Frances and Paul
The Italian Club
Photos by Brad Hall Studios
Frances and Paul's 250-person wedding this past March challenged us in many ways. The ceremony was held many miles away at Providence Baptist Church in Riverview. Because there was no live music, dancing, or alcohol, we were concerned how the couple and their families would keep everyone entertained for a four hour reception in the HEART of flamboyant Ybor City.
The bride's mom, Diana, a busy physician, and had been given the role as her daughter's major planner and decorator. Frances had an extremely busy career and continuing education. She counted on her mom to pull her dream wedding together.
I remember our initial meeting well. Right before we did the tasting, Frances' dad asked everyone to join hands and bless the food. Then family outlined a long list of traditional aspects, hand-made favors, centerpieces, and details they wanted to personally handle themselves. I listened and took a deep breath. I recall thinking God indeed would need bless this entire event.
And he did!
Both Frances and Paul were extremely involved with their church. They had a huge comfort level with being married there and then celebrating their reception in a part of Tampa that reflected Frances' Latin heritage. Diana worked diligently on every detail that ranged from handmade fan programs to large silk kissing balls used first for the church and then later for the reception. Much of the color scheme and theming was based on Spanish tile designs used throughout the celebration.
Event Designer, Ashley Allred Davis, assisted in recommending many of the in-house decor elements available for Diana to use along with her custom pieces. Ashley realized that sometimes we just need to "step back" and let the client do their thing. Often our role is that of a facilitator rather than initiator.
The day of the wedding came. The details for the couple themselves were very simple. Their focus was on celebrating with family and many friends they had made through college and beyond. They were comfortable doing a first look after getting ready.
Diana made certain all of the little details were in place at the church including bouquets, pew decorations, signage, and programs. Elsewhere, her dad, Wildredo, along with a few relatives, were busy setting up a sound system, projection system, and other components at the reception site. The list of details was ENORMOUS!
On the third floor landing, a sign in table held a huge basket of blank tile pieces which guests would write a well-wish to the newly married couple. Inside the main room were 25 guest tables decorated in gold, eggplant, and bright pink. We placed an assortment of high and low centerpieces which ranged from our tall black wrought iron stands holding kissing ball arrangements from the church, to our small wrought iron candleholders with a single rose head in each. One of our designers, Bradley Dempsey, created some additional matching silk flower balls from colorful buds in our inventory.
The family purchased all of the gold overlays, purple sheer damask runners, and chair ties. We furnished the bottom cloths, chair covers, and eggplant napkins. Catering By Robert also decorated the entry, buffet, beverage, hors d'oeuvres, head and cake tables with in-house gold and eggplant fabrics.
When Frances and Paul arrived after formal pictures at the church, they made a grand entrance from Seventh Avenue in Ybor. Once inside, they were able to spend some time for casual poses with family and each other.
One of the special details of the reception was a memory table put together by Paul's mom. It featured a quilt with pictures of deceased family members.
The colorful decor complimented the Old World features of the Italian Club ballroom. We set up a double buffet with a huge Paella station.
The cake table was adorable with a miniature bride and groom and more mosaic "tile" accents in the cake and cupcake assortment. The groom's cake featured the Paul's Ohio State signia. A sparkler was lit as the couple sliced their first piece of cake
Even with no dancing, the reception time went by quickly with multiple toasts (sparkling white grape juice), a video presentation, and individual "Las Capias" pinnings by Frances and Paul. This Puerto Rican tradition recognizes special people who have contributed to their lives.
The celebration ended on street level with a sparkler "send-off." Congratulations Frances and Paul!
Design Assistance, Coordinating, Catering: Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL