Coordinating
Grooms at the Alter Exchanging Vows in Same Sex Wedding at the Don Cesar
Grooms First Kiss at the Alter on Wedding Day Portrait | St. Petersburg Wedding Planner Coastal Coordinating

The Proposal:
Nighttime at the Selby Gardens Christmas light show in Sarasota. Bent knee with amazing lighting backdrop in front of family and friends.

Where did you host your bachelor party?
A cocktail bar in St. Pete the Friday before our Saturday wedding. We know the owners and the management. They took great care of us and our friends.

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
A Caribbean cruise. We wanted to sail on the new Carnival Mardi Gras.

Groom and Groom Just Married Wedding Portrait | St. Petersburg Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Groom and Groom Just Married Wedding Portrait | St. Petersburg Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Groom and Groom Just Married Wedding Portrait | St. Petersburg Wedding Venue The Don Cesar

What did you look for in a wedding planner?

We had a very complicated wedding, not the ordinary for sure. There were so many moving pieces, so many cues, and so many pieces of music and performances. Coastal Coordinating came highly recommended, and now I know why. They are amazing. I personally thanked them in my toast. Katy was fantastic. If she had charged me double or triple it still wouldn't have been too much. Katy had answers, was very responsive, and I felt very quickly that she could handle the very complicated event, and boy did she. She brought a team; I only expected her. They ran the event like a well-oiled machine like it had been practiced for months.

Four Tier Green and Blue Accent White Wedding Cake
Circ De Soli Style Cocktail Server at Wedding Reception
Drag Wedding Performance at Same Sex Marriage

Which vendors really exceeded your expectations and how?
Coastal Coordinating, Beneva Weddings, and our videographer and DJ all did amazing jobs. Our video investment was well spent. They started shadowing us the night before at the rehearsal dinner and all through the wedding day. Who could possibly not want to relive the day with this kind of detail for years?  The staff at the Don CeSar was experienced, professional, attentive,  and unforgettable.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Combine your wedding, reception, and accommodations if possible for a seamless all-wrapped together experience. It's better for you and your guests, especially your out-of-town guests. Preserve the day with a professional video. An amazing coordinator will give you time to enjoy and remember your day. Choose wisely or you'll end up working on your special day, and it will go by in a blink.

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits

 

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