After a recreating a special moment between the couple in the Bahamas for their proposal, Jessica and Will exchanged vows in front of 125 of their friends and family. They went with a venue whose beauty was only surpassed by the couple and their love for each other, the Tampa Museum of Art. Enjoy this romantic, modern and elegant ‘exhibit’ of love courtesy of Tampa wedding photographer, Carrie Wildes Photography.
Tell us how you met…
We met at the University of Florida in a business group. During my first semester in the group, I didn’t talk to him too much. But the following semester, he was elected Treasurer, and I was elected co-Treasurer. In that second semester, we also both had a few classes together. During this time, we became friends as we worked closely with one another. A little while later, Will asked me out, and kept asking me out, until I finally said yes. After that, we were inseparable.
Now for the proposal… details!
Will had surprised me with a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas for my birthday present. We had vacationed in Nassau on a cruise about three years before with our college friends during Spring Break. However, during our Spring Break visit, we missed out on experiencing the Atlantis Resort – there was talk about how amazing the water park was at the Resort, albeit expensive. The inside scoop was that after 6:00pm the park was free to enter for non-guests. However, after a $20 and 30 minute taxi ride later, we come to find the reason for the free admission – the water park was completely shut down! After exploring the grounds, we snapped a photo on a small ledge on the Atlantis Beach and called it a day. After missing Atlantis when it was opened, I always wanted to return. So when we knew we were going back to Nassau on our cruise this time, we had to visit Atlantis spend the day on the beach there. What I didn’t know, however, was that Will had planned an elaborate proposal during our visit. We spent a few hours laying and relaxing on the beach before taking a walk around the resort. After exploring the pools and water slides, Will asked me if I wanted to go and recreate the picture we had taken three years ago during our Spring Break cruise – it was on top of a stone ledge overlooking the ocean and my arms were around Will as he was carrying me. So we headed to the spot where the ledge was and found a photographer close by. I didn’t realize it at the time, since the photographer gave no indication that he knew who we were, but Will had hired him in advance. Will talked to the photographer and he agreed to follow us up the stairs to the ledge to recreate the picture. After Will held me on the ledge, and the photographer took our photo, he set me to the ground and got on one knee. I immediately started crying and was almost unable to tell him “yes!”. After the proposal, the photographer followed us around the Resort and he was able to capture more moments of us. Will was even so thoughtful that he bought a calling card to use so we could call our parents & grandparents to tell them first that we were engaged! The proposal was more than I could have ever hoped for.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
It was a medium-size – Will has a very big family, and both of our families were the majority of our guests. While we did take some deviations, like with the wine box and venue, we followed most of the traditional customs.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I wore a Priscilla of Boston dress, one of the last dresses the company made before it was closed. It had a sweetheart neckline with a low back and lots of lace detailing. It was fitted through the hips and gave a slight flare. My bridesmaids wore a floor-length, midnight blue, one-shoulder, crinkle chiffon dress from the WToo collection. The men all wore classic black tuxes with white shirts, and black ties.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
The wedding ceremony took place Saturday evening, at 6:30 p.m. on the outside terrace of the Tampa Museum of Art. Immediately following the ceremony, the wedding guests moved to the cocktail hour which was also on the terrace but over to the side. Both the ceremony location and cocktail hour gave beautiful views of the University of Tampa and the River. The reception was located inside the Museum’s glass walls, with the stair case in the center dividing the seating area and dance area.
Was there a specific theme or style?
I tried to embrace the modern, clean lines of the Museum while still keeping the romanticism the event called for. The main colors were blues and silver. I used midnight blue for the bridesmaid’s dresses for a more elegant touch, but used a bluish teal color for the reception table cloths. For flowers, I focused on white roses and white orchids for the ceremony, but mixed in red spray roses for the cocktail hour and reception to add a bit of color and fun. I also used a lot of different sized candles and mirrors to reflect the light and roses.
What inspired the theme or style?
The Museum itself inspired the theme. I loved the clean lines and open air feel of the Museum. However, those same details also allowed me to give my own personal touches to the space without taking away the boldness of the Museum.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
The Pastor who married us, Joe Davis, did such a great job. He was able to combine the importance of the occasion with his light-hearted humor to make everyone have a joyous time that they will remember during such a serious moment. We also utilized a wine box during our ceremony, which at the time, most of our guests & family had never heard of.
Did you DIY any of the details?
No, I relied on the expertise of the Museum coordinators & Jana Stall, of Events in Bloom.
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment was walking down the aisle. I had both of my parents walk me, which may seem strange to some, but it was a perfect choice for me. I loved that I had both my Mother & Father were able to give me away to my Husband and were there for me when I spotted Will at the alter. I only wish I could have kept looking at my husband as I walked down the aisle, but for fear of bursting into uncontrollable tears, I had to look down and take my eyes off of him. But I will always remember when our eyes first caught each others.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
We utilized stations during our reception. We had three different stations – the first station had rock shrimp with rissoto, chorizo, and vegetables in a saffron broth, vegan pasta with different types of vegetables, and a light summer salad. The second station had a herb crusted roast tenderloin carving station, with a red wine demi sauce, marscapone mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables. The third station had pan-seared salmon with curry apple vinaigrette, steamed jasmine rice, grilled asparagus and roasted tomatoes. While the museum itself is breath taking, one of the other main reasons we chose the Museum was for the food – Mise en Place, one of my favorite restaurants, does all the catering and the food really stood out. Natalie Clamp, with Chic Sweets, designed a personalized candy table that was delicious & coordinated perfectly with our wedding.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
We had Bella Musica’s string quartet perform during the ceremony, as well as the cocktail hour. They mixed classical music with current hits, but gave an overall elegant presentation. During the reception, Doug Decker, with Grant Hemond, did an amazing job of getting everyone on their feet.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
I wish I would have slowed down during the reception to really just take it all in. I was constantly pulled in a million directions, and I wish I would have just relaxed and enjoyed it more.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Hire people whom you can trust. The best thing I did was research & hire the right vendors. I did not utilize a wedding planner, so I really relied on my vendors. After meeting with Jana Stall a few times, she was able to finish the design and make decisions knowing what I like. She even designed a custom alter for the ceremony. Sylense Labit, with Carrie Wildes Photography, was also able to reign in my wild wedding party to ensure that everything went smoothly. The event would not have been what it was without them. I am truly thankful to my vendors.
Venue: Tampa Museum of Art | Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography | Floral: Jana Stall, Events in Bloom | Candy Table: Natalie Clamp, Chic Sweets | Dress: Malindy Elene | String Quartet: Bella Musica | Hair & Make-up: Marissa Bernal with Collective Creations