Sailing Lady Jane

There's a brand new gorgeous catamaran in town ready to be rented for intimate ceremonies, engagement sessions, and sunset! Lady Jane has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, an air conditioned living room and is just so gorgeous and relaxing to go out on.  Kevin and Jane are the owners and Kevin named it after his wife who is also a very talented singer.  I got to photograph the interior spaces and the pretty couples so you can see what a vow renewal (40 year anniversary for Bud and Sue:-), ceremony or engagement sesh would look like.  We went out Pass a Grille by the Don Cesar, and it was quite overcast so just means we need to go out again for sunset! 

{Nanette & Sandrie @ Sheraton Sand Key}

Sandrie asked Nanette to marry him on her birthday in 2011. They are from the Netherlands and decided to do a destination wedding in Florida since Nanette had lived here for a short time in 1989 and 1991.  A friend of hers from her last trip here was able to officiate their wedding on Sand Key beach.  So, it was extra special as they combined their trip to the US with getting married.  It was simple and sweet with Nanette in a pretty white and purple floral dress and Sandrie in a matching purple shirt in the sand by the gulf as they exchanged vows and rings!  Congrats you guys!!  Thanks for having us be a part of it! 

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! 

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.  

{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

{Kelli & Brian @ Hutchinson Island}

Kelli & Brian rented a beach house on Hutchinson Island that was literally their own private stretch of beach.  Their 4 boys were the groomsmen, and they were literally bursting at the seams waiting to see their mom totally ready to walk down the aisle!  Kelli looked so pretty in her simple, flowy gown and pearls.  The earrings were her gift from Brian:-)   At the end of the aisle, there were 6 vases each with a different color of sand. One at a time each of the boys and Kelli and Brain poured theirs separately, and then all together in a vase that they'll have in their home.  Kelli and Brian read their personally written vows to each other and then they got in a circle with the boys and vowed to love and take care of each other as a family.  I love how they included their boys and really made it a joining of not just the 2 of them but as a family.  The pool deck of the beach house was decorated with white table, lanterns, and little beach chairs with aqua linens. Their wedding was in the morning with an awesome brunch buffet and there may have been a little red velvet cake smash:-)  Kelli and Brian danced with the ocean in the background to the steel drum and flute duo playing.  It's August, in Florida so what could be better than having an infinity pool for everyone to jump in and play? Kelli & Brian even jumped in with the kids!  I had a blast with this crew!  Congrats Kelli, Brian, 
Coordination | Jenny Piercy | Catering & Officiating | Lilly Catering & Events | Band | Reelting Steel Drum Band | Cake | Diva-Licious Cake House | Hair & Makeup | Tara Lane

{Miriam & Sergio @ Palacio National de Mafra - Portugal}

Miriam and Sergio's wedding is the first one I've gotten to photograph in Europe! I have to say it was extra special because not only did I get to go, but my husband and daughters got to experience it as well.  They made us feel like we were a part of their family and it was truly an honor.  Miriam is from Mexico, and Sergio is Portuguese but grew up in Germany.  Their friends and family are all over the globe so many weren't able to attend their wedding in Mexico 6 years ago. Sergio's parents have a beautiful property with a huge garden on a hill that overlooks the ocean just outside of Lisbon. Each day leading up to the wedding friends and family arrived from all different countries and every night there were more chairs added to the dinner table. There were guests from the US, Germany, Portugal, France, Canada, Thailand and others I'm sure. Sergio's brother and cousin drove over 20 hours from Germany in a sweet black Mustang convertible so they could use it for their get away car!  Miriam wore the dress she wore 6 years ago, it was a 2 piece organza gown with a beautiful lace veil.  Sergio also wore the brown suit he originally wore.  Their son, Leo, was the ring bearer and daughter, Regina, was the mini flower girl:-) They both got ready by the marble staircase at the house. Sergio picked up Miriam's shoes which said, "I do" on the bottom and said "Do I"?  Miriam's mom helped her get into her gown and gold heels and her dad was just so sweet when he saw her!  
     Then it was off to the Palacio National de Mafra in the Mustang.  It is a gorgeous Catholic Basilica that was built in 1755. Leo pulled Regina down the aisle in a wagon right before Miriam walked down the aisle. They did the lasso ceremony where Miriam's parents draped a beautiful swavaski crystal rosary over the 2 of them as the priest did a blessing.  They ceremony wasn't just for them, they had their daughter baptized and were honoring Sergio's parents, Isa and George's 40th wedding anniversary as well!  To make the marriage official they actually sign the papers during the ceremony right at the very end. They exited down the iconic steps of the basilica and we literally could have done photos for hours because the architecture is so amazing and different than what we have in the US. My favorite spot though was actually the little garden on the side with the tall purple flowers. 
     The reception decor was simple and so pretty with candelabra's, crystal and a little bit of sparkle.  The food in Portugal is just amazing.  Dinner was served family style with so many different courses it was impossible to try them all!  They are known for seafood, especially cod and the different cheeses and bread they have with every meal is a carbavour's (like me:-) dream.  They did their first dance and then Sergio danced with his mom and Miriam with Sergio's dad.  Then Sergio's parents danced while they added Miriam with her dad and Sergio with Miriam's mom until everyone was on the dance floor. Later into the evening, if you were still hungry they opened the doors to another room that had a full buffet of meats, cheeses, fruits, seafood, and dessert. Just before the end of the party we moved outside for them to cut the cake and fireworks! We got to know so many wonderful people! I have to say a special thank you to Luanne and Ploy for helping David wrangle our two one year olds while I was photographing the wedding.  And of course to Miriam & Sergio for coordinating everything to bring us along and their parents Isa, George, Victor, & Lily for opening their home and being amazing hosts! 

{Heather & Doug @ St. Augustine Beach}

Heather and Doug rented 4 cottages on the beach in St Augustine for their family and friends to enjoy their wedding celebration weekend. Heather’s favorite flower is the sunflower, and she actually made all the arrangements herself! Their ceremony backdrop was the Atlantic ocean, it was so beautiful! Heather has 3 children, and during the ceremony the pastor had each one come up and Doug said vows to them too. When it was time for the exchanging of rings, he had both Heather’s parents and Doug's parents come up and each held the rings and said a little prayer over them. The reception was in a tent overlooking the beach.  It was just laid back and so much fun! Congrats Heather & Doug!!! xoxoxo 
Venue | Linda's Seaside Cottages 

{Krista & Derek @ Vero Beach Hotel & Spa}

Krista and Derek are from Chicago, and chose the beautiful beach backdrop of the Vero Beach Hotel for their destination wedding. This is also the spot where Krista, her mom, and sisters do their annual girls weekend.  Krista's something old was her necklace that her mom had given to her on her birthday. It was made from her mother's original wedding bands.  Her bridesmaids were in short blush dresses that looked perfect with the guys navy blue suits and blush ties.  Krista looked so pretty in her layered gown that had a beaded belt and cute super cute heels!  We did Krista and Derek's first look in a secluded garden by the pool. It was so sweet to see Derek tear up when he turned and saw his beautiful bride!  The ceremony was on the terrace in front of the fountain, overlooking the crystal blue ocean. The rain even held off long enough just long enough for us to get the bridal party photos done.  It only began sprinkling halfway through the cocktail hour.  The reception was simple and elegant with white lanterns, candles, florals and navy linens. The toasts were sweet and you can see how much love each side of the family has for their new family member :)  We snuck out back at the end of the evening for some sparkler photos. It was the perfect destination wedding!  Congrats Krista & Derek!! xoxoxo
Venue | Vero Beach Hotel & Spa | DJ | Traxx Entertainment | Florist | Wild Heart Bloom | Hair & Makeup | White Orchid Spa | Stationary | Coppia Creativa | Officiant | A Day to Cherish

{Devon & Chad @Hilton Clearwater Beach}

Devon, Chad, and their family and friends traveled from all over Canada for their destination wedding.  It was just plain fun and laid back.  They wrote their own sweet vows to each other and for the unity ceremony put letters they had written to each other in a box of wine.  When life gets a little crazy, they can open the box read their letters and enjoy a glass of their favorite wine and remember how much they love each other:-)  We did a little bit of dodging the rain, but the sky turned dark blue with a pretty sunset for us.  Coral and green were the colors, and they had their guests sign a wooden surfboard.  Fun memories had by all!  Congrats Devon and Chad!!!!! 

Venue |  Hilton Clearwater Beach | Day of Coordination | Confetti Events | Officiant | Sensational Ceremonies | Cake | Chantilly Cakes | DJ | Grant Hemond

{Katie & Ivan @ Portland Ocean Gateway}

My husband, David, and I tagged teamed this one with him officiating of course:-)  Katie & Ivan are very good friends of Lauren & Josh, one of our couples we've gotten to be good friends with as well.  I was SO excited when we found out that we would be going to Portland, Maine, for their wedding!  They are the kind of people you become immediate friends with are just so much fun!  Portland is absolutely gorgeous with it's cobblestone streets, lighthouses, and of course lobster rolls and whoopie pies. 

Their rehearsal was on July 4th across the bay so everyone could enjoy the fireworks over the harbor.  The guys had the coolest place to get ready and even some pampering!  The Mens Room Lounge had pool tables, big screens, and beer, what  more could a groom and his groomsmen want?  The girls were just down the street at the historic  Portland Harbor Hotel.  Katie's gown was perfect for their oceanfront wedding.  The girls were in Navy with simple white calla lilies.  One of Katie's bridesmaids' gifts to her was an ornament with their invitation inside, love that idea!  Before we knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle!  

David married them with the sailboats and view of the harbor behind them.  We could literally have shot in old downtown all day:-)  There are a few cobblestone streets cars aren't allowed to drive down with restaurants, shops, and people out enjoying the day.  The sunset was absolutely stunning, thank you Lauren for being my lighting assistant!!  Their guests enjoyed a laid back reception with of course lobster rolls and all kinds of deliciousness. Ivan and his family are from South Africa so they even enjoyed some of their delicacies!  Their cake was a GIANT cupcake and lots of little treats like cake pops and these cupcakes that had frosting and cookie dough on them.  It really couldn't have been more amazing, I loved every minute!!  Congrats Katie and Ivan!!  Thank you for brining us with you to capture your special day:-) xoxox

Venue | Portland Ocean Gateway | Guys Getting Ready | Men's Room Salon & Lounge | Girls Getting Ready | Portland Harbor Hotel | Coordination & Catering | Blue Elephant Catering | Hair/Makeup | Tonia Day | Band | Pete Kilpatrick Band | Sweets | Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott

{Amanda + Russ @Hilton Clearwater Beach}

Beach chic, with rhinestone and Tiffany blue accents was Amanda and Russ' wedding style.  The joy of their lives, Addison, is their little girl who just turned 2!  Addy's dress was a super cute little mini version of Amanda's beautiful gown and I love Amanda's Tiffany blue sparkly shoes.   It was SO windy and even a little bit chilly (for Florida anyway:-) but you can't beat the beautiful sunset.  Their friends and family traveled from all over for their destination wedding you can tell this was the offical celebration but they have been a family for a long time.  Congrats!!!! xoxoxox

Venue: Hilton Clearwater Beach, Hair/Makeup: Beautiful You Hair and Makeup, Florals: Weddings by Iza, Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies, DJ: Music on the Move, Cake: A Better Cheesecake

{Megan + Matt @Postcard Inn}

"Uncle Matt here comes your girl!" that's the sign Matt and Megan's ring bearer proudly held as he walked down the aisle!  Megan and Matt have a pretty awesome story of how they met.  They were both on college internships at Disney and haven't been apart except in miles, but not anymore!  They live in Ohio now and their guests traveled from all over to including even France I believe to celebrate with them!  Navy, charcoal, and green and white florals decorated the lawn for their ceremony and the ballroom for their reception.  PCI has so many awesome places for photographs, old license plates, beautiful sunsets, lots of trees, and paddle boards.  They had the cutest green and navy stationary and the most amazing cake table.  The groom's cake had all their favorites sports teams rolled into one:-)  Matt's dad gave a hilarious toast, you definitely had to be there!  Their entire day was so fun and laid back and we captured so many wonderful moments.  Congrats Megan and Matt!! xoxoxox

Venue: Postcard Inn, Officiant: Tom Greene, Hair/Makeup: Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Group, Florals: Beach Boomz, DJ: Jeff Staples, Cake: Pastries by Design, Gown: Brides for a Cure, Videography: Hearts Video

{Emily + Brad @Pinecroft at Crosley Estate}

Being based in Florida, when I think Powel Crosley Estate, of course Sarasota comes to mind.  Actually, Powel Crosley Jr. was from Cincinnati Ohio and is known for radios, broadcasting, and owning the Cincinnati Reds:-)  I looked it up because I think it's so interesting.  The Sarasota Powel Crosley estate happened to be his summer home called Seagate.  Emily and Brad's wedding story that you will see here is at his original home in Cincinnati, equally as gorgeous and an amazing property.  Emily's style was very pretty and romantic, the girls wore grey, and the guys black tuxes with gray vests.  We even got a shot of Emily's dress with her mom's dress, which I really liked that she incorporated that personal detail in.  The theme was around wine, with wine corks for their table numbers and intials.  The lawn was tented and draped with tall colorful center pieces and different flavored cup cakes for their guests.  After the ceremony we had time to stop at a few history downtown locations with the bridal party, the old stone walls and beautiful sunlight was just amazing!  One of my favorite parts of the day was when Emily tossed her bouquet over the balcony her grandmother who was sitting there was surprised to have caught it, so sweet!  Here's just a little taste of their day! Congrats Emily and Brad!!! xoxoxox

Church: St. Agnes Church, Venue: Pinecroft at Crosley Estate, Cake: Maribelle Cakery, Florals: Timothy's Florals, Hair: Matt Bradley Salon, Makeup: Andrea Flannery, Catering: Funky's Catering, Band: Stays in Vegas, Gown: Bridal and Formal, Stationery: Cards and Pockets, Photobooth: Red Eye Photobooth, Transportation: Executive Services Group

{Jennifer + Ryan @The Beach House}

Jennifer and Ryan came down from Michigan to have their beautiful destination wedding on Bradenton Beach!  Pretty purple, green, and pink florals.  We had a gorgeous sunset with no clouds in the sky!  Congrats Jennifer and Ryan!!! xoxoxo

Venue: The Beach House, Hair/Makeup: Collective Creations, Florals: Events In Bloom, Music: Rick Bales, Officiant: Notary to Go, Cake: Matt and Dom's

 

{Gerrin + Chris @Postcard Inn}

Gerrin and Chris had a sweet intimate destination wedding at the fabulous Postcard Inn.  May isn't really rainy season yet but sometimes there is no getting around the weather.  Fortunately, Postcard Inn has a great backup option for the ceremony if it's raining which it happened to be for Gerrin and Chris' wedding.  The colorful bookshelves and lounge furniture makes for a great backdrop.  Simple white florals with hints of orange and butterflies!  Congrats Chris and Gerrin! xoxox

Venue: Postcard Inn, Hair/Makeup: Creative Touches, Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies