Author Archives: Anna Coats

About Anna Coats

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 Lori 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!”

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“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

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“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

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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!”

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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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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.”

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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

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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.

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.

Wedding Tails: Hailee and Kevin’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Hailee and Kevin met as student athletes while attending the University of Tampa. Within a few months they had both met each other’s families and became inseparable.

The Tampa couple spent a few years apart while Kevin played baseball with the Angels organization in Arizona and Hailee remained in Tampa to pursue teaching. When Kevin returned to Florida, he proposed.

Grey & Yellow Downtown Tampa Wedding

Hailee didn’t want a traditional Florida beach wedding, but still wanted to incorporate the ocean and water, so the Florida Aquarium was a perfect fit.

“As soon as I toured the venue I thought it was beautiful and so different,” Hailee explained. As soon as you walk in, you walk through exhibits and sit in such a gorgeous room with the large fish tank. I also loved that once the ceremony was over, guests could walk the venue and look at the exhibits during cocktail hour.”

During the downtown Tampa wedding reception, guests were treated to buffet style dinner and candy display created by Hailee’s mother and grandmother.”

“We received so many compliments of the food and the choices,” the bride shared. “The candy buffet was a great touch and everyone loved it!”

The couple selected the Explore-A-Shore room for their Tampa wedding reception space to set the tone for a fun-filled night.

“It was a nice large space with a dance floor, and I liked that the bar was a full bar attached to the outside venue,” Hailee said.

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What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides who are holding an wedding at the Aquarium?
Become best friends with your planner! The staff, catering and Ashley Valentine, our coordinator, were so helpful and along for every step. They are super important the day of your wedding and helping make everything perfect ahead of time.

Also make sure to pick a photographer that has shot at the Aquarium before as the lighting can be tricky in the ceremony area.

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer & DJ: Celebrations of Tampa Bay
Tampa Wedding Florist: Apple Blossoms Floral Design
Tampa Wedding Candle Centerpieces: Clear Candle
Tampa Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Warehouse
Tampa Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup
Tampa Wedding Photo Booth: Picture Cubby

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 and Allen’s Wedding at the Florida Aquarium

Lauren met Allen at work, and after some pursing by the groom the pair began dating.

Four years later, Allen proposed with the help of his and Lauren’s four-legged friend.

“Soon after we arrived home from work, Allen sent one of our dogs upstairs claiming he had a defective collar. I looked at it and found an engagement ring tied to it with ribbon. He had a ring hidden in our house for a month! He came upstairs and got on one knee and asked me to marry him!” Lauren reminisced.

Silver, White & Black Downtown Tampa Wedding

Lauren is originally from the Tampa Bay area and chose the Florida Aquarium as her wedding venue.

“When we were looking at venues, we wanted something unique, but stilll enjoyable to all guests,” the bride explained. “After seeing the Aquarium wedding pictures and walking around the venue with Natalie, we decided it was perfect and did not want to look anywhere else.”

The couple held an elegant silver, white and black wedding, using the backdrop of the Aquarium as the focus of their decor.

“We chose not to overshadow all of the beauty at the Aquarium,” Lauren said.

While planning the downtown Tampa wedding, one of Lauren and Allen’s main priorities was entertaining their guests.

“Our wedding was was a fun and unique atmosphere; we wanted something that was not boring or traditional,” the bride said.

Looking back, Lauren said that her Florida Aquarium wedding was unforgettable.

“It was the best night of our lives! Having all of our family and friends in one place for the weekend was the most amazing experience!” the bride exclaimed.

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What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides who are holding an wedding at the Aquarium?
To make sure and enjoy every second of the day, it goes so fast!

Tampa Wedding Venue: Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Brad Hall Studios
Tampa Wedding Florist: X Floral Salon
Tampa Wedding Cake: Chef Nelson’s Cake Studio
Tampa Groomsmen Tuxedos: Jos. A Bank
Tampa Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo
Tampa Wedding Hair & Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup
Tampa Wedding Invitations: MagnetStreet
Tampa Wedding Rings: Gordon Jewelers

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 – Courtney and James’ Wedding at The Florida Aquarium

Although Courtney and James attended high school together, it wasn’t until college that the pair began a friendship.

“A mutual friend invited both of us to a Miami Dolphins football game. I decided to reach out to James via Facebook to get to know him so it wouldn’t be so awkward when we met for the first time. We talked several times over the next few weeks often late into the evening about everything…music, sports, our shared faith and religion also finding out we had both moved to South Florida for college and were only about 30 minutes from each other,” Courtney shared. “After a while I finally got the guts to ask James if he wanted to go to a Florida Panthers hockey game knowing he couldn’t turn me down since he loved sports, and it was for the season opener. We immediately hit it off and for the next few months we dated casually meeting up for dinner and watching movies in his dorm room.”

Three months into their relationship they became exclusive and four years later they had moved in together.

“Our first night together in our new place, James took me on a trip to the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, followed by a beautiful dinner. When we returned home, rose petals greeted me at the front door leading me into our living where he dropped to one knee,” Courtney reminisced.

Purple Peacock Florida Aquarium Wedding

The Vero Beach couple didn’t want a beach wedding, so they started looking at unique Tampa wedding venues.

Since James is avid fisherman, the Aquarium seemed like a fitting choice.

“I said something along the lines of ‘wanna get married in a fish tank?’ Courtney joked.

The couple soon found themselves making the two and half hour drive to the Tampa wedding venue.

“We met the coordinators to show us around and fell in love!” Courtney gushed. “It was so different and unexpected I knew our guests would be totally excited, and it would be something we’d never forget. It tied in his love for fishing and my dream of an unforgettable event, it couldn’t’ have been more ‘us.’”

The bride chose rich purples, teals and silvers to create a romantic, cozy atmosphere.

“I started playing around with a few things and found myself using a lot of peacock inspired items, thus landing on peacock as our theme! I used my colors mostly as my jumping off point and tying in feathers where ever I could without over doing it,” Courtney explained.

Courtney wanted not only the look of the room to be memorable, but also the atmosphere.

“The element that was most important to us was music selection which was provided by Inspired DJ, they did an AMAZING job. Our DJ, Josh, did an awesome job of reading the crowd and playing a good mix of music, I think the entire room was up dancing the whole time!

To fuel their wedding guests for a fun-filled night, the couple relied on the Aquarium’s catering chef and staff.

“The food quality and the service were amazing,” Courtney said. “The wait staff couldn’t have been more courteous to us and our guests always smiling, eager to please. The food was delicious everyone really seemed to enjoyed it.”

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The most memorable moment of the wedding for me had to of been when our song came on and my dad led me to the start of the aisle as soon as I turned that corner our eyes met everything disappeared except for him and I. The smile on his face hit me like a ton of bricks and I was lost in the moment. - The Bride

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Our favorite part has to be the uniqueness of the venue, it is like nothing us or our guests had ever experienced. The atmosphere was fun and the mood was light which I am sure is pretty much a standard at every wedding but just the feeling in the room was unforgettable people who had never even met and that were from hundreds of miles apart were connecting and dancing the night away. It was like literally being under the sea we felt like we were in a totally different world.  -The Bride

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What advice do you have for Florida Aquarium brides?
Trust in the coordinators they will be your life savers. When I handed my entire two years of work over to Natalie the night before it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders knowing she had it under control. To walk into the venue and see that she had put together what was in my head for so long was amazing everything was more than I could have even imagined.

Tampa Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer:
Weber Photography by Wes and Liz 
Tampa Wedding Invitations: The Bride
Tampa Wedding Cake:
A Piece of Cake
Tampa Wedding DJ & Uplighting:
Inspire Entertainment
Tampa Wedding Makeup: Destiny and Light Hair & Makeup
Tampa Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo

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 – Anne and John’s Wedding at The Florida Aquarium

With Anne working over 80 hours a week as a surgical resident and John living in a neighboring state, you would think the odds were against the pair finding each other. However, a blind date a little over five years ago brought the two together. ”We had little time to spend with each other during the week, and so our relationship grew on the phone and we made up for lost time on the weekends,” Anne explained.

The couple survived the long distance hurdle as John proposed on Memorial Day of last year and then relocated with Anne to Fairbanks, Alaska just a few months later.

Since they had family all over the country, the couple decided to hold a Tampa destination wedding. “The city offered activities and sights outside our wedding, and my in-laws lived in the area,” Anne said.

The bride wanted a unique Tampa wedding venue and had started her search before John had even popped the question. “I came up with the idea of an Aquarium fairly early on. John grew up near the ocean and loves marine wildlife; it is a huge part of who he is. I love the ocean nearly as much,” Anne shared. “I was so excited when I found the Florida Aquarium. I loved the fact our reception would be held in a room with the fish, the beer selection was good (my husband is a beer nerd), and the prices were not only in our budget, but what I wanted to spend.”

The catering was provided in-house. Guests dined on penne primavera pasta salad, herb-crusted top round of beef and boursin mashed potatoes. “My husband and I consider ourselves foodies, and I was a bit worried since it wasn’t attached to a restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised with the options and variety. They were able to incorporate kids meals, vegetarian meals, and gluten free meals without a problem. A higher end venue would not had the kids option. I thought the food was very good.” Anne said.

Anne and John incorporated their wedding guests by gathering pictures of their family and friends on their own wedding days and putting their wedding dates on their escort cards. “It was fun to watch people try to figure out who was who. In particular watching John’s grandparents look for their own wedding photo. His grandfather let out a great chuckle,” Anne reminisced.

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (1)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (2)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (3)

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Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (7)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (8)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (9)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (10)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (11)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (12)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (13)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (14)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (15)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (16)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (17)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (18)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (19)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (20)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (21)

The penguins have turned into the theme from our wedding, and we have been getting a lot of penguin themed gifts lately. – The Bride

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (22)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (23)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (24)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (25)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (26)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (27)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (28)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (29)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (30)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (31)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (32)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (33)

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (34)

Anne and John were treated to a fireworks show in celebration of Gasparilla weekend.

Navy & Pink Tampa Destination Wedding - The Florida Aquarium by Aaron Bornfleth Photographer (35)

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides who are holding an wedding at the Florida Aquarium?

The best room in the house is the Coral Room. It works great for a small, intimate wedding. We ended up with 70 guests and could fit all in the Coral Room. It was the perfect amount of people for that room. It was full and intimate, yet not over crowded. I can’t imagine not having that room for the reception, it was so beautiful.

Take advantage of the coordinators at the Aquarium. We hired a weekend of coordinator so that things would run smooth. Frankly having Natalie at the Aquarium do such a good job, we may not have needed a separate one. I also loved that John and I could drop off our “goodies” the Wednesday before and the staff set them up. That included table runners, knit hats, kiddo gift bags, and the photos that themed our tables.

And don’t be afraid of the buffet! Things went really fast and the bride and groom each get their own “attendants” so they are not getting food from the buffet in their nice clothes. It truly was the little things that counted!

Tampa Wedding Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Tampa Wedding Reception Venue: The Florida Aquarium
Tampa Wedding Photographer:
Aaron Bornfleth
Tampa Wedding Planner:
Relax Call Holly
Tampa Wedding Florist:
La Vie En Rose
Tampa Wedding Linens: Connie Duglin Linen
Tampa Wedding Cake:
A Piece of Cake
Tampa Wedding DJ & Uplighting:
Inspire Entertainment
Tampa Wedding Makeup: Makeup Pro – Hollie
Tampa Wedding Invitations: Not From a Box
Tampa Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca
Tampa Wedding Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender
Tampa Wedding Party Hotels: Hilton Garden Inn – Ybor City, Hampton Inn – Ybor City
Wedding Organist: Jeffery Thompson, MD – East Aurora, NY

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.