Vintage, Tropical Clearwater Wedding | Belleview Inn

Tampa Bay Best Local Wedding Venue 2021

Kayla and Ben’s laid-back Clearwater wedding featured an intimate tropical vibe at a historic inn, bringing a vibrant Florida atmosphere for their guests to experience.

“Our colors were navy, bright green, and orange/coral. We chose them because we love tropical flowers,” the bride explained. “Our theme was fairly loose, but it was based on the tropics. We love palm fronds and the bright floral colors of tropical flowers and how both the palm green and bright colors pop against navy blue.”

The St. Petersburg couple had always envisioned a small wedding, with 65 guests on their original guest list, so the lightly-more-intimate celebration of 46 still had a feeling of normalcy despite occurring during the pandemic. The bride and groom shared that their biggest priority was celebrating with their closest friends and family, with the decor and details ranking secondary. They incorporated their personalities and local flair in the details, including the microbrew served at the bar.

“What made our wedding unique was having a party during a pandemic,” the bride revealed. “We also thought it would be fun to have a couple of kegs brought in from local St. Petersburg brewery Cycle Brewing. They make some of the best beer!”

To capture the raw emotion of the day, Kayla and Ben sought a wedding photographer who would complement their relaxed personalities.

“I was looking for a wedding photographer who could really capture the feeling between my husband and me. I did not just want posed photos that look stiff. I chose Amber McWhorter Photography because of her Instagram. I was scrolling through Tampa photographers and her engagement photo water sessions really caught my eye. They were so genuine and fun; you can tell that Amber has an amazing way with the camera and with her clients,” Kayla raved. “In all of her photos, her clients look like they are actually enjoying being there. Even my husband had fun at the engagement shoot, and he does not enjoy getting his photo taken.”

Past experience at other weddings made the couple realize how a DJ could “make or break” their reception. Their venue recommended Grant Hemond & Associates, and Kayla and Ben have continued to rave about their DJ long after the wedding.

“The DJ sets the tone for the night and in our case the entire day. We have been to enough weddings that did not have a good DJ, and the whole reception was not as enjoyable as no one was dancing,” the bride explained. “Grant Hemond & Associates has amazing reviews. “DJ Ben was amazing! We still talk about how great he was. He had a very thorough list of questions for the day, and he did such a good job taking my suggestions and creating a playlist for each part of the day that was flawless. Also, you get what you pay for, and paying for a great DJ is definitely worth it.”

One of the couple’s favorite memories occurred on the dance floor during a special song request.

“The most memorable and favorite moment of mine was when DJ Ben played one of my husband and my favorite songs, Bumblebee Tuna by Mephiskapheles, towards the beginning of the reception. It was probably a more accurate first dance song for us. Amber captured that dance so perfectly,” Kayla reminisced.

Navy Blue and Green Clearwater Tropical Wedding Invitation with Palm Frond Leaf | Wedding Ring Shot Flat Lay with Bridal Accessories Bouquet and Shoes | Amber McWhorter Photography
Boho Wedding Dress Hanger Shot | Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves
Indoor Bridal Portrait in Boho Wedding Dress | Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Amber McWhorter Photography
Indoor Bridal Portrait in Boho Wedding Dress | Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet | Amber McWhorter Photography
Bride and Groom First Look | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train
Indoor Bride and Groom Portrait on Staircase | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet | Amber McWhorter Photography

The Proposal:
Ben and I had been together for six and a half years before he proposed, so we had already been discussing getting married. We love the beach, and we went out to watch the sunrise, where he officially proposed.

Indoor Bridal Portrait on Staircase | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet | Amber McWhorter Photography
Tropical Clearwater Wedding at Belleview Inn Historic Venue with Outdoor Staircase Ceremony | Amber McWhorter Photography
Bride Walking Down Aisle with Father during Outdoor Clearwater Wedding Ceremony | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet
Outdoor Staircase Wedding Ceremony Bride and Groom Portrait on Belleview Inn Staircase | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet and White Arch Backdrop with Palm Frond Leaf Coral Orange Pink and Greenery Floral Arrangements | Amber McWhorter Photography
Outdoor Staircase Wedding Ceremony Bride and Groom Portrait on Belleview Inn Staircase | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet and White Arch Backdrop with Palm Frond Leaf Coral Orange Pink and Greenery Floral Arrangements
Outdoor Bride and Groom Portrait | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit | Amber McWhorter Photography

What did you look for in a wedding photographer?
I was looking for a wedding photographer who could really capture the feeling between my husband and me. I did not just want posed photos that look stiff.

I chose Amber McWhorter Photography because of her Instagram. I was scrolling through Tampa photographers and her engagement photo water sessions really caught my eye. They were so genuine and fun; you can tell that Amber has an amazing way with the camera and with her clients,” Kayla raved. “In all of her photos, her clients look like they are actually enjoying being there. Even my husband had fun at the engagement shoot, and he does not enjoy getting his photo taken.

Outdoor Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait at Historic Clearwater Venue Belleview Inn | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit
Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Tropical Boho Bridal Bouquet with White Roses Orange Orchids and Palm Frond Leaves | Amber McWhorter Photography

How would you describe your theme?
Our theme was fairly loose, but it was based on the tropics. We love palm fronds and the bright floral colors of tropical flowers and how both the palm green and bright colors pop against navy blue.

What were your colors?
Navy, bright green, and orange/coral. We chose them because we love tropical flowers.

Outdoor Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait at Historic Clearwater Venue Belleview Inn | Boho Gold Bronze Embroidered Overlay Wedding Dress Bridal Gown with Illusion Sleeves and Train | Groom in Grey Khaki Linen Suit | Amber McWhorter Photography

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
When searching for a DJ, we looked for excellent reviews. The DJ sets the tone for the night and in our case the entire day. We have been to enough weddings that did not have a good DJ, and the whole reception was not as enjoyable as no one was dancing.

Grant Hemond & Associates has amazing reviews. DJ Ben was amazing! We still talk about how great he was. He had a very thorough list of questions for the day, and he did such a good job taking my suggestions and creating a playlist for each part of the day that was flawless. Also, you get what you pay for, and paying for a great DJ is definitely worth it.

Indoor Clearwater Wedding Reception at Historic Venue Hotel | Navy Blue Reception Table with Coral Peach Pink Napkins and Tropical Floral Arrangement Centerpieces
Indoor Clearwater Wedding Reception at Historic Venue Hotel | Navy Blue Reception Table with Coral Peach Pink Napkins and Tropical Floral Arrangement Centerpieces

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
Due to COVID-19, we have not yet taken a honeymoon. We have been thinking about staying within the U.S. due to the pandemic and taking a trip through some national parks.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Planning a wedding should not be stressful. Find a good wedding planner who will seriously help organize your vendors. Also, you get what you pay for, and paying for a great DJ is definitely worth it.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Belleview Inn
Photographer: Amber McWhorter Photography *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Planner: Vanessa Hayward Events
Florist: 2Birds Events
Caterer: Caretta on the Gulf
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies
Invitations: Kayla Harbeitner
Dress Shop and Designer: Lovely Bride Miami, Rue de Seine
Hair & Makeup: Number 9 Salon

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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