The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Monday, April 16, 2012

Love From a Different Angle

Working with a talented photographer with an eye for different angles, was an exciting experience for us during Glennis and John's December 2011 wedding at the much photographed Davis Islands Garden Club.

The garden club is a Tampa landmark - its channel-side location is unrivaled among venues that allow outside catering, alcohol, and virtual all-day access.

 Eva Photo Studio here in Tampa, created some very unique images that paired the bride and groom's personalities with the venue's. Eva's candid approach demonstrates that when you take the time to get to know your clients you can transcend above and beyond the location.

We are excited to share many of Eva's images in our blog today.

Glennis and John's love story was of a personal interest to me from a perspective that many wedding planners don't see. Both met while working at my neighborhood Publix on Van Dyke Road in Lutz. I remembered Glennis as the helpful pharmacy assistant who took care of my mom's prescriptions several years prior. John was also a familiar soul who was a smiling face from encounters restocking merchandise or checking me out at one of the registers.
Our first face-to-face meeting was truly a renunion of sorts!

Both moved away to college together and Glennis stayed behind to enter Pharmacy School; John into more responsibilities for Publix here. But that did not change the fact that I knew these two as individuals prior to their engagement. This made the celebration even more special indeed.
Because Glennis was in Gainesville, and John, still in Tampa, this was considered a destination wedding of sorts. We were able to do planning meetings and open houses on the weekends. And lots was accomplished via email.

Pre-ceremony pictures were a BIG DEAL for Eva who encouraged the bride and her entourage to stop by a completely different location (University of Tampa) for their girly, girl pics. Everything was orchestrated perfectly as Eva's partner photographed the groom and his guys over at the venue simultaneously.

We installed a variety of large and small white, hot pink, and purple Chinese lanterns in the tree branches over-hanging the path to the ceremony area.

The cermony, while important, it was simple and short. The couple decided their reception components were the focus of their wedding day.

Since their wedding was just before Christmas, Glennis and John decided to use mini ornaments as place card holders. At their final meeting, I reminded them of another client who did this without weight to hold them down outdoors. John filled each with sand and made certain all cards were in alphabetical order.

We were able to feature the couple's sampe guest table at our October open house which featured our floor length white cloth with an upgraded eggplant organza overlay, silver charger plate, ivory tri-folded napkins and our in-house trio of glass cylinders filled with florist-arranged
purple orchid stems by Northside Florist. Northside brought a three-person team to submerge the orchids and were cleaned up and out in less than an hour.

The end result was slightly different with a longer napkin fold that created more texture, and a more darkish pink orchid for contrast inside the cylinders. This turned out perfectly as the interior uplighting was mostly hot pink.

Our fabric sail and curtain accents created a notable backdrop along the side picture windows of the garden club. Chuck Amstone of  Solid Gold Entertainment provided room uplighting for the reception. We also covered the bookcases in the front entry.

Highlight of the fun was Chuck's photo booth and dj services. Photo booths are supposed to be independent entertainment elements, but Chuck and his Solid Gold team, integrated upbeat music with characterizations portrayed in his candid photo opps.
We can't say enough about Chuck. From checking in with Kent Billiter, our event coordinator, to his continued monitoring of timelines, he was definitely about teamwork in making certain everything was just right for Glennis and John.

Ort popular paella was the centerpiece of the dinner buffet along with a French Onion Soup station with "torched" Swiss cheese on top. Above, production supervisor, Chris Hazel, prepares to serve this delicious first course to the 100+ guests in attendance.

 One of the newer decor options at Davis Islands Garden Club are the crystal curtains along the back window. Eva captured a shimmering reflection between the outdoor patio and indoor reception.

Two different looks by day and night: the place card table with our tall silver candle holder created two very different appearances.

Glennis and John splurged a bit on their wedding cake from Cakes Plus. The ivory quilted fondant cake featured their monogram in the center along with gum paste flowers on top.

The couple's platinum, purple and white color scheme was carried out on all of the auxiliary tables such as the gift and cake tables. This a complimentary service of Catering By Robert for all events. When ever possible, we add small custom elements such as the votive lamp holders from our huge inventory of tabletop decor.

The "Tebow" pose was one of Eva's favorite shots for Glennis and the groomsmen.

This is absolutely one of the most breath-taking bride photos I have seen taken at Davis Islands. The beauty of the outdoors shines through the lens of Eva's came

Best Wishes, Glennis and John!


Photography: Eva Photo Studio
Event planning, design and catering: Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL, Kent Billiter, event designer
DJ, Lighting, and Photo Booth: Solid Gold Entertainment
Wedding Flowers and Orchids Inside Centerpieces: Northside Florist
Wedding Cake: Cakes Plus

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cinderella Inspired Wedding

Our 18-month courtship with Nicki and Bill, began in the summer of 2010. They decided to book our all inclusive Treasure Chest package to relieve some of the stress they anticipated in planning their wedding.

Their first choice for their wedding was a private waterfront home in the Longboat Key/Sarasota area. But when vacation rental home owner started putting restrictions on their celebration, they decided to hold it at the South Florida Museum near their home in Bradenton.

From scheduling first meetings with our participating vendors to attending client only open houses, Bill and Nicki made certain they took advantage of all the networking and tasting options available to them. Bill became the "point person" on their end and kept frequently in touch mostly via email and in the last few months, via phone.

Their guest table was featured during our February 2011 open house:

Photo by Lester Molina Photography

The couple's initial concept was based on Nicki's infatuation with the Cinderella princess theme. I cannot explain the look on Event Designer Kent Billiter's face when they presented him with a small glass slipper during their inital design meeting. Even though the slipper (proposed favor idea) was never really used in the table concept, it represented the enchanting feel the couple wanted overall for their reception.
Bling and crystals became a focal point along with THREE different shades of pink, chocolate brown and touch of gold. Instead of opting for standard chairs with covers, the couple decided to spend extra money on Kent's recommendation for mahogany brown folding chairs. These started out in the ceremony area on the promenade and were placed around the guest tables during social hour.

Their simple criss cross runners featured at the open house evolved into a multi-layered table  starting with a white floor length cloth, followed by a pinned up chocolate brown satin overlay, topped with the pink champagne or rose lamour runner configuration - the ends delicately gathered with pink-wired crystals.
At first Bill and Nicki were set on a cocktail style format for the food, but then decided to formalize the tables with alternating rose and pink champagne napkins.Gold chargers were always considered because of their contrast.

Many clients are under the impression that event designers work with only one linen vendor. Not the case with Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL. Our event designers' knowledge of linen company inventories is a big plus for our clients. In the case of  Bill and Nicki, their pink shades were so specialized we found only one source for the two colors of pink: BBJ Linens.

Although we like to "bundle" rental items whenever possible, we ended up renting from both BBJ and Panache Party Rentals. Panache (Classic Party Rental), is the only vendor on the West Coast of Florida that carries the mahogany brown wood folding chairs.
After the open house featuring their table look, Bill and Nicki sought some alternatives to having wedding florist Carmen, arrange their tall fresh floral guest table centerpieces. They loved her bouquet and personal flower options, but they needed to find some ways to cut back on extra decor costs.

We made a suggestion: have Carmen provide "processed" stems of hot pink hydrangea and pink roses in our in-house tall 20" glass cylinder vases. Our design team would just drop these in provided containers in order to save pre-arranging fees. This savings created more of a budget for the upgraded folding chairs.

Bill and Nicki went a step further and added tall brown sticks they found on the internet along with hot pink submersible LED lights in OUR crystal rocks, and 4" dark pink floating candles for our four shorter cylinders surrounding the tall one. Kent and Event Coordinator Bradley Dempsey, added some of the client-provided crystal strands to the inside for more BLING.

Each table was named after some aspect of "princess-dom" and small glass crystals were scattered around the perimeter. All in all it took our staff three solid hours to complete the table decor.

Thanks to our event colleagues, we were able to meet strict set-up deadlines. These included Christy Monaco of Southern Occasions who coordinated the ceremony; Eladio of DeLite Entertainment for ceremony and reception music; and of course, Elizabeth of Elle Creative Photography who skillfully captured so many of personalized images in this blog.

 Christy did a well-rehearsed run-through the afternoon prior. This included escorting the younger wedding party members through their cues.
Eladio of DeLite Entertainment arrive early to make certain proper sound was set in place for ceremony, social hour, and main reception.

The museum staff is extremely helpful when it comes to making certain the "back of the house" is a well-oiled machine. Because events are subject to strict rental time period acquisition, rental vendors have to charge higher rates to deliver and pick up (that night). Still the facility is awesome and does have options for "under cover" celebration areas in case of bad weather. All tables and chairs must be rented.

The ceremony was held along the Promenade, a covered elevated corridor to one side of the Museum plaza. As part of their Treasure Chest package, we provided a wrought iron Chuppah with a table for their candlelighting ceremony.

After the ceremony, guests mingled in the bar area with some high top cocktail tables. This gave our staff time to place ceremony chairs around guest tables.

The couple and their bridal party spent over an hour with Elizabeth
taking formal and casual pictures.

Our buffet-style dinner included a French Onion Soup station along
with Paella and whipped potatoes with different toppings.


As darkness set in, the overhead string lights on the plaza
helped created a starry effect for Bill and Nicki's party time.

Many thanks to Bill, Nicki, and all of the vendors who work in harmony to make this celebration possible!


Event Planning, Decor, and Catering: Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL
Kent Billiter, Designer

Photography: Elizabeth wtih Elle Creative Photography

Fresh Florals: Carmen's Flowers

Entertainment: DeLite Entertainment

Ceremony Coordinating: Christy Monaco, Southern Occasions

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Reflections" of Two Mirror Lake Weddings

Late last summer, we had the opportunity to host two distinctly different weddings at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in Downtown St. Petersburg. Both were within a month of each other. The profile of each below shows the dramatic differences in the set-up and color schemes reflecting the personal style of each client.

The Lyceum is a lovely, historic, rennovated church. Ceremonies and receptions share the same basic space with a dramatic transformation during the social hour orchestrated by the hall manager, Brian, and his staff. The well-maintained venue with lots of stained glass and dark wood elements definitely holds an appeal to the bride and groom who wants a traditional feel for their wedding.

Stephanie's 9-10-11 celebration was planned with us 18 months in advance, while Euwana had a shorter timeline that originated just six months prior to her mid-August 2011 date.

Many thanks to Brad Hall Studios for many of Stephanie's wedding pictures he shared. Also, kudos to Black Onyx Photography for Euwana's beautiful images.

Small details were very important to Stephanie. She and her mom spent a great deal of time sharing many ideas with us on styling and exact color matches for linens and flowers.

The Lyceum features many lighting options in-house and through suggestions for dj/lighting pros. This look perfectly reflected Stephanie and Greg's purple-pink focus for private photos between ceremony and main reception.

Yum, had to plug the food early in this blog. Consistently, one of our clients' favorite selections: our carved Roast Baron of Beef served with our tangy horseradish sauce.

The buffet was set in the side room off the main hall.

Stephanie chose dark pink fresh floral elements for her guest table centerpieces in alternating fish bowls and glass cylinders. These orchid features actually complimented the lavender/dark purple table accents well. Her wedding florist provided all of the pieces.

Stephanie's guest table look was featured nine months prior at one of our open houses. In the last few months, Stephanie made a few changes to original floral piece.

Here's the original design as pulled together by event designer Bradley:

A fabulous outdoor view of the Lyceum after dark - indoors and out.

Stephanie and Greg make their way down the aisle after a simple unity candle celebration. They were joined by 140 family and friends.

Mom, Sandy, and daughter share some getting ready time before the wedding. Stephanie's mom was a consistent part of all of her daughter's planning. I am glad that the photographer caught this precious moment that reflected everything that went into this celebration.

The bride chose to set her cake table in the side room dance floor area. With white, purple, and lavender decor, we accented  this traditional four-tieerd cake in a pool of platinum.

Euwana's mid-August wedding surprised us with a combination of navy blue and coral. Event Designer, Kent Billiter found Euwana's soft spot in her feasting table which included her entire bridal party. Here she was able to adorn the center of this wide table with clear vases holding hers and her attendant bouquets intermingled with candle elements.

Bridesmaid bouquets included coral and mid-green and blush pink rose buds
provided by Carmen of Carmen's Flowers. Above is her sample feasting head table at one of our open houses. Below is her actual table at the reception. This is an example of how ceremony elements can enhance reception tables.

  Ewana's concepts were warmly embraced her photographer, Black Onyx Photography, who took the opportunity to capture some amazing architectual images involving both permanent building features along with our temporary decor infusions.

 The bridal room on the second level provided a private, secluded gathering space for Euwana and her female bridal party members.

 Euwana shared a bookmark sentiment with guests at their placesettings. Sometimes a napkin fold has everything to do with presentation.

 The original ceremony area of the Lyceum became a romantic reception space with the dance floor right in front of the ceremony stage where the cake was placed. The Lyceum has a variety of options for specialty lighting along with client dj offerings Above, hearts were part of Euwana's theme as they floated across the dance floor just prior to the main reception.

The couple decided to display their wedding cake on the main stage surrounded b ytall candlelabras originally used for the ceremony down the main aisle. Centerpieces for each table included our 14" tall glass cylinders with submerged in-house orchid stems anchored with client orange flat marbles.

The bride was concerned about the step up to the dance floor area where the buffet is usually placed. So she has us place the tables on wheels and they were positioned right at the edge.

Congratulations to both couples for sharing their personality and style on their special day!