Lauren and Chris' Love Story:
My husband Chris and I met playing coed softball in Tampa summer of 2008. We developed a friendship over the next two years by attending mutual parties and festivals. By fall of 2010, we were working out together as much as we could and trying new restaurants every Friday night. It was an evening of playing darts and Buck Hunter that we realized we thoroughly enjoyed seeing each and spending time with one another.
We had been dating for almost two years, the back half of which was long distance as I took a job in Boca Raton, and Chris was finishing up his Masters at the University of Tampa. We knew we wanted to get married from day one, but it had just not happened yet. Chris had planned on proposing to me during Christmas of 2012, as we were going to be in New York and he would be done with school.
Labor Day weekend before that however, we decided to take a little vacation to St. Thomas, as neither of us had time off from work or school for nearly two years. What happened next was not your Hollywood scripted engagement, but I would not have had it any other way.
While shopping around St. Thomas, we found a ring that we fell in love with, so we said, “Let’s do this!” Chris called my father and asked for permission to marry me. We went back to our hotel on the beach and celebrated with people we had met during our stay. The ring was so beautiful; I couldn’t stop staring at it!
Lauren's favorite holiday is Christmas, so she planned a winter wonderland wedding, complete with Christmas ornament wedding favors and Christmas tree cupcakes.
“I wanted to get married in December so that I could incorporate all the wonderful colors and details of a winter Christmas,” the bride explained. “I chose light blue lighting to give our reception that winter feel/look, and I went with chiffon draping and crystal strands to act like icicles and snow clouds. My signature drink for the cocktail hour was a sleigh martini (vodka and curacao with a dipped sugar rim).”
To keep her wedding streamlined, Lauren chose Tampa wedding venue A La Carte Event Pavilion.
“A La Carte is a one stop shop! It has a huge selection of linens, chairs, chargers, an in-house flower consultant and provided lighting and chiffon draping,” the bride gushed. “I loved working with the event coordinator there. I had a winter wonderland vision and she created it. The staff made the experience for my family and I very smooth and wonderful!”
It was important to Lauren to create a memorable experience for her wedding guests, so she emphasized the décor, while her father thought the food should be focus. Luckily, they didn't have to compromise on either.
“My father and I had different views on what guests would remember most; the food or the décor. The look of each guest table had to be exquisite while staying within budget, while my parents wanted a certain mango salsa cooked on top of the Chilean Sea Bass,” Lauren explained. “It really came down to the small details to pull off my theme and provide delicious food. In the end we pulled of both thanks to A La Carte.”
Looking back, Lauren said her “Father/Daughter” dance stood out from the rest of the night.
“My father picked Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight for us to dance to. My father and I dance wonderfully together, but for some reason this anticipated dance was making him exceptionally nervous. We headed out to the middle of the dance floor and I remember looking at him saying, “Let’s show them what we do best.” With that, we twirled all over the dance floor like pros and ended with a memorable dip!” the bride reminisced.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
You are ultimately in control of your own wedding. When you have a vision it is important to interview each vendor to see if they can create that special day effectively and effortlessly.
It never hurts to have a wedding planner to help with the stress of organizing and timelines.
“A La Carte is a one stop shop! It has a huge selection of linens, chairs, chargers, an in-house flower consultant and provided lighting and chiffon draping. I loved working with the event coordinator there. I had a winter wonderland vision and she created it. The staff made the experience for my family and I very smooth and wonderful!” – The Bride
“The tables had crystal trees, white candelabras, crystal/mirror chargers, acrylic chairs and silver lamoure with silver squiggle lace table overlays to give them a clean, shiny and sophisticated winter touch. To create a winter wonderland effect, there was ambient lighting to color wash the walls in shades of white and blue, and white light pin spot lighting to illuminate the tables and showcase the centerpieces.” – The Bride
“Chris and his friends love to play mad libs, so I had a wedding mad lib created for our guest to fill out instead of a guest book.” – The Bride
Tampa Wedding Venue: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Andy Martin Photography
Tampa Wedding Florist: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Tampa Wedding Caterer: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Tampa Wedding Coordinator: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Tampa Wedding Cake: Gigi's Cupcakes
Tampa Wedding Rentals: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Monsignor Laurence Higgins
Tampa Wedding Band: DeLeon Entertainment
Tampa Wedding DJ: Inpulse Entertainment
Tampa Wedding Dress: Pronovias
Tampa Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Tampa Wedding Jewelry: Adriana Orsini
Tampa Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan Bridal
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: The Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Artist Group
Tampa Wedding Invitations: Pretty In Paper
Tampa Wedding Transportation: Ambassador Limousine Services
We are proud to have A La Carte Pavilion as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!