Irene and Andrew's Love Story:
Andrew and I grew up down the street from in each other in the small seaside town Tarpon Springs. But what are the odds that we never met until my freshman year of college in Tallahassee, Fl, over 200 miles from where we both called home?
We hit it off instantly and became inseparable! Six months later, I got accepted into the school of my dreams for fashion and moved to the Big Apple! Andrew and I remained long distance throughout the rest of our college years, with the most enjoyable summers in our small town.
After college, I moved home to be with my soul mate. Six months later, Andrew proposed on Christmas Eve in a downtown St. Petersburg at Straub Park. He had Santa’s help, of course!
The day before Christmas Eve, I took Andrew to see a Bucs game as one of his presents. After the game I thought we were going home, but he took the bridge, and we were headed to St. Pete. I kept questioning Andrew why we were going to St. Pete, but he wouldn’t tell me. He just kept saying it was a surprise. I annoyed him the entire drive, but he wouldn’t budge.
We parked downtown and went up to Straub Park, where there was this huge line. Again, I start questioning him what we were doing in this line, as there was a bunch of kids and families in the line. He said we were going to take a picture with Santa. Sounds cute, but at the time I thought it was a little weird. I was exhausted from the football game and still wearing my Bucs gear, so I wasn’t exactly in the mood to take a “picture with Santa.”
After an hour of waiting in line, it was finally our turn. I sat on Santa’s lap and he asked what I would like for Christmas.
I responded, “Ohh I don’t really need anything. Maybe new work clothes.”
He responded, “Work clothes?! That’s it?! What about a diamond ring?!”
Then he handed a tiny box to Andrew out of his bag, and Andrew got on one knee and popped the question. All of the families in line started cheering when I said yes! Andrew had contacted the Santa in downtown St. Pete weeks before and planned the entire proposal with him. It was so sweet and unforgettable.
Irene and Andrew's St. Petersburg wedding was focused on family and fun.
“My family is Greek and Andrew’s is Italian. It was a ‘Big Fat Greek/Italian Wedding,'” the bride joked.
Tradition and heritage are important to Irene and even before the wedding, the groom showed his lifelong commitment to his bride-to-be.
“Having the traditional Greek ceremony was the way to go. It took time to get there; Andrew, being Italian, had to convert to Greek Orthodox in order for us to get married in the church,” Irene explained. “It was so special, and I was so honored that he would do that for me.”
In contrast to their ceremony, the Tampa Bay couple transitioned into a downtown, city vibe for their modern wedding reception.
“We wanted to bring a chic and modern feel into a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding,” Irene shared. “We both like to be unique, but also sophisticated, and I think everything about our wedding was! Our venue, colors and transportation all made you say “Wow!”
To achieve their look, Irene and Andrew booked downtown St. Pete wedding venue NOVA 535.
“NOVA 535 was the first venue we toured, and the second I walked in, I looked back at Andrew with a huge smile on my face. He just nodded his head and said ‘This is it,” Irene gushed. “It is a very unique event space which was everything that we were looking for! The exposed brick and whimsical artwork gave us the vibe that we wanted on our big day.”
Since the pair were married Valentine's Day weekend, they incorporated the traditional red rose color with a twist.
“Just like our venue, we wanted our colors to make a statement!” the bride exclaimed “We chose tones of teal and reds to accent our wedding day.”
Looking back, Irene shared that her most memorable moment came during her modern wedding reception.
“All I wanted was for everyone to have fun! It was our main goal for the wedding. We wanted it to be one huge celebration of this new chapter in our lives. All of our family and friends on both sides truly came together as one family. We partied and celebrated all night!” the bride reminisced.
“Sarah McDonald [of Sarah Kay Photography] was absolutely amazing to work with! We spoke on the phone and met up several times before the wedding to go over anything and everything you could imagine! She even created my wedding day timeline! She was extremely organized and professional, even dealing with mine and Andrew’s huge families!” – The Bride
“NOVA 535 was the first venue we toured, and the second I walked in, I looked back at Andrew with a huge smile on my face. It is a very unique event space which was everything that we were looking for! The exposed brick and whimsical artwork gave us the vibe that we wanted on our big day.” – The Bride
“All I wanted was for everyone to have fun! It was our main goal for the wedding. We wanted it to be one huge celebration of this new chapter in our lives. We partied and celebrated all night!” The Bride
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Don’t stress! I know how stressful it seems now, but the actual day goes by so fast. The planning is so fun, so you should enjoy it and not worry about every little detail. It all comes together in the end.
Your wedding only happens once, so relax and enjoy being engaged and planning with your fiancée.
St. Petersburg Wedding Ceremony Venue: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral
St. Petersburg Wedding Reception Venue: NOVA 535 Unique Event Space
St. Petersburg Wedding Photographer: Sarah Kay Photography
St. Petersburg Wedding Planner: Rubies and Pearls
St. Petersburg Wedding Florist: Flowers by Jenny
St. Petersburg Wedding DJ: DJ Jaey
St. Petersburg Wedding Invitations: Love vs. Design
St. Petersburg Wedding Catering: Delectables Fine Catering
St. Petersburg Wedding Transportation: Ambassador Limousine Services
St. Petersburg Wedding Officiant: Father James Russo
St. Petersburg Wedding Dress: House of Wu
St. Petersburg Wedding Hair & Makeup: Salon Bella Flora
We are proud to have NOVA 535 as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!