“The most memorable moments were the most sentimental ones. Getting ready with my mom and having her help me into my dress, my first look with my dad, my first look with Kasey in the dramatic Don courtyard (where we exchanged letters we had written to each other), and the ceremony itself. Another favorite would be catching the sunset in my dress, with my bridal jean jacket, and with my new husband at the end of our fairytale day!” the bride reminisced. “Funny moments – oh boy, there were too many to count! Having guests pretending to eat the cut-up fruit from our centerpieces (and later, drunkenly actually eating the fruits), one groomsman ending up in the pool fully-clothed after the reception, it goes on and on!”
Maude and Kasey’s St. Pete Beach wedding featured soft shades of pinks and greens, tropical-bohemian details, a mimosa bar cocktail hour, and a brunch menu fit for a foodie.
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration? Our theme and overall vibe were Old Florida meets modern, organic romance. We opted for colors and elements that brought out the natural beauty of the venue, lots of greenery and palm-like pieces, soft pinks and neutral wicker tones, and natural citrus fruit to play up the organic and Florida-esque feel.
What were your colors? Our colors were soft blush pink, ivory, beige, and shades of green. We wanted to let the venue and its grandiose beauty shine. We kept our colors very in line with The Don CeSar. We are very tropical individuals by nature, so meshing palm frons and monstera leaves with breathtaking blooms like orchids, peonies, and red gingers just felt right.
What was your wedding cake inspiration? We wanted something very minimalistic and accented with beautiful florals to keep our natural, organic feel flowing all the way through. We opted for a “naked” cake, which has minimal icing on the exterior, allowing the raw nature of the cake to show through. It was absolutely beautiful! The lemon crème flavor was to die for! It was perfect for our brunch wedding, as it was light and airy, and the citrus notes meshed perfectly with mimosas!
We selected The Artistic Whisk after meeting them at The Don CeSar’s bridal show. Jovana was extremely sweet and professional, and their cake presentations were just top-notch. I’d recommend this team to all of my bride friends!
What did you look for in a wedding DJ? We knew we needed someone who struck the perfect balance of friendly and lively, but not too chatty and overbearing. DJ Adam from Grant Hemond & Associates was spot-on. He found a way to mix our very eclectic music style (ranging from reggae to country to pop and throwbacks) and made it all flow seamlessly. From our first phone interview with DJ Adam, we knew he’d be a great fit for our personalities and that of our guests. He was very laid-back and professional, and the office staff was just the same. The company came recommended by The Don CeSar, so we had trust built-in from the start.
What elements of your wedding were the most important?
Little details that most people did not even know were there. The sentimental pieces were my favorite details and meant the most: my grandpa’s diamond that I wore on my necklace, the beautiful diamond bracelet gifted from my parents, my dad’s Cartier wedding band, resized for me to wear on the wedding day, Kasey’s nana’s bracelet that I wore, the angel pinned to my bouquet (a symbol between my parents and me from my competitive baton twirling days, when they always pinned an angel to my costume).
How did you incorporate your personalities into the wedding? We tried to incorporate lots of tiny details that spoke to us and who we are as a couple. I custom-designed our invitation suite and Save-the-Dates and put it all together by hand with my mom’s help. I designed our koozies (party favors), and we had to include Albert, the University of Florida mascot, on the back as Kasey and I are college sweethearts.
I’m a marketing director so branding is everything to me. The color codes, fonts, and tiniest design elements were all planned to match and flow throughout the wedding. Another special element that was close to my heart was the inclusion of baby’s breath in my bridal bouquet, as my mom had those for her wedding.
The Proposal: Both Kasey’s and my birthday fall right around Cinco de Mayo so we always try to get together with friends to celebrate both special days. We had friends and family fly in from Boston, and I thought they were coming to celebrate our birthdays. We took the boat out to Shell Island and were blessed with the most sunshiny day. We decided to jump in the water and walk up to the beach to shell hunt. Kasey’s brother, Kyle, was telling us, “You guys should do a birthday Tower of Power picture! Let’s get the water in the background!” (Tower of Power is a pose Kasey and I have been doing since we first started dating. I get on his shoulders, we raise our hands, and there you have it.) Our friends got the shot, and Kasey put my feet back on the ground, but he stayed on the floor on one knee. I honestly thought he was trying to prank me because we’d always talked about getting engaged once he graduated with his double Masters.
Surrounded by our closest friends, on a tropical white sandy beach, on a sparkling Florida day, and best of all with my best friend, we were officially engaged! Kasey custom-designed the ring himself! He took multiple trips to St. Pete over the course of five months telling me he “had to work overtime” on his days off. The “Sunshine Cut” of my diamond is a custom cut available exclusively from Diamonds Direct, with 40 more facets than a perfect cut, making it the brightest diamond available anywhere.
Where did you spend your honeymoon?
We actually did not yet plan our honeymoon, due to COVID. We plan to enjoy our honeymoon in late 2021 and are still in the very early stages of sorting out where we want to go.
What did you look for in a wedding venue? I’m fairly certain we looked at about 85% of the venues available in the Tampa/St. Pete/Sarasota area. Our biggest struggle was that we had our hearts set on an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour/reception, but many venues in the area did not offer the type of backup space we had envisioned in case of inclement weather. We honestly saved The Don CeSar for last, trying to give all other venues a chance, because we knew that the minute we stepped foot in the historic hotel, we’d fall in love. And we did! We knew immediately that we had to get married at the one-of-a-kind Don.
We absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with The Don, from the minute we first walked in. Nicole and Charles made us feel like total royalty, and the elegance, classic feel, history, romantic nature, and beachfront views of a lifetime just added up to be the total package. The staff was beyond anything we could’ve ever imagined and made us feel like family.
The food was just amazing. Our entire menu was brunch-themed, and custom-created by Kasey and myself and the incredible chef at The Don. Cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres included: brie and peach puff pastries, mini quiches, mini grilled cheese, and tomato shooters, and mini chicken and waffles. Our brunch buffet was complete with mahi-mahi ceviche, custom omelets, prime rib carving station, full-on chicken and waffles station, and much, much more. Our guests couldn’t stop raving about all the food throughout the weekend!
After the reception ended, Kasey and I soaked up the beauty of the day once more, privately enjoying champagne on the South Terrace Veranda on the 5th floor and then joined our friends and family at the Beacon pool bar until sunset, when we watched the sun sink down into the ocean on the beach, all together. It was truly magical.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples? My advice would be to surround yourself with a vendor team that has your back and will help you overcome hurdles. Pick teams you can trust, because putting all of the pressure on yourself during the planning process will drain you. Remember to have fun while planning, make date nights out of detail selections, and keep in mind that no one will notice the tiny things that don’t go quite as planned on the day of. It’s all about you, your spouse, the love you share, and your favorite people in the world enjoying the most special moment with you. Take time to step back and observe the room and your guests during the reception. Remind yourself why people are there and soak in the memories. You’ll thank yourself!""
Ceremony, Reception Venue, and Caterer: The Don CeSar *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Venue Photographer: Shauna and Jordon Photography Associate Photographer: Marina LeighAnn Photography Planner: Confetti Events Florist: Save the Date Florida Cake: The Artistic Whisk *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro Officiant: Cousin of the Bride Invitations: designed by the Bride, Printed at FineLine Printing Dress Shop and Designer: The Collection Bridal, Monique L’Huillier Shoe Designer: Karl Lagerfeld Bridesmaid Dress Shop and Designer: David’s Bridal, Petal Hair & Makeup: Sip & Dry Rehearsal Dinner: Green Bench Brewing Rings/Bands: Diamonds Direct
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