Intimate Red, White, and Blue July 4th Backyard Brunch Wedding

Lauren and Jason originally planned an August wedding in Washington state, but due to COVID-19 and Jason’s impending schedule within the NHL “bubble,” the Brandon couple pivoted and planned a socially-distanced wedding within a mere 10 days! The intimate celebration took place in the backyard of their new Tampa Bay home, with 10 guests in attendance and another 60 friends and family joining virtually via the internet.

The couple opted for a brunch wedding on Independence Day, with a patriotic color scheme.

“Our theme was ‘Red, White, and Berger’ as it was a play on the holiday and Jason’s last name,” Lauren explained. “Our colors were red, white, and blue as we got married on the Fourth of July.”

When the global pandemic threatened their destination wedding plans, the bride and groom decided to plan a local micro wedding followed by a larger celebration in 2022 at their original wedding locale.

“We also had to change the venue and all vendors from Washington to Florida. Almost all guests were in-attendance via Zoom instead of in-person. We did not have a reception with dancing and announcing; we are waiting for our family to be able to see it and experience it in person in 2022 Washington!”

Not only did the couple have to replan the entire wedding from one end of the country to the next in fewer than two weeks, they also moved into new home, and groom became part of the Tampa Bay Lightening’s Stanley Cup win.

“COVID upended our wedding and honeymoon. Jason is an Assistant Equipment Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the NHL planned to return to play on July 26, 2020, with testing and other protocols beginning well before that date. Since our wedding was scheduled for August 8, 2020, we had to change it. We bought our home, moved in, and held a wedding in it all within a span of three weeks,” the bride shared. “We had a mid-morning brunch wedding on the 4th of July that we planned in just ten days. The following day, Jason went back to work because the Lightning had a championship to win, so we only recently went on our socially-distanced honeymoon to the North Georgia mountains in a private cabin.”

Since all of the previous vendors were located in Washington state, the bride turned to Marry Me Tampa Bay to find local vendors on short notice.

“We found our photographer and hair and makeup artist from tagged Marry Me Tampa Bay Instagram photos,” Lauren shared.

The bride says the most memorable part of their celebration was being able to share it with their loved ones, many of whom they had not seen in months.

“Making sure our friends and family were able to watch even though they were not physically present [was important]. Seeing all of our friends and family on two screens and being able to talk with them before and after the ceremony in our new house was very memorable. We hadn’t seen most of them since before the pandemic started, so we were very excited to see their faces for a happy moment in a time of uncertainty and anxiety,” Lauren reminisced.

The couple embraced an intimate wedding during this unique time in history, and Lauren encourages other couples to consider doing the same.

“It is still possible to have an absolutely perfect – and safe – wedding day, even if you have to change wedding dates, venue locations, all vendors, and have nearly all family and friends attend via the internet!” Lauren insisted.

The Proposal:
Jason coordinated the entire proposal with our friends and co-workers in Tampa on the Riverwalk. At the time we were living downtown and within walking distance of the Riverwalk.

Earlier in the day, my girlfriends had texted me that we were all going out to have a fun girls night; however, when I went to leave, Jason said he would walk me over to Remedy. I skeptically agreed, and as we were walking along the Riverwalk, Jason explained how much he loved me and got down on one knee with a gorgeous diamond. I then heard screaming and clapping from about 100 feet away where our friends and co-workers were waiting with champagne and cigars and food to celebrate.

What were your colors?
Red, white, and blue as we got married on the Fourth of July.

What was your theme?
Our theme was ‘Red, White, and Berger’ as it was a play on the holiday and Jason’s last name.

What elements of your wedding were the most important?
Being able to get married before the NHL bubble began was definitely the most important! A close second was making sure our friends and family were able to watch even though they were not physically present. We also wanted to make sure our vendors and neighbors had great food so we hired a chef whom Jason knew from work, to prepare an incredible brunch.

What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID?
We moved up the date because we were genuinely so excited to be married to each other. We didn’t care if we couldn’t have a picturesque wedding we had already planned. Luckily, it still turned out beautiful and fun!

It is still possible to have an absolutely perfect – and safe – wedding day even if you have to change wedding dates, venue locations, all vendors, and have nearly all family and friends attend via the internet!

Venue: Couple’s Home
Photographer: Caroline Thomas Photography
Florist: Eryn Zeller Floral Designs
Caterer: Chef Eric Kuhn
Cake: Publix
Officiant: Jamie Joyce
Dress: Martina Liana
Hair and Makeup: Style Hair and Makeup
Paper Decorations: Party Perfect Boutique
Flower Wall Tiles: TableClothes Factory
Groom’s Suit: Indochino

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.


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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