Intimate St. Pete Elopement | Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club
Wedding

Intimate St. Pete Elopement | Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club

Whitney and Ryne's intimate St. Petersburg beach wedding was an affair well worth the wait. Delayed over three times due to the pandemic, the 35-guest beachfront ceremony ended up perfectly representing the couple's elegant and cultured personalities.

“We went from a 200+ person wedding in my husband's hometown to a 35-person wedding here in St. Pete. As COVID worsened, we started looking into courthouse weddings in Chicago but decided that wasn't really our style. We considered a destination wedding here with a 100-person guest list, but it ended up being way out of our budget, and we couldn't cut the list down to just 100 without leaving important people out,” the bride explained. “So we switched gears to a Tampa courthouse wedding with our immediate families only. By the time we moved to Florida, COVID had gotten worse in Florida, and the courthouse stopped performing wedding ceremonies as well. I was completely overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel. I started researching elopement-type weddings, even though it wasn't ever what we had imagined doing. I wanted to still make it a special day with our nearest and dearest without the price tag since we had just moved across the country.”

After what had felt like an impossible journey to the altar, a serendipitous scroll on Instagram led Whitney to the ideal solution for her wedding day woes, an intimate elopement planner.

“I came across Elope Tampa Bay on Instagram, and I thought the concept was so great. The selection of venues and pricing was almost too good to be true. So much so that I actually decided not to commit after my initial conversation with Emily and Melanie because my head was spinning in a million directions at the time. I think I had a little bit of PTSD and was afraid to get my hopes up about a real wedding again,” the bride shared. “Emily and Melanie, wedding planners with Elope Tampa Bay, are truly the sweetest people and a huge part of the reason that we were able to be excited about moving forward with the elopement-style wedding. They listened to my concerns and our budget and literally took all of the work out of my hands instantly. They never pushed us to spend more and actually helped us get a discount with the venue as well as provided a military discount. It was the first time in the entire wedding planning process that I truly felt at ease and like everything was going to work out. I didn't have to worry about a single thing, and it felt so good!”

While focusing on moving forward in the wedding planning process, the couple left Chicago in the rearview as they selected a venue conveniently located to their new Florida home. In addition to the private beach and marina, Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club offered the couple flexibility and backup options which were a huge stress relief to the bride.

“We wanted something on the beach without literally being on the beach. We also needed somewhere that would photograph well and have lots of different settings for pictures since it would be a short and sweet day,” Whitney shared. “We chose Isla Del Sol because of the beautiful location and convenience of where we live now. It had a tiled walkway so I wouldn’t have to walk in the sand in heels as I didn’t want to go barefoot, and the gazebo with the palm trees made for stunning photos. Their service was absolutely amazing. Their wedding coordinator was so sweet and helped everything go smoothly the day of. There was an indoor area for my husband and me to wait in the air conditioning while our guests arrived and got seated. They also had an indoor backup area to do the ceremony in case of inclement weather, which took away the stress of worrying about the afternoon Florida thunderstorms.”

Wanting to stay true to the details Whitney had planned for their original wedding, Elope Tampa Bay prioritized customizing the bride's bouquet with the exact blooms she had chosen before the pandemic even started.

“I was really obsessed with customizing my bouquet from the beginning of wedding planning, which was another thing that sold me on Elope Tampa Bay. They allowed me to pick whatever flowers I wanted and from multiple sizes. I sent a few example pictures from Pinterest and their florist literally killed it with what she put together! I loved it so much,” the bride gushed. “I always knew I wanted burgundy protea and blue thistle in my bouquet when I was planning our autumn wedding in the Midwest, so this helped me incorporate a little bit of my original wedding theme into our new plans.”

In order for the bride to feel as beautiful as her dream bouquet, Femme Akoi Beauty Studio created a beach-inspired glam look that kept her long blonde hair flowing in the beachy breeze while remaining effortlessly elegant.

While looking back on the long-anticipated ceremony, it was the moment she and Ryne locked eyes for the first time that brought back all the feelings.

“The most memorable moment for me was our first look. I was so freaking nervous and excited,” Whitney exclaimed. “My heart was pounding out of my chest like it was our first date. I’ll never forget the look on his face!”

St. Pete Florida Isla Del Sol Elopement
First Look with Bride and Groom | Tampa Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
First Look with Bride and Groom | Tampa Makeup Artist Femme Akoi

The Proposal:
Ryne and I rode bikes down to the lakefront of Lake Michigan in Chicago by our old apartment. We sat down on the steps near the trail that look directly across the lake into the skyline. I thought we were just hanging out enjoying one of the last nights of summer, and before I knew it, Ryne was down on one knee proposing. He had his best friend hide out in the background with a group of strangers that he gathered to help him take pictures of the proposal. His friend came out afterward and surprised us with a bottle of champagne. It was so sweet!

Bride and Groom First Look Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Bride and Groom First Look Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi

What did you look for in a wedding hair and makeup artist?

I looked for someone who could do both hair and makeup, and who could travel to me since I was going to be getting ready at home with my mom and sister. I also wanted someone who could give me a natural beachy look, nothing too glam.

Our planners recommended Femme Akoi Beauty Studio, and I was very happy with them. I went to my trial and hit it off with my stylist right away. She nailed my look on the first try and was so nice and personable.

Detail Shot of Bride and Groom with Boho Rose and Greenery Bouquet | Florida Wedding Venue Isla Del Sol
Outdoor Florida Wedding Ceremony Isla Del Sol
Intimate Elopement Outdoor Florida Wedding Ceremony Isla Del Sol | Elope Tampa Bay

What did you look for in a wedding venue?

We wanted something on the beach without literally being on the beach. We also needed somewhere that would photograph well and have lots of different settings for pictures since it would be a short and sweet day.

We chose Isla Del Sol Yacht & Country Club because of the beautiful location and convenience of where we live now. It had a tiled walkway so I wouldn’t have to walk in the sand in heels as I didn’t want to go barefoot, and the gazebo with the palm trees made for stunning photos. Their service was absolutely amazing. Their wedding coordinator was so sweet and helped everything go smoothly the day of. There was an indoor area for my husband and me to wait in the air conditioning while our guests arrived and got seated. They also had an indoor backup area to do the ceremony in case of inclement weather, which took away the stress of worrying about the afternoon Florida thunderstorms.

Intimate Elopement Outdoor Florida Wedding Ceremony Isla Del Sol | Elope Tampa Bay
Just Married Wedding Portrait Bride and Groom Elopement | Florida Wedding Ceremony Isla Del Sol | Elope Tampa Bay
Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Bride and Groom Intimate Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Bride and Groom Intimate Hand Portrait and Halo Diamond Silver Engagement Ring Wedding Portrait
Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Boho Burgundy, Coral, and Purple Bridal Bouquet with Greenery
Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Florida Makeup Artist Femme Akoi
Champagne Table with Florals Beach Side for Elopement | Elope Tampa Bay

Why did you choose to have an elopement-style wedding?

I came across Elope Tampa Bay on Instagram, and I thought the concept was so great. The selection of venues and pricing was almost too good to be true. So much so that I actually decided not to commit after my initial conversation with Emily and Melanie because my head was spinning in a million directions at the time. I think I had a little bit of PTSD and was afraid to get my hopes up about a real wedding again.

Emily and Melanie, wedding planners with Elope Tampa Bay, are truly the sweetest people and a huge part of the reason that we were able to be excited about moving forward with the elopement-style wedding. They listened to my concerns and our budget and literally took all of the work out of my hands instantly. They never pushed us to spend more and actually helped us get a discount with the venue as well as provided a military discount. It was the first time in the entire wedding planning process that I truly felt at ease and like everything was going to work out. I didn't have to worry about a single thing, and it felt so good!

Champagne Table with Florals Beach Side for Elopement | Elope Tampa Bay
Champagne Table with Rose Florals and Greenery Beach Side for Elopement | Elope Tampa Bay
One Tier Boho White Wedding Cake with Rose and Greenery Detail
Bride and Groom Florida Elopement | Elope Tampa Bay

Which vendors really exceeded your expectations and how?
All of my vendors exceeded my expectations, but I have to say that our photographer was the star of the show. Our pictures turned out so amazing, I couldn’t imagine them any better. We get compliments on them every time anyone sees them hanging in our house, in our album, etc. She does really special work and was so much fun to be around the day of!

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits

 

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