Samantha and Matthew’s rustic Tampa Bay wedding featured elegant touches and classic southern charm.
“I wanted an elegant, natural, rustic charm wedding, with the colors of trees and the sky and overall a natural calming look,” the bride explained. “I grew up riding horses and living out in the country, but I didn’t want any cowboy boots or that typical ‘country’ feel.”
The Jacksonville couple initially thought about hosting their wedding on their family’s land, but quickly realized the amount of work involved.
“My dad had always told me that he would love to have my wedding on our property, as it would be an easy venue, and we could pick whatever day we wanted. Though, once I started looking into the details I was extremely overwhelmed with how many things I would need to make it successful,” Samantha shared. “I chose to look at other venues to see if it would make things easier.”
With an entire design team and planning staff to make Samantha and Matthew’s wedding day seamless, Cross Creek Ranch made the couple’s dreams into reality.
“Our wedding venue had the entire package. The staff make you feel so special and hear every wish you want and grant it. Our wedding designer, Ilze, wedding coordinator, Becky and our personal assistants for the day of did such an excellent job that I don’t think any other venue could duplicate,” the bride gushed.
With guidance from their wedding venue, the bride and groom worked with Alessi Bakery to design their dream wedding cake.
“I wanted something simple and beautiful with a focus on us. I particularly loved that we got to incorporate our own cake topper which was perfect for me and my husband,” Samantha explained. “I absolutely loved Alessi Bakery. They were professional and went through everything we wanted with our cake, style and taste to perfection. We loved that each layer could be its own flavor (including a funfetti layer!).”
Looking back, a meaningful moment for the couple was honoring their parents during the wedding ceremony.
“I loved that we had a sand ceremony where we could speak to our parents’ relationships and how much we look up to them and involve them in something we could cherish forever. Our sand ceremony mason jar sits in our bedroom and just creates a foundation for the marriage we want,” Samantha reminisced.
What did you look for in a wedding venue?
Once I realized I didn’t want to do the enormous amount of work that was required to create the perfect wedding, I really wanted something that was very inclusive. Cross Creek Ranch provided so much in their fee without the hassle of having to find outside vendors, and I loved that. It was exactly the opposite of what I thought I would be doing.
I loved how my venue was all-inclusive and that the staff was truly focused on making us happy and making sure everything was flawless from the planning to the day of. They were absolutely amazing! I truly couldn’t imagine what my wedding would have been like without not only the venue, but the entire staff that made it all happen. They went above and beyond to create a fairy tale wedding for me and make sure the day was all about me and my husband.
One thing we always did during our entire relationship was look at the stars on my parents roof because in my hometown they have 10 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. The day of the proposal we had a family event where I had been teasing him about not proposing (along with the rest of our families), since we had been dating for nearly five years at this point. When we got home, Matthew surprised me by taking a ring out and asking me as, we were looking at the stars.
What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
We honestly wanted someone who would play what we wanted without all the cliche, typical wedding songs, but could still have some fun and memorable songs for all ages.
Grant Hemond & Associates did a great job incorporating everything we wanted, while also helping to suggest some songs that may appeal to other generations. They did a phenomenal job, and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better! Everything was flawless from start of the ceremony to the end of the reception.
How would you describe your theme?
I wanted an elegant, natural, rustic wedding. I’ve always felt a little “southern” charm since I grew up riding horses and living out in the country, but I didn’t want any cowboy boots or that typical “country” feel.
What were your colors?
Light blue, brown and tan. I wanted very natural colors because the venue was very natural. I told the staff I wanted the colors of trees and the sky and overall a natural calming look.
What was the inspiration for your wedding cake design?
Our wedding cake was inspired by two different Pinterest cakes I fell in love with. I wanted something simple and beautiful with a focus on us. I particularly loved that we got to incorporate our own cake topper which was perfect for me and my husband. He loves football, and I grew up being a tomboy with three brothers so it showed off our personalities while still keeping it classy.
I absolutely loved Alessi Bakery! Our cake was absolutely gorgeous and really affordable. They were professional and went through everything we wanted with our cake, style and taste to perfection. We loved that each layer could be its own flavor (including a funfetti layer)! They were accommodating since the moment we met them.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
There are so many wonderful venues out there, but definitely consider the amount of work you want to do. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and although I thought it would be easy, it is anything but!
Put aside some of your budget for a wedding planner, and it will be well worth your sanity at the end of it all, or do what I did and find an all-inclusive venue. It was the best decision I could’ve made.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Cross Creek Ranch *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Photographer: KT Crabb Photography
Videographer: Lexoria Wedding Films
Florist: Alta Fleura
Caterer: Hungry Harry’s
Rentals: Cross Creek Ranch
Cake: Alessi Bakery *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
DJ: Grant Hemond and Associates *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Officiant: Aunt of the Bride
Dress Shop and Designer: Jon’s Bridal, Robin Jillian Bridal
Bridesmaid Dress Shop and Designer: Something Blue Bridal Boutique, Bill Levkoff
Hair & Makeup: Collective Creations