Page 1

Contents 46


Features 46

Engagement 46 Derby Day Soirée Event planner, Brooke Palmer, celebrates her engagement to Craig Kuhl in true Kentucky Derby fashion. DESIGN BY R.S.B.P. EVENTS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY PEZZ PHOTO

Departments 6

The Publisher’s Notes


Bridal Style Glamorous and Stylish Wedding Accessories








Photography: Djamel – Djamel Photography | Bridal Gown: Anglo Couture | Headpiece: Tasha Jewelry: Express Jewelry Collection | Floral Design: FH Weddings & Events | Hair & Makeup: Gina Mia Venue: shot on location at the Mindy Solomon Gallery featuring the work of Sylvia Hommert | Models: Rachel Miller, Somer Hilo

Great Gifts Timeless Gift Ideas for the Wedding Party and Each Other


Cover Credits

Honeymoon Style Get Away In Style





62 Twilight Celebration of Love Jessica Lulguri and Jeff Karstens BY RONDA M. PARAG | PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN JOSEPH PHOTOGRAPHS


Groom Style The Sharp Dressed Man

Romantic Real-Life Weddings 58 Napa Valley Inspiration Jennifer Hayes and Hutch Pinder BY RONDA M. PARAG | PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAUREN PAULINE PHOTOGRAPHY



Cakes Seasonal Cake Design Trends

Flowers Distinctive Designs From Bouquets to Centerpieces

Gown Guide 2013 Gown Trends


Wedding Destination 36 Omni Amelia Island Plantation 40 Costa Rica


Wedding Checklist



Publisher’s Notes Love is in the air. Congratulations on your engagement! Inside this issue of Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine, we hope you’ll find plenty of ideas and inspiration for the special day. Whether it’s Bridal Style, Groom Style, Honeymoon Style or Great Gifts, there are offerings that will make the heart flutter. Also, we feature a few of the best in the industry for cake and floral trends. It’s always a pleasure to feature Real Weddings. We are grateful to the brides and grooms who allow us to showcase their special day. Bride Jessica Lulguri and baseball player, Jeff Karstens originally thought they wanted a destination wedding, but decided on a traditional wedding in Florida, so they could include all their family and friends. Using Napa Valley wine country inspiration, Jennifer Hayes and Hutch Pinder planned an outdoor ceremony and reception. Luckily, the weather cooperated. With its tropical temperatures and numerous eco-tourism activities, Costa Rica is a popular country to consider for either a destination wedding or honeymoon. I recently traveled to the paradise and came back refreshed and relaxed. The all-inclusive RIU resorts in Guanacaste offer two properties — newly opened Riu Palace or the old world feel of Riu Guanacaste, for a stress-free honeymoon. I recommend going off property to experience the thrill of a canopy tour, river boat cruise or a dip in hot, mineral springs at Rio Perdido. I also traveled to Amelia Island in North Florida to see the remodeled and “re-imagined” Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. With over 1,350 acres, the oceanfront property offers numerous locations for a dream wedding, and plenty of activities for your wedding guests. There is no need for guests to even leave the resort. Local wedding and event planner, Brooke Palmer, shared with us her delightful engagement party held on Derby Day. As a planner, Brooke pulled out all the stops for a detailed-filled day of celebration. In Inspirations, we showcase a sophisticated, modern theme and by contrast, a chic, country-inspired theme. Don’t miss the Elegant Wedding Showcase on Sunday, November 10, 2013 from 1 - 4 p.m. at Mainsail Suites. Meet top local vendors, view the latest bridal fashions and register for fabulous prize giveaways. Be sure to register online at and “Like Us” on Facebook. Cheers,

Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Stephen Parag II Publisher / Managing Editor Ronda M. Parag Associate Publisher Patricia Vorbrich Executive Art Director Chad Vorbrich

Photo by Ellen Leedy

Contributing Photographers Djamel Photography Ryan Joseph Photographs Limelight Photography Lauren Pauline Photography Amy Pezzicara – Pezz Photo

President / CEO Stephen Parag II Vice President / CFO Patricia Vorbrich Vice President Ronda M. Parag Vice President Chad Vorbrich

Ronda M. Parag Publisher/ Managing Editor

Publishers of: Tampa Bay Metro™ Tampa Bay MetroHome™ Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine™

Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine is published bi-annually by Metro Life Media, Inc. at 3404 S. Omar Ave., Tampa, FL 33629 (813) 835-7700 Fax (813) 835-7700 • Copyright 2013 Metro Life Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of, or use without written permission of the publisher, of editorial, pictorial or design content in any manner is prohibited in the United States. Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine,™ are trademarks of Metro Life Media, Inc. Advertisers represent that they are authorized to use submitted materials.


You’re In Love With modern design, great museums, creative cuisine, superb service, your dog and one another. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Mise en Place at the Tampa For Ann & Nick It’s All About

The Wedding ...............................

Museum of Art

What can Mise en Place do for you?

Ann Frechette Director of Events

Nick Buchanan Assistant Director of Events

Contact Ann Frechette at 813-421-8379 to begin your wedding journey.

Bridal Style

Elegant and stylish accessories will bring out the glam and grace in any bride. From gold metallic heels to gorgeous chandelier earrings, the bride will shine on her special day with a few of these fashion essentials.

Shine Bright These drop chandelier earrings of pear-shaped diamonds in platinum are from The Great Gatsby collection by Tiffany & Co., inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s film in collaboration with Catherine Martin. $300,000. Available at Tiffany & Co.

All About Sparkle Hold all the essentials for the big day in a Judith Leiber clutch bag. $2,395. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Photo: Jennifer Skog

Classic Beauty Feel like a princess with a Gatsby-inspired headpiece by Haute Bride, that is elegant and simple with mother of pearl clusters and rhinestone pave leaves. $445. Available at Malindy Elene.

Be Still My Heart Stand tall in these I Heart You Metallic Platform Sandals by Charlotte Olympia that includes a “something blue” garter. $1,160. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Picture Perfect

Love in White The beautiful shaped bottle by Creed contains a scent blended of orange zest, rice husk, iris, jasmine, magnolia, vanilla and sandalwood. $260. Available at Neiman Marcus.


Dust the eyes with a blend of One to Watch or Carefree Pro Longwear Eyeshadow on the wedding day. $21 each. Available at MAC International Plaza.

Groom Style

Swagger to the ceremony in a fashionable gray suit and pair it with any of these accessories, and be groomed to go.

Make It To The Church On Time The sleek Atlas® dome watch in stainless steel with roman numerals on a black leather strap, will keep perfect time so the groom won’t be late for the ceremony. $3,100. Available at Tiffany & Co.

Ring of Trust Custom order the perfect Carlex wedding band in two tone gold accented with diamonds. Price available upon request. Available at Gold & Diamond Source.

The Big Day Fragrance Relax on the big day with the fragrance Tommy Bahama for Him with fruit top scents of watermelon, tangerine, pear and ginger mixed with floral tones and infused of coriander and bottom notes of amber, Tonka bean and sandalwood. $54. Available at Tommy Bahama.


Gray Is The New Black A fashion two-button jacket with a satin edge notch lapel from BLACK by Vera Wang, will have the groom stand out in the crowd and perfect for the modern man. $840. Available at Men’s Wearhouse and

Cuffed in Style Top off the sleeves with a pair of 14Kt gold cufflinks with inlaid diamonds to complete the best dressed look. $1,795. Available at Gold & Diamond Source.

Floral Detail An elegant, yet simple boutonniere adds flair to the groom and his guys. Prices vary. Available at FH Weddings & Events. Photo: Rustic White Photography

Honeymoon Style

The big day celebration is over, and it is time to discover each other as a couple. Whether it is island time down to Key West or an exotic Caribbean escape, take along these honeymoon essentials and enjoy the escape.

Something Blue A classic Blue Topaz necklace by David Yurman will remind the bride of her special day for many years to come. $650. Available at Neiman Marcus.

It’s in the Bag Large enough for all the travel essentials, the new Kasbah Tote is made from straw and woven with an island-inspired pattern. $238. Available at Tommy Bahama.

Relax in Style Be stylish, yet comfortable on the honeymoon in these relaxed and coordinated ensembles from Tommy Bahama. Women’s Darby Sweater $138, Marin Denim Shorts $98; Men’s Catamaran Breezer Shirt $118, Florida Key Grip Shorts $98. Available at Tommy Bahama.

Glam Eyes Love Me Pink Step out in style with a pair of fuchsia Love Me Heart pumps with a peep toe by Charlotte Olympia Shoes. $1,450. Available at Neiman Marcus.

A pair of Tiffany Garden Sunglasses from the Tiffany Eyewear collection, accented with Austrian crystals in a floral motif, will look glam on the new bride. $480. Available at Tiffany & Co.

A Sexy Surprise The groom will be all eyes for his bride in this sexy, black, cropped lace camisole and thong set by Only Hearts. $112. Available at The Pink Petticoat.


wedding & event catering that is uniquely you. for an invitation to an upcoming tasting, email | | photo credit:

Great Gifts

Celebrate the special day with a variety of gift ideas for everyone in the bridal party including the blissful couple.

Groom to Bride These colorful and playful 18k rose gold earrings feature perfectly matched rubylites, pearls and brilliant cut diamonds to make the bride sparkle. $9,999. Available at Gold & Diamond Source.

Groomsmen Thank the guys with a pair of custom hardwood sunglasses from the Nautique Optix Sunglass Collection, that uses domestic and exotic woods to handcraft one-of-a-kind wearable art. $235. Available at

For the Couple Matching monogrammed robes are the perfect gift for the bride and groom to lounge and relax after spending months of stressful planning. $75 - $79 each, plus $7 for the monogram. Available at

Party Favor Spread a little fun with bubbles after the ceremony with Maison Francis Kurkdijian Les Bulles d’Agathe Pear Scented Bubbles. $20. Available exclusively at Neiman Marcus.

Bride to Groom Bridesmaids The Open Heart pendant with diamond in sterling silver by Elsa Peretti is the ideal gift to say thank you to the special friends that made the wedding so memorable. $500. Available at Tiffany & Co.


Surprise the groom with this Gents Stainless Ceramic Rolex Submariner timepiece to remind him of his bride's everlasting love. $7,000. Available at Arnold’s Jewelry (not affiliated with Rolex USA).


Sweet treats include cake pops, macaroons or the traditional wedding cake. Adorned with flowers, bows or initials, the wedding cake carries the theme of the wedding throughout the reception.

Floral Sweetness Cake Designer – Cakes by Zaida Event Planner – Mise En Place at The Tampa Museum Of Art Photographer – Agostini Photography

Cake Pops Under The Sea Cake Designer – A Piece Of Cake & More Venue - The Florida Aquarium Photographer – CV Fuller Photography

Towering Delight Cake Designer – A Piece of Cake & More Photographer – Marissa Moss Photography

Modern Elegance Cake Designer –Chantilly Cakes Event Planner – Hyatt Clearwater Beach Hotel Photographer – Agostini Photography

Barnyard Celebration Cake Designer – It’s Icing On The Cake Photographer – Rachel Tesch Photography



Floral blossoms and cascading ivy can be used to create a stunning ceremony and reception site. Whether it is soft pinks and bright whites or bold reds, the magic of the big day comes together with buds and blooms.

Garden Nuptials Floral Designer – Botanica International Design & Décor Studio Event Planner – Georgia Watson Events Photographer – Photography by Michael

Vintage Tones Floral Designer – FH Weddings & Events Event Planner – Burkle Events Photographer – Justin Demutiis Photography

Tented Paradise Floral Designer – Botanica International Design & Décor Studio Event Planner – Camille Williams Photographer – Unrue Wedding Photography

Organic Beauty Floral Designer – For Better for Less Event Planner – Burkle Events Photographer – Sarah and Ben Photography


Rich in Red Floral Designer – Nga Phan, La Vie En Rose Floral & Event Design Event Design – Nicholas Plakotoris, La Vie En Rose Floral & Event Design Photographer – Nicholas Plakotoris


Gown Guide

Draped In Elegance Gown Trends | By Ronda M. Parag


Gowns this season come in a range of silhouettes, each featuring unique and sophisticated designs to complement each brideto-be’s style and figure. “The gowns are done in classic shapes and draping, but with a twist or a touch of extraordinary,” said Megan Bubalo, owner of Malindy Elene. Whether it is a fit and flair with embellished detailing, or flowing ruffles and belted sashes, the variety of styles can be a bit overwhelming. “Just as the wedding day has become all about the most minute touches (thanks Pinterest!) so are the wedding gowns,” said Bubalo. “From intricate beaded Gatsby-style glamour and seriously, romantic lace detail, we’re seeing something a little different than before. More than ever, ladies are willing to step out of the box a little bit to have a gown that feels like them. Gone are the cookie cutter wedding days. Brides-to-be are embracing the possibility of removable skirts and separates, blush or latte colored gowns, different types of lace, textured fabrics, and even short dresses.” As any future bride will surely gush, she usually knows when she has found the perfect dress to wear down the aisle.


Winnie Couture

Anne Barge

Val Stefani

Angel Rivera

Angel Rivera

Agusta Jones

Ines Di Santo

Sarah Janks

Paloma Blanca

Lea-Ann Belter

Gemy Maalouf

Claire Pettibone

Eugenia Couture

Winnie Couture

Moonlight Collection


Wedding Destination

Island Wedding No Passport Required Omni Amelia Island Plantation | By Ronda M. Parag



Just north of Jacksonville lies an island resort that beckons with the ideal blend of nature, ocean and hospitality. A recent “re-imagination” of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation resort gained 155 new guest rooms, including 27 suites, a new 30,000 square-foot conference center, new lobby area with floor-to-ceiling windows, and two oceanfront swimming pools. The resort offers package prices and a variety of options from a small, beachfront wedding or a grand affair inside the new state-of-the-art ballroom. The Omni Amelia Island Planation is an easy drive for guests to arrive and enjoy their own vacation, while celebrating with the soon-to-be married couple. The resort offers numerous possibilities to make the bride and groom’s dreams come true, with plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with their guests. Guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean in a private cabana or sunbathe on the nearly 3.5 miles of private beach. With nearly 1,350 acres to explore,


guests can visit the Nature Center to view the local critters and learn about the animal species that inhabit the island. For the sports enthusiasts, there are 54 holes of golf and 23 tennis courts to keep the games going. For additional fun, guests can take Segway tours of the property, after proper instruction by an experienced staff. Surrounded by marsh, there


is plenty of bird watching while kayaking or paddle-boarding. The shopping village on property offers a variety of boutiques with unique keepsakes, clothing and gifts. Be sure to enjoy the pizza at Natural Slice with its delicious pies and surf-inspired shop inside. The Spa is the ideal place for the bridal party to relax and feel pampered. From a soothing massage or facial,

to manicure and pedicures, the girls will be ready to celebrate the big day. Spend a fun afternoon off property in historic Fernandina Beach which offers great galleries, antique shops, and quaint restaurants. A horse-drawn carriage ride is a must, and offers a tour through town narrated with history and facts of the area. With six ceremony locations and 10 reception site possibilities, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation is certainly a wedding destination that will satisfy the most discerning couple. The culinary teams can create spectacular buffets as well as delectable menus including the wedding cake and desserts. The wedding coordinators at the resort will help plan the perfect destination wedding to make your dream wedding come true. Call 904.321.5045 to schedule a tour, or visit

The Perfect Wedding

From Beginning...

To End!

Weddings • Showers • Rehearsal Dinners

Passionately Perfecting Life’s Celebrations 813.712.7833


Honeymoon Destination

Pura Vida! Romance Found in Costa Rica at RIU Hotels & Resorts | By Ronda M. Parag



Whether it’s filled with activities or total relaxation that a couple is seeking after the stress of planning and hosting the wedding, the blissful couple can escape to the beautiful country of Costa Rica for a delightful honeymoon. A catch phrase for Costa Rican culture and embraced everywhere is Pura Vida; literally it means “Pure Life,” however, it is roughly meant to embrace the good life. An easy flight from the Tampa Bay area through Miami, Costa Rica is a tropical climate with activities abound. RIU Hotels & Resorts have two resorts within the beautiful Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, about an hour drive from Liberia Airport. Opened in 2009, Riu Guanacaste has a feel of old-world charm and newly opened, in November, 2012, Riu Palace offers a modern and sophisticated design. Both properties are all-inclusive resorts offering unlimited food, drinks, entertainment and programs throughout the hotels. With 528 guest rooms of clean, crisp white decor with accents of purple, each guest room has free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service, perfect for a couples’ escape. The resort has four pools, complete with a swim-up bar. From anywhere on the property, guests are never far from a crafted cocktail or delicious


dining. While the resort has a main dining area offering international selections morning, noon and evening, the Riu Palace has four specialty restaurants serving Japanese, Italian, Steakhouse and Modern cuisine. Try a different cuisine each night for a unique and romantic dining experience. Be sure to make reservations, as they are extremely popular and fill up quickly. For nighttime fun there is a casino and night club, as well as, customary RIU evening entertainment. While it would be easy to stay on property to enjoy the gym, volleyball, steam bath, tennis, windsurfing, kayaking and even one intro scuba lesson in the pool, Costa Rica has numerous National Parks to be explored. The Canyon Tour at Hacienda Guachipelin offers an action packed tour which includes horseback riding to the Rio Negro, tubing on class 1 & 2 rapids, lunch and Canyon Tour of zip lining in the Canopy, or take a relaxing river boat cruise in the


wildlife sanctuary of the Palo Verde National Park, where you might see crocodiles, monkeys and thousands of bird species. Be sure to plan a day visit to Rio Perdido for the ultimate, luxury outdoor experience. A private 500+ acre reserve is surrounded by volcanic mountain range and a dwarf forest. Enjoy a couples spa treatment, delicious cuisine, biking and canopy experiences along with hiking trails. After a hike through the canyon, enjoy a swim in the thermo-mineral river where temperatures range from 90 - 115 degrees fahrenheit. It is soothing and healing for the mind and body. From relaxation on the beach to a variety of eco-tourism activities, it is easy to see why Costa Rica has become such a sought-after honeymoon or wedding destination.




Derby Day Soirée Tampa Bay event planner, Brooke Palmer, celebrates her engagement to Craig Kuhl in true Kentucky Derby fashion. Designed by r.s.b.p. Events | Photography by Amy Pezzicara – Pezz Photo








Customize a rejuvenating



501 S Fort Harrison Ave, Downtown Clearwater, FL 33756

Plastic Surger   






Planner: r.s.b.p. Events | Photography: Amy Pezzicara, Pezz Photo | Signature Drinks: Dean Hurst, SideBern’s | Catering: Puff ’n Stuff | Florals, Furniture, Décor: Botanica International Design Studio | Linen: Over the Top | Pillows: bride’s designs, Etsy | Stationery and Menu/Bar Signage: URBANcoast | Invitations: The Write Stuff | Candy Bar: Chic Sweets | Cake Pops: Raleigh Cake Pops | Photobooth: Open by Shutterbooth | Songstress: Lisa Casalino | Videography: VH Video | DJ: DJ Coro | Valet: 717 Parking | Jockey: Wise Guys InterACTive Entertainment | Derby Horse: DI Polo, Courtesy of Chris Gannon Video/TV's: AVI-SPL |



N a p a Va l l e y I n s p i r a t i o n

Jennifer Hayes and Hutch Pinder

Inspired by vacations to Napa Valley and Sonoma, Jennifer and Hutch brought the natural, elegant, wine country beauty to their St. Petersburg wedding. Edited by Ronda M. Parag | Photography by Lauren Pauline Photography


Clockwise (from top left): The ceremony was held outside with the aisle decorated with suspended mason jars filled with roses, lilies, hydrangea and seeded eucalyptus. The bridesmaids carried clusters of ivory & green hydrangea in their bouquets. Long feasting tables were set for the reception as part of a Napa Valley themed wedding. String lights and wrapped trees created a romantic glow along the water at the ceremony and reception site on Snell Isle. A simple two-tiered cake was cut by the bride and groom. A fun Bubbly Bar offered guests a selection of sparkling wine and mixers. Jennifer carried a bouquet filled with hydrangea, vibernum, roses, peonies, freesia and hypericum berries.



Jennifer Hayes and Hutch Pinder met through mutual friends more than six years ago. They casually dated on and off through the years. Both graduated from law school and are now attorneys in the Bay area. On a surprise weekend getaway to the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, Hutch proposed and Jennifer joyously accepted. The couple desired to have an outdoor ceremony and reception and chose the St. Petersburg Women’s Club on Snell Isle. Wedding planner, Christi Winsor of Winsor Event Studio, assisted the couple in planning an intimate, wine-inspired ceremony and reception. “We got lucky,” recalls Jennifer about the perfect weather. “The water, greenery and natural setting created a magical outdoor night.” The coordinated color palette of muted creams, taupes, leafy greens and blush pinks, guided everything from the invitations to the florals to the bridesmaids dresses. The bride wore a classic lace gown from CC’s Boutique, and the five bridesmaids selected their own champagne or blush colored dresses. “I didn’t want them to be cookie cutter,” Jennifer said. The groomsmen wore dark gray suits and the groom wore a Hugo Boss suit. The outdoor ceremony was held at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, just prior to sunset. Jennifer’s father, Fred Hayes, walked her down an aisle lined with suspended mason jars filled with roses, lilies, hydrangea and seeded eucalyptus, while serenaded by a string quartet. Under a white wooden arch decorated with climbing vines and flora, the couple exchanged vows with Hutch’s sister, Judge Heather Rodriguez, as the officiant. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed passed pulled pork sliders and mac-n-cheese lollipops, along with a customized Bubbly Bar offering sparkling wine and mixers of pear puree, peach nectar and pomegranate juice. The outdoor reception area was created with strings of twinkling lights, a dance floor and large feasting table to create a romantic and festive evening. Guests found their escort cards tucked into wine corks, directing them to tables named after wineries the couple had visited together. Each table featured a framed winery label as a guide. The dining tables featured copper chargers and beams of wood dotted with mis-matched metal lanterns, votive candles and mason jars filled with flowers collected by Jennifer and her mother, Sue Hayes. Set up as a buffet, guests dined on regional favorites shrimp & grits, and lemon-artichoke roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables from Good Food Catering Company. “The food was so good,” said Jennifer. The couple had a traditional cake from Publix for the cutting of the cake, and served their favorite Wright’s Gourmet chocolate and peanut butter cake to guests. “I was more playful while feeding the cake to Hutch,” Jennifer recalls. “I shoved the whole piece in, while he was more subdued.” The couple left the reception while their closest friends and family continued to dance into the evening, under the moon and stars. Jennifer and Hutch went to Key West for a couple of days following the celebration, and delayed their honeymoon until May 2013. For a honeymoon retreat, the newlyweds spent two weeks on a European trip that included destinations in France, Switzerland and Turkey.


Event Venue St. Petersburg Women's Club Event Planner Winsor Event Studio Caterer Good Food Catering Company Floral Designer Arlene Floral Designer Lighting Tampa Lights, Inc. Linens and Coverings Connie Duglin Linens Ceremonial Cake Publix Guest’s Cake Wright's Gourmet Equipment Rentals Coast to Coast Rentals Photographer Lauren Pauline Photography Musicians Dillingham String Quartet Disc Jockey Universal Music Entertainment Cinema & Video Hearts Video Bridal Gown CC’s Boutique Makeup Artist Valerie Schneider – Beautiful Brides Hair Stylist Avantaggio Salon


Twilight Celebration of Love A CINEMATIC PROPOSAL

Jessica Lulguri and Jeff Karstens

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Jeff Karstens and television host/producer, Jessica Lulguri, tied the knot in a traditional-style waterfront wedding. Edited by Ronda M. Parag | Photography by Ryan Joseph Photographs,


Clockwise (from top left): The reception site at The Powel Crosley Estate was created using a large clear paneled tent and elegant furnishings. Ornate designs were projected into the top of the tent. Jessica and Jeff danced their first dance to Jack Johnson’s Angel. Guests celebrated into the night with delicious food by Puff ’n Stuff and music by Phase 5. Simple and elegant floral hydrangeas and Sahara Garden roses filled the centerpieces and bouquets. Draping and hanging chandeliers created a romantic reception area. Guests enjoyed an open, elegant reception area. White leather sofas and lighted cocktail tables allowed guests to relax after celebrating the night with the newly married couple, Jessica and Jeff Karstens.



Jessica was finishing college and working as a bartender at The Venue (now closed) in Clearwater and Jeff had come in several times, but didn’t want to seem like the “typical” guy hitting on the bartender. They discovered mutual friends and their fate was sealed when Jeff delayed a flight to visit his parents in San Diego the next day, so the couple could hang out. There was an immediate connection and Jessica says the old cliche’ ‘when you know you know’ is so true. “We both respect each other, believe in each other and we grow together,” said Jessica. Jeff was traditional in asking Jessica’s dad for her hand in marriage, and in December 2010 proposed. As a complete surprise to Jessica, Jeff proposed in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland in California. To capture the moment, Jeff had given his camera to a random young couple to video tape the proposal. “Jeff’s nerves got to him and he actually forgot to ask the question as he pulled out the ring,” Jessica said. “A random passerby yelled, ‘Ask the question!’ ” The happy couple left the park and celebrated with champagne. With baseball season coming up, the couple was in no rush to plan the nuptials. After weighing the options for the type and location of the celebration they wanted, Jessica and Jeff decided on a traditional affair in Florida where their family and friends could all be together. Jessica started researching venues online and discovered The Powel Crosley Estate in Sarasota. She envisioned the ceremony in the courtyard, the tent for the reception in the back. “It’s the only place Jeff and I visited before deciding,” Jessica said. “We definitely know what we like.” Jessica hired wedding planner Brooke Palmer, r.s.b.p Events, to assist with creating the magical and elegant big day. Finding the perfect dress was a bit stressful for Jessica. “To be honest, the pressure of finding a dress that you’ll be wearing in pictures passed down through generations of your family, gave me anxiety and I don’t even care how shallow that sounds,” Jessica recalls. After visiting boutiques in LA, Miami and NY, she found the ideal Ines Di Santo lace, mermaid-style gown in Michigan, while traveling with Jeff and visiting family. Her cousin, Katrina, a hair stylist at the salon next door, came right over to offer suggestions on hair and make-up. Jessica recalls her cousin’s advice, “wear your hair in a way that you’re comfortable. If you wear it down everyday, don’t try an up-do that won’t be comfortable. You want to look like yourself and be as comfortable as possible.” Blessed with large families and a network of friends, the couple included 14 groomsmen and 11 bridesmaids in their outdoor wedding. Using traditional vows, Tom Hill, a family friend of Jeff’s, married the couple. After the ceremony, the 130 guests celebrated with four food stations catered by Puff ’n Stuff. “We’re still talking about the lobster mac ‘n cheese,” said Jessica. The three-tiered, strawberry champagne and vanilla layered cake was created by Chocolate Pi. “I’ve never had a cake more delicious,” said Jessica. The evening continued with guests dancing to the band Phase 5. “They can play anything and everything,” Jessica said. “People were raving about them.” As the reception ended, the happy couple departed in a trolley with some of the guests. “I’m never the first to leave any party,” said Jessica. A safari honeymoon to South Africa and Mozambique is scheduled for this fall.


Ceremony/Reception Venue The Powel Crosley Estate Sarasota, FL Event Planner Brooke Palmer, r.s.b.p. Events Floral Design Botanica Catering Puff ’n Stuff Cake Design Chocolate Pi Décor, Draping, Dance Floor & Chandeliers ConceptBAIT Tenting/Staging/Rental US Tent Programs and Menu cards URBANcoast Bridal Gown Ines Di Santo Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist Katrina Malota, Luigi Bruni Salon Linens Linens by the Sea Lighting Bay Stage Lighting Musical Entertainment Via Musica and Phase 5 Photography Ryan Joseph Photographs Video VH Video



Horse Country Chic Design by Très Chic Southern Weddings and Events Photography by Limelight Photography






STOP LOOKING FOR THE ONE. WE’RE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER. It’s hard enough to find a soulmate. Don’t send out a search party to track down the perfect wedding venue. Everything you need to plan a celebration is at Renaissance® Tampa International Plaza Hotel. Our top-notch catering team will help you create a menu that will delight your guests. Our newly renovated event space gives you a 12,500 square-foot blank canvas to design the theme with the decor you want. And our expert wedding planners will help you every step of the way to give you and your guests an authentic experience they’ll never forget.

For more information, on booking your wedding, please call 813.877.9200 or visit

RENAISSANCE TAMPA INTERNATIONAL PLAZA HOTEL 4200 Jim Walter Blvd Tampa, Florida 33607 © 2011 Renaissance Holdings, Inc.

t: 813.877.9200


Planner/Set Designer: Très Chic Southern Weddings and Events | Photography: Limelight Photography | Hair and Makeup: The Destiny & Light – Hair and Makeup Group | Venue: Barrington Hill Farms | Bridal Gown: Malindy Elene | Vintage Rentals: Dishie Rentals | Furniture: CHIC! Event Furniture Rental | Stationery: Dragonfly Custom Design | Cake & Sweets: The Sugar Suite | Florals: Botanica International Design & Décor Studio | Linens: Over The Top | Videographer: Bright Frame Films | Lighting: Our DJ Rocks | Model: Emily Wallace




M o d e r n We d d i n g B l i s s Design by FH Weddings & Events | Photos by Djamel Photography





Floral Design & Furniture: FH Weddings & Events | Photography: Djamel Photography | Venue: Mindy Solomon Art Gallery, St. Pete, featuring the work of Sylvia Hommert | Bridal Gown: Anglo Couture | Marbled Wedding Cake: Datz Dough | Invitation Stationery: URBANcoast | Headpiece: Tasha Shoes: Via Spiga – Penelope High Heel | Jewelry: Express Jewelry Collection | Hair & Makeup: Gina Mia Models: Rachel Miller, Somer Hilo





V i n t a g e We d d i n g B r e a k f a s t Design by C.Curiosity, LLC Interior and Event Decoration | Photos by Jonathan Fanning Studio & Gallery




Design & DĂŠcor: C.Curiosity, LLC Interior and Event Decoration | Photography: Jonathan Fanning Studio & Gallery | Location: Cay Pointe Villas | Bridal Gown & Fashion Accessories: Anglo Couture | Hair & Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup Group | Models: Sara Spears - Bride; Maverick Perich - Groom



Wedding Checklist

Congratulations you’re engaged! Wedding bells will be ringing soon, but in the meantime it’s all about the planning. Here’s a helpful 12-month itinerary to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch.

10 to 12 Months This is the period of research and exploring, what kind of wedding do you want? Pretend you are a detective seeking the best of everything: style, venue, honeymoon, the works. ❑ Schedule engagement photos ❑ Mail out engagement announcements ❑ Set a date ❑ Meet clergy, especially if one of you is converting so you can start classes immediately ❑ Start making bride/groom guest list ❑ Decide on a budget ❑ Decide on indoor or outdoor wedding, be sure to keep in mind weather conditions for outdoor weddings and it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan ❑ Begin scouting locations for ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner. ❑ Begin researching caterers, florists, photographers, musicians and bakers ❑ Make a list with fiancee of honeymoon destinations and songs for your first dance ❑ Decide on members of the wedding party ❑ Begin shopping for your wedding dress

7 to 9 Months Now it’s time to start narrowing things down. In order to have time for the details, it’s important to get some of the big stuff out of the way. ❑ Send engagement announcement to the local paper ❑ Order your wedding dress ❑ Decide on venue ❑ Choose clergy ❑ Choose your colors ❑ Take bridesmaids shopping for their dresses ❑ Take mom shopping for her Mother of the Bride dress ❑ Meet with florist and decide on flowers for venue, wedding party and reception ❑ Meet with caterer to decide on menu and schedule menu tasting ❑ Book photographer ❑ Meet with musicians to discuss play list ❑ Meet with travel agent about honeymoon ❑ Book reception venue and make deposit

4 to 6 Months Ok, take a deep breath and relax, but not too much. Look at all you’ve accomplished; now it’s time for the details. ❑ Finalize menu with caterer ❑ Finalize guest list ❑ Order wedding invitations ❑ Start shopping for wedding rings ❑ Make appointment with jeweler if want to custom design rings ❑ Meet with baker to view and taste cake options ❑ Order bridesmaids’ dresses ❑ Shop for and order fiancée and groomsmen tuxes ❑ Book honeymoon


❑ Make sure passports are current if going out of the country

2 to 3 Months Now things are beginning to take form and your dream wedding is unfolding right before your eyes. Just keep focus and have fun. ❑ Order wedding rings ❑ Confirm with florist all flowers for ceremony and reception ❑ Order cake ❑ Register for gifts ❑ Shop and order party favors ❑ Pick song for your first dance ❑ Finalize play list with musicians

4 to 8 Weeks Everything is locked in, your dress is being tailored and everything is ordered. Now is the time to CONFIRM, CONFIRM, CONFIRM. ❑ Mail wedding invitations ❑ Order programs for the ceremony ❑ Go with fiancée to get marriage license ❑ Obtain, fill-out and mail all necessary forms for your name change ❑ Pick up wedding rings and check fit ❑ Final fitting for wedding dress and wedding party ❑ Make appointment with hair and makeup stylist ❑ Make nail appointment ❑ Start shopping for honeymoon clothes ❑ Purchase wedding party gifts ❑ Purchase wedding gift for your fiancée ❑ Pick up your dress and start wearing shoes around the house to ensure comfort on the big day ❑ If traditionalist–make sure have something old, new, borrowed and blue ❑ Plan rehearsal dinner ❑ Pay final payment on reception hall

1 Week Can you hear the wedding bells? That’s right in just one week you’ll go from bride-to-be, to wife! Now just a few minor details before you walk down the aisle into happily ever after. ❑ Confirm with EVERYONE, caterer, photographer, baker, florist to make sure everything is on schedule ❑ Confirm wedding party picked up dresses and tuxes ❑ Get everything packed for honeymoon ❑ Pick up plane or cruise tickets and travel itinerary for honeymoon from travel agent ❑ Hold rehearsal dinner and handout wedding day schedule to wedding party ❑ Take bridesmaids out for brunch and a spa day for the last time as a single gal ❑ Attend wedding rehearsal ❑ Schedule two days for yourself, one for family and one for friends

MOBILE DISC JOCKEYS... FOR EVERY OCCASION Tampa Bay’s Trusted Entertainers For Over 28 Years




Contemplating the first sunset as husband and wife.

Jessica & Jeff | 01.12.2013, 5:36 PM | Captured by Ryan Joseph Photographs


Tampa Bay Weddings Magazine 2013  

Summer/Fall 2013 Digital Edition weddings, bridal, events, tampa, tampa bay, bride