Tess and Ramon's outdoor Tampa wedding was adorned with lush landscaping, vibrant florals, modern decor, and an evening filled with Cuban cuisine and live entertainment.
“We wanted our wedding to feel like we were hosting everyone in our backyard but a little more elevated. We wanted to incorporate everything we have in our backyard and what we love: bougainvillea, market lights, open-flame grilling, and a Cuban influence,” the bride explained.
The St. Petersburg couple wanted to showcase the beauty of their home state and selected an outdoor venue featuring six acres of Florida nature with a lush landscape to complement their floral-filled inspiration. Tess chose a venue that she knew would exceed her expectations, as she is the Marketing and Events Manager for the property.
“We are St. Pete/Tampa natives and couldn't imagine getting married anywhere else. We chose Tabellas because of the venue versatility and old-world/new-world aesthetic!” the bride beamed. “We love the outdoors, especially in March. We knew we wanted bougainvillea incorporated into our floral design in some capacity, and our florist sourced big, bright and full bougainvillea for our ceremony. We kept all the bougainvillea from the wedding and transplanted them in our backyard. To this day, they are all thriving, and every day we think about our wedding when we are in our backyard. It's a great memory to have.”
To create a contemporary feel, the bride added acrylic black chargers, flatware, and smoked glass goblets from Gabro Event Services to make the fuchsia colors in the centerpieces pop.
“Our wedding was uniquely us, as it was very bright and full of personality! Our colors were bright and bold, black and fuchsia with a hint of champagne,” the bride detailed.
Tess wore an elegant empire waist dress with a v-neck top and a floral hemmed veil. Her classic look was paired with a low bun to show off the scooped back of the dress and a bold lip by Femme Akoi Beauty Studio.
The bride and groom invited 130 closest family and friends to indulge in a March evening they wouldn't forget, as both parties work in the events/hospitality industry. They treated guests to a cigar roller from Breezin' Entertainment and made sure everyone was ready to party all night with a coffee truck!
“We had a vision and wanted to make sure we enhanced our guest experience and that our wedding reflected both our personalities. We wanted the entire evening to be fun and interactive. We loved the Cuban touches that we included, such as the coffee truck, cigars, Cuban cuisine, guava, and cheesecake. Having a coffee truck and cigar roller was a great decision!” the bride detailed. “We had a vision and wanted to make sure it reflected both our personalities. We're foodies, so the food was important. Ramon conceptualized the menu and prepped all the food for our wedding from his restaurant, Pipo's. We had ceviche for cocktail hour, and our main proteins were open flame churrasco steak with chimichurri and adobo chicken. It was delicious!”
Tess visited Marry Me Tampa Bay for inspiration to plan the wedding of her dreams. The couple initially wanted to elope, but luckily their thoughtfully designed celebration lived up to the hype and was everything they imagined.
“The whole day was beyond perfect. Deciding to have a wedding was the best decision. It's worth the hype and investment in creating the event of your dreams with the person you love and all your family and friends celebrating around you. Our dear friend became an ordained minister so he could marry us. We incorporated our dog into our wedding because she means the world to us, and we wanted her there,” the bride reminisced. “One of our favorite moments was our first dance. We both have two left feet and decided to take dancing lessons just one month prior to our wedding. It was a bonding experience for us. Our first dance was to S'Wonderful by Jaoa Gilberto, and I was so proud of us. We rocked the first dance! Plus, our families and friends know that we're not big dancers, so they were pleasantly surprised by the performance.”
It was very much us. On a beautiful December evening, we went to dinner on a weeknight at Red Mesa, where our first date took place, and then walked to the St. Pete Pier to see their holiday lights. Ramon proposed in front of the large Christmas tree on the Pier. It was a big surprise and very special.
What were your wedding hair and makeup inspiration?
Low bun and a bold lip! Many of my clients have used Femme Akoi Beauty Studio, and they had great reviews!
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
We wanted it to feel like we were hosting everyone in our backyard but a little more elevated. We wanted to incorporate everything we have in our backyard and what we love: bougainvillea, market lights, open-flame grilling, and a Cuban influence.
What were your colors?
Bright and bold. Black and fuchsia with a hint of champagne.
Why did you choose to incorporate a cigar roller into your wedding day?
We wanted to incorporate a Cuban flare into the evening, plus it was an interactive showcase to have someone hand-rolling cigars right in front of you. They were a great party favor for our guests!
Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We took a mini-moon to Streamstrong Resort for a couple days after the wedding to unwind. We plan to honeymoon before the year's end.
Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
It was a dream team. I have to give extra kudos to my day-of coordinator. Being in the events industry, I thought I was going to micromanage and try to control every aspect of the day, but my coordinator, who knows me well, took the lead on everything. I had no stress, and everything was coordinated quite perfectly. I am beyond thankful for her and her team that day!
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Have a vision and make it yours! Wedding planning can be stressful at times, but make it exciting and enjoyable along the way. Involve your partner as much as you can on decisions, site visits, and calls, so it's a joint effort. Develop a realistic budget so you can plan accordingly without big surprises. Sit down and assess your must-haves going into the planning process.
When it comes to the big day, enjoy every second of it because it does go by fast. My only regret is that I did not hire a videographer, though our photographer captured all the moments so well.