The wedding ceremony of Amanda and Kevin was preceded by possibly the sweetest thing we’ve ever heard of: a first-look picnic, just the two of them, on the grounds of Tampa wedding venue Cross Creek Ranch, where tall oaks and a rustic barn presided over the affair. The vows took place in the presence of dearest family and friends in an open-air chapel with vintage pews lining the aisle. The bride, wearing a 1920s style art deco gown, was escorted down the aisle by her mother and brother, friends singing along to the tune of “La Vie En Rose.” A cocktail hour of carnival-inspired goodies followed while Amanda and Kevin snuck away for photos. The bride changed into a reception gown with a shorter, fuller skirt covered in Swarovski crystals. The reception took place in the barn, rafters draped in lights and delicate decor. Candy, a s’mores station, cupcakes and a campfire pulled the vintage circus theme into the night, as well as a live circus performer who juggled and performed on stilts. A photo booth captured a slew of memories as the newlyweds enjoyed upscale carnival-inspired fare by Catered by Vesh. They danced late into the night before taking off for an adventurous happily-ever-after. The magic is brought to you by Tampa wedding photographers Sarah & Ben!
Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever?
Kevin and I met each other our Freshman year of high school. We went to different schools, but had the same group of friends. We liked each other since we met, but were very shy back then. Our friendship continued in college, although we went to different colleges, our roommates at the time dated and so we saw each other a couple times a month. When we were in our mid-twenties he lived in Gainesville, FL and I lived in NYC and we both had a trip to Chicago, him to see his best friend and me for a conference. We met up during that trip and afterwards talked every day via video chat until a couple months later when I took a trip home to Florida and thus officially began dating!
What was the most memorable moment?
Our first look was a picnic with macarons, wine, and chocolate. We were both so excited to see each other, a bit nervous, and incredibly happy. We chatted and laughed and then Kevin got to push me on a swing. It was such a grounding, calm moment where it was truly just the two of us. It was the first moment that made the whole day seem real. (See an adorable sneak peek of the wedding picnic here!)
Now for the proposal…details!
Kevin took me on a surprise trip to Orlando, Florida. The day of the proposal, I knew we had plans in the evening, so before hand we drove around and went on a helicopter ride. Later that evening, we went to Cirque du Soleil, since he knows I have a huge love of circus performance. After the show we went to a little bar/cafe called Stardust, where there was a photobooth. We have a collection of photobooth pictures ranging from our first date, to trips he took to NYC to visit, so we decided to take our pictures in the photobooth. He timed the photos perfect so you can literally see the proposal, acceptance, putting on the ring, and me grinning and showing off the ring in those four pictures. Afterwards he had planned to take me to a fancy French dinner, but I was so emotional and ecstatic we ended up skipping that to call all our friends and family to tell them the news!
What was the best wedding advice you received?
First, to hire a videographer. Second, when walking down the aisle, only look at the groom. Even if I hadn’t had that advice I seriously doubt I could have looked anywhere else.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
I had a ceremony gown and a separate reception gown. The ceremony gown was very 1920s feeling; long art deco looking with sequins and crystals. With this dress I wore a long veil to feel more “bridal”. My reception gown was a shorter, fuller skirt with handmade lace and Swarvorski crystals and a row of buttons down the back I wore it with a fun jazzy looking headpiece. Both dresses were more off-white or nude in color. I wore sparkly Toms ballet flats with both dresses. The wedding party we didn’t want matching at all. For the girls I only told them to choose a blue colored dress that looked a bit more vintage-y. For the guys we wanted either suspenders or a vest and either bow ties or ties. We had a wonderful mix of looks and designs for a “just thrown together” feeling.
Was there a specific theme or style?
Jazz age whimsical circus.
Did you DIY any of the details?
I made the bunting strung in all of the centerpieces, and all the paper pin-wheels hung as the backdrop to the sweetheart table.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
We wanted our food to be reminiscent of a circus or carnival, so we took carnival type foods and turned them into fancier dishes. Instead of pizza, we had a made to order flatbread station with a greek chicken flatbread and a caprese flatbread. We had fish tacos, made with mahi. And instead of burgers we had a “Three Ring Slider” entree, with barbecue pork, mojo pulled pork and a patty melt. Our appetizers were pretzel bites with a beer-cheese dipping sauce, and cajun style corn dogs with a spicy aioli. Our fruit and crudite were served on sticks, like you can find most foods at carnivals. We had three cakes, a bride cake that was rose flavored with raspberry filling. The Groom’s cake was chocolate with peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache. And the couple’s cake was a carrot cake with a big carrot decoration, an homage to my parent’s wedding cake. We had two drink specials. The Blushing Bride was vodka, elderflower and rose lemonade, and St. Germaine. The Golden Groom was orange juice, gin, and sweet and dry vermouth.
Flowers and cake. Although we love the outdoors, we didn’t see our wedding as being adorned with flowers. We used branches, bunting, and an eclectic mix to create beautiful centerpieces. My mom and brother walked me down the aisle, so I didn’t need to carry a bouquet myself. Flowers add up and for us weren’t necessary! Also, we loved the idea of having a small bride’s cake, groom’s cake, and couple’s cake. We didn’t want a cake with tons of layers or intricate designs. We had macarons, cupcakes, candy, s’mores, and three basic, small cakes. Our guests had plenty of sweets by the end of the night without a huge, decorative cake!
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We hired a circus performer who rode unicycles, walked on stilts, and juggled. We had a photobooth with lots of props (our first date/many dates envolved a photobooth and our engagement happened in a photobooth). We also had a carousel horse at our entry way.
…at all on your wedding day! Before our wedding, I was stressed making sure details were in place and all the people around me were happy. But on our wedding day, I forgot about all the little stressors and was simply and blissfully in the moment. I didn’t think of any little details or imperfections on our big day, only the magnificent feeling of marrying my best friend!
Photography: Sarah & Ben | Venue & Decor: Cross Creek Ranch | Catering: Catered by Vesh | Cake: Alessi Catering | Macarons: Laduree | Stationery: Handmade by Su Owen | Videography: Eli Meyer Studio | Dresses: BHLDN