Ashley and Mike met and got engaged in downtown St. Pete, so it was an easy decision to also get married there.
“We have so many amazing memories here and had a lot of out of town guests coming and wanted them to have plenty of options for places to stay and things to do and see,” the bride explained.
To reflect their laid personalities, the St. Petersburg couple hosted a relaxed, navy, silver and merlot red St. Petersburg wedding.
“Mike and I are don’t prefer anything too formal or stuffy. Whenever I met with vendors, I would always describe the feeling I wanted, give them my budget and tell them to go for it. I figure they’re the pros for a reason!” the bride shared.
To complement their wedding theme, Ashley and Mike chose unique downtown St. Pete wedding venue NOVA 535.
“We wanted something in or around St. Pete that wasn’t too formal, and I really wanted an outside ceremony,” the bride explained. As soon as I walked inside NOVA 535 I said, ‘Take my money!' I was in love with the courtyard area with the cafe lighting for the ceremony and thought the brick walls indoor were just gorgeous. It was perfect for the vibe we wanted.”
When it came to photography, the pair searched for a St. Petersburg wedding photographer who was fun, positive and made them feel relaxed and natural.
“I am possibly the world’s most awkward person in front of a camera, so I knew we needed someone really talented who could also make us feel comfortable. After meeting Brittany and Leo [of Rad Red Creative] I told Mike, ‘I want them to be our friends in real life!' They are so warm, friendly and very good at making you laugh, which I love!” Ashley gushed. “We'd actually chosen a wedding date that Brittany and Leo were already booked for, and I changed the date just so we could book them. Since I’m so indecisive it's very rare that I ever make up my mind like this, but I didn't want to look at any other photographers. They are absolutely amazing people and I am in love with the photos they captured.”
Looking back, one of the bride's most memorable moments came during the “first look.”
“The morning of our wedding the weather was terrible, like near tropical storm bad. Somehow when it came time for us to take pictures, the clouds parted, the sun came out and I think I heard angels singing! Rad Red Creative captured the moment perfectly!” Ashley gushed. “Doing pictures first also allowed Mike and I to spend cocktail hour with just each other. Sitting in our own little room, having drinks and hors d’ouvres and reflecting on the day so far, that moment was awesome to just remind each other to slow down and take it all in.”
Mike and I met in downtown St. Pete underneath a giant, red “Caution” sign. This became a joke between the two of us while we were dating, that Mike should taken this as a literal sign! He proposed under this sign the day after our second anniversary.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
I am possibly the world’s most awkward person in front of a camera, so I knew we needed someone really talented who could also make us feel comfortable. I wanted everyone who would be involved in the wedding day to be fun and positive. I was browsing online and saw a feature where Rad Red Creative had shot a New Year's wedding at NOVA 535. After seeing those pictures I got really excited and started looking at more of their work. You could tell they go to great lengths to catch the perfect shot, and they seemed like the nicest people.
After meeting Brittany and Leo in person I told Mike, “I want them to be our friends in real life!” They are so warm, friendly and very good at making you laugh, which I love! Since I’m so indecisive it's very rare that I ever make up my mind like this, but I didn't want to look at any other photographers. We'd actually chosen a wedding date that Brittany and Leo were already booked for, and I changed the date just so we could book them. It was the best decision ever! Mike and I also knew we wanted some of our engagement pictures taken while we were on our paddle boards (one of our favorite hobbies), and I thought that they would be willing to make it happen! They gave us an amazing engagement session and worked their butts off all day for our wedding. They provide the perfect energy to make all your wedding nerves disappear. They are absolutely amazing people and I am in love with the photos they captured.
What did you look for in a wedding venue?
We wanted something in or around St. Pete that wasn’t too formal, and I really wanted an outside ceremony. I found NOVA 535 online and from the photos knew that I wanted to take a look there. As soon as I walked inside I said, “Take my money!” I was in love with the courtyard area with the cafe lighting for the ceremony and thought the brick walls indoor were just gorgeous. It was perfect for the vibe we wanted. They also have a package that includes alcohol, a DJ, wedding coordinator and staff to help with lighting/parking, etc. The more that I could simplify the process the better, so I loved that these were built in. We met with the owner Michael and knew it was the perfect spot. It also had tons of hotels for our guests to choose from within a couple miles from the venue so that was convenient.NOVA 535 is awesome! I would recommended them to anyone who is looking for a venue. The staff was so incredibly kind to us throughout the whole process. You felt like they were excited for you and happy to be there at your wedding. If anything went wrong during the whole day, I wouldn’t have a clue because they just took care of it. We truly got to enjoy our entire day because of their level of service. They pulled everything together and made us feel like we were the most important people on the planet. The wedding coordinator Ruby and DJ Jaey were perfection. They kept the flow and party going the whole night, yet everything was still relaxed as we wanted it.
How would you describe your theme?
I couldn’t ever put my theme into an exact word; whenever I met with vendors, I always told them I wanted something comfortable and relaxed. Mike and I both have laid back personalities and don’t prefer anything too formal or stuffy. I am personally horrible at planning things like this (I change my mind way too often), so I would always describe the feeling I wanted to the vendor, give them my budget and tell them to go for it. I figure they’re the pros for a reason!
What were your colors?
I actually changed my colors about two months before the wedding (note my indecisiveness from above!). I went with navy, silver and a deep wine/merlot color. The wedding was in January, so I wanted something that matched the season. For some reason I really wanted Mike to wear a deep blue suit, and I saw some gorgeous photos of wine colored flowers on Pinterest. I thought those would look great together. I also let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses so they’d be comfortable; I just asked them to find something long and navy.
Which vendors that really exceeded your expectations?
We were very impressed and got a lot of compliments from our guests on the food from Olympia Catering. I think their staff could read my mind; I’d think to myself “I should get a drink I’m thirsty,” and I would turn around and there would be a whiskey sour waiting just for me! If that doesn’t make you happy then I don’t know what will! The catering staff was so friendly and personable. They also made our cake and cupcakes and sent home dinner leftovers with us; they have this stuffed chicken that I could eat by the truckload. Just go try it people, you’ll be so glad.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
My best advice would be to not get too wrapped up in the things that aren’t important. This is the best day of your life, but not just because of the dress you have on or how many crystals are hanging from the ceiling. Choose vendors that you’re comfortable with and let them handle those things. Instead, get wrapped up in the moment with the person standing across from you; that’s what you want to remember forever. Everything else is details!
Ceremony and Reception Venue: NOVA 535 *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Venue
Photographer: Rad Red Creative *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist: 2Birds Events
Caterer: Olympia Catering *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Cake: Olympia Catering
DJ: DJ Jaey
Officiant: Groom's Grandfather
Invitations: The Papery Company
Transportation: Rolls Royce of Tampa Bay Dimmitt Automotive Group
Dress Shop and Designer: Robyn Lynne Bridal & Formal Wear – Casablanca (ceremony dress) and Malindy Elene Bridal Boutique – Ivy & Aster (reception dress)
Hair & Makeup: Style Hair and Makeup
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Rehearsal Dinner: Hollander Hotel