The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Seaside Celebration in the Heart of Clearwater Beach

In early February, we had the rare opportunity to host a small wedding at the Belle Harbor condo resort high above the hustle and bustle of beach activity along Clearwater's North Mandalay Avenue. 

Clients, Jen and Tim, were fortunate to have a relative reside there, and were love-struck with its Mediterranean villa charm. While there were challenges in transforming the interior into a workable reception area, the end-result was stunning and well worth the hours of furniture moving and last-minute revisions.

Tampa residents, Tim and Jen were one of our "short-term" planning clients this past winter. We barely had two months to get to know them.

What we found was a couple devoted to the idea of elegant simplicity. Highly organized and vocal about her sense of style, Jen was our partner in decor. It took us jsut one site visit to work out the exact location for wedding-related activities. Both Jen and myself left feeling a sense of direction how things would be transformed the day of the wedding.

There were few vendor details to coordinate as they had only the photographers, the officiant, and live music duo on their roster. 


Perched above the intercoastal waterway, Belle Harbor resembles a classic Mediterranean style seaside villlage. It's floor to ceiling windows with sweeping vistas provided all of the decor needed for this intimate evening gathering. It was decided that there would be a "family-only" ceremony about an hour and a half prior to the start of the main reception. It was held on a small outdoor plaza next to the main club room. We placed the mahogany folding chairs there first and then returned them to the guest tables indoors.

Once the ceremony ended, Photographers Scott and April of Life's Highlights, whisked the couple and family members across the street to the beach for formal pictures. Arriving guests were directed downstairs to a covered outdoor patio area for hand-passed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

As the evening dusk set in, the warmth of the fireplace and  lounge furnishings kept everyone comfortable until the main reception started upstairs.  

A creative spirit, Jen, infused a "bit o' the beach" throughout the reception. The tasteful touches of starfish and nautical wood elements complimented the grandeur of the reception room. The day prior, family members had moved over-sized couches and tables to make way for rented guest tables and chairs. A huge marble bar at one end of the room was the popular gathering spot.

We utilized many of the in-house furnishings for the entry table, buffet, cake/dessert table and "staging areas." Because of space limitations, the buffet was placed in the main entry.

The bride and her mom arranged fresh white hydrangea stems in fish bowl centerpieces. The color of the napkins was only decided the day prior when I brought a sample of the ivory and sage green for her to "test" on a mock table set-up.
We scattered sea shells around the center with blush votive candles. Each guest received a rafia-wrapped marmelade favor jar.

 A delicious candy and cookie assortment awaited guests after dinner. A simple wedding cake from their favorite Davis Island cafe, Bailey's was added to sweets table.

The evening's entertainment was provided by the Caladesi Steel Band who played from one location during the entire reception. The balcony overlooking the pool area/social hour, adjoined the main dining room and gave guests a small area to dance.

Many thanks to Jen and Tim for allowing us to be a
part of their special day.

Kudos to Life's Highlights for sharing many of the images above.

On-site styling: Bradley Dempsey, event coordinator,
 Catering By Robert / Event Concepts . FL 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunflowers and Gingham x Two

Last fall (2012) we catered four consecutive Saturdays of double events. The highlight of the season was two weddings on Nov. 5th that had similarities in decor, but were as different as night and day because one was held "in the city," and the other "in the country."

As with all of our weddings, the personalization each client brings to the table, creates a unique celebration. We thought it would be fun to share both weddings in this blog to show how similar concepts can be interpreted.


We connected to Andrea via her sister, whose wedding we had catered several years ago. Working with  event designer, Ashley, the bride had set her sights on vintage styling at the Tampa Firefighter's Museum in Downtown Tampa. Her ceremony was at St. Tim's Catholic Church in Lutz.

Andrea's color scheme included navy blue with a touch of golden yellow. This combination turned out to be a perfect fit for the surroundings of the rennovated historic building that housed the museum. Andrea's focus was on personalization and she carried this out through her favors, signage, and the reception location.


Sarah was set on holding her wedding and reception at a rural farm with an impressive barn. She literally spent months looking at many properties until she stumbled on the RRR Farm in Thonotosassa. Although they had only done one other wedding there, they were anxious to host Sarah's country-themed celebration.

A country girl at heart,  had a heartfelt approach to her decor that included unique rustic aspects from mason jars with colorful straws to personalized up-side-down cowboy hats filled with goodies for her younger guests.
Designers, Bradley and Kent, applauded Sarah wishes to incorporate all three of the bright colors found in her attendant gowns.


Andrea and Kevin wanted to incorporate a Cape Cod / Country look into their "cohesive event personalization." A clean, uncluttered guest table was their focus. The sunflower aspect was the POP of color to Navy blue decor.

Sarah's love of horses and the casual country styling, led her to do an extensive amount of research on DYI projects to customize her entire reception. With a year of planning time, Sarah was able to pull together 100% of her ideas.


The Firefighters Museum is a beautiful, spacious historical building along the north corridor of Downtown Tampa. Andrea and Kevin were not connected to the profession in any way, but loved the old classical look of the space.

The main level houses many relics from the past including antique firehouse apparatuses and a historical pictorial along the walls. It is a perfect location for a pre-reception with lots conversation pieces to keep guests occupied while the bride and groom make their way from the ceremony. 

Andrea and Kevin enjoyed their 20-minute limo ride between the church and reception which gave them some time to "chill" and enjoy an intimate moment before the party started.

The second level of the hall provided a spacious setting for the main reception with its  mellow yellow painted walls, lots of natural sunlight, and rich dark wood floors.  Several alcoves and studio areas provide out-of-the-way locations for bars and buffet / food stations. We provided blue gingham runners with navy blue napkins.

A unique, interactive aspect of Andrea and Kevin's reception was the well-wishes written on yellow polka dotted and striped quilt pieces. This would be sewed together for a keepsake for the couple's new home.

Andrea's breath-taking bouquets coupled sunflowers with white roses, blue peonies and white and green hydrangea. Designed by Carmen Gonzalez.

The highlight of the evening was a coffeee and hot chocolate bar that coincided with the wedding favors of custom-imprinted coffee mugs and biscotti. The upbeat Red X Band played a steady stream of dance music for all ages.


Elsewhere in eastern Hillsborough County, the horses were guided to the pasture and the barn was spruced up for Sarah and Stephen's late afternoon ceremony and reception at the RRR Farm. The "cook's shack" and adjoining horse grooming barn were our areas for food prep and serving.

Sarah's simple ceremony took place in the front yard of the farm and the owners offered a separate bedroom area for getting ready. Photographer, Paul Nguyen of Chi Photography captured many dreamy farm images of Sarah's special vision.

Her mom, Nancy, was a tremendous resource for her daughter in making certain everything fit perfectly into the setting. On many occasions, she was our point person because of Sarah's busy manangement position with Publix in St. Pete Beach.

Carmen added bright yellow sunflowers in hanging mason jars to shepherd hooks along the aisle that was lined with a burlap runner.  When it was time for guests to make their way over to the reception area, the farm's signature "cows" were there to greet them as they entered the pre-reception "corral.

From the antique typewriter as the guestbook to clever chockboard signage throughout the reeption area, Sarah designed her celebration around the farm vintage theme.

Inside the barn, the festivity continued with stringed cafe lights and lanterns from Tampa Lights and colorful tables alternating among hot pink, yellow, and orange in chair ties and gingham runners. Napkins remained in a burlap brown color and sunflowers in mason jars provided by Carmen were the centerpieces.

                         Sarah spent a great deal of time adding country elements to her guest tables: from water glass mason jars with color coordinating straws to small burlap colored Chinese take-out favor boxes, every detail was clearly given to our staff to place.

Carmen provided the centerpieces and the family offered us some leftover rehearsal dinner loose sunflowers to use at our discretion.

  Instead of traditional place cards on a table, she had a pre-strung clothesline with names and table numbers attached along the fence line. Her cousin, the designated, point-person, was a wonderful help in making certain everything we had discussed was carried out by family or farm staff.

The bride's dad, a former Publix baker, provided her cake and Stephen had his favorite 'Noles chocolate chip groom's cake.


Each child had their own personalized cowboy/cowgirl hat placed in their chair with lots of loot to keep them busy throughout the night.



Venue - Tampa Firefighters Museum

Event planning, design, and catering - Catering By Robert . Event Concepts FL, designer Ashley Allred Davis

Flowers (wedding) - Carmen's Flowers, Tampa

Entertainment - The Red X Band

Photography - Neil Patel Photography, Tampa

Cake - Don Pan Bakery


Venue - RRR Farm, Thontossasa

Event coordination, design and catering - Catering By Robert / Event Concepts FL, designers Bradley Dempsey and Kent Billiter

Flowers - Carmen's Flowers, Tampa

DJ - Bill of DeLite Entertainment

Lighting - Tampa Lights

Photography - Chi Photography