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!”
“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
“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
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 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.