Paige and Rick’s downtown St. Pete wedding featured a whimsical theme showcasing the pair’s uniqueness and love for art.
“Salvador Dali is my most favorite artist, and I have Alice in Wonderland tattoos on my right leg,” the bride explained. “Dali illustrated a version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, so it seemed like a natural fit of eclectic, weird, wonderful and beautiful.”
With the help of St. Petersburg wedding planner and designer UNIQUE Weddings & Events, the Dunedin couple hosted one of the most eclectic weddings we’ve ever published, complete with the officiant dressed as the Mad Hatter!
“The guests were greeted by a sign next to the entrance that read, ‘Holy Shitballs, this wedding is going to be awesome!’ and grazing flamingos made of flowers. A multi-color scheme with a consistent black, white and grey presence, filled the entire building,” wedding planner Staci Mandikas of UNIQUE Weddings & Events shared. “The reception took place ‘beneath the rabbit hole,’ with the large column in the reception room transformed into the roots of a large tree. Each guest table centerpiece was a translation of one of the paintings from Dali’s Wonderland series and each guest was greeted with a cookie that read ‘Eat me’ and a glass of champagne with a swizzle stick that read ‘Drink me.’
“Staci and her crew knocked each and every detail out of Wonderland,” Paige gushed. “She and her staff were organized, professional, always on time and just generally had all their shit together. They operate like a well oiled machine tending to every last detail.”
Playing off Dali’s mustache and Rick’s ever changing facial hair, the bride and groom gave their wedding guests chocolate mustaches.
“We were hoping they would get into it, snap pics and share them, which they did!” Paige beamed. “They are some of the best pics, #RPWonderland.”
Looking back, one of the bride’s most memorable moments was seeing her groom for the first time at the “Wishing Tree.”
“Rick looked so handsome; it took everything I had in me not to cry and mess up my makeup,” Paige reminisced. “Being surrounded by the wishes and intentions of the visitors and making some ourselves, was really emotional and beautiful.”
Rick and I had two of our best friends in town that weekend for food and fun. They had left the day before, and we were sitting around on the couch decompressing from the week. We had started to talk about how happy we were that we had found each other and how we were excited for our life together.
Rather suddenly, Rick got up, went into our son’s bedroom and came out with a box. He got down on one knee and asked if I’d spend the rest of my life with him. It was perfect! My house was just a house before he came along. He helped make our house a home.
What did you look for in a wedding planner?
I didn’t really know what to look for in a wedding planner to be honest. I got lucky AF I think!
Staci of [UNIQUE Weddings & Events] and her crew knocked each and every detail out of Wonderland! She and her staff were organized, professional, always on time and just generally had all their shit together. They operate like a well oiled machine tending to every last detail. Almost everything about our wedding was unique. Staci had surprised us with a floating rose cake topper. It hung from the ceiling and floated perfectly like a Dali painting above our cake. Truly a perfect finishing touch and delightful surprise. Staci killed it!
From planner and designer: “Alice in Wonderland through Dali’s Eyes”
The inspiration for Paige and Rick’s wedding came from their love of Salvador Dali’s Alice in Wonderland series. The guests were greeted by a sign next to the entrance that read, ‘Holy Shitballs, this wedding is going to be awesome!’ and grazing flamingos, made of flowers. A multi-color scheme with a consistent black, white and grey presence, filled the entire building. Guests followed the “mutual wierdness” arrow up to the third floor, where they surrounded the staircase and watched the couple share their vows on the second floor landing. Dripping flowers with blown glass orbs hung from the staircase, and the couple was married by a family friend, dressed as the Mad Hatter.
After the ceremony concluded, the guests were sent “down the rabbit hole” to the first floor cocktail hour filled with black and white graphic prints and brightly colored centerpieces. Chocolate mustaches, a tribute to Salvador Dali, were given to each guest and served as a sweet treat as well as the perfect photo op. Instead of a traditional guestbook, guests signed their well wishes on skateboard decks that will adorn the couple’s home. A tree of hanging pocket-watch style escort cards corresponded with clock face table numbers on each of the guest tables.
The reception took place “beneath the rabbit hole,” with the large column in the reception room, being transformed into the roots of a large tree. All of the solid walls were draped off and reflected the kaleidoscope of color that filled the room. The guest tables were covered in white linens with black knit overlays that were reminiscent of Dali’s pen sketches. Each guest table centerpiece was a translation of one of the paintings from Dali’s Wonderland series, and every table was unique! Interesting combinations of flowers, branches, crystals and even a flamingo were used to create a true feast for the eyes. Each guest was greeted with a cookie that read “Eat me” and a glass of champagne with a swizzle stick that read “Drink me.” Guests were also treated to whimsical cupcakes featuring Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. -Staci Mandikas, UNIQUE Weddings & Events
How would you describe your theme?
Salvador Dali is my most favorite artist, and I have Alice in Wonderland tattoos on my right leg. Dali illustrated a version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, so it seemed like a natural fit of eclectic, weird, wonderful and beautiful.
What were your colors?
Every color was our color scheme! We could not narrow it down since the illustrations, theme and Dali himself are so full of color and life. We did decide to keep the tablecloths, dance floor, plates, etc. black and white so the centerpieces (themed like the Dali illustrations from the book) could be as colorful and crazy as they needed to without conflicting with a set color scheme.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Trust your vendors creativity and suggestions. You wouldn’t hire Dali and tell him how to paint, would you? Why would you have hired him then? Don’t take away or stifle all your vendors experience, creativity and know how.
When you do your research and find amazing vendors, you should be able to convey your vision to them and trust them to knock it out of the park for you. It’s what they do day in and day out. Trust them and the process but always check in for progress reports when the big day draws near.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Salvador Dali Museum
Photographer: Christina Maldonado Photography
Videographer: Since 1987 Films
Planner: UNIQUE Weddings & Events – Staci Mandikas *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Caterer: Puff n’ Stuff Catering
Floral/Decor/Furniture/Lighting: Conceptbait Global Events + Floral Design Group
Cake: Corey’s Bakery
DJ: Garret Lauer Events
Officiant: Joe Muhrlin
Invitations: Creative Graphics
Day of Stationery: A&P Designs *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Bride’s and Bridesmaids Dresses: All Brides 2 Be Tuxedo & Formalwear
Alterations: Eugenia’s Bridal Alterations and Georgette’s Custom Tailoring
Bride’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo
Bridesmaids Shoes: Tieks
Hair & Makeup: Rare Accents Salon
Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.