Not even Tropical Storm Debby could put a damper on the sunshine of this couple’s special day! Two people who love to have good time, Shelly and Ian wanted their day to be a relaxed and casual affair, full of joy and laughter for all in attendance. And boy did they succeed! The couple’s vows, though heartfelt and sincere, were full of comedic lines that had the room bursting with laughter. But it was the reception where the fun truly escalated, DJ and photographers alike giving partygoers memories that last a lifetime. Kick off your shoes and join in the celebration at Safety Harbor wedding venue Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, images brought to you by Tampa wedding photographers Caroline & Evan Photography!
Tell us how you met…
Ian was a co-worker’s guest to a company function. The co-worker didn’t show up but Ian came anyway. He sat next to me and we hit it off. I again saw him a couple weeks later at a different co-worker’s birthday party. He let me test drive his convertible as I was considering one for my next car. As to what happened next… My Version: My keys slid under his seat during the drive and he had to come back later that night to rescue me. (He swears I planted them there.) I gave him my number that night and the rest is history. Ian’s Version: I wanted to give him a reason to come back and talk to me, so I kicked my purse so that my keys would fall under his seat. He left earlier than I did, so he had to come back and “rescue” me later on. The rest is history.
Now for the proposal… details!
We were checking out a possible B&B venue for the wedding (yes, before he proposed). Ian decided it would be a neat story to have proposed where we got married (assuming it was at this B&B). So, out on their boat dock, he got down on one knee, pulled out the box and proposed. He nearly dropped the ring when opening the box upside-down. Of course I said yes. We went to dinner at the same restaurant we had our first date – this by the way was his fall-back proposal location. After dinner, we went home where I was surprised again with an engagement party.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
Our wedding was medium sized (110 people) with an emphasis on having fun. My husband is a non-practicing Jew and I’m a non-practicing Christian so our ceremony was non-denominational, focusing on our love and commitment to one another. I incorporated many traditional elements while keeping it light and fun as well. To honor Ian’s heritage, I tried to incorporate some of the Jewish traditions. We each had both of our parents walk of us down the isle, Ian smashed the glass at the end of the ceremony, and we were hoisted in chairs to Hava Nagila.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My wedding gown was an empress waisted, ivory chiffon with many layers and a short train. It had a beaded bodice of seed pearls, beads and sequins. I added crystal straps so the dress wasn’t completely strapless. I wore a crystal headband all day and a knee length vail with crystal beading during the ceremony. My jewelry was matching amethyst earrings & necklace. I wore purple heels for the ceremony and purple flip-flops for the reception. My maid-of-honor wore a floor length purple chiffon dress with spaghetti straps while the other maids wore a knee-length matching purple chiffon dress. They all wore silver shoes. Because the wedding was to be outside and casual, I opted for just vests – no jackets. My groom wore a lavender vest with khakis and purple tie while his groomsmen wore a light green vest with khakis and matching green tie.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
The wedding was to be held on the Bay View Overlook Deck at the Safety Harbor Spa & Resort. Due to Tropical Storm Debby, we were forced to move the ceremony in doors. The Cocktail Hour was held in the Great Hall followed by the Reception in the Four Springs Ballroom. We had to cancel many of our photo ops and our sparkler exit but despite the weather, everyone had a great time and the photos we did get were wonderful. Many of us headed for an after party in the pouring rain at Nolan’s Pub in downtown Safety Harbor where we closed down the place – me still decked out in my wedding dress.
Was there a specific theme or style?
I didn’t really have a specific theme. It was part do-it-yourself, part traditional, part casual, and part fun. When I found something I liked, I incorporated it into the wedding. My colors were purple & green.
What inspired the theme or style?
I wanted something unique so I searched the internet for cool things to incorporate into both the ceremony and reception.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Instead of a flower girl and ring bearer, I had my 2 great nieces carry a double sided banner that displayed “Here comes the bride” and “This is your last chance to run”. After the ceremony, it flipped over to a 3rd sign that read “And so starts their happily ever after”. At the start of the ceremony, my fiance gave my mother a pink rose and I gave his mother a pink rose to welcome each as part of our new family. I wanted a sand ceremony but not the typical vase so I searched the internet until I found the Forever Frame. Once the sand is poured, there’s a clear plastic insert that keeps the sand from shifting. There’s also a place for a photograph and keepsakes – which my family dropped in during the reception.
Did you DIY any of the details?
I work for a printing company so I designed all the printed elements to match – Invites, Programs, Hang Tags, Schedule of Events, Menus, etc. The programs were fans – one side had the program, the other had a custom created word search, I attached a mini-golf pencil to the handle of the fan. My mother & sister made the ceremony banners my nieces carried as well as one at the entrance that asked everyone to choose a seat rather than a side. My mother embroidered a heart on the backside of my fiance’s tie which read “I love you, Shelly” which I surprised him with on the day of the wedding. Our guest book was a thumbprint grapevine. I purchased the image online and printed the photo at work. Our escort cards were lollipops which I purchased, printed stickers and affixed to each side.
What was the most memorable moment?
It was such a great night and there were so many that it’s hard to choose just one. Seeing 6 months of planning all come together into one perfect day – despite T.S. Debby. Spending time with family & friends. Great food & fun. I think the one thing that stands out the most was the ceremony itself. I wrote much of it and included many comical elements as we didn’t want it to be too stodgy – but to reflect our fun personalities. Even the vows I wrote, though heart felt had elements of comedy. We had the guests laughing many times. That, and being hoisted up in a chair during the reception for Hava Nagila. My husband is Jewish so he was used to it, me, not so much.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
We had a selection of hand passed hors d’oeuvres during the reception. This included petite lamb chops, beef kabobs, and conch fritters. The plated dinner consisted of a spring salad, lobster bisque and a choice of either Chicken Cordon Bleu, Petite Sirloin, or a Vegetarian dish all with potatoes and seasonal veggies. Our cake was 4-tiered with each tier being a different flavor. I also surprised my husband with a grooms cake decorated like his favorite pub – the place were our relationship began.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
We had a fabulous DJ who kept everyone up and moving throughout the reception. I was able to choose many of the songs he played as well as the genre and no-play list. There was a good mix of slow & fast to satisfy everyone – young & old alike. We had a Photo Studio Booth at our reception. There was an area set-up with a backdrop and one of our photographers, Evan, manned the camera all night long. They had fun props to use and everyone got into the spirit. We had Evan use our Eye-Fi card to be able to project the photos on a large screen tv as they were being taken so everyone could enjoy.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
The Tropical Storm created much havoc. I wish I could have payed better attention to some of details. My favors didn’t get put out until the end so many people missed getting them as well as them being photographed. My veil went missing and never did show up. I would have loved to have been able to preserve that for my daughter. The top tier of my cake also went missing. Luckily, my bakery will be making us a new tier for our 1st anniversary.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
To just relax and enjoy the day as it goes by so fast. I enjoyed every part of the day, had fun and didn’t let problems (like a little Tropical Storm) get to me.
Venue & Caterer: Safety Harbor Resort & Spa | Photographer: Caroline & Evan Photography | Floral: The Bride’s Bouquet | DJ: Eric Harding from Grant Hemond | Videographer: Hearts Video | Cake: Let Them Eat Cake | Favors: Buy Lucky Bamboo