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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: 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)

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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)

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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.