Wedding Tails: Tara & Ryan’s Florida Aquarium Wedding

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Wedding Venue in Tampa, Fl

Tara and Ryan’s Love Story:
My husband and I met when I was 15 at a local cheerleading competition. We started dating when I was 16, and we were together for eight years before he popped the question.

On June 30, 2012, the first day of our 8-day cruise, he proposed on our private balcony during sunset. It was the perfect start to an amazing cruise.

Modern White, Blue and Silver Florida Aquarium Wedding

Tara and Ryan held an elegant, white wedding in downtown Tampa.

“We wanted our wedding to have a timeless feel,” the bride shared.

The bride dubbed her and her husband as “two big kids” and chose the combination of the beauty and playfulness that the Florida Aquarium offered for their wedding ceremony and reception.

“Ryan and I wanted to have a unique space for our wedding, and the Aquarium fit that perfectly. It had a gorgeous backdrop for the ceremony, amazing scenery for lots of great photos and allowed our guests to tour the venue,” the bride explained. “Being able to privately view the different areas of the Aquarium during the wedding allowed us to let loose.”

And every big kid/bride needs the Florida Aquarium’s very special guests to accompany her down the aisle.

“How many people can say they had penguins at their wedding or was able to take pictures with them?” Tara gushed. “Our guests are still to this day talking about the penguins.”

With the bride and groom managers in the food and catering industry, the menu was one of the most important elements of their wedding.

“We wanted to make sure the food represented us well, the Aquarium delivered and made that happen,” Tara said.

Looking back, the bride shared that her most memorable moment came at the end of her wedding reception.

“All of our guests got in a giant circle and started dancing around us. It was an amazing memory and a great way to cap off an amazing wedding and the start of our new journey,” Tara reminisced.

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“Ashley from the Aquarium was amazing! She made sure I felt comfortable, walked me through everything and was my go-to for anything on the day of the wedding.” – The Bride

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“How many people can say they had penguins at their wedding or was able to take pictures with them? Our guests are still to this day talking about the penguins!” – The Bride

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“Ryan and I wanted to have a unique space for our wedding, and the Aquarium fit that perfectly. It had a gorgeous backdrop for the ceremony, amazing scenery for lots of great photos and allowed our guests to tour the venue.” – The Bride

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What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Just have fun! Your wedding comes and goes so fast, but sometimes brides are too consumed and stressed to enjoy planning it. This day is for you and your future husband, do what makes you happy and in return your guests will love it!

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Victoria Angela Photography
Tampa Wedding Videographer: Brad Hall Studios
Tampa Wedding Florist: 
La Vie en Rose
Tampa Wedding Caterer: 
Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Cake: 
A Piece of Cake
Tampa Wedding DJ: 
Grant Hemond & Associates
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Pastor Paine
Tampa Wedding Transportation:  Ambassador Limousine Services
Tampa Wedding Dress: Aurora Bridal
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: The Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Artist Group
Tampa Wedding Photo Booth: FotoBox

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

Wedding Tails: Rachel and Ryan’s Florida Aquarium Wedding

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Wedding Venue in Tampa, Fl

Rachel and Ryan’s Love Story:
In the summer of 2011, Ryan and I met while we were both visiting Charleston, South Carolina. I was having a girls weekend with my best friend, and he was there because his boat for the United States Coast Guard was in port for supplies.

We first met when he crossed the street to talk to me while I was taking a picture of my friend. It was love at first sight. From that day forward, our love for each other grew.

We dated long distance for about a year. I lived in St. Petersburg, Fl, and he lived in Virginia. Ryan was then stationed in downtown St. Petersburg in June 2012. We were finally able to live in the same town!

We bought a house together, and on December 18th, 2012, Ryan proposed to me at our favorite beach access during a beautiful sunset. I was more than surprised and excited to start this new adventure with the love of my life.

Coral Pink and Navy Blue Nautical Chic Florida Aquarium Wedding

There was only one place that stood out in Rachel and Ryan’s minds when it came to choosing a Tampa wedding venue.

“Ryan and I both love sea life. I grew up near the beach and have a love for the water and surfing. Ryan loves the water, being in the Coast Guard, and he also has an amazing saltwater aquarium at our house,” the bride shared. “Having our wedding at the Florida Aquarium in front of the big tank was the only place we felt at home for our special day,” the bride explained.

The Gulfport couple focused their wedding planning on creating unique experiences for the guests of their nautical chic wedding

“We had the stingray tank open for our guests to be able to touch them while they enjoyed cocktail hour,” Rachel shared. “We wanted our wedding to be beautiful and memorable to all of our guests.”

The bride and groom honored their loved ones in very special ways on their big day.

“For many of the small details throughout the wedding, we incorporated our family members who had passed away, but were there in spirit. We used my grandfather’s navy sword to cut the cake, Ryan wore his grandfather’s wedding ring for the ceremony and I wore my grandfather’s firefighting badge on my bouquet,” Rachel said. “We felt it was very important to remember them and all they have done for us by including them in small ways.”

Looking back, Rachel said one of her most memorable moments came during the wedding ceremony.

“I watched Ryan’s face light up as I walked down the aisle to the man of my dreams. That memory will never leave my mind,” the bride reminisced.

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (46)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (45)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (44)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (43)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (42)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (41)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (40)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (39)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (38)

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Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (36)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (35)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (34)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (33)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (32)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (31)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (30)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (29)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (28)

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“As we had our first kiss as a married couple, one of the sharks in the tank swam toward us making so many of the photos very unique.” – The Bride

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (22)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (21)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (20)

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Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (18)

“Looking through Carrie Wildes Photography portfolios, the photographers on her team met all of the requirements we were looking for. They could also capture great quality photos in a low light area without difficulty.” – The Bride

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (17)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (16)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (15)

“The Florida Aquarium blended our passion with our wedding day.  It has one of the most beautiful backdrops. We enjoyed that the wedding was inside, but still had the exotic feel to it, so we did not have to worry about the unpredictable Florida weather.” – The Bride

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (14)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (13)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (12)

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Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (10)

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Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (8)

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Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (4)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (3)

“The Florida Aquarium was by far the most amazing vendor. The organization of the wedding planning team (led by Ashley Valentine), as well as the catering, exceeded all of our expectations by working above and beyond what was needed, making our day stress-free, beautiful and fun.” – The Bride

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (2)

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue - Navy Blue & Pink Nautical Wedding (1)

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Relax and have fun!

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography
Tampa Wedding Florist: 
Apple Blossoms Floral Design
Tampa Wedding Caterer: 
Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Cake: 
A Better Cheesecake
Tampa Wedding DJ: 
Music on the Move
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Dr. Julie White
Tampa Wedding Invitations:  Inspirations by Amie Lee
Tampa Wedding Transportation:  TECO Streetcar
Tampa Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup:  Collective Creations - Marissa

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

Wedding Tails: Adam and Mikel’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Navy and White Downtown Tampa Wedding

Adam and Mikel’s Love Story:
Adam and I met about three years ago at the gym. He asked me to “spot” him, and that was the beginning.

On March 10, 2012 we attended a meeting at the Hyatt in Sarasota. That evening after a wonderful dinner, we went out by the pool. We got close to the waterfall, I got down on one knee, and asked him to marry me. He said “yes,” and we both had tears.

We then went into the bar area to have some champagne, and Adam said he needed to go to the room for a minute. He then returned, and to my surprise he gives me an engagement ring and asks me to marry him! Of course, I said “Yes!”

Navy, Light Blue and White Florida Aquarium Wedding

The Tampa Bay couple focused on holding a non-traditional wedding and chose downtown wedding venue the Florida Aquarium.

“We chose the Florida Aquarium because it was unique. We are not the traditional couple, and we wanted something special and out of the ordinary,” Mikel shared.

Decor was one of the most important elements for Adam and Mikel’s navy, light blue and white bubble themed wedding.

“We chose it [our theme] because of the water and the fish,” the groom explained. “Our favorite part about having the wedding at the Aquarium was that people had so much to look at and enjoy. Not just the wedding itself, but also the beautiful fish.”

Looking back, Mikel said that the his big day flew by too quickly, but it all was memorable.

“The fact that we are gay made it unique for everyone. Unfortunately, that has not become the norm as yet. Hopefully one day!”

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue

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“Our favorite part about having the wedding at the Florida Aquarium was that people had so much to look at and enjoy. Not just the wedding itself, but also the beautiful fish.” – The GroomFlorida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue Florida Aquarium Wedding - Unique Downtown Tampa Wedding Venue

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer:
Photography by Laurie Ross
Tampa Wedding Florist: 
ConceptBAIT
Tampa Wedding Caterer: 
Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Cake: 
Olympia Catering
Tampa Wedding DJ: 
DJ Papi
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Friend of the Grooms
Tampa Wedding Invitations:  Urban Coast

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

 

Wedding Tails: Heather and Brad’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium Wedding - Cobalt Blue & Yellow Downtown Tampa Wedding

Heather and Brad’s Love Story:
Brad and I met in October of 2008 through our jobs. Brad is a deputy for Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, and I’m a dispatcher. We talked through text messages for several months before we even met each other in person! Shortly after we started dating, we moved in together.

Three years later, while we were out shopping at the mall, Brad suggested we go look at rings. We had talked about marriage, but this kind of took me by surprise. At the first store, we found a ring that we both fell in love with, so Brad bought it on the spot! I teased him that it wasn’t fair that I knew he had the ring and I couldn’t wait. So when we got home he “surprised” me by proposing in the living room.

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding

Heather and Brad wanted a “laid back” wedding, that would be reflective of their personalities.

“We didn’t want anything too over the top,” Heather explained. “We just wanted it simple and elegant.”

After an exhaustive venue search, the couple visited the Florida Aquarium, and it didn’t take long for Heather to realize she had found her dream wedding venue.

“As soon as we walked in, we both knew it was perfect!” the bride gushed. “We liked how it was so different than any other wedding venue we had seen.”

As part of their wedding package, Heather and Brad invited some extra special guests to their wedding ceremony.

“I remember standing in the walkway with my dad before we walked down the aisle and suddenly hearing everyone start whispering and ‘ahhing’ as the penguins walked down,” Heather reminisced. “So many of our guests had commented on how they’ve never been to a wedding like that before.”

Looking back, Heather said that another one of most memorable moments came just a few moments after the penguin escort.

“As I walked down the aisle and saw Brad, I knew that all of our stress and planning had paid off!”

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (1)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (2)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (3)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (4)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (5)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (6)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (7)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (8)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (9)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (10)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (11)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (12)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (14)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (13)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (15)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (16)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (18)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (19)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (20)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (21)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (22)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (23)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (24)

“I remember standing in the walkway with my dad before we walked down the aisle and suddenly hearing everyone start whispering and ‘ahhing’ as the penguins walked down. So many of our guests had commented on how they’ve never been to a wedding like that before.” – The Bride

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (31)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (25)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (26)

“As part of our unity ceremony we did a wine ceremony. Brad’s stepdad handmade a wood box for us and we bought a bottle of nice wine. We wrote letters to each other about our love and lives together so far. During our ceremony, Brad and I placed the wine in the box, along with our letters, and sealed the box with a lock. The idea is that on March 30, 2033, we will open the box, read our letters and enjoy the wine while we reflect on our 20 years of marriage.” – The Bride

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (27)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (29)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (30)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (28)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (32)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (33)

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Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (36)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (37)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (38)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (39)

Cobalt Blue and Yellow Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Horn Photography and Design (40)

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer:
Horn Photography and Design
Tampa Wedding Florist: 
Northside Florist
Tampa Wedding Caterer: 
Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Cake: 
Olympia Catering
Tampa Wedding DJ: 
Grant Hemond & Associates
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Weddings by Lili Ana
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup:  Aimee O’Neil

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

Wedding Tails: Maegan and Jordan’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium Wedding – Modern Tampa Destination Wedding

Maegen and Jordan’s Love Story:
Our love story began May 10, 2007. I was attending the University of Central Florida and made a quick weekend trip to my hometown of Ft. Myers, Florida. Jordan had recently graduated with his dentistry degree (DMD) from Nova Southeastern University and was living in the Fort Myers area. After meeting at a local bar, we decided to hang out the next day on Fort Myers Beach. 

Fast forward three years later…

We had made a joint decision that we were going to move from Florida to Austin, Texas. Before moving, we visited and went on a segway tour around the downtown Austin area in August 2010. After watching millions (and I mean literally, millions) of bats fly out from underneath the bridge, Jordan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him while I was whining that I was hungry and wanted to go eat!

Pink & Grey Modern Florida Aquarium Destination Wedding

With the help of Maegen’s mother, the bride and groom planned a Tampa destination wedding at the Florida Aquarium.

“We chose the Florida Aquarium because when we met six years ago, we both lived in the Fort Myers area and the Aquarium was our first date. We both love waterlife and animals of all kinds, so we thought it was a perfect venue!” Maegen said. “My mom did the majority of the planning and according to her, the wedding coordinator and the food coordinator were like angels from heaven. They were so easy to work with and unbelievably helpful every step of the way.”

Staying true to their personalities, Maegen and Jordan planned a symbolic destination wedding ceremony.

“As we do with everything else in our lives, we did it our way as Frank Sinatra so eloquently said!” the bride exclaimed. “We incorporated several components that meant a lot to us, by virtue of meaning that were heartfelt and spiritual. We used ‘breaking the glass’ as our way of creating a special moment and to show how fragile love can be.”

Looking back, Maegen said one of her most memorable moments came just before she walked down the wedding aisle.

“[I'll never forget] when my beautiful, sweet baby girl came down the aisle in a wagon pulled by my sweet niece,” the bride reminisced.

When it came time for the wedding reception, the bride and groom wanted a “full-blown party.”

“The DJ was incredible; he made the party!” Maegen gushed. “We danced until the lights came on!”

Pink & Grey Modern Florida Aquarium Destination Wedding - Erica Blaine Photography (1)

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“The room where the wedding was held was amazing! The tank wall made such a beautiful backdrop – it really set the stage.” – The Bride

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Pink & Grey Modern Florida Aquarium Destination Wedding - Erica Blaine Photography (27)

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Use my vendors – honestly every one of them were great!

The Florida Aquarium is by far the most amazing place to get married!

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Erica Blaine Photography
Tampa Wedding Videographer: The Wedding Video Group
Tampa Wedding Photo Booth: ShutterBooth
Tampa Wedding Cake: A Piece of Cake
Tampa Wedding DJ: DJ by CJ – John Strandberg
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies – Chris Thomas
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Beautiful You
Tampa Wedding Dress: The Formal Spot
Tampa Wedding Invitations: minted.
Tampa Wedding Transportation: Blue One Transportation

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

Wedding Tails: Amanda & Jamie’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Amanda and Jamie met while attending Bloomingdale High School, although they had been classmates since elementary school.

For their four year anniversary, the couple celebrated in St. Augustine, FL to visit a haunted lighthouse that they had seen on the tv show Ghost Hunters.

“It was early in the morning when we got to the lighthouse. I was so scared because I’m terrified of heights!” Amanda said.

“When we got to the top, I stayed far away from the edge. I saw Jamie get down one knee and ask me, but I was still scared from being up there. I was trying to run down to stairwell and didn’t realize what was going on,” Amanda shared. “I was shaking for two reasons: being up so high and him asking me to marry him!”

Damask, Purple and Green Tampa Wedding

Amanda spent almost a year finding the perfect Tampa wedding venue for her damask, purple and green wedding.

“Jamie and I love the water and I decided on the Florida Aquarium because that was where our first Valentine’s date took place,” the bride shared.

Preserving her big day was important to the bride, so Amanda hired Tampa wedding photographer Kristen Marie Photography.

“I have a horrible memory and that day just went so fast, but because of all the detail shots and unlimited pictures that Kristen took I was able to remember that day!” the bride said. “The one shot that I asked her for was to take the first reaction when Jamie saw me as I was walking down. She did a frame by frame and I will always have that moment.”

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“I honored my grandpa because he was pretty much my father and he passed before I could get married.” – The Bride12 13 14-1 14-2 15-1

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“Natalie who was my wedding coordinator at the Florida Aquarium made sure that everything that I needed was awesome, and she made my guest felt like they were important.” – The Bride20 21 22

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay brides?
Hire a photographer who has a detailed timeline for the wedding. What’s great with that is that with the time frame set, the vendors will work off of that and make which makes the whole wedding smoother. 

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Kristen Marie Photography
Tampa Wedding Florist: Whidden Florist
Tampa Wedding Cake: Sweetie Delights
Tampa Wedding DJ: Nature Coast DJ
Tampa Groomsmen Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

 

Wedding Tails: Lauren & Josh’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Lauren met Josh at Tampa country bar, The Round Up, on Christmas Day. She was a freshman at the University of South Florida and he was playing professional baseball.

While Lauren was visiting Josh in Nashville, TN after his business relocated him there, he proposed after eight years of dating.

“He picked me up from the airport and took me to Gaylord Palms in Nashville where he proposed under a waterfall,” the bride reminisced.

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding

After living in Tennessee together for a year, the pair moved back to Florida to fulfill their love of being near the water.

The couple’s passion for the Florida lifestyle was reflected in their choice of wedding venue.

“We cannot be away from the ocean for long periods of time which is why we choose to get married at The Florida Aquarium,” the bride explained.

The couple also share another love, which added to the Aquarium being a perfect fit for their big day.

“My husband and I have a big heart for animals, which made our wedding even more enjoyable,” Lauren shared.

As a gift from the bride’s father, the couple had a some unexpected wedding guests, complements of the Aquarium.

“My husband and I could not believe my dad surprised us with the penguins. I could feel the tears starting to roll down my face as I saw the biologist come down the hall with them!” the bride gushed.

Lauren said that one of her most memorable moments, in addition to the penguin encounter, was posing with mermaids in one of the Aquarium’s large fish tanks.

“Our guests were amazed, especially the children. We continue to hear how it was the best wedding from our guests to this day.”

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (1)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (2)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (3)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (4)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (5)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (6)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (7)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (8)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (9)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (10)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (11)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (12)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (13)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (14)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (15)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (16)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (17)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (18)

My husband and I could not believe my dad surprised us with the penguins. I could feel the tears starting to roll down my face as I saw the biologist come down the hall with them! Our guests were amazed. We continue to hear how it was the best wedding from our guests to this day.” – The Bride

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (19)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (20)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (21)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (22)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (23)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (24)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (25)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (26)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (27)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (28)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (29)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (30)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (31)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (32)

Lime Green & Peacock Blue Tropical Paradise Florida Aquarium Wedding - Tampa Wedding Photographer Captured Images by Augie (33)

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Definitely stay organized through your entire wedding process.

Make sure you, your fiancee and family are communicating through the entire process so everyone can enjoy your wedding planning experience.

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Captured Images by Augie
Tampa Wedding Florist: Publix Greenwise
Tampa Wedding Cake: Publix Greenwise
Tampa Wedding DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates - Ben
Tampa Wedding Officiant: Pastor Jerry Nordsiek
Tampa Wedding Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Tampa Wedding Transportation: HART Trolley
Tampa Wedding Dress: Mora Lee Bridal
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Rare Accents Salon

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.

 Help FLAQ Name Our Penguin!

While The Florida Aquarium takes great pride in our rehabilitation efforts for otters, sea turtles and coral reef, we are also pretty pumped about one of our latest endeavors: Adopting a penguin!

SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) is an organization based in South Africa that rehabilitates ill, injured, oiled and orphaned penguins.  FLAQ has partnered with them on educating the world about these endangered birds, as well as donating our Penguin Backstage Pass proceeds to their efforts during our Penguin Appreciation Day Events. And now we are assisting in aiding a special African penguin in need of rehabilitation.

Say hello to this undeniably dashing gentleman!  

 penguin only

This little fellow was found abandoned in Stony Point in mid-December weighing only 1.60 kg. By mid-February he was released, happy and healthy, weighing 2.75 kg! We are so thankful to SANCCOB for the hard and important work that they do, and are ecstatic that our adopted penguin is doing so well.

However, though he has his health and his penguin family back, he is still missing just one imperative thing. A name!

We are leaving it up to aquarium guests to vote on a name for our adopted penguin. Our husbandry team has come up with the 5 following names that are ready to be voted on:

1.  Nelson- After Nelson Mandela

2. Boulder- After the terrain where South African penguins can be found

3. Dassen- After a South African island in the Atlantic Ocean

4. Pip- After his lively penguin personality

5. Benguela- After a current that skirts the western African coast

We would love your help! Please click on the link below to vote for your favorite name. Voting ends August 14th.

 http://www.acepoll.com/polls/1254729-which-name-should-we-choose-for-our-adopted-penguin

 

Sharks, Sharks and More Sharks!

The Florida Aquarium_Sharks

Campers grades K-1 are taking part in our Shark Buster camp.

This week campers are up close, face to face, with large sharks in the Coral Reef Gallery. And if that’s not enough sharks, they get to touch smaller sized species of our toothy friends that are featured in Stingray Beach. It truly is an amazing experience for our campers to learn all about sharks and celebrate Shark Appreciation Day too, which was July 14th

The campers are learning about sharks, inside and out, including viewing a preserved shark. Tristin Ware, Youth Education Manager states that the program will reveal truths and myths about these ocean predators, especially those related to their appetite. Campers will witness a shark feeding and see exactly what they eat – yum yum! Then, after an off-site camp field trip to the Big Cat Rescue, they will compare shark eating habits to that of the carnivorous cats, noting similarities and differences.

This Shark Buster camp also includes shark related arts and crafts, such as making shark fin hats, and time to splash around at Explore A Shore, the Aquarium’s very own water adventure zone. The week concludes with campers playing a shark trivia game. They will be well prepared for Shark Week which begins August 4th.

Wow! What a fun-filled, educational busy week for our campers! There is only four weeks of summer camps remaining at The Florida Aquarium – don’t miss out, sign up now.

 

perch dissection

Stingray Beach sharks

img_6830 -shark

Wedding Tails: Caitlin and Mahir’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Caitlin and Mahir met in sixth grade, but never dated during middle school or high school despite Mahir’s affection for his classmate.

“He did give me a very sweet Valentine’s Day gift when we were 11 and I still have it to this day,” Caitlin reminisced.

Years later, while the pair were finishing college, they reconnected on Facebook.

“We would make weekend trips between Tampa and West Palm Beach to see each other,” the bride explained.

After three years of dating, Caitlin and Mahir celebrated their anniversary at Sea World, where Mahir proposed.

Green Downtown Tampa, FL Wedding

Since the couple had guests attending from both central and south Florida, Tampa was the perfect go-between. They chose downtown Tampa wedding venue the Florida Aquarium as they were frequent visitors of the unique reception space.

“While we were dating, many of our favorite places were right around the corner from where Mahir attended school. The Florida Aquarium was one of those places that we could go to every day and never run out of things to do,” Caitlin shared.

The Tampa bride didn’t want her decor to compete with the Aquarium’s natural beauty and chose neutral shades to complement the wedding venue’s background.

“I chose everything based on its simplicity. The colors were clover and white to add to the backdrop of the fish tank in the aquarium, but not blend in,” Caitlin explained.

And it was those unique surroundings that made an impression on the bride.

“The most memorable moment from the wedding was stepping out into the beautifully decorated ceremony room with the sharks and sea turtle as the backdrop and knowing that everything was perfect,” the bride reminisced. “We wanted people to leave there saying ‘Wow,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”

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The most memorable moment from the wedding was stepping out into the beautifully decorated ceremony room with the sharks and sea turtle as the backdrop and knowing that everything was perfect. – The Bride

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We chose the Florida Aquarium as our venue because of memories we had there. Everything was what I had dreamed of down to the last detail and no other venue could have provided that. The food was incredible. – The Bride

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Now that the wedding is over my favorite part of holding our wedding there was the ambiance of the whole venue. We wanted people to leave there saying “WOW!” and that’s exactly what happened. – The Bride

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What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides who are holding an wedding at the Aquarium?
Book your vendors as early as possible. I started booking over a year in advance and I was able to do research on all of the vendors and choose my top picks.

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Carrie Wildes Photography 
Tampa Wedding DJ: DJ by CJ 
Tampa Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Warehouse
Tampa Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Collective Creations

Anna Coats - Wedding Blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay Anna Coats is a wedding blogger from Marry Me Tampa Bay which showcases local weddings in the Tampa Bay area. Her 11-11-11 St. Petersburg, FL wedding was featured on USA Today.