The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

The Best in West Coast Florida Weddings

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wicked Wedding

In a blast from the past, I thought a Halloween wedding celebration in Ybor City might raise some spirits around here this week.

Janel and Roc in many ways, were not our typical bride and groom. They planned their wedding with us almost two years in advance, attended over 10 open houses and bridal show tastings, and took the design elements of their special day to a whole new level.. Why not their wedding date was  October 31st!

This lengthy planning time was a plus for the couple who started out desiring an almost complete vegetarian menu. But all said and done, they added several meat and seafood items to their feast because of the many food items they sampled along the way.
When they couldn't decide on one color, they decided to do eight! Black was a base color used for the table cloths.  The couple  took advantage of the holiday and the historic location (a rennovated cigar factory) to give the wedding and reception a Mid-Summer's Night Dream spin. The groom and his men were dressed like gangsters. The bride wore white with a black damask touch and her maids came attired as Geisha girls.
Guests were encouraged to dress for the occasion and the couple provided many dress-up and make items for those less prepared.
Every element of Janel and Roc's wedding incorporated a fun, yet gothic element all in good taste. We applaud Limelight Photography for capturing the uniqueness of this event with their creative eye.


The second floor of the Lions Eye Institute was the backdrop for the both the wedding and reception. A smaller meeting room accommodated the 150+ guests in attendance. We are so sad that Lions Eye is no longer allowing outside events in this space.
Florist Pam Verschere of Flowers by Pam created a menagerie of  colorful bouquets and ceremony trappings fit for bride and her attendants.

Pam created a whimsical ceiling spray of lights and vines above the dance floor. Each guest and accent table had a different centerpiece which ranged from mossy natural plants to vibrant tall orchids and Bells of Ireland. Daisies. hydrangea, and various shades of Calla Lilies also made the mix.
. These items were strategically placed by our staff throughout the event. Over the course of the 24-month planning period, Janel collected a variety of signature Hallowed Eve memorbillia ranging from ceramic skeletons to a variety of gargoyles given to guests as their favors.

Each place setting a sequence of napkin colors with a picture of the bride and groom tucked inside.
Janel and Roc's celebration attracted a wide variety of characters of all ages.


The food was just as colorful as everything and everyone at the wedding. Our staff spent over an hour designing the a delightful cheese and fruit display featuring mini vegetable and pimpkin carvings and vibrant daisies.   

The event ended on a sweet note with a huge assortment of candies in all of the wedding colors.
The "ghastly" wedding cake was full of dead-heads and was topped with a special cake topper personally selected by the bride and groom.



Masks were handed out to everyone at the stroke of midnight for a fine farewell to the bride and groom. We hope you enjoyed this tribute to Hallowed Matrimony!
Planning, Coordination, Decor, Catering: Catering By Robert/Event Concepts. FL,
Ashley Davis Allred, Kent Billiter, Christy Stalnaker Monaco, designers
Florist: Flowers By Pam



Monday, October 22, 2012

Ya Gotta Have FAITH (Mansion that is)

Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting an open house and photo shoot at St. Pete's lovely Faith Mansion. It is one of the few true mansions in the Tampa Bay area that can accommodate indoor seating for special events.

Joined by Melissa Lauren Images, Malindy Elene Couture, Jazzy Jewels Mobile Make-Up, A Linen Valley, and Carmen's Flowers, we were able to showcase the beautiful backdrop of Faith Mansion for a wedding.

Once owned by famed fitness guru Tony Little, the current owner, Andi Simmons, has transformed the grounds and interior into a picture-perfect locations for weddings, holiday parties, charity and corporate events for 50 - 150 guests. Ms. Simmon's personal selection of funishings, including huge chandeliers in the Great Room, add to the immense charm of this 1920s-constructed home. Its Mediterranean revival architecture can be appreciated outdoors amid the fountains, arbors, and garden elements surrounding all four sides of the gated property.

Although it is not located on a waterfront, it does have a glistening pool. Overnight accommodations for Wedding Weekends are available for up to 12 guests and single day celebrations with "separate" getting ready areas for brides and grooms are included.

The master suite has a private terrace for viewing the tree-shaded grounds surrounding Faith Mansion.

Our "model" bride got personal attention from Jazzy Jewels owner, Alicia Henry, prior to our shoot.

Three balconies above the Great Room give the bride a chance to peek in at the reception setting below.

With indoor seating for up to 120 in the spacious Great Room facing the West Garden, Faith Mansion becomes a year-round event facility.
Valet service is required for events of 50 or more people. Courtesy Valet is our preferred company to provide this service.
A formal built-in wet bar is a showpiece right off the main entrance to the home.

Each room of Faith Mansion is filled with elegant appointments and antiquities collected by Ms. Simmons from around the globe.

Our open house featured live music by members of The Time of Our Lives Band.


One cannot resist the allure of the mansion's garden areas for socializing and food stations. With many shade trees throughout the property, even a humid late summer evening is comfortable.

For more information on booking an event at Faith Mansion, contact Bradley Dempsey at (813) 420-8959, or Susan Stalnaker at (813) 960-7092. Or email
Many thanks to our vendors who made the open house possible:
Designers, Kent Billiter, Bradley Dempsey, Ashley Davis Allred
and of course, Melissa Lauren Images

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