Modern Downtown Tampa Wedding – Tampa Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography
Melissa and Phil’s Love Story:
My husband, Phil, and I met on the first day of law school in January 2006, at the University of Florida.
For the first two years we were the best of friends, attending nearly all Gator athletic events together and enjoying back-to-back national basketball championships and a football national championship. In our third year, the strong foundation of our friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship following a Gator loss to Auburn in the fall of 2007.
We graduated and moved to Phil’s hometown of Tampa to begin our legal careers.
Phil proposed on the beach in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where I grew up and where he and his parents spent the summers throughout his childhood. The proposal was complete with a commissioned piece of Gator artwork, showing the mascot, Albert, kneeling down to propose to Alberta on the beach. Of course, Alberta said yes!
Melissa’s adventurous personality led her to an over the top Tampa wedding, literally!
“Both Phil and I love to travel, and we consider ourselves true explorers of experience,” the bride shared. “I wanted that sense of excitement to be reflected in our wedding, which ended up being more of an experience than an event.”
The couple’s modern, carnival wedding was a “full-blown sensory experience,” complete with large carnival balloons in lieu of bouquets, a fire dancer and drum line, cotton candy and popcorn, ring toss, a life-size picture frame as an open-air photo booth, and a sparkler and boat send off.
“Our wedding was the nuptial spectacular!” Melissa beamed.
Although red wasn’t her first wedding color choice, the bride knew that with a carnival theme that it was a must.
“I tried to avoid using red because I thought it would be expected (not to mention University of Georgia colors), but with a modern, vintage carnival theme, you can’t avoid black and white stripes and red as an accent!” Melissa explained.
Since the couple live on Davis Island and work in downtown Tampa, they chose a wedding venue that showcased the revival of downtown Tampa and the River Walk.
“We wanted a venue that could be both a ceremony and reception site,” Melissa explained. “We had the ceremony outside at the Tampa Museum of Art at night under the covered patio of the museum facing the stunning University of Tampa minarets, and the reception in the museum’s atrium – the big top!
Because of their unique wedding plans, Melissa and Phil searched for a Tampa wedding photographer who had an artistic eye and wasn’t afraid of a non-traditional wedding.
“It was important to us that our wedding photos reflect the experience, rather than a collection of stilted, posed photos,” the bride shared. “Carrie Wildes Photography immediately honored and supported our modern, vintage carnival theme. She even encouraged it!”
Looking back, Melissa shared that she’ll never forget how she felt as she shared her wedding day with her loved ones.
“Turning around, hand-in-hand with Phil, to face our attendants during the candlelight service portion of our ceremony was my most memorable wedding day moment. I remember the sheer feeling of joy and love to see everyone gathered together, each with the glow of their own personal candlelight, to celebrate us,” the bride reminisced. “It was quiet and reflective. A great juxtaposition to the vibrant wedding production!”
“Carrie Wildes Photography immediately honored and supported our modern, vintage carnival theme! She even encouraged it!” the bride gushed. “It was important to us that our wedding photos reflect the experience, rather than a collection of stilted, posed photos.” – The Bride
“Andrea Layne Floral Design took what could have been an extremely difficult challenge in stride by committing to my non-traditional vision and taking it to the next level! Who else would hand paint carnival-themed lampshades!” – The Bride
“Our wedding was the nuptial spectacular! Both Phil and I love to travel, and we consider ourselves true explorers of experience. I wanted that sense of excitement to be reflected in our wedding, which ended up being more of an experience than an event.” – The Bride
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Your wedding should reflect who you are as individuals, but also your point of view as a couple.
Don’t be afraid to follow your vision, even if it’s non-traditional! In the end, if you’re not happy, your guests won’t be either.
Tampa Wedding Venue: Tampa Museum of Art
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography
Tampa Wedding Florist: Andrea Layne Floral Design
Tampa Wedding Caterer: Mise en Place
Tampa Wedding Cake: A Piece of Cake
Tampa Wedding Ceremony Music: Bella Musica
Tampa Wedding Band: The Bus Stop Band
Tampa Wedding Band: Hillsborough High School Big Red Band
Tampa Wedding Fire Dancer: Marla Mae
Tampa Wedding Invitations: Blue Tulip Design
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup
Tampa Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid
We are proud to have Carrie Wildes Photography as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!