{Erin & Joe @ The Tampa Club}

I knew I was going to love these 2 when Erin told me her dress was going to be navy and gold!  She had a small little piece of her mom's wedding gown that she pinned at the bottom of her dress. I also learned what a "tussie mussie" is. If you've ever seen those ornate metal bouquet holders, otherwise known as Victorian posey holders or tussle mussies.  Erin had them on her and her bridesmaids' bouquets.  Erin's dad gave her beautiful earrings as a gift and since her dress had a lower back she wore a purple amethyst necklace backwards. On our way to the church we stopped at Erin's work to give some quick hugs to her coworkers and they were just so happy and excited it was the sweetest! Their bridal party was all family, Erin's sister, her husband, Joe's brother, his wife and their 2 kids were the ring bearers.  They looked so amazing in Navy and white florals.  The green ivy walkways outside the church and evening setting of downtown Tampa made for the perfect setting for the photos.  The reception style was white, gold, and navy with hints of green.  Even the cake was accented in gold confetti.  After Erin and Joe had their first dance and Erin danced with her dad, Erin's mom had some something specially written for Joe. She asked Joe if he would dance with her, in honor of his mom who had passed away when he was 19.  I can't really describe how special and emotional it was, but it's those kind of moments that are just so priceless and why I am obsessed with weddings.   This was such a beautiful day of these 2 families booming one family, it was amazing! Congrats Erin and Joe!!! xoxoxo
Hotel | Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay | Venue | The Tampa Club | Church | Christ the King Catholic Church | Florals | Northside Florist | Musicians & DJ | Breezin Entertainment | Cake | Hands on Sweets | Videography | Allure Cinema | Hair & Makeup | Collective Creations | Transportation | Blue One Transportation

{Gina & Larry @ Tampa Woman's Club}

Gina and Larry's was was so full or emotion and just plain sweet and fun moments!  We are obsessed with Gina's gown and the gorgeous detailed back.  She wore a crystal hair piece and navy shoes, and her bouquet was also wrapped in crystals (with our favorite little signature lady bug from Apple Blossoms:-)  They did a first look before the ceremony and you could feel their love and emotion for one another.  The Tampa Women's Club is right on Bayshore Drive and it was super super windy but they were game for whatever.  I love when couples write their vows to each other, the words they said were so special and there wasn't a dry eye in the room!  The reception was decorated with gray, navy, white and crystals.  Each table had a bottle of red and white wine with labels that honored Larry's parents who were there celebrating in spirit.  The reception started out with some Sinatra and turned into a dance party.  Thank you Gina and Larry for having us be a part of it, we loved capturing each moment of your story!  xoxox
Venue | Tampa Woman's Club | Hotel | Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel | Event Planner | Events By Special Moments | Florist | Apple Blossoms Floral Design | Hair and Makeup | Creative Touches Hair and Makeup Studio | Cake | Let Them Eat Cake | DJ | Ultimate Entertainment | Catering | Catering By the Family | Transportation | Advantage Limousines

Emily & Kalub

Emily and Kalub grew up about 10 miles away from each other in the same town in KY but didn't meet until college.  Emily said she's always dreamed of having a beach wedding so when Kalub accepted a job offer in Tampa last year it was perfect:-)  We thought Hyde park was the perfect little Tampa spot for their session.  Every time we are down there, there's something new and different.  One of the stores was under construction so there was a big spray paint mural that was pretty cool!  We can't wait to photograph their dream wedding 10.7.17! 

Marissa & Scott

Marissa and Scott are going to do a destination wedding in Costa Rica, but they have 3 adorable grandmas that they knew wouldn't be able to travel there.  So, they decided to have a sweet little backyard wedding just for them!  You know my love of grandparents so this was really just so awesome.  Dorothy, June, and Barbara were all married over 60 years and they had a photo from each of their weddings with a sign that said Your Legacy is Our Goal.  I've known Marissa for gosh, over 8 years know as she is a super talented hair and makeup artist.  She told me it was just going to be super simple, and I of course knew she would have the cutest details.  Nancy, their friend and officiant, had a little surprise for them during the ceremony.  She had asked each of the moms and grandmas to write a sentence about the prayer they have for Marissa and Scott and then she put it all together and read it as a prayer for them as a couple.  It was one of the sweetest things ever! To make them the official Mr & Mrs. Smith all 3 grandmas signed the marriage license.  After photos with everyone including their dogs Mo and Avery Marissa had the perfect brunch set. Their table was set with china that had little name cards accented with rosemary and a beautiful floral centerpiece.  It's pretty obvious these two are just plain made for each other!  Congrats Scott and Marissa, thanks for letting me be a part of it! xoxox
Florals | Alta Fleura | Officiant | Nancy Spooner

{Jessica & John @ Creative Loafing Tampa}

Happy St. Patty's day!  I have the perfect wedding sneaks for today:-) John is from Northern Ireland and just a few weeks ago he and Jessica got married there in John's home town.  Jessica grew up here in Tampa and they wanted to have a reception for all their friends and family here as well.  These 2 live in Ireland and so Carole, Jessica's mom planned an amazingly gorgeous and fun reception for them at Creative Loafing.  I got to spend some time with the 2 of them around Ybor,  you know how there's always roosters down there, well right now there's a bunch of baby chicks running around too.  I had to include a photo of them of course! Jessica's Aunt Camilla, who is also an artist created to floral design that decorated the vintage furniture.  The silverware was all family heirlooms from Jessica's grandmothers and aunts so each set was a little different.  The perfect Irish touch was the sculpted shamrock watermelon, by Sedd's.  Jessica and John entered to a bagpiper playing and they danced and ate and their parents and family members gave the most amazing toasts.  It truly was a joining of 2 families from across the world and such a fun party!  Congrats Jessica and John!! xoxoxo
Venue | Creative Loafing | Furniture | Wish Vintage Furniture Rentals | Catering | Sedd's Edible Creations | Hair and Makeup | Artistic Hair & Makeup | DJ | Grant Hemond

Havana, Cuba

Our last stop before heading back to the US from Cuba was Havana.  It was such an interesting city and I'm so glad I got to experience it as it is right now.  The classic cars are just fantastic! I was dying to ride around the city in one of them and we did!  Our hotel called one of the tour companies and a guy pulled up in front of our hotel with a 57 yellow and white Dodge convertible.  He took us over to surprise our friends Judy and Ed who were going to ride along and Judy's face was priceless when she saw it.  The driver told us that his grandfather had won the car in the lottery in 1957 and it had been their family car up until about 5 years ago.  At that point the Cuban government started allowing more Visas for tourists to come in and that's when the classic car touring companies started. Most of these photos below I took while we were driving the streets.  Each part of city was so different whether it was from before the 50s or after. There is a building for each service of the government since they control everything so a ministry of defense, ministry of construction (which was ironic because it was in total disrepair), education etc.  I would love to have seen what Old Havana looked like when it was new.   So many different colors, chipping paint, and wrought iron.  Everyone leaves their doors open and hangs their laundry on their balconies.  I could have walked down each of the different streets photographing people for hours.  There were groups of men playing heated games of dominoes on street corners.  I looked up, and there were 2 ladies who had bags of rice tied to a rope and were pulling it up the side of the building to the rooftop.  We drove through what use to be casinos back in the mob days, a soccer field, and a random art district that had lots of roosters just like Ybor City. There was even a park that had huge ficus trees covered in vines that was so random. The smell of diesel and musical car horns was everywhere.  It's just a short 1 hour flight direct to Tampa, I would totally go back! 

{Christen & Samir @ The Ritz Carlton Sarasota }

Christen and Samir had a gorgeous wedding at the the Ritz Carlton Sarasota.  Their elegant color palette was white, gold, black, and hints of amethyst.  They both gave their bridal party gifts from Tiffany's.  Christen gave the girls pretty infinity necklaces and Samir gave the guys silver pens to write the speech.  I LOVE Christen's sparkly encrusted heels, her look was simple but so beautiful.  Samir wore traditional Indian attire for the ceremony and they both changed into a 2nd outfit during the reception.  There was some rain that moved everything inside, but the sunset was just stunning and these 2 didn't worry about that for a single second.  Their reception details had gorgeous white  florals with black and gold accents.  The cake, it looked like it was literally dipped in gold.  From the minute they entered the joy and fun everyone had was so obvious.  Toasts, dances, and an amazing party! Congrats Christen & Samir thank you for having us capture your story!  xoxox
Venue | Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Event Planner | The Perfect Setting |Videographer | Lucky Lemon Films | Musician/DJ | Jac of All Trades | Flowers | Beneva Flowers | Hair and Make-up | Salon Lofts Sarasota | Cake | Ritz Carlton Sarasota 

Lourdes & Victor

These 2 are from New York and met while Lourdes was working at a pet store and Victor came in to buy Koi for his tank:-)  They are just fun and laid back, and so Medard park and all the crazy tree roots and mossy trees was perfect! When them came over and I showed them their slideshow I had to get out the tissues for Lourdes so that is how I know I did my job!  I am so looking forward to their wedding 4.2.17 at the Regent! 

Guantanamo, Cuba

I LOVE photojournalism and just photographing people doing what they normally do so wanted to share with you some photos around the town and streets of Guantanamo.  Ken, one of our team mates loves kids and was so smart to bring bags of candy and toys to just randomly give out whenever he could.  He would see kids playing in the street and would toss them a baseball or soccer ball out of nowhere and they would just explode with excitement.  We all stayed in homes where people had extra rooms that they rented out just a couple blocks from the church. Each morning (very early:-) we would hear a guy yelling to let everyone know he was selling fresh bread, loud diesel engines zooming by, and the clip clop of horse and buggies.  There were a lot of dogs, both stray and pets.  There was one that looked down on us from the roof everyday as we walked by.  There is a school right across from the church, and for gym class or recess they just string a rope across the street so cars couldn't cross and then would play soccer and run races.  The old cars are so cool and weird to see.  On the outside they are painted bright colors and look amazing.  Pastor Raidel has a blue 57 Chevy, and when you open up the hood it has a diesel Toyota engine, Fiat carburetor, 2 sets of different tires and makeshift whatever parts so that it runs.  There were people gathered in the town square as they do have wifi hot spot guys that for $1 will connect your phone. I tried it one day, and it really only worked for texting not for email or social media which was actually kind of nice for a change!  There are just a few options for stores there and they all pretty much have the same thing as they are all run by the government.  There's a picture below of one that had things like clothes and cookware and appliances.  The pricing was similar to what you would see in the US which didn't make sense to us since their incomes are $12-$20 a month.  They told us that since they are government stores, it doesn't matter if they sell things or not and that there is a huge black market where people go to get things at prices they can afford.  It was such an interesting place, like nothing else I've ever seen!  Our last day on the way out was spent in Havana so I'll be posting some of my favs from there next!

Wedding! Guantanamo, Cuba

The 3rd and final big event on our Cuba mission trip was a huge wedding/vow renewal with all 30 couples at one time!  They told us there aren't invitations for their weddings, literally the entire town is invited and I'm pretty sure they all came:-)  They don't really have access to order live flowers, but they make gorgeous arrangements out of silk florals.  We helped them blow up lots of balloons for the huge archway.  They don't pop them when it's over, they actually untie and re-use them as many times as they can!  Everyone worked so hard to get these 30 ladies bridal ready, with hair, makeup, jewelry and getting dressed.  As each couple was ready I took them out for their mini portrait session by the church, I posted favs the other day of that you can see those here. In 6 hours we had all 30 couples ready and photographed.  Their tradition to let the town know there is a wedding about to happen, is for the bride to be driven around town in a bicitaxi.  This was a whole night parade of 15 bicitaxis each with 2 brides in  them.  When they ended back up at the church the guys where there waiting to escort in their ladies.  The church was packed to the brim with guests and so exciting!  It started with a troupe of dancers who did a beautiful dance with glitter and fabric ending with the flower girl up in the air throwing glitter.  Each couple entered and did a little spin until all 30 couples were in the front facing the crowd.  There was a cute little girl from the neighborhood that had followed Zul and I around while I was doing the photos of each couple earlier in the day.  I noticed she was sitting right next to me while I was crouched in the front photographing the ceremony.  I smiled at her and she gave me this big grin with a few teeth missing.  Pastor Raidel had everyone face each other, say their vows and seal it with a kiss!  My favorite part of the day was seeing the joy and surprise on their faces when they saw the little framed print we had ready for them.  Then they surprised us!  Each couple had been paired with one of us and got us a special gift to remember our time in Cuba.  I will never the feeling of joy and happiness that we got to be a part of with them! 

Marriage Bootcamp Cuba Style

The 2nd part of our trip even more important than setting up the bridal boutique was teaching a workshop on marriage.  In Cuba, they don't have marriage conferences and endless amounts of books and online info available to them like we do here.  At Bay Hope we have a really awesome pre-marital mentoring program for engaged couples so our team pulled out the most important parts and taught 4 workshops that each of the 30 couples rotated through.  The topics were communication, spirituality, family history, and personality.  They rented out a little resort in Guantanamo that was about 20 minutes from town.  It was a beautiful setting and the weather was amazing.  I was just helping keep time and photographing everything so I got to see all the groups.  Our couples did an amazing job and were so excited to teach, and the couples were just soaking everything in they possibly could! That night was a feast with an entire pig that had been roasting all day and lots of games, it was SO much fun.  We need to do more of that!  They ended the evening with giving each couple a little cup of coffee and a piece of candy.  It was so remind everyone that there will be bitter times and sweet times in life but that it's all worth it.  Before we left the next morning, the couples wanted to us to hear their stories.  So, we all gathered in a big group and one by one the couples shared their struggles and the things that had overcome, it was truly amazing.  Pretty soon, they'll have their own mentoring program led by their couples!

Operation Bridal Boutique Guantanamo

The first day of our mission trip in Guantanamo, Cuba was setting up a bridal boutique full of gorgeous gowns.  We had 14 duffel bags vacuum packed with 86 gowns, veils, jewelry, and accessories that were generously donated by individuals and Tampa Bay wedding gown boutiques.  We had even more than we could bring so the rest of the gowns will be brought on future trips. The store owners and personal friends of mine and everyone I asked was so excited to be a part of this effort!  There was a team of 15 of us who actually went but there were so many others that were a part of making this happen.  The room you see below is in the pastor's house that is attached to the church, it was one of their kids bedrooms that was transformed into a bridal boutique.  The people in Guantanamo generally make between $12-20 per month, that is correct per month!  So, most people can't afford to have a wedding let alone a gorgeous gown.  The purpose of this boutique is so that the church has a micro business, where they can rent these dresses to the community for an amount they can afford.  The concept is just plain awesome.  After we had it setup, the ladies on our team helped each of the 30 brides find a dress, veil, and jewelry to wear for the big wedding celebration that would be happening on Wednesday. "Digo si al Traje" is Spanish for "I said yes to the dress!" so Zul wrote a little sign and I had some of them hold it just like we would here:-)  While we were doing that, the guys were hard at work painting, sanding, and repairing the outside of the house.  The very last photo is of our whole team in the room they had just finished so that we would all have a place to eat meals together.   THANK YOU to these boutiques Isabel O'NeilSomething Blue Bridal Boutique, The Perfect Dress, Olga's Bridal, Goodwill and everyone who played a part in, this it was truly amazing!  

Cuba Wedding Mission

Last week I got to be a part of a mission team that traveled to the town of Guantanamo, Cuba! I have to say, it was one of the most interesting places I have ever been.  My church here in Tampa, Bay Hope Church, has a sister church there.  This mission trip was totally unique as it was geared around marriage and weddings, my favorite of course! We brought down over 80 wedding gowns, veils, jewelry, hair/makeup supplies donated by boutiques and individuals from Tampa Bay  to setup a boutique at the church there, taught a marriage workshop, and ended the trip with a huge wedding for 30 couples that I got to photograph! Every day this week I'm going to give you a peek into what we saw and did.  The photos I'm posting today were from my personal favorite part of the trip.
     The first 5 photos are what the neighborhood around the church in Guantanamo looks like.  The streets are loud with kids out playing, horse and carriages plodding by, and in the evening groups of me play dominoes on the street corners.  People there live in very small generally 1 or 2 room apartment like row houses.  I got to do a super mini session with each of the 30 couples the day of the wedding as they got ready.  All of these couples have already been married from anywhere between 9 months and one couple over 45 years.  Most of them never ever had a wedding ceremony, or gown, let alone photos to remember it by.  All the couples either attend the church or are missionaries that are sent out by the church.  The missionaries literally walk for miles a day into the mountains to do their mission work without knowing where they are going to sleep or what they might eat that day.  I wanted each couple to feel special and see how beautiful they looked. So, I used a different spot right there in the neighborhood that matched what they were wearing.  My Spanish isn't super stellar so I couldn't have done it without Zul, one of our team members who translated and was the most amazing photography assistant!  There's not really access to get prints made there very easily and so I brought my little 4x6 printers so we could surprise the couples with a framed photo as a wedding gift.  When their pastor saw the prints he told me something I will never forget.  He said that he's walked by those places countless times and didn't see them as beautiful, but seeing how they look in these photos gave him a new perspective on the beauty in his neighborhood.  There's so much more I could say about these couples but I'll let you see for yourselves.  

{Alexis & Jason @ Carrollwood Country Club}

There is so much we could say about Alexis and Jason’s wedding, it was so beautiful and full of sweet and emotional moments. Alexis wore a strapless, lace gown with a beaded crystal strap across the back.  She gave her dad, and step mom embroidered handkerchiefs with the sweetest letter to each of them.  The letters and gifts Alexis and Jason gave each other brought both of them to tears! Their first look was on the right in front of the big oak tree, these few minutes of love, tears, and joy are some of our favorites! It was that super super windy day so the ceremony was moved to being under the covered front terrace.  It gave Alexis this beautiful long aisle to walk down and meet Jason. The reception was in the grand ballroom, and was absolutely breathtaking! It was decorated in all white and silver and looked so incredibly classy.  Their first dance, the father daughter, and mother son dance left us all without a dry eye.  There was some serious salsa dancing, hip shaking, and even breakdancing going on. When Alexis tossed the bouquet, it ended up in on top of the draping not once, but twice which left everyone laughing hysterically.  We stole them away for some night time photos. With the rain that had come and gone, the asphalt had puddles of rain that were beautiful and reflective with the streetlight.  Congrats Alexis and Jason, thank you for having us capture it! xoxoxo
Venue | Carrollwood Country Club |  Florist | Arlene Floral Designer | Gown Boutique | White Magnolia | DJ | Breezin Entertainment | Videographer | Brandon Paul Photography | Cake | Publix | Tuxedos | Nikki's Glitz and Glam Boutique | Bridesmaids Gowns | Bella Bridesmaids

{Jessica & Adam @ UCPGB LincPoint, Birmingham Alabama}

Our very first wedding of 2017 was in Birmingham, Alabama, on the beautiful campus of Samford University. Jessica went to college there and told me she never thought she would get married there but it was literally the perfect location with the white wood interior and stained glass.  The girls in plum and guys in dark gray and plum ties looked so pretty with the brick archways and stained glass.  Just before Jessica and Adam did their first look, the guys gathered around Adam and prayed for he and Jessica as they begin their marriage together. Jessica's gown had this stunning double key hole back with beaded crystal, when Adam saw her he literally said "WOW" and had the sweetest reaction. They read cards they had written to each other and then we used the brick archways and of course Mr. Beeson for photos.  After all the bridal party and family photos were done as guests were arriving, their families had Communion together led by Jessica's dad.  I honestly can't describe to you how much I enjoy photographing, and soaking in each of these special moments.  They had a cross on the altar with 3 ropes on it and to show their unity braided together the 3 strands as Jessica's sister and brother in law sang Come Thou Fount.  After their kiss, their pastor, (who is the one in the selfie before the cermeony:-) introduced them for the the first time as Mr. & Mrs. Strickland.  Their littlest ring bearer, Grant, was spent! He napped his way down the aisle on his grandma's shoulder.  All of their signs and reception center pieces were hand made with their favorite Bible verses.  Jessica's Aunt owns a bakery and made the most amazing 5 tiered wedding cake as well as the finishing touch to their sweets table which was pound cake for Adam.  Before we knew it, it was time for their sparkler exit!  Congrats Jessica and Adam!!!! xoxoxo
Ceremony | Reid Chapel, Samford University | Venue | UCPGB LincPoint | DJ | Live Productions | Hair |  Studio 21 | Gown Boutique | Diane's Formal Attire | Caterer | Taziki's | Cake | Liger's Bakery & Deli

{Lu & Alex @ Cross Creek Ranch}

Lu wore 3 gorgeous gowns on her wedding day. For the ceremony, she wore a lace sleeved gown with a long train and chapel length veil, with red platform sneakers underneath!  Alex was in a black tux with a white jacket and bowtie, so handsome! He had pure joy on his face as he saw Lu being escorted down the aisle by her brother.  They had the perfect December day for their outdoor ceremony and reception at Cross Creek Ranch.  The patio was draped in lights with gold, pink, and wine accents.  They included subtle hints of 2 of their favorite things, a little spider man was peeking out from under the cake and their M&M had their photos as kids and a Darth Vader!  Lu changed into a lace party dress for the reception that was totally for dancing.  Later in the evening they snuck out and Lu changed into her 3rd outfit for a fabulous surprise Tango!  So many amazing moments, thank you Lu and Alex for having us be a part of it!! 
Venue | Cross Creek Ranch | Hair and Makeup | Style Hair and Makeup | Catering | Cater by Vesh | Videographer | Lucky Lemon Films | Officiant | Sensational Ceremonies | Florist | Alta Fleur | Cake | Alessi Bakery | Musician | Rick Mellum

{Aimy & Rankhses @ Highland Manor}

Aimy & Rankhses chose this fabulous, historic manor that was built in the very early 1900's for their evening wedding.  The entire house was actually moved from it's original location to the property it is on now.  The girls had the entire 2nd floor to get ready in with vintage furniture and huge windows.  Their wedding style was dark purple and mint with succulents, and lots of paper cranes handmade by Aimy and her friends.  She even had one of the back of her necklace.  Her dad delivered her gift to Rankhses which was an engraved tie clip and watch that said "love you till the end of time..see you at the altar at 6:00pm 12.17.16".  Rahkhses mom gave him his grandfather's gold cufflinks to wear.  He and his 2 brothers (who were 2 of his groomsmen) are very close and super fun as you can see:-) Their ceremony was in the enchanted forest at night.  The trees were wrapped with lights and the aisle lined with birdcages ending in a draped backdrop with gorgeous florals and paper cranes.  After the ceremony their entire family and bridal party toasted the brand new Mr. & Mrs.  The night scene was so pretty!  Their reception was also decorated in gold, purple, and mint with lots more paper cranes with a tiny ceramic one with their names written in gold at each place setting.  Aimy surprised everyone by singing Ave Maria, as it is a tradition in her family to honor and remember their family members who weren't able to be there.  So many gorgeous and fun moments were had by all!  Sweets station, photo booth, fun, s'mores station, and little succulent favors for their guests to take before they lined up for the exit.  Aimy and Rankhses exited to their antique ride through silver garland poppers!  Congrats Aimy and Rankhses!!! xoxox
Venue | Highland Manor | Catering | Dubsdread Catering | Florist | Lee Forrest Design |  DJ | Epic Events | Officiant | Sensational Ceremonies | Cake | It's Tasty Too