The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Royal Wedding for Tampa

Just in from a family member of Thelma and Gary (blog entry below). Bride, Thelma Acquaah-Harrison's mother is a direct descendent of a King of Ghana while Groom, Gary Uzonyi's grandfather was from a line of Dukes from Hungary! I apparently am a descendant from a long line of people with a sixth sense! Now enjoy reading.

When it came to planning Thelma and Gary's Oct. 15, 2011, wedding here in Tampa, the term royal wedding was always on my mind.

Not only was it a priviledge to spend 18 months being involved in the behind-the-scenes planning, but it was an honor to witness first hand how a graceful, genuinely thoughtful bride and groom celebrated their special day with friends and loved ones at their side.

Thelma, a Tampa native, planned from a distance (Ann Arbor, MI). Her few visits here were detail-oriented and significant. She chose, to our delight, to work work almost all of our recommended vendors. Trips to Tampa included meetings with them, our staff, site visits to both her church and reception hall. When Thelma was not able to be here physically, I was her eyes and ears when it came to determining things like the water taxi docking site next door to the reception venue.

Her family church, St. Paul's Catholic in Carrollwood, was set for the wedding; and prior to booking with us, Thelma had secured the Davis Islands Garden Club for her mostly outdoor reception. She and Gary had envisioned autumn-clad guest tables seating up to 200 guests along the waterfront with a limited amount of activity indoors in the clubhouse.

Thelma's wedding day began early with hair styling and make-up by Jazzy Jewels at a friend of the family's
 home near the church.

 As it turned out, the guest count dropped to a comfortable 140 and the indoors became a welcoming area where they could perform a "first line" island tradition where guests waived white hankerchiefs heralding in the bride and groom. Because we knew the outdoor dinner would be less formal, we encouraged Thelma and Gary to conduct all dances, welcome, and toast prior to guests being excused to the back lawn.


DJ Eladio of DeLite Entertainment provided both indoor and outdoor speakers. After dinner, guests were invited back indoors for a lounge-style setting for lots of dancing, bouquet and garter toss, and eventual cake-cutting.

Thelma was all about details that addressed the weekend needs of her out-of-town guests, including most of Gary's family. Room blocks were secured at two Downtown Tampa hotels; shuttle service arranged from wedding site to hotels; water taxi service from hotel to reception site and back.

Christy Monaco, my daughter, was secured to attend to pre-reception activities including the rehearsal the night prior, the ceremony, and guest send-off via water taxi. Being our daughter growing up in" the business" came in handy when she needed to stay behind at the hotel to bring a needed item from the couple's room.

Our favorite florist, Carmen, provided all of the beautiful fall-inspired wedding flowers. To our surprise, Thelma opted for a simple guest table centerpiece: a watering can from Michael's filled with green hydrangia and bright orange accents from her favorite Publix in Citrus Park. It worked and looked stunning.

Because Thelma's visits were few to Tampa, we scheduled two different guest table viewings at our office. Event designer, Ashley, mapped out a chocolate brown floor length cloth with sage green napkins, and orange chair ties a full 14 months prior to the wedding.

Come the wedding day, the weather was dry and sunny, but the wind played havoc with the outdoor tables. Our determined service staff spent an extra hour doing table settings but got everything in place prior to guest arrival. When we unwrapped the cake topper monogram, it was broken. A dab of super glue from our tool box put it back into commission.

The indoors served as both pre-reception and a casual party atmosphere.

The bride and groom's favorite fillings along with a layer of pumpkin spice were incorporated into their wedding cake
designed by Nicole of Sweetopia Bakery.

At the end of the evening, practically everything Thelma and Gary envisioned from day one, was incorporated into their formal, yet fun celebration. A royal affair, indeed!

Heritage was an important component of Thelma and Gary's celebration. We placed a number of family wedding pictures in the entry area along with a wishing tree for the current bride and groom.

Thelma's family provided a special touch with monogrammed pillows for the patio benches and hand-crafted signs.

When a calypso-styled song played, Thelma's mom started an impromptu dance that was joined by several relatives and members of the wedding party. "What did I say about my crazy, spontaneous family?" exclaimed Thelma.

Thanks to Jason Angelini Photography for sharing many of the photos above with us!


Event Planning / Catering / Design: Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL
DJ Services: DeLite Entertainment
Photography: Jason Angelini
Ceremony Flowers/Bouquets: Carmen's Flowers
Ceremony Coordinating: Christy Stalnaker Monaco
Wedding Cake: Sweetopia Bakery
Make-Up: Jazzy Jewels
Outdoor Chair and Table Rentals: Coast to Coast Event Rentals
Sky Lanterns:
Reception Venue: Davis Islands Garden Club
Ceremony Venue: St. Paul's Catholic Church, Carrollwood
Accommodations: Sheraton Riverwalk; Embassy Suites
Transportation: Tampa Water Taxi

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