After Christina’s sister introduced her to Arty, it did not take long for these two to fall head over heels in love. Desiring an elegant wedding with a fun and tropical twist, this couple planned a destination wedding at Florida’s Clearwater Beach at Clearwater hotel and event venue Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa. From ceremony to reception, the vibrant color scheme of fuchsia, orange and black provided the exotic feel Christina and Arty were looking for. Breathe in the salty sea air with these images from Tampa based wedding photographer Carrie Wildes Photography.
Tell us how you met…
My sister and my husband were actually friends for a long time and decided we should meet. At first I thought he was really cute but maybe a little too crazy for me. I was a little hesitant since we were long distance but we immediately hit it off and I was so drawn to his energy that I couldn’t stay away. A few months after we had been dating, we attended one of my good friend’s wedding in Baltimore. I remember during the ceremony where they exchanged vows, he squeezed my hand and winked at me. I thought to myself…..this is the one.
Now for the proposal… details!
Arty wanted to make sure I had a great birthday so he took me to Charleston, SC. I remember walking around the pineapple water fountain laughing at something funny on a sign posted nearby. I noticed he was quiet and serious which is not like him at all. We start talking about how great this weekend will be and next thing I know he is down on one knee proposing! I was totally stunned but so incredibly happy. We spent the next hour calling our family to tell them the news.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
We had a pretty traditional Greek Orthodox Ceremony but it was only 100 people so it was small compared to most Greek weddings.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I actually chose my gown the first time I went shopping! There was a trunk show from Impression Brides and I ended up choosing a heart shaped fit and flare gown with Swarovski crystal belt. I felt amazing in it! I wore a big white flower in my hair to give it that easy beach feel with dangle earrings and jeweled cuff my best friend gave me for being in her wedding. I wanted my bridesmaids to look and feel like they were goddesses so they wore floor length fuchsia chiffon gowns that each were a little different to reflect their own personalities.They looked so beautiful!
Can you give us an overview of the event?
We had a destination wedding in Clearwater Beach Florida. Our ceremony took place at noon and was held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral followed by a beautiful cocktail hour on the Hyatt Sky Terrace, overlooking both the ocean and marina. Our reception was a blast and was held in the Hyatt Aqualea Ballroom.
Was there a specific theme or style?
We wanted our wedding to be fun, vibrant, elegant and a touch tropical. We chose fuchsia, orange and black as our colors. My bridesmaids wore fuchsia dresses and carried colorful bouquets with a tropical blend of flowers oranges, purples, and chartreuse green, including roses and stargazer lilies. Our tablecloths were fuchsia and orange with high and low tropical flower arrangements with banana leaf accents and hanging crystals.
What inspired the theme or style?
Great question! We took a lot of inspiration from the fact we were having a destination wedding in Florida and wanted to incorporate the beach and exotic flowers like star gazer lillies, orchids and birds of paradise.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Our introduction song was “Gangum Style” so each member of our bridal party all came out dancing to the son wearing hats and shades. My brother, husband and even my Dad actually did the same dance as in the video! My brother also ended up doing this incredible Michael Jackson dance with my husband as a complete surprise that blew everyone away. The car my husband and I drove immediately after the ceremony was a vintage style 1966 Rolls Royce which we thought was pretty special.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Since it was a destination wedding we were limited to what we could do ourselves but we created our table card numbers and flower girl baskets and my sister created a separate toss bouquet for me last minute!
What was the most memorable moment?
My husband and I had just finished taking pictures on the beach when we walked by a huge wine tasting event. We immediately started hearing cheering and clapping from the crowd. Strangers approached us giving us high fives and wishing us a long and happy life together. My husband dipped and kissed me in front of the crowd and the cheers became even louder. It was a completely unplanned and an amazing moment.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
During our cocktail hour we had different specialty stations like beer and German pretzels, as well as passed hors d’oeuvres. Our guests had a choice of 3 different entrees including fresh Grouper and we had a delicious dessert station with cupcakes, fruit and dessert shots infused with vodka, brandy and tequila . The last hour of our reception we also served midnight snacks like sliders and nachos. We are Greek and love to eat!
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
We were fortunate to have a great DJ (Arista Entertainment) who played a mix of English and Greek songs that kept everyone dancing all night long. It was definitely one big dance party.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
My sister helped me choose a beautiful and touching song (Latika song by Slumdog Millionaire) to walk down the aisle to that actually got played too early in the ceremony and then abruptly stopped midway down the aisle. Later on we found out by some of our guests that the person in charge of our music during the ceremony actually fell asleep on the job!
Venue and Caterer: Hyatt Regency at Clearwater Beach | Event Planner from Hyatt: Lindsey Sykes | Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography | Videographer: Tampa Hearts Video | Floral: Kikilis Florist | DJ: Arista Entertainment | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Cake: Cakes by Nomeda | Linens: Connie Duglin