Katie and Andy began their careers in downtown Tampa, met in downtown Tampa and lived near downtown Tampa, so it only made sense that the pair married there too.
“We both grew up in Tampa, and after years of living outside of Tampa, we decided to move back to our hometown to start our life as a married couple,” the bride shared. “We knew we wanted to be married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, so it was an easy choice to pick a downtown location for our reception venue as well.”
The couple hosted an elegant, traditional wedding ceremony, focused on family and religion.
“Our wedding ceremony, especially the choice of our scriptures, hymns and prayers, was a very important element of our wedding,” Katie explained. “My uncle, a Methodist minister, gave the final blessing at the end of our ceremony, and I did my ‘first look' with my father rather than with my groom before we left for the ceremony.”
Just steps from Sacred Heart, The Floridan Palace Hotel offered all the grandeur the couple needed to complement their ornate ceremony location.
“The Floridan has the most beautiful and elegant grand ballroom that has touches of ivory, gold and my favorite color, dusty sea mist. It is such a magical room, and it just felt right to us,” the bride gushed. “Toula and Katrina were wonderful to work with. I felt that they supported me as a bride, and they were very patient as we worked out logistics for a very large wedding.”
To combine the Florida lifestyle with a classic “old Tampa” feel, Katie and Andy incorporated gold accents with tall white and ivory centerpieces by Northside Florist, specialty textured linens from Kate Ryan Linens and Florida shaped cookie favors from Alessi Bakeries.
Looking back, one of the bride's most cherished memories came just after she and Andy said their “I Do's.”
“Our most memorable moment was the quiet moment we had alone together immediately after our ceremony in the church. We just looked at each other and cried tears of joy. We were so happy to be married, and it was one of the most lovely, tender moments I had ever experienced,” Katie reminisced.
In December, after my law school finals, Andy took me to Sand Key Beach for a relaxing weekend to celebrate the end of the semester. He had made reservations at the Columbia Restaurant on Sand Key and before dinner, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was there that he proposed down by the water!
Little did I know that he had a dear family friend photographing the entire event. Both of our families were waiting for us at the restaurant to celebrate; he had been planning the proposal for four months.
What did you look for in a wedding venue?
We knew we wanted to be married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and that we wanted to have our reception downtown. The weekend before Andy proposed, we had lunch with our moms at the Floridan Palace Hotel. I had never been to the Floridan, I but knew it was a historic Tampa hotel that had recently been renovated. After lunch, we all took a look around to see the style and architecture “just for fun,” according to my mom.
Once we started wedding planning, the Floridan was an easy choice for our reception venue. Not only is it right down the street from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, but it has the most beautiful and elegant grand ballroom that has touches of ivory, gold and my favorite color, dusty sea mist. It is such a magical room, and it just felt right to us. Toula and Katrina were wonderful to work with. I felt that they supported me as a bride, and they were very patient as we worked out logistics for a very large wedding.
How would you describe your theme?
Classic elegance with a nod to the beach, a twist of old Tampa and homage to our home state of Florida. I am a traditional girl, and I wanted to be able to look back on our wedding and not regret any style choices.
Because Andy proposed to me on Sand Key Beach in Clearwater, Florida, we wanted to bring in an aspect of the beach without clashing with the aesthetic of classic elegance and without bringing in the beach too literally.
Both the historic Floridan Palace Hotel and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa were already decorated with our color palette and also brought in the “old Tampa” feel that we wanted. We also wanted to tastefully showcase our love for our home state of Florida, which we brought in by including it on our paper products and our cookie favor.
What were your colors?
I think the most beautiful color combination in the world is ivory, gold and deep sea mist, and we tried to stay true to that palette throughout.
What did you look for in wedding linens?
I did not realize how picky about linens I would be until I actually started going through linen selection process. I was hoping to incorporate beautiful, classic, and luxurious looking linens into our wedding decor that I hadn't seen at other weddings or on other wedding blogs.
I saw a beautiful table in a wedding magazine put together by Kate Ryan Linens, so I went to their showroom. Kristin's linen selection met my criteria of unique, not overdone, beautiful, classic and luxurious linens at a fair price point. She was so patient and great to work with. She made extra special efforts to ensure that my linen dreams were realized.
What did you look for in a wedding florist?
I looked for a florist who had great taste with fair prices. We hired Northside Florist because Kathy came highly recommended from family friends. My family had also received and purchased flowers from Northside Florist, and we were always impressed with the quality and design.
Kathy was attentive to our requests and my vision, and she delivered classic, elegant and beautiful arrangements. She also provided beautiful draping for the entrance to the ballroom and spent extra time to make it work.
What did you look for in a wedding cake baker?
I was looking for a traditional bakery with delicious cakes. Growing up, on the rare occasion that my mom didn't make sweet Italian treats from scratch, we always got them at Alessi Bakeries. Alessi's is a Tampa tradition, and I wanted to incorporate a Tampa tradition into the fabric of our wedding; it was a perfect match.
Melissa spent quality time with us and made us feel like we were her only appointment of the day. She understood my vision and incorporated all of my sketches into the most perfect and delicious wedding cake. She also designed and baked the gorgeous and delicious Florida shaped cookies (with pearlized frosting) that we provided as wedding favors.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
I will pass on the best advice I was given before our wedding: pause at different points throughout your ceremony and reception to take it all in. It is easy to let the day and night slip by without being “present” in the moment.
Send up a prayer of thanks. Take the time to marvel at the fact that you have found your soulmate; the person you will share your life with. Delight at the fact that you are surrounded by those who love you the most; they have taken the time to be with you and celebrate this blessed occasion with you.
Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Floridan Palace Hotel *Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Photographer: Anna Kirby Photography
Videographer: Movie Magic Productions
Planner: Burkle Events
Florist: Northside Florist
Caterer: Floridan Palace Hotel
Linen Rentals: Kate Ryan Linens
Cake: Alessi Bakeries *Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Band and Lighting: Phase5
Officiant: Father Zachary Elliott
Invitations: A&P Design Co. *Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Paper Goods: Green Duck Stationary
Dress Shop and Designer: The Dressing Room – Justin Alexander
Bridesmaid Dresses: JCrew
Hair & Makeup: DB Studios