The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Truly Inspirational Wedding

By only hosting one to two events week, my husband, Bob, and I always feel that we are able to give more of ourselves and our talents to our clients.

The tables were turned for one of our summer weddings. The warmth and inspiration that bride Chelsey, and mom Sylvia, shared with us made the wedding planning journey very, very special.

Chelsey could have had any kind of wedding she wanted. Instead, she chose to have a wedding that everyone wanted - something fresh, not fancy, that didn't burden others with extra expenses in order to be a part of her special day.

A graduate student in fisheries with a fiance, Michael who had a devotion to Harry Potter, it was not surprising that the couple to choose a blue, terra cotta,  and green palette for their wedding. These represented the ocean, the land, and the woods and Chelsey and Michael's personal interests in saving the planet.
Instead of requiring matching attire for her bridal party Chelsey simply stated "any color of green." The guys were asked to wear any color of suit they owned with a blue tie. Chelsey's mom, a respected surgeon here in Tampa, took the reins to help out Chelsey and Michael as they were still in Gainesville during the plannning. Sylvia's devotion to her beautiful South Tampa home garden fueled a focus on natural water and land elements for centerpieces, cake, and table decor at the Tampa Garden Center.
Michael started a wedding web site at Chelsey's urging. It was filled with playful entries and pertinent information that reflected the couple's very down-to-earth lifestyle. Here's a link:

The Jolley Trolley transported guests between the host hotel in Downtown Tampa, and Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, and then to the Garden Club just a few minutes away.

Chelsey made several trips to Tampa to meet with myself, Ashley, her event designer, and Carmen, the florist. Carmen worked with her to design vibrant natural hand-tied bouquets.  The groom and his men had similar features in their boutonnieres.

Right inside the Garden Center foyers, mom, Sylvia, and Meaghan her sister, (an art major), designed a welcome wish table. Since there were both water and land elements in play for the reception, it was decided that rocks would be the underlying thread that linked the themes together.

A huge wooden box held over 180 rocks that guests signed with well wishes for the bride and groom. Carmen added a lantern with free-flowing wild flowers.

Life is an ocean
Love will be our boat
These stones are the ballast
To help keep us afloat
So join us on our voyage
By leaving us a note

Inside the main room, Ashley and Kent were busy assembling 10 different table centerpiece designs on a combination of long and short feasting tables, rounds, and high top tables. "Woods" tables featured a green rubbed runner, while the "water" tables were lined in dark blue. The third set of tables were lined in terra cotta runners with live ferns and ivy furnished by A1 Foliage (who also dotted the venue with lots of ficus and palm trees.) The room had actual seating for 180 of the 200+ guests expected. There was no head or family table.
Sylvia, myself, and Ashley collaborated on the various containers, fillers, and "scatterings" that would ultimately be used. All flatware and napkins were on the buffet tables to encourage guests to mingle and move around to different tables.
During the short social hour, guests enjoyed an open bar and hand-passed appetizers of Cajun Chicken Skewers, marinated Mushrooms, Mini Meatballs, and Mini Quiche. The doors were opened into the main room and guests were asked to go immediately to the buffet where we featured our a Mixed Field Greens with Raspberry Viniagrette Dressing, and International Rice Bowl with Ratatouille, Island Black Beans, and Jambalaya toppings. Two carved meats were offered: Roast Beef and Mojo Pork Loin along with bakery rolls and condiments. 

Two buffet lines more than accommodated the casual entertaining planned by the bride and groom. About 15 minutes after the buffet opened, Chelsey and Michael made an impromptu entrance into the reception. Sylvia simply pulled two chairs aside in the middle of the dance floor where she and her husband, Bob, toasted the bride and groom.
The buffet, bar, and merriment continued throughout the rest of the reception. Michael, a professional musician, hired a lively six-person band who performed bluegrass and classic standards from numerous decades.
The Greenwise Publix in South Tampa furnished a simple buttercream white-iced cake that Carmen embellished with colorful wild flowers. We surrounded the table with a forest of ivy and greens. The large picture window of the conservatory provided the perfect backdrop. Cake toppers were a Gnome couple.

Sylvia utilized a professional on-line program to produce a visual memory book for Chelsey and Michael. This was a surprise for them and guests were able to view it during the reception.


 The water table decor was comprised of scattered shells, baby's breath and mason jars with sand, shells, and LED lights.
The longer water feasting table contained various sizes of fish bowls with floating candles and submerged greenery.


Woods tables ranged from combinations of large and small terrariums surrounded by potpourri and rocks. All votive candles were scented with different fragrances representing the various earth elements.

Hightop tables in both rooms were illuminated by our black hanging lanterns set over Spanish Moss and potpourri. All main tables and chairs were covered in neutral linens.


The beautiful custom-made terrariums constructed by Sylvia were given as gifts to family members and friends. I was one of the lucky recipients and still have it on my kitchen counter to remind me of the thoughtfulness of this wonderful family and couple.
I'll end this entry with a special poem Sylvia wrote for Chelsey when she left home for college.


 your wings, newly formed
  glisten in early morning sun
  reflecting droplets of the dawn.
    slowly, tentatively
    you stretch
   as the brilliance of colored rainbows
dances in morning light.

 you reach out
  yet knowing that this
 is part of the great change

that is but a continuation
 of your journey.
   you cannot turn back
     but glance
     one time
  over your wings to see
that from which you come.

you lift off
    the breeze gently carrying you into tomorrow
       as today becomes
    a faded petal
once holding you strong
and as you fly into that
  which opens unto you
    a tear
      rolls down
    from one who loved you
to let you go.

Event Planning, Design, Coordinating & Catering: Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL
Ashley Allred Davis, Event Designer

Reception Venue: Tampa Garden Center, Tampa

Fresh Flowers: Carmen's Flowers

A1 Foliage

Photography: MK Photography, Gainesville, friends of the groom

Wedding Cake: Greenwise Publix, South Tampa


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