Sophisticated Tropical South Tampa Elopement | Oxford Exchange

Katy and Chris’s South Tampa wedding featured an intimate elopement had been replanned three times due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The vibrant, modern tropical theme perfectly paired with the Palm Harbor couple’s decision to elope in their home state.

“We were originally doing a destination wedding, but with COVID-19 and travel changing so rapidly, our plans didn’t work to have a destination wedding. This is actually the third wedding that we planned,” the bride revealed. “The first wedding was supposed to be in Ohio, then we moved to Vermont, and then we ultimately decided to elope in our hometown that we reside in now.”

MORE: INTIMATE WEDDING INSPIRATION

While planning three weddings could feel overwhelming for a novice bride, Katy is the owner and lead wedding planner at Coastal Coordinating, so she used her vast experience to intertwine the most important aspects of her and Chris’ relationship into their wedding day.

“I always say that my life never goes as I planned it, which is so funny because I’m a wedding planner. But it’s true even on our wedding day, God had other plans for us, and I just let it go,” the planner and bride shared. “I got to make my wedding my own. That was the most important, that I made it me, and I brought out the most quirky parts of us through all the details. I think that’s another reason why the detail table was so important to me.”

Even though the seasoned wedding planner had expertise with every kind of planning predicament, no bride should plan her own wedding, so Katy relied on her Coastal Coordinating team to redesign the 280 guest list into an enchanting elopement with 10 of their closest family and friends.

“My team made the day absolutely perfect and took any stress that I had away. They were able to check on each and every detail and make it everything that I wanted. From checking on us at hair and make-up to making sure Chris and I didn’t cross paths to making sure the music was queued at the right time, they were perfect,” the bride beamed. “I don’t think you can have any type of wedding event or elopement without a planner, and now I know this to be true.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT COASTAL COORDINATING | EMAIL

The bride’s stunning ballgown style wedding dress featured romantic illusion lace sleeves that elegantly complemented her modern tropical bouquet. The couple’s daughter, Marlee, served as the flower girl and donned a matching lace dress and vibrant bouquet with an added flower crown that was fit for a princess.

To create a meaningful ceremony, Marlee walked her father down the aisle while their nephew Ryder escorted the bride. To ensure Chris would feel extra special on their wedding day too, Katy planned a special stop post-wedding.

While no wedding day is complete without a celebratory treat, Alessi’s Bakeries created a two-tier modern tropical white buttercream cake with hand-painted monstera leaf designs.

“In a wedding bakery, I looked for taste. I am a huge cake fanatic. I don’t eat a lot of cakes because I don’t love them. But Alessi’s has always does such a great job not only with any style or crazy idea that I have, but their taste is spot on. It’s perfect, and their buttercream is amazing,” Katy gushed. “I work with them so much, and they do such a great job. I knew that they would make my vision come to life, and they did more than I expected. Also, they have so many different and unique flavors, which was important to me.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALESSI BAKERIES | EMAIL

Katy relied on fellow Marry Me Tampa Bay preferred wedding pro Grant Hemond & Associates to provide a magical music ambiance.

“I looked for someone who could play the right music and have a personality when we needed them during important DJ moments. Grant Hemond always does a great job and is spot on with being able to customize things. They were able to work with me quickly and customize the songs that we wanted,” the bride raved. “They are amazing, hands down one of the best DJs in town. I’ve had personal experience working with them, and they know the venue. I think knowing the venue was key for picking a DJ.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT GRANT HEMOND & ASSOCIATES | EMAIL

Looking back on the whirlwind that was their wedding planning journey, all of the trials and tribulations melted away as the couple remembered their first moments on the dance floor as newlyweds.

“The feelings coming together and walking down the aisle to Chris made it so real. After we got married, when we came back down the aisle, we came right back into our first dance even though we didn’t have a reception. We wanted to share that special moment with our first dance together, so we invited all of our friends into a dance with us. It was so important and heartfelt,” Katy reminisced. “Also, for our original large wedding, I had promised Chris that afterward, we would go to Waffle House for a late-night dinner. This was his one request in wedding planning so I had to make this happen for him.”

The Proposal:
Chris proposed in our living room. He had three other proposals planned, and I ruined all of them. We had a trip planned, and I had to cancel last minute because of a wedding change that I had to take care of. He was going to propose during the trip. Then we were supposed to go out to dinner with friends, and I had to cancel because of something work-related. One morning he woke me up at five in the morning to tell me there was an emergency. I ran out to the living room, and he was down on one knee. It was perfect, and just us.

As a wedding planner, how did you bring your personal experience into your wedding planning?
I always say that my life never goes as I planned it, which is so funny because I’m a wedding planner. But it’s true even on our wedding day, God had other plans for us, and I just let it go.

I got to make my wedding my own. That was the most important that I made at me, and I brought out the most quirky parts of us through all the details. I think that’s another reason why the detail table was so important to me.

My team at Coastal Coordinating made the day absolutely perfect and took any stress that I had away. They were able to check on each and every detail and make it everything that I wanted. From checking on us at hair and make-up to making sure Chris and I didn’t cross paths to making sure the music was queued at the right time, they were perfect. I don’t think you can have any type of wedding event or elopement without a planner, and now I know this to be true.

How did COVID affect your wedding?
We changed our venue twice not only our venue but cities. In Vermont, they weren’t gonna give us a marriage license because we were not in state and could not quarantine for 14 days before we got the marriage license. We originally had 280 people on our guest list and ultimately we only had 10 people at the wedding. Not only did it change the locations twice, but it changed our entire guest list.

Why did you choose to move forward with your wedding date?
I have a unique situation. I had to find a weekend that we would be available. Being a wedding planner and having weddings every weekend it was ultimately down to what was available. With everyone changing their wedding the weekend of August 22, we planned our whole elopement wedding at the Oxford Exchange. I had a fall dress and had hoped to get married in fall weather, but God had different plans for us so we rocked it just the way it was.

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
Someone who could play the right music and have a personality when we needed them during important DJ moments. Grant Hemond & Associates always does a great job and is spot on with being able to customize things. They were able to work with me quickly and customize the songs that we wanted.

They are amazing, hands down one of the best DJs in town. I’ve had personal experience working with them, and they know the venue. I think knowing the venue was key for picking a DJ.

What did you look for in a wedding bakery?
Taste. I am a huge cake fanatic. I don’t eat a lot of cakes because I don’t love them. Alessi Bakeries has always does such a great job not only with any style or crazy idea that I have, but their taste is spot on. It’s perfect, and their buttercream is amazing.

I work with Alessi’s so much, and they do such a great job. I knew that they would make my vision come to life, and they did more than I expected. Also, they have so many different and unique flavors, which was important to me.

What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID-19?
Keep going and get married. Do it on your terms and make it what you want it to be.

Ceremony Venue: Oxford Exchange
Photographer: Tara McGovern
Videographer: Ricker Films
Planner: Coastal Coordinating – Brittany and Rachel *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist: Anything with Plants
Cake: Alessi Bakeries *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Officiant: Chris Thomas
Invitations: 424 Creative
Dress: CC’s Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Hair: Blush and Mane Hair
Makeup: Lia Croke

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

*Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.

MEET THE EDITOR

Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

NOVA 535

Avila Golf & Country Club

Florida Rustic Barn Weddings

The Vault

The Godfrey Hotel

Renaissance Tampa International Plaza

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

Red Mesa Events

Kera Photography

Lifelong Photography Studio

Creative Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait with Veil Blowing in Wind | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Lifelong Photography Studio

Carrie Wildes Photography

dewitt for love

Modern Dramatic Unique Asymmetrical Red Wedding Bridal Bouquet with Ranunculus Tulips Protea Roses Anemone and Amaryllis | Dewitt for Love Photography

Breezin’ Weddings

Florida Bride and Groom Romantic Portrait Under Whimsical and Lush Circular Floral Arch with Pampas Grass, White and Blush Pink Roses, Hydrangeas and Greenery, Bride in Full Length Veil | Tampa Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings | Wedding Dress Isabel O'Neil Bridal | Wedding Hair Femme Akoi | Waterfront Wedding Venue Tampa Yacht and Country Club

Coastal Coordinating

UNIQUE Weddings & Events

Parties a la Carte

Special Moments Event Planning

Modern, Garden Inspired Wedding Decor, Blush Pink Floral Wall and White Draping, Gazebo, Outdoor Dance Floor, Long Feasting Tables. Rose Gold Chiavari Chairs, Floral Curly Willow Arches | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Special Moments Event Planning | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Gabro Event Services | Tampa Bay Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair

Bruce Wayne Florals

Truly Forever Bridal

Michele Renee The Studio

Elite Events Catering

Tastes of Tampa Bay

Graingertainment

Longboat Key Club

Beso Del Sol

Isla del Sol Yacht & Country Club

The Poynter Institute

The Don CeSar Hotel

Hotel Zamora

Postcard Inn

The Mahaffey Theater

Hotel Alba

Bayou Club

Kemari Lyn Films

amber mcwhorter photography

Spaghetti Strap Casablanca Ivory Simple Slip Wedding Dress Bridal Gown | Light Blue Grey Groom Suit | Outdoor Bride and Groom Beach Portrait at Tampa St Pete Florida COVID Destination Elopement Beach Wedding Ceremony | Neutral White Ivory and Greenery Bridal Bouquet | Amber McWhorter Photography

Luxe Light Images

Gulf Beach Weddings

Elope Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Wedding Elopement Planning | Elope Tampa Bay

eventfull weddings

Tampa Bay Wedding Planner EventFull Weddings

Monarch Events And Design

Cascade Bridal Bouquet with White and Blush Pink Roses and Ranunculus, White Astilbe, Ivory Stock, Greenery and Eucalyptus | Tampa Wedding Florist Monarch Events and Design

Lynn’s Catering

Amici’s Catered Cuisine

Sweetly Dipped Confections

Nikki’s Glitz and Glam Boutique

Tropical Boho Bride and Groom Excited After Exchanging Vows, Bride in Flowy Deep V Neck Wedding Dress, Colorful Floral Arrangements | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue The Godfrey | Wedding Planner Elope Tampa Bay | Wedding Florist Brides N Blooms | Wedding Dress Nikki's Glitz and Glam | Wedding Hair and Makeup Femme Akoi Beauty Studio | Amber McWhorter Photography

Bella Bridesmaid

A&P Designs

Bay Kings Band

Grant Hemond & Associates

breezin' entertainment

St. Petersburg Wedding DJ Breezin' Entertainment

A Chair Affair

outside the box

Tampa Bay Bride and Groom Cheers in front of Champagne Wall, Greenery Boxwood Bubbly Wall Rental, Bride Holding Vibrant Jewel Toned Floral Bouquet with Bright Pink Roses, Ivory, Purple, and Blue Flowers | Florida Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings | South Tampa Outside The Box Event Rentals