Since Cambria and Justin began their love story as teenagers in Sarasota, Florida, it is no surprise that many of their dates were spent at the beach. So when it came time to plan their special day years later, only a beach wedding would do! These two lovebirds were wed on the shores of St. Petersburg Beach, the ceremony bursting with whites and blues to match the bright sand and smooth ocean surface. The beach was also brought indoors to the reception at the Grand Plaza Hotel, a St. Petersburg wedding venue, where seashells, starfish, white orchids, and even live betta fish were included in the decorations! Soak in the sunshine of this beautiful day with these photos from Naples wedding photographer Maria Angela Photography.
Tell us how you met…
We met on a church ski trip when I was 15 and he was 18. I got placed on the junior and senior bus when I was only a sophomore and he sat behind my friend and I. We hung out some that trip, but when we got back we went to the movies together as a church group right after. He had dumped his girlfriend at the time and I invited him over for taco night with my family the next week. After dinner we went for a walk on the golf course and he held my hand. We have been together ever since that night, January 23rd, 2006.
Now for the proposal… details!
For the proposal Justin took me skydiving for my 21st birthday and invited his sister, his brother in law, his mom and dad, and my sister and brother in law to come, so I knew something was going on. And he was wicked nervous the whole time. He went first and both his chutes deployed, so he could have died and I didnt know what was going on since I went second. Luckily he landed safely and ran to me when I landed. He picked me, up swung me around, told me he loved me and asked me if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I was saying “yes, yes, yes” while he was dropping to one knee to actually ask me to marry him, to which I said yes.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
I wanted to have a small wedding with friends and family, but Justin has a very large family. We tried to keep it as small as possible and only invited very close friends, but it still was pretty large at about 120 people.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My wedding gown was an Allure bridal gown; it was lace, had a key hole back and lace flowers that went up my neck line on my right side. I had pool blue shoes that matched the bridesmaids colors which said “I do” on the bottom in rhinestone. My bridesmaids wore pool blue strapless dresses that were about knee high and were from Alfred Angelo. My oldest sister and one of my bridesmaids made us anklets out of shells I had brought back from Justin and I’s first mission trip together to the Dominican Republic.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
We got married on the beach in St Pete Beach, Florida at The Grand Plaza. We started getting ready at about 10am. My mom enlisted the help of most of the groomsmen and many family members to set up the reception room and the aisle. The wedding was in the evening; it started at 6:30pm. We invited only family and close friends, my grandfather performed our ceremony and we wrote our own vows. After the wedding we took group family photos and then had cocktail hour in the main reception room, the Imperial Ballroom on the first floor of The Grand Plaza. We had a buffet style meal during which Justin and I snuck out for sunset photos on the beach.
Was there a specific theme or style?
This was a beach themed wedding located on the beach.
What inspired the theme or style?
Justin and I both love the beach and have spent much of our time and on many dates on the beach watching the sunset.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Yes, my mother and I designed our invitations and put them together using real sand dollars and starfish. The decorations in the ballrooms and the ceremony site was all designed and put together by my mom and my sisters and me. The day of, family and groomsmen helped her set up. She used all real sea shells, and the vases on the tables all had live bettas in them with the orchids.
What was the most memorable moment?
For me it was both when I walked around the corner and saw him standing there, and when I tried to whisper to my grandfather (the pastor) that we had not kissed yet after he pronounced us but before he started praying. However, the mic was right next to me and everyone heard what I tried to whisper and laughed. Luckily after the prayer we did get to kiss.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
During cocktail hour we had sesame chicken strips, Petite Quiche Lorraine, and Asian eggrolls. For dinner we had the Italian buffet : three cheese stuffed shells, penne pasta, spinach fettuccine, bow tie pasta w/ Alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, and carbonara sauce. There were fresh vegetables, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and mashed potatoes, all in stations. For the carving station, we had a whole roast steamship of beef and a whole roasted turkey. For dessert we had a 4 tier cake made by Cakes by Ron. The bottom layer was French vanilla with raspberry filling, the second layer was lemon with lemon meringue filling, and the top two layers were red velvet with cream cheese filling.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
For entertainment we had Joe from Expert Productions, who was fantastic, very energetic and definitely played the songs we asked as well as took requests and played appropriate music. He even played the wobble at the request of Justin’s cousin, who taught it to everyone. It was a blast; we had people out on the dance floor all night long.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
I would have seen Justin or written notes back and forth during the day; he was very worried, which I found out later. I also would have slept in later.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
I think that was do not listen to what everyone else says and do what you want to do from the beginning because there are always going to be people who want to drag you down. And do not fight with your family, because they will still be your family once the wedding planning is over. Also do not get too consumed with wedding planning because once it’s over and real married life starts, you need your friends and you don’t want to have isolated them by only talking about wedding things.
Venue: The Grand Plaza Hotel & Beach Resort | Caterer: The Grand Plaza | Photographer: Maria Angela Photography | Floral: Beneva Flowers | Decor: Doris Berkey, The Grand Plaza | Rental Equipment: The Grand Plaza | DJ: Expert Productions| Stationery: Doris Berkey | Event Planner: Katie Shepard from The Grand Plaza | Dessert: Cakes by Ron