Vibrant Pink and Gold Fairytale Wedding | The Don CeSar

Tampa Bay Best Local Wedding Venue 2021

Ashli and Greg’s St. Pete Beach destination wedding featured a fairytale weekend filled with romance, love, and happily-ever-afters. The Chicago bride and groom selected shades of pinks with pops of gold to complement Florida’s most iconic beachfront resort.

“Since I lived in Florida until I was 10, I grew up regularly going to Disney World. We didn’t want a traditional Disney wedding but still wanted to capture the enchanting and romantic feel of a fairytale wedding. The Don CeSar is known as ‘The Pink Palace,’ so it was a perfect match,” Ashli explained. “We went with pink and gold. The pink coordinated with the Don, and the gold was an accent color for some added elegance. We both love vibrant colors, so It was important to us to have a palette with a pop instead of the traditional neutral bridal palette.”

As an avid Marry Me Tampa Bay reader, Ashli looked through real wedding features to help inspire her destination wedding.

“Since we were planning from over a thousand miles away, it was helpful to see inspiration from local weddings to help us identify elements to incorporate that we wouldn’t have thought of for a Chicago wedding,” the bride shared.

Centering around her love of fairytales, Ashli selected a wedding venue that would recreate the magical feeling of walking through Cinderella’s Castle. Forty of her closest friends and family enjoyed an outdoor, courtyard wedding ceremony followed by a reception in the Don CeSar’s King Charles Ballroom that showcased spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico.

“We knew from the start that we wanted a venue that could become a future vacation destination for us as a couple and for our family. We love the idea of taking our future kids on a trip to The Don CeSar to show them exactly where their parents got married and make visits a tradition. When we first drove over the bridge and saw the Don in the distance with the Gulf as a backdrop, we were instantly in love and knew this was it!” the bride beamed. “Being at the Don feels like an escape from reality, which fits well with the concept of a fairytale wedding. Given that and its sheer beauty, selecting it as our venue was a no-brainer. Service went above and beyond. Our guests raved about how incredible the Don CeSar staff is and how wonderful their wedding weekend experience was as a result.”

Planning a destination wedding required precise execution, and the couple selected Parties A’La Carte owner and lead wedding planner Jessica Ralph to deliver on all of the details that would create the wow factor they envisioned. However, it was Jessica’s ability to navigate the COVID-19 restrictions that produced a relaxing, safe, and magical wedding experience for Ashli and Greg’s guests.

“We looked for a planner who has a reputation for excellence and a portfolio of exceptional events. All of the reviews highlighted Jessica and her team’s attention to detail, which was important to us given we weren’t able to be physically present for most of the planning process. We also appreciated how they leveraged their years of experience in the industry to help inform our decision-making,” Ashli shared. “One important note is that we hired Parties A’La Carte before COVID hit, and we could not be more impressed with how they navigated all of the considerations that came with our wedding happening in the middle of a pandemic. The confidence they provided, along with important ideas for safety measures to take, helped to reassure us and mitigate the incredible amount of stress that we felt with the decision to stick with our original wedding date.”

To execute on the vibrant pops of color that the couple had envisioned, Bruce Wayne Florals created pink ombre bouquets that paired perfectly with gold flare intertwined throughout the styling.

“Wedding flowers complete the overall look, so we were hoping to find someone who could translate what we wanted the overall feel to be and show us what’s possible,” the bride detailed. “When we first saw our flower proposal, we could not believe how well Bruce Wayne Florals captured our vision. We were blown away by how they took our ideas from concept to reality. Everyone who attended our wedding was impressed by how unique the arrangements were and how some of those roses were the largest we had ever seen.”

The reception tablescapes featured tall lush pink, purple and white floral centerpieces that accompanied the sparkling gold flatware and gold-rimmed crystal chargers from A Chair Affair. Grant Hemond & Associates honored the groom’s polish heritage with a traditional Disco polo dance party, while The Don CeSar’s Ice Cream Cart served delicious end-of-night treats. Not to be upstaged by all of the excitement surrounding the evening, a custom three-tier orange creamsicle-flavored wedding cake from The Artistic Whisk was decorated with glitter gold detailing.

As she relived all of the memories from their wedding, it was the highly anticipated walk down the aisle that will always stay close to Ashli’s heart.

“We were adamant that our first look be at the ceremony. We will always remember locking eyes for the first time on that day,” the bride reminisced. “Everyone thought that I would cry, but Greg was actually the one who was ugly crying during my entire walk down the aisle!”

Waterfront Historic St. Pete Beach Wedding Venue the Pink Palace The Don Cesar
Engagement Ring in Pink Velvet Ring Box, Pink Floral Watercolor Wedding Invitation
Lace and Illusion Long Sleeve and Deep V Neckline A-Line Wedding Dress with Tulle Skirt
Tampa Bride Getting Wedding Ready in Lace and Illusion V Neckline Wedding Dress
St. Pete Bride Wearing Lace and Illusion Wedding Dress Holding Vibrant Pink Roses, Purple and White Floral Bouquet | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
St. Pete Bride Twirling in Lace and Illusion V Neckline Long Sleeve A-Line Tulle Skirt Wedding Dress
St. Pete Bride in Lace and Illusion Long Sleeve A-Line Tulle Skirt Wedding Dress Holding Vibrant Pink, Purple and White Floral Bouquet First Look Photo with Father | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Tampa Bay Bride in Lace and Illusion Long Sleeve Wedding Dress Holding Vibrant Pink, Blush Roses Floral Bouquet with Bridesmaid in Gold Sequin Dress | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Since I lived in Florida until I was 10, I grew up regularly going to Disney World. We didn’t want a traditional Disney wedding but still wanted to capture the enchanting and romantic feel of a fairytale wedding. The Don CeSar is known as “The Pink Palace,” so it was a perfect match. 

What were your colors? 
Pink and gold. The pink coordinated with the Don and the gold was an accent color for some added elegance. We both love vibrant colors, so It was important to us to have a palette with a pop instead of the traditional neutral bridal palette. 

Elegant Wedding Ceremony Decor, Tall White Pedestal with Lush Vibrant Pink, White and Purple Floral Arrangement | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte
St. Pete Bride and Father Walking Down the Aisle Wedding Ceremony Photo | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Florida Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding Ceremony Vows on Steps of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Florida Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding Ceremony Vows on Steps of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Florida Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding Ceremony Vows on Steps of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Florida Bride and Groom Wearing White Flower Crowns Exchanging Wedding Ceremony Vows on Steps of Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

The Proposal:
When we first started dating, Greg took note of my stories about watching Fort De Soto’s sunrises with my father when I was younger. He decided that’s where he was going to ask me to marry him one day. Fast forward to December, when Greg and I flew to Florida to spend our first Christmas with my family. On the morning of December 26, everyone except myself was stressed about making it to the beach by sunrise. We made it just in time, and as the sun began to rise, Greg asked me to spend forever with him. 

Florida Bride and Groom Veil Wedding Photo in Front of The Pink Palace | Historic St. Pete Waterfront Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Florida Bride Holding Vibrant Pink Floral Bouquet Outside Historic Pink Palace St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Parties A'La Carte

What did you look for in a wedding venue? 
We knew from the start that we wanted a venue that could become a future vacation destination for us as a couple and for our family. We love the idea of taking our future kids on a trip to The Don CeSar to show them exactly where their parents got married and make visits a tradition. When we first drove over the bridge and saw The Don in the distance with the Gulf as a backdrop, we were instantly in love and knew this was it. 

Being at The Don feels like an escape from reality, which fits well with the concept of a fairytale wedding. Given that and its sheer beauty, selecting it as our venue was a no-brainer. Service went above and beyond. Our guests raved about how incredible The Don CeSar staff is and how wonderful their wedding weekend experience was as a result.

Florida Bride and Groom on Beach with Vibrant Pink Floral Bouquet | Historic Downtown St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Florida Bride and Groom on Beach with Vibrant Pink Floral Bouquet | Historic Downtown St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Romantic Sunset Bride and Groom Photo | Bride Wearing Lace and Illusion Long Sleeve Wedding Dress Holding Lush Vibrant Pink Floral Bouquet | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Parties A'La Carte

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We haven’t had the chance to take our “real” honeymoon because of COVID, but are planning to go to Poland and Greece to celebrate our respective roots.

After the wedding, we went on a “mini-moon” to St. Augustine and stayed at the Bayfront Marin House with a view of the water. We both love history, so a drive over to America’s oldest city felt appropriate. We were able to spend some time at the beach, explore local boutiques, and enjoy the fabulous Christmas display that lights up the entire downtown area.

Modern and Unique Wood Laser Cut Custom Signage for Wedding
Romantic Elegant Wedding Reception Ballroom Wedding Decor, Tall Lush Floral Centerpieces, Gold Chiavari Chairs | St. Pete Beach Wedding Venue The Don Cesar - King Charles Ballroom | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair

What did you look for in a wedding planner?
Someone who has a reputation for excellence and a portfolio of exceptional events.

All of the reviews highlighted Jessica and her team’s attention to detail, which was important to us given we weren’t able to be physically present for most of the planning process. We also appreciated how they leveraged their years of experience in the industry to help inform our decision-making. One important note is that we hired Parties A’La Carte before COVID hit, and we could not be more impressed with how they navigated all of the considerations that came with our wedding happening in the middle of a pandemic. The confidence they provided, along with important ideas for safety measures to take, helped to reassure us and mitigate the incredible amount of stress that we felt with the decision to stick with our original wedding date.

Elegant Wedding Reception Decor, Tall Lush Pink, Purple and White Floral Centerpiece, Gold Chiavari Chairs, Dusty Blue Linens, Gold Flatware | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair | King Charles Ballroom The Don CeSar
Elegant Wedding Reception Decor, Gold Rimmed Charger and Flatware | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair
Romantic Elegant Wedding Reception Ballroom Wedding Decor, Tall Lush Floral Centerpieces, Gold Chiavari Chairs | St. Pete Beach Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair | The King Charles Ballroom
Elegant Wedding Reception Decor, Tall Lush Pink, Purple and White Floral Centerpiece, Gold Chiavari Chairs, Dusty Blue Linens, Gold Flatware | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair

What did you look for in a wedding florist?
Wedding flowers complete the overall look, so we were hoping to find someone who could translate what we said we wanted the overall feel to be and show us what’s possible.

When we first saw our flower proposal, we could not believe how well Bruce Wayne Florals captured our vision. We were blown away by how they took our ideas from concept to reality. Everyone who attended our wedding was impressed by how unique the arrangements were and how some of those roses were the largest we had ever seen.

Elegant Wedding Reception Decor, Small Lush Pink, Purple Roses and White Hydrangeas Floral Centerpiece, Gold Chiavari Chairs, Candlesticks, Gold Flatware | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals | Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair
Vibrant Pink and Blush Roses Floral Centerpiece Wedding Reception Decor | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals
Elegant Wedding Reception Decor, Sweetheart Table with Blush Pink Floral Applique Linen, Gold Chiavari Chairs, Candles | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar
Three Tier White and Gold Wedding Cake with Vibrant Pink Roses on Crystal and Gold Cake Stand | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Cake The Artistic Whisk

What did you look for in a wedding bakery?
We wanted a wedding bakery that could add a unique touch to our wedding and give guests a taste of Florida.

Since we were looking for a nod to local flavors, we were drawn to the Orange Creamsicle flavor, and it ended up being just as delicious as it sounded. The Artistic Whisk was willing to work with us to completely customize our cake. We had elements of three different inspiration cakes we wanted to include, and Artistic Whisk brought them all together seamlessly.

Three Tier White and Gold Wedding Cake with Script Monogram Lettering with Vibrant Pink Roses on Crystal and Gold Cake Stand | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Parties A'la Carte | Wedding Cake The Artistic Whisk
Bride and Groom First Dance Wedding Photo | Historic St. Pete Wedding Venue The Don Cesar | Tampa Bay Wedding DJ Grant Hemond and Associates

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
We wanted someone who is engaging, fun, and could read a room.

Jason of Grant Hemond & Associates came highly recommended by our wedding planner, and we are so thrilled that he was available for our wedding. Greg’s family is Polish, so we had a blast dancing to traditional Disco Polo at the reception. Jason did a fantastic job weaving those in with our other requests.

Modern and Unique Wood Laser Cut Custom Signage for Wedding
Yellow Gold Oval Diamond with Halo Engagement Ring, Yellow Gold Groom Wedding Band

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Determine what elements are important to you and your spouse to be a part of the planning and focus on those. Let go of outcomes on the rest. Your vendors won’t let you down!

Ceremony and Reception Venue, Rehearsal Dinner: The Don CeSar *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Venue
Photographer: Photography by Avery
Videographer: Voila Cinematic
Planner: Parties A’La Carte *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist: Bruce Wayne Florals *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Rentals: A Chair Affair *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Linens: BBJ Linens
Cake: The Artistic Whisk *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Ceremony Entertainment: Jade Strings
Cocktail and Reception Entertainment: Grant Hemond & Associates *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies
Custom Wedding Stationery: The Messy Painter
Day of Stationery: UrbanCoast
Dress: Maggie Sottero, Mallory Dawn
Shoe Designer: BellaBelle
Bridesmaid Dress Shop and Designer: BHLDN
Hair & Makeup: Lasting Luxe
Veil and Bridal Accessories (comb/earrings): Sara Gabriel

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).

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