After eloping on a Thursday in May, which also happened to be Cinco de Mayo, Kimberly and Stephen continued their Thursday night tradition with a downtown St. Pete wedding celebration.
“Our wedding was held on a Thursday evening which made it a little different. My friends and I use to have ‘Thirsty Thursdays,' where we would meet up and have some cocktails or sometimes go out dancing,” the bride explained. “We were nervous about having guests travel in and take off work on Friday, but it didn’t deter them from having a ‘Thirsty Thursday.'
The St. Petersburg bride and groom made guest experience a top priority for their friends and family.
“Our main focus was to have an open bar, great live music, great food and not to make our guests sit through a long ceremony,” Kimberly shared. “I have a very diverse group of friends, and I wanted to create an environment where we could all celebrate together, be ourselves and dance all night, which we did!”
Both Kimberly and Steven work in animal health care, so it was fitting that their downtown St. Pete wedding venue had a unique history to it.
“NOVA 535 was the only event space we looked at,” the bride explained. “It used to be an old doggy daycare, and I actually loved that. I had friends who use to bring their pets there back in the day.”
While Kimberly fell in love with her wedding venue's outdoor ceremony space, the weather had other plans for her big day.
“I loved the bamboo garden [at NOVA 535] and had originally wanted to hold the ceremony outside, but Hurricane Matthew caused me to move the ceremony in,” the bride shared. “It worked out perfectly because in the wedding arch design I had incorporated 1000 origami paper cranes, which is a blessing for a long, harmonious marriage. As a child my mother taught me to make these cranes, so it was a meant to be a special detail to honor her heritage as well.”
When it came to hiring a St. Petersburg wedding photographer, the couple searched for someone who was “a good fit, personality-wise.”
“Limelight Photography was outstanding. Sara and Carlos were so amazing to work with. Our wedding day was actually Sara's wedding anniversary, which made special day for her as well,” Kimberly beamed. “One of the main reasons we chose Limelight was because they have a great reputation, and I just loved the composition of their work. We had several close friends and family who have used their services, and we knew they would capture all of our moments and the energy.”
With the wedding memories taken by Limelight Photography, the bride was able to relive her big day with her maid-of-honor, who was unable to attend the celebration.
“Bette was 96. She had never been in a wedding until I asked her to be my maid-of-honor. We had a special bond. We are both animal lovers, and she also married a veterinarian,” the bride shared. “In the weeks before the wedding, I brought the dress into her room and hung it from the ceiling fan so she could ‘oohhh' and ‘ahhh' over it. She also got to see the shoes, and it just made her light up. She was so excited for the event even though she would be unable to attend. She was accepted into hospice that week. During my last visit with Bette, a week before she slipped away, she had asked to see the wedding photos. We laid in bed together, and I was able to show her a few of the photos, and it brought a smile to her face.”
In March, we took a trip to Kauai to attend a veterinary conference. Steve planned the trip and every day we did something different and exciting. We stayed in a private home in Princeville that had wild chickens and many beautiful native birds that would come visit us on the porch while we had our breakfast. We went to the local farmers markets and visited beautiful beaches. The night before Steve proposed, he told me that we were going to go on a sunrise hike. We went on a beautiful hike to a mountain top called Sleeping Giant in Kapaa; the perfect place to catch the sunrise. We were perched on a rock on the side of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a surreal mix of mist, sun and clouds. It was spectacular and better than anything I have ever seen on a dating reality show. It was epic.
We were both in tears as Steve surprised me with a stunning engagement ring that he had designed with David Santos from Diamonds Direct in the Sundial. He also had a beautiful ginger lei made for me, and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne. I was surprised! I had no idea that he was going to propose because he had secretly coordinated the whole event with a friend and local tour guide that was on the hike with us. Later that day, we were off to our veterinary conference.
What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
I love taking photos and finding photographers that were a good fit, personality-wise, was important to me.
Limelight Photography was outstanding. Sara and Carlos were so amazing to work with. Our wedding day was actually Sara's wedding anniversary, which made special day for her as well. I even offered to let her have a “bring her hubby to work night!” I really enjoyed having Sara and Carlos with us that day; they were very professional and understood my vision from early on. One of the main reasons we chose Limelight was because they have a great reputation, and I just loved the composition of their work. We had several close friends and family who have used their services, and we knew they would capture all of our moments and the energy. The photographers moved though the venue with ease, and it felt very natural to have them there.
How would you describe your theme?
Since we were having our wedding in October we called it #Wehrmannfest. We both have ancestry from German heritage. I wanted it to be simple. Most of all I wanted our guest to have a great time.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Pick local vendors who have a great reputation.
Make it simple for your guests.
Everyone will say this is “your day” but keep in mind that in the end you want your guests to have a great time.
Don’t be a diva. Hurricane Matthew threw us for a loop, but you would never know it from our wedding photos.
Stay present for those special moments with family and friends.
Wear comfortable shoes for the reception so you can dance all night!
Have gratitude and be sure to thank your vendors for helping you pull it all off in the end.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: NOVA 535 *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Venue
Photographer: Limelight Photography – Sara McDonald and Carlos Rello *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Florist: 2Birds Events
Caterer: Stillwaters Tavern/Bella Brava
Band: DeLeon Entertainment
Invitations: Paperless Post
Dress: David Tutera for Mon Cheri
Hair & Makeup: Bambu The Eco Salon