Bride and Groom in Gucci Wallpaper Backdrop Wedding Portrait | South Tampa Venue Hyde House

Modern Red South Tampa Asian Wedding | Hyde House Public Studio

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Rachael and JT’s South Tampa wedding was a fusion of Chinese-inspired modernity, celebrating their love, shared food passion, and rich Asian heritage. Embodying moody elegance with a contemporary twist, their unique celebration was steeped in meaningful symbolism, including vibrant splashes of red, a nod to their cultural roots and the bride’s favorite makeup shade.

“I would describe our wedding as Chinese-inspired with a modern twist. JT is half Filipino, and I am Chinese, so we both have Asian roots. We initially bonded over our love of food when we first met, and while our palettes are especially broad, we do have a soft spot for Asian cuisine. Our wedding website was titled, It’s A Bao Time, referencing our shared love of dim sum and bao buns and the amount of time it took us to get married (eight years together),” the bride detailed. “I chose neutral colors, such as white, sage, champagne, black, and gray, with red as our accent color. Red is often associated with vitality, happiness, luck, and fortune within Chinese culture. It is a color known for its life-giving energy, not to mention it is my favorite shade of lipstick.”

With a contemporary wedding venue in mind for their 60-guest March celebration, Rachael and JT found their venue through the archive of inspiration featured on the Marry Me Tampa Bay website.

“I found Hyde House through Marry Me Tampa Bay’s styled shoots and weddings featured there. I primarily used Marry Me Tampa Bay as wedding inspiration, and I loved getting to see the shoots and how different couples executed their visions on their wedding day,” the bride shared. 

Wanting a wedding planner who embraced creativity and non-conventional norms, the Tampa couple selected Delaney from Wilder Mind Events for her dynamic spirit and charismatic demeanor, and became not only a client but also part of the company.

“I needed someone who was not afraid to be a little unconventional and wild. JT and I wanted our wedding to reflect our laid-back energy as a couple and did not want to follow typical traditions. We wanted something memorable and uniquely us,” Rachael explained. “I inquired with a handful of wedding planners, but my phone call with Delaney confirmed that ‘girls who get it, get it. Those who don’t, don’t.’ I just knew she was our perfect match. I absolutely adore Delaney and all of the Wilder Mind Events team. During my planning process, I actually reached out to Delaney and became one of her day of coordination assistants, so I was able to gain hands-on experience in the wedding world and see how she and her team worked executing wedding weekends. Wilder Minds embodies what it means to be a chill, easygoing, type-A person. Last minute change to the ceremony lineup? Handled. Vendors who need a detailed wedding itinerary of load-in and out times? Done. Does the bride want a waterfall or a menu napkin fold? Waterfall, we spoke about it this morning. On my wedding day, I think Delaney asked me a total of three questions and coordinated and handled the rest. Did I know about the wedding crashers who tried to utilize my open bar? Nope. Did I stress out over the random morning market that went past the proposed end time and prevented my vendors from reaching the venue? Nope. I cannot even begin to tell you how flawlessly my wedding weekend went, and it was because I hired some of the best women in the business.”

Rachael, who was adopted from China, always desired a stronger connection to her roots, which culminated in her unique vision for her wedding. Intertwining elements of Chinese culture into the ceremony, she set out to create a celebration that not only acknowledged her heritage but also revealed parts of her past.

“I wanted to incorporate my Chinese culture into the wedding, as I was adopted from China when I was an infant. My whole life, I had felt disconnected from my culture growing up, but with such a life-changing event, I wanted to see if I could find a way to honor my roots. Because of that, I styled many of our wedding elements around Chinese culture,” Rachael revealed. “Dragons were featured on our wedding invitations, Chinese calligraphy on my nails, paper lanterns were used as a table centerpiece, and we even had custom fortune cookies as wedding favors, as a way to honor how Americanized I have become over the years. JT was always supportive and respectful and knew that honoring a part of me that I struggled to love growing up healed my inner child.”

With a modern aesthetic in mind, Rachael incorporated contemporary black-rimmed glass chargers, sleek black flatware, and clear acrylic seating from Kate Ryan Event Rentals, complemented by a mix of red and clear glassware for an added flair.

Kate Ryan Event Rentals was one of the only rental companies that had the décor that would fit the overall aesthetic of our wedding. We loved the clean, modern look of black-rimmed glass chargers, black flatware, and ghost chairs, but we also utilized crushed satin tablecloths for some shine and texture, with red linens gracing our sweetheart table and dessert table. I also loved how we mixed and matched red and clear glassware for a unique look,” the bride detailed. “Drue allowed us to come in and do a table mockup prior to booking with them, so we got to see how everything worked together. I was also making last-minute alterations to our event order ten days prior to the wedding, and they were able to accommodate us.”

While Rachael reminisced on their day, it was JT’s moving vows that became a profound highlight, while their private cocktail hour gave them a chance to rehearse their surprise choreographed first dance.

“JT and I maximized our time together during our wedding. We did not get ready in separate spaces, and we ordered a ton of catering for the morning of, so all of our wedding party was able to mingle and able to soak in every moment together leading up to venue time,” the bride reminisced. “A core memory was when JT recited his vows. Over the years, I have realized that he does not express his emotions through words; rather, he does it through acts of service. In our eight years together, I’ve only seen him cry twice prior to our wedding, but during his vows, he spoke from his heart, got choked up, and could not finish them. His tears expressed everything, and I never felt more special.”


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How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
I would describe our wedding as Chinese-inspired with a modern twist. JT is half Filipino, and I am Chinese, so we both have Asian roots. We initially bonded over our love of food when we first met, and while our palettes are especially broad, we do have a soft spot for Asian cuisine.

What were your colors?
I chose neutral colors, such as white, sage, champagne, black, and gray, with red as our accent color. Red is often associated with vitality, happiness, luck, and fortune within Chinese culture. It is a color known for its life-giving energy, not to mention it is my favorite shade of lipstick.

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How did you incorporate your personalities into the wedding?
We are not the couple who likes being the center of attention; we avoid it if we can. So, we wanted to create a day where we felt at ease. Our DJ, James King, allowed us to put together our pre-ceremony playlist, which included orchestrated versions of our favorite video games, Studio Ghibli, and Disney movies. Instead of a traditional walk down the aisle, JT, his mom, and his groomsmen jammed down the aisle to Finesse by Bruno Mars and handed out Redbulls to our guests. I chose JT’s brother, Jayar, to accompany me down the aisle and used my favorite orchestral version of I See the Light from the movie Tangled.

I also wrote our entire wedding ceremony program and kept it casual, sentimental, and humorous. Our guests definitely chuckled more than a few times throughout it, especially when we played Lizzo’s About Damn Time as we walked down the aisle as a married couple.

Our personalized gifts to each other reflected our personalities perfectly as well. JT knows that if there’s an opportunity to be sappy, I will always take it. So, I commissioned my favorite poet, Beau Taplin, to create a customized poem to express my love for him. He gifted me a succulent and botanical Lego set, as I love plants but could never keep them alive.

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The Proposal:
JT proposed on our seven-year anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants in Orlando, Susuru. He encouraged me to invite one of my best friends, Tiffany, from California, to visit for our anniversary weekend, “as we’ve celebrated enough of them solo; you deserve to celebrate with your best friend here.” He also made sure my other best friend, Linh, was present. Little did I know, the three of them had been conspiring on an engagement plan since he bought the ring. I’ll never forget what happened the night before our anniversary, as I broke down in tears, asking why he had not proposed yet. He sat there and took my verbal, emotional roasting, and less than 24 hours later, I was sobbing through saying ‘Yes!’ and apologizing for my breakdown.

Bride and Groom Just Married Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Wilder Mind Events

Wilder Mind Events embodies what it means to be a chill, easygoing, type-A person. Last minute change to the ceremony lineup? Handled. Vendors who need a detailed wedding itinerary of load-in and out times? Done. Does the bride want a waterfall or a menu napkin fold? Waterfall, we spoke about it this morning. Did I know about the wedding crashers who tried to utilize my open bar? Nope. Did I stress out over the random morning market that went past the proposed end time and prevented my vendors from reaching the venue? Nope. I cannot even begin to tell you how flawlessly my wedding weekend went, and it was because I hired some of the best women in the business.”

-The Bride

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What did you look for in a wedding planner?

I needed someone who was not afraid to be a little unconventional and wild. JT and I wanted our wedding to reflect our laid-back energy as a couple and did not want to follow typical traditions. We wanted something memorable and uniquely us. I inquired with a handful of wedding planners, but my phone call with Delaney confirmed that ‘girls who get it, get it. Those who don’t, don’t.’ I just knew she was our perfect match.

I absolutely adore Delaney and all of the Wilder Mind Events team. During my planning process, I actually reached out to Delaney and became one of her day of coordination assistants, so I was able to gain hands-on experience in the wedding world and see how she and her team worked executing wedding weekends. Wilder Minds embodies what it means to be a chill, easygoing, type-A person. Last minute change to the ceremony lineup? Handled. Vendors who need a detailed wedding itinerary of load-in and out times? Done. Does the bride want a waterfall or a menu napkin fold? Waterfall, we spoke about it this morning.

On my wedding day, I think Delaney asked me a total of three questions and coordinated and handled the rest. Did I know about the wedding crashers who tried to utilize my open bar? Nope. Did I stress out over the random morning market that went past the proposed end time and prevented my vendors from reaching the venue? Nope. I cannot even begin to tell you how flawlessly my wedding weekend went, and it was because I hired some of the best women in the business.

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Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We did not get to enjoy a honeymoon yet! JT had recently started a new job in the ICU as a nurse, and I also opened a new hospital as an ICU nurse as well so additional time off was not an option. We opted for a honeymoon fund in lieu of a formal wedding registry, and the gifts received will be put towards a month-long trip to Japan together. We’ve both never been to Japan, and we absolutely adore the culture and the food scene, so we’re looking forward to celebrating one-on-one in the future.

Where did you host your bachelorette party?
We hosted a joint bachelor/bachelorette party the weekend leading up to the wedding. We rented an Airbnb 10 minutes away from our venue and focused on spending time with our friends.

The men did brewery tours, went to Main Event for bowling and arcade games, and had fighting game tournaments at the house. The girls attended a private macaron class, escaped escape rooms, brunch at Psomi, and pampered ourselves with manicures, pedicures, and our favorite lattes from Bandit Coffee. We opted out of a formal rehearsal dinner, and our personal wedding party went to Izakaya Tori the night before the wedding.

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How did your rentals add to the ambiance of your wedding?


Kate Ryan Event Rentals was one of the only rental companies that had the decor that would fit the overall aesthetic of our wedding. We loved the clean, modern look of black-rimmed glass chargers, black flatware, and ghost chairs, but we also utilized crushed satin tablecloths for some shine and texture, with red linens gracing our sweetheart table and dessert table. I also loved how we mixed and matched red and clear glassware for a unique look.

Drue allowed us to come in and do a table mockup prior to booking with them, so we got to see how everything worked together. I was also making last-minute alterations to our event order ten days prior to the wedding, and they were able to accommodate us.

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What did you look for in a wedding DJ?

We wanted wedding vendors who would thrive on creative control. With a few guidelines, we gave James King free rein over everything. We’re paying him to do what he does best, and we had complete faith in that, just as long as we did not hear the Cha Cha Slide or the Cupid Shuffle, we were on board for anything. Our music range was so vast that I’m pretty sure we had an ‘Emo Cocktail Hour’ with Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.

Grant Hemond & Associates came highly recommended from our venue. Michelle Norman was incredibly responsive and straightforward with how their booking process worked. James King absolutely blew us away. He was incredibly receptive to our music personalities during our initial call and offered up suggestions for songs and overall vibes. On the day of, he always made sure JT and I had a drink in our hands and checked in with us throughout the night to ensure we loved the ambiance.

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Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
All of them, truly. So many people will tell you, oh, if I could do my wedding over again, I would do ______.

JT and I both agree that our wedding was absolutely flawless and perfect in every such way. Delaney introduced me to so many amazing vendors, and I’ve created strong personal and professional bonds with them. Regan Smith of Arms of Persephone let me freelance with her floral business, which led me to freelance with other florists as well. I gave Regan a vague vision of how I imagined our wedding, and she absolutely exceeded every expectation I ever had, so much so that I have a large floral tattoo that matched my bouquet.

Jen Jacobs of Wandering Whisk is one of the sweetest people I know, and she and I exchange baked goods often. The cake worked perfectly with the flowers provided by Regan and absolutely complemented the rest of the dessert bar spread. Jen even hosted a private macaron baking class the Thursday before our wedding as part of my bachelorette weekend. She made these jumbo chocolate-dipped strawberry macarons as our class snack, and they were divine.

Whitney Poersch of Invitations by Whitney and I have become close friends and rejoice in every milestone in each other’s lives. She nailed my vision for stationery on the first try. Our vow books matched the décor perfectly, with enough paper in them to be used for a vow renewal later in life. Whitney even accommodated my last-minute request to transcribe JT’s custom poem on a separate piece of handmade paper so I could preserve his boutonniere with it in a frame. She even put JT’s custom poem within my vow book, so that I was able to read it to him during our first look.

28 North Photography is quite possibly the sweetest husband/wife duo to ever exist. They love to celebrate love, and they are a pair that you want in your corner. They read each other’s minds, divide and conquer to give you the most photos, and demonstrate the poses they want you to do on each other.

Brandon Kari was such a calming presence. He was always prepared and always had a mic for every iconic moment. From our first looks, our vows, and wedding party speeches, I know he captured the love in the air.

My hair and makeup team, Austin Spradlin, Xochilt Fajardo, and Jackie Riley were all amazingly efficient. Even when my niece and mother-in-law were late, their hair and makeup were done ahead of schedule. Jackie Riley perfectly accentuated my Asian features, and I felt like I was glowing and gorgeous and gave every one of my bridesmaids their own unique looks. Austin has been my stylist for over seven years, so having him and Xochilt be part of my wedding day was so special. You wouldn’t have known that I only decided what to do with my hair the morning of, and it stayed put through all the endless dance parties.

Saltblock Hospitality‘s quality of staff and food was truly next level, and they seamlessly accommodated all last-minute allergy and dietary restrictions of our guests.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Keep your guest list limited to who you want. Weddings are incredibly expensive and stressful. If their presence is going to put a damper on your day, girl, bye. I did not invite any of my family to attend my wedding, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Be surrounded by the ones who will uplift you, encourage you, and who will be in your lives decades from now. Just because it is a small wedding does not mean it can also be cheap.

Trust your vendors. Let them run wild and do what they do best. Have your non-negotiables ready, but trust that you hired the right people to help celebrate you, and they will go above and beyond.

Behind the Vows Wedding Day Content Creation Banner

Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pros

Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.

Feature Credits

Vendors and venues marked with

are Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros and have been personally vetted by our editor.

Ceremony and ReceptionHyde House Public Studio
Rehearsal Dinner VenueIzakaya Tori
DJ/Band & Live EntertainmentGrant Hemond & Associates
Invitations & StationeryInvitations by Whitney
Dress and Bridesmaid AttireAmore Bridal Boutique
Dress and Bridesmaid AttireMadi Lane
Bridal AccessoriesUlyana Aster
Bridesmaids DressesRevelry
Hair & MakeupTribeca Colorsalons
Hair & MakeupJackie Riley Makeup
Bouquet Preservation Atlanta Flower Press
Groom’s AttireIndochino
Groomsmen AttireJims Formal Wear
Cakes & DessertGoodFortuneCookie
Florists/DecorModLode

About the Author

Anna Coats

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 talk show Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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