Wedding

Romantic White and Green Ybor City Wedding | Hotel Haya

Katie and Brant's Ybor City wedding, set in the historic neighborhood, focused on family, friends, and their experience. The romantic wedding day started with a ceremony inside a working cigar factory and moved to Ybor's newest boutique hotel for an elegant reception.

“Our inspiration came from ‘Cigar City.' My middle name is Corral, and my family owned and operated the Corral Wodiska Cigar Factory, a building that still stands in Ybor today. We got the idea to get married in Ybor City because of my family’s history in the Ybor cigar industry. It was important to the two of us to honor that history. We also love a good party and, as you can tell from our wedding hashtag, #PartyWithThe Petersons, our wedding theme was just that, a party with all our favorite people in one place,” the bride beamed. “Our wedding colors included whites, golds, silver sage, light grey, and green. I kept it very simple with the colors; I liked that they were simple, traditional, and elegant.”

To find vendors and inspiration to match her venues, the bride read Marry Me Tampa Bay's real wedding features and attended the Tie the Knot Ybor wedding show to meet with vendors in person.

“I referred to the wedding planning advice on Marry Me Tampa Bay, especially in the early stages of planning, before I hired my event planner,” Katie explained. “Marry Me Tampa Bay exposed me to many local venues and services, and I was able to generate many ideas early in the process I went on Marry Me Tampa Bay’s website to research our florist and read customer reviews as well as look at pictures that were not on their Instagram.”

The H.B. Plant High School and Florida State University graduates knew Tampa was the perfect location for their nuptials. For the ceremony site, they selected J.C. Newman Cigar Co. for its recently renovated event space that offered a modern-industrial aesthetic and kept them in the heart of the historic district.

“We envisioned a unique wedding venue and made our selections based on our wedding design and style. Brant and I wanted to get married in a Cigar Factory.  J.C. Newman recently renovated their venue in 2019, and it was the perfect match for our wedding design,” the bride gushed. “The event staff at J.C Newman was exceptional. They were welcoming, accommodating, very responsive, and shared our excitement with us every step of the way.  It made our decision easy.”

For their 190-guest reception, the couple chose Hotel Haya's spacious Valencia Ballroom. The newly constructed hotel's upscale and modern aesthetic served as the backdrop for the wedding weekend, including a private rehearsal dinner in the Roosevelt Room.

“It was important to us that our venue was local, could support our wedding capacity, and had indoor/outdoor options. The staff at our venues also made such an impact on our decision. Wedding planning can be very overwhelming, but if you are working with people who understand that, it makes all the difference,” the bride revealed. “We were treated like family at Hotel Haya, and every time we walked in, we felt like it was our ‘Cheers.' We never walked in without a personal greeting.”

Since Katie had a variety of vendors and multiple wedding locations, she sought out a wedding planner to guide her through the final steps of the day. Jessica Ralph, owner of Parties A'La Carte, and her team created a stress-free wedding day and seamless transition from ceremony to reception.

“I am very detail-oriented and wanted to be active in the wedding planning process, so I looked for someone who worked well with me and understood my personality. I wanted someone with a lot of experience in Tampa events and vendors. It was also important to me to be present at the wedding. I wanted to be able to release everything and needed someone I could trust to take the wheel,” Katie confessed. “Weddings can feel like chaos, but I can say that because of the amazing ladies at Parties A'La Carte, we both got to be present and enjoy every minute of our wedding. They made the planning process seamless.  We hired them for the partial package, and my only regret was that I didn’t hire them sooner for the complete planning package! The greatest compliment I can give is that I did not have to ask one single question all day. They were on top of every detail and executed the wedding of my dreams.  It was fun working with them, and their experience and knowledge of weddings are unmatched.”

The ballroom reception was decorated in romantic neutral tones with complementary candlelight and fresh floral centerpieces from Bruce Wayne Florals. Chiavari acrylic chairs and white cushions accompanied the tablescape decorated with gold-rimmed hammered glass chargers and gold flatware from Kate Ryan Event Rentals

“Hours of Pinterest and Etsy inspired my wedding florals! I knew I wanted simplicity in whites, golds, and greens. I also love whimsical, pillowy florals and asymmetry in the design. My inspiration was traditional but warm and romantic. This is why we included tables exclusively with candles with glass candle holders of various heights,” the bride detailed. “Florals were the most daunting part of the wedding process for me. However, I only had to meet with Bruce Wayne Florals once for a consultation, and immediately, I knew they shared my vision. I walked away from our initial meeting fully trusting they would bring my vision to life with their experience and details, and I never worried about it again. The final product was truly better than I could have ever imagined.”

Staying true to her natural style, Katie hired Femme Akoi Beauty Studio to create a wedding day glam look that was subtle and reminiscent of her daily style.

“I wanted my bridal hair and makeup to be natural, and I wanted to feel like myself on my wedding day. I kept it very simple because I wanted to look like ‘me',” Katie shared. “I hired Femme Akoi Beauty Studio based on recommendations from friends who have used them in the past. We had three lovely ladies who not only dolled us up but also hyped us up as we all got ready together.”

As Katie looked back on the wedding day memories, it was the sentiment from her father's speech that really touched her heart.

“My dad’s speech was one of my most memorable moments. He always said he would never be able to stand up in front of that many people and that he failed public speaking in college for a reason. I believed him, but I wanted him to try. If he was nervous at all, no one could tell. He had everyone laughing and crying and ended it in the only acceptable way, cracking a Busch heavy and pouring it into a champagne flute for a toast I will remember forever. He saved his hand-written speech with all his edits and notes. I have it saved in an old family cigar box at home. It is something I will keep forever,” the bride reminisced.

Historic Ybor City Wedding Venue Hotel Haya
Historic La Vendimia Brick Wall Portrait Inside Ybor City Wedding Venue Hotel Haya
Betsy Johnson Closed-Toed Pearl Bridal Wedding Shoe Ideas
White Lace Deep V-Neckline Fit and Flare Cathedral Length Train Wedding Dress | Modern Hotel Room for Getting Ready | Ybor Wedding Venue Hotel Haya
Wedding Day Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bottles
Bride and Father First Look Wedding Portrait
Natural Wedding Makeup Inspiration | Tampa Bay Hair and Makeup Artist Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

What were your wedding hair and makeup inspiration?
I wanted my bridal hair and makeup to be natural, and I wanted to feel like myself on my wedding day. I kept it very simple because I wanted to look like “me.”

I hired Femme Akoi Beauty Studio based on recommendations from friends who have used them in the past. We had three lovely ladies who not only dolled us up but also hyped us up as we all got ready together.

Natural Wedding Makeup Inspiration | Tampa Bay Hair and Makeup Artist Femme Akoi Beauty Studio
Mismatched Dusty Blue Bridesmaids Wedding Dresses Inspiration | Tampa Bay Hair and Makeup Artist Femme Akoi Beauty Studio
Whimsical White Rose Calla Lily and Greenery Bridal Bouquet Inspiration | Tampa Bay Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Historic Ybor City Wedding Venue JC Newman Cigar Company
Historic Ybor City Wedding Venue JC Newman Cigar Company
Historic Ybor City Wedding Venue JC Newman Cigar Company

How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Our inspiration came from “Cigar City.”  My middle name is Corral, and my family owned and operated the Corral Wodiska Cigar Factory, a building that still stands in Ybor today. We got the idea to get married in Ybor City because of my family’s history in the Ybor cigar industry. It was important to the two of us to honor that history. We also love a good party and, as you can tell from our wedding hashtag, #PartyWithThe Petersons, our wedding theme was just that, a party with all our favorite people in one place.

What were your colors?
Whites, golds, silver sage, light grey, and green. I kept it very simple with the colors.  We got married in Tampa in March, so I envisioned light and airy colors. I selected those because I liked that they were simple, traditional, and elegant.  

Modern Simplistic Wedding Ceremony | Asymmetrical Hydrangea and Greenery Wedding Arch | Tampa Bay Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Ybor Venue JC Newman Cigar Company | Planner Parties a la Carte
Whimsical White Hydrangea and Greenery Wedding Ceremony Arch With Gold Candelabra | Tampa Bay Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Bride and Father Walk Down Aisle Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue J.C. Newman Cigar Co.
Bride and Groom Wedding Vows, Greenery Ceremony Arch with White Flowers| Tampa Bay Wedding Venue J.C. Newman Cigar Co. | Planner Parties A La Carte | Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

The Proposal:
Throughout the COVID lockdown, Brant and I would always go to “the point” at the end of his parents’ street to watch the sunset with a glass of wine. In August, the night before our trip to Lake Tahoe to visit friends, we decided on another sunset night. We were pretty much the first people at the point, except for a teenage girl and a professional photographer taking advantage of a good angle and a view. This wasn’t out of the ordinary because we had seen a photographer there before taking graduation photos. It wasn’t Tampa’s best sunset, and there were a few drops of rain, but neither of us minded.

The sun was supposed to set at 8:03 pm. Minutes before, Brant asked if I wanted to take a picture. He also made the unusually negative comment that “the sunset wasn’t going to get any better than this.” Naturally, I went to take a selfie (ugh). He had another plan. He said we should ask the photographer to take a picture of us. Without waiting for my response, he asked her if she wouldn’t mind. I immediately told him he was being rude. I didn’t want to intrude on their photo session, especially if she was being paid for her time. The photographer reassured me that she didn’t mind at all and grabbed my phone. She took a few pictures and then asked if she should take some on her camera and then email them to us. We accepted.

After a few pictures and her directing us where and how to stand, she asked us our names. Brant responded, “I am Brant, and this is Katie.” He grabbed my hand and turned me towards him. It was at this moment I knew. His hands got sweaty, and he repeated my name. (For the record, I would be lying if I said I heard or remembered anything he said after this moment). He then said, “Katie, you’re the love of my life. I am so lucky to have you. I love you as my girlfriend, but will you be my wife?” While I experienced an absolute whirlwind of emotions, everything started to make sense. The suggestion to come to the point, the dinner to keep me from wearing the usual sweatpants and a t-shirt, and the photographer at the point. Of course, I SAID YES!

The younger girl was the photographer’s niece, pretending to do a photo shoot at the point. The photographer asked what our plans were for the night, and Brant mentioned he had a bottle of champagne waiting at home. That “bottle of champagne” was actually my entire family and closest friends waiting to surprise me and celebrate us.   

Bride and Groom Wedding Ceremony
Bride and Groom Wedding Vows Kiss. Greenery Ceremony Arch with White Flowers| Tampa Bay Wedding Venue J.C. Newman Cigar Co. | Florida Wedding Planner Parties A La Carte | Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

What did you look for in a wedding ceremony venue?

We envisioned a unique wedding venue and made our selections based on our wedding design and style. Brant and I wanted to get married in a Cigar Factory. J.C. Newman recently renovated their venue in 2019. It was the perfect match for our wedding design.

The staff at J.C. Newman Cigar Company were so welcoming and shared our excitement with us. They were welcoming, accommodating, and very responsive, and shared our excitement with us every step of the way.  It truly made the planning process so much easier.    

Bride and Groom at Ybor City Historic Wedding Venue J.C. Newman Cigar Co.
Bride and Groom on Rooftop of Ybor City Historic Wedding Venue J.C. Newman Cigar Co. | Planner Parties a la Carte

What did you look for in a wedding planner?

I am very detail-oriented and wanted to be active in the wedding planning process, so I looked for someone who worked well with me and understood my personality.  I wanted someone with a lot of experience in Tampa events and vendors. It was also important to me to be present at the wedding. I wanted to be able to release everything and needed someone I could trust to take the wheel.  

My maid of honor used to work as an event planner at Parties A’La Carte (PALC), and so I had a personal relationship with Jessica and her team. I have also attended weddings of friends who used the services of Parties A’La Carte, and it was a no-brainer for me.

Weddings can feel like chaos, but I can say that because of the amazing ladies at PALC, we both got to be present and enjoy every minute of our wedding. They made the planning process seamless.  The greatest compliment I can give is that I did not have to ask one single question all day. They were on top of every detail and executed the wedding of my dreams. We hired them for the partial package, and my only regret was that I didn’t hire them sooner for the complete planning package! Jessica and Kelsey at Parties A’La Carte went above and beyond to make sure that I was able to be fully present. It is amazing to watch them work, and I owe my wedding experience to PALC. Their experience and knowledge of weddings are unmatched.

Tampa Bay Bride and Groom in Historic Ybor City, Light Gray Suit, Luna Novias Lace Overlay Wedding Dress
Ybor City Custom "Married" Wedding Pavers

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We spent the week after our wedding honeymooning in Boca Grande, Florida. I spent many summers there as a kid, and it is one of our favorite places to go together. After the 18 months of wedding planning chaos, Brant and I just wanted a slow down. The trip was in Florida, required minimal planning, and we could relax on the beach somewhere familiar with our dog, Gracee.     

Where did you host your bachelorette party?
Scottsdale, Arizona. We wanted a girls’ desert trip with ATVs, hiking, nightlife, and a little change of scenery. Sixteen of my closest friends showed up and celebrated big!  

Romantic White Neutral Wedding Reception Inspiration, Round Tables with Clear Chiavari Chairs, Tall Floral Centerpieces with Greenery and White Hydrangeas, Gold Table Linens | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue Hotel Haya | Kate Ryan Event Rentals | Planner Parties A La Cart | Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Romantic White Neutral Wedding Reception Inspiration, Round Tables with Clear Chiavari Chairs, Tall Floral Centerpieces with Greenery and White Hydrangeas, Gold Table Linens | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue Hotel Haya | Kate Ryan Event Rentals | Planner Parties A La Cart | Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

What was your wedding floral inspiration? 

Hours of Pinterest and Etsy inspired my wedding florals! I wanted simplicity in whites, golds, and greens. I also love whimsical, pillowy florals and asymmetry in the design. My inspiration was traditional but warm and romantic. This is why we included tables exclusively with candles with glass candle holders of various heights.     

Florals were the most daunting part of the wedding process for me. However, I only had to meet with Bruce Wayne Florals once for a consultation, and immediately, I knew they shared my vision.  I walked away from our initial meeting fully trusting they would bring my vision to life with their experience and details, and I never worried about it again. The final product was truly better than I could have ever imagined.

Romantic White Wedding Place Setting Inspiration, Gold-Rimmed Hammered Glass Chargers, Gold Flatware, Modern Menu Stationary, Gold Linen | Tampa Bay Wedding Decor Kate Ryan Event Rentals
Modern Gold Frame Table Number, Floral Centerpiece with Greenery, White Roses, Cream Flowers | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Romantic White and Green Table Centerpieces with Tall Gold Column Stand | Neutral Cream Linens | Tampa Bay Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Modern White Ballroom Reception with Clear Chiavari Wedding Reception Chairs | Tampa Bay Rental Kate Ryan Event Rentals | Venue Hotel Haya

What did you look for in a wedding reception venue?

We envisioned a unique reception venue and made our selections based on our wedding design and style.  It was important to us that our venue was local, could support our wedding capacity, and had indoor/outdoor options. The staff at our venues also made such an impact on our decision. Wedding planning can be very overwhelming, but if you are working with people who understand that it makes all the difference. 

We were treated like family at Hotel Haya, and every time we walked in, we felt like it was our “Cheers.” We never walked in without a personal greeting.

Neutral Modern Long Wedding Reception Feasting Tables with Gold Flatware and Gold Rimmed Chargers | Modern Gold Frame Table Numbers | Ybor Rental Kate Ryan Event Rentals

How did they enhance the ambiance of your wedding day?
We rented Chiavari acrylic chairs and white cushions, gold-rimmed hammered glass chargers, and gold flatware from Kate Ryan Event Rentals

Originally, I was not planning to include those details and thought we could save some money by using the hotel chairs and flatware. As any good wedding planner would do, she showed me my own Pinterest board and reminded me that each inspirational photo contained those details. The rentals from Kate Ryan elevated my romantic, elegant design vision. 

Single Tier Carrot Wedding Cake with Personalized Topper
Bride and Groom First Dance In The Valencia Ballroom | Ybor Wedding Venue Hotel Haya

Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
Jessica and Kelsey at Parties A’La Carte went above and beyond to make sure that I was able to be fully present. It is amazing to watch them work, and I owe my wedding experience to PALC.     

Our DJ absolutely exceeded all expectations. My family and friends are still talking about his performance. He is not only a DJ, but he is an absolute crowd-pleasing entertainer.  

Our photographer and videographer exceeded our expectations. They both reminded me, “less Pinterest, more presence.” They released me of the staged photos and moments, and I was able to be myself. In doing so, we captured so many raw moments of pure joy and love.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Be present. This is your wedding. Everyone always says that weddings are over in the blink of an eye. Every married couple I spoke to before our wedding said this and that they felt they missed out on their own wedding. Don’t get caught up in the hiccups or last-minute issues because I promise you there will be some. Trust your venue and your planners, and remind yourself about what is important.

You have planned for so long, and it's time to let go and enjoy. Take time to be together for a moment in the chaos. No cameras, no videographer, no family, no friends. Just you two. Brant and I had our own private dinner in the Las Novedades building adjacent to our reception room. This allowed us about twenty minutes to soak in the first part of the day and get excited for the dancing and the party waiting for us. That time was so important. The rest of the night, if we got separated, we always found our way back together.    

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits

 

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