Rayna and Jon's Ybor City wedding showcased Tampa's history and culture.
“We had a lot of out-of-town guests. Jon's family is from St. Louis, and we wanted them to experience true ‘local Tampa,” the bride shared. “Trolleys, Ybor City, local craft brews, BBQ and local non-profits were all a huge part of our wedding.”
Being eco-conscuious and giving back to the local community was a priority for the Tampa bride and groom, who run a non-profit called Four Letter Word, which implements sustainable sustenance farming efforts and provides entrepreneurial training to nonprofits, schools and ministries overseas.
“Our overall theme was to be eco-friendly and be able to give back in any way we could,” Rayna explained. “We had our ceremony at a homeless ministry that feeds over 300 people in the Ybor City area every week. It was the first wedding they had in their chapel and it was a great experience to walk through those doors receiving so much love from our family, friends, and community.”
Many of the Tampa Bay wedding vendors the couple chose also had ties to the non-profit community.
“We asked a few of our vendors if they participate in any philanthropic giving and were astonished to find out more than we already knew,” the bride beamed. “We are so blessed to be surrounded by such great people, not only on our wedding day, but every day in our community.”
Rayna and Jon searched for a historic Ybor City wedding venue that allowed the couple to bring in their own wedding vendors.
“We wanted a venue with a sense of giving back and that could accommodate our eco-friendly, sustainable, and ‘give back' theme,” the bride explained. “We knew about Creative Loafing's publication and were really excited to hear about how they rent their venue, the CL Space. They did a great job at helping us plan, having staff available and letting us run with the ideas that we had.”
Looking back, one of the couple's most memorable moments occurred just after their wedding ceremony.
“Our wedding fell on a week where it was very wet in the Bay Area; there had been a tropical storm just days prior. The weather didn't seem to want to let up and there was storms all around through our ceremony,” the bride shared. “As soon as it was over, there was a hole in the sky that opened up. The lighting was amazing and our pictures came out perfect.”
How would you describe your theme?
Our overall theme was to be eco-friendly and be able to give back in any way we could. All decor was inspired by nature and made locally or by artisans. We are very involved in a number of churches, serve on the Board of Directors for Tampa Christian Fellowship, and are affiliated with many nonprofit organizations both locally and internationally. In 2014, we started a non-profit called Four Letter Word that implements sustainable sustenance farming efforts and provides entrepreneurial training to non-profits, schools, and ministries overseas.
What were your colors?
Our wedding was full of muted earth tones – all colors were inspired by nature.
We got engaged on our one-year anniversary, June 13, at a local intimate restaurant in Sarasota. I was caught completely off-guard. We were so excited to take a walk on the beach and call our friends and family.
What did you look for in a wedding venue?
We needed a venue that would allow us to bring in our own vendors and reflected the true personality of Historic Tampa. We wanted a venue with a sense of giving back and that could accommodate our eco-friendly, sustainable, and “give back” theme.
We knew about Creative Loafing's publication and were really excited to hear about how they rent their venue, the CL Space. They do a wonderful job at keeping Tampa Bay connected. They did a great job at helping us plan, having staff available and letting us run with the ideas that we had.
What did you look for in a wedding rentals company?
We found an amazing company with fun and caring employees and to us “giving back” could be serving your community well. Having a great attitude and knowledge about your job can make all the difference to someone planning a wedding/event.
When I came across Rent All City, their staff was so nice. They answered all of my questions and even sent us a coupon for our future rentals. They did a great job in coaching us with what tables and linens we needed. I would definitely recommend them.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Don't conform to the ways of the world. Be yourself!
Buy second-hand, and check out local Facebook groups.
Get to know your vendors.
The day goes by really fast so pause, even if it is only for a brief moment.
If you do happen to lose your car keys on your wedding night, it is not the end of the world. They will show up, even if it is two weeks later.
Ceremony Venue: Amazing Love Ministries
Reception Venue: CL Space
Photographer: Savannah Lauren Photography
Planner: From Yes to I Do
Florist: Blooms and Branches (Manzanita branches), small paper flowers were handmade from old recycled bibles and hymn books
Caterer: Holy Hog BBQ
Tables/Chairs/Linen Rentals: Rent All City
Pipe & Drape/Uplighting Rentals: Bay Stage Live
DJ: Will Jackson
Ceremony Violinist: 2Tone Events
Officiant: Sixto and Susan Ward of Tampa Christian Fellowship
Invitations: Forever Fiancés
Transportation: Jolley Trolley
Dress Shop and Designer: CC’s Boutique – Allure
Bridesmaid Dress Shop and Designer: Space46 Boutique
Hair: Sally Bakalyar
Makeup: Maribel Giusto