Storm clouds loomed as we arrived at The Bay Club at Westshore Yacht club for Katharine and Tully's day. It was that rain prediction that was the topic of conversation on countless calls with vendors, venue and couple throughout the week. With our full service planning, months ahead of time we had designed the floor-plan of the pool deck, stage for the band, cocktail hour with the left pool deck cleared and a quick turn over after ceremony to accommodate the reception. Of course we had a rain plan in that too, but with the venue set up, their max guest count and a 9 person band to accommodate for and a now 40% chance of rain 48 hours prior to ceremony start time, the couple asked "do you think we can make it happen outside? Are you confident in that?" I didn't hesitate in saying "we can make it happen". So, we drafted new plans and quickly got them approved.
Because our contingency plan was always to move inside, this new plan to remain outside, no matter the rain, meant an upgrade for our tent we had on reserve for just this instance, additional lighting plans and a new plan for band coverage and cocktail hour amendment all 48 hours before go-time. Every vendor worked with us as we shared what we would need from them to ensure the guests were happy and the couple was thrilled.
24 hours to go, and tents were brought in to cover the entire middle section of the pool deck. A stage was erected to give the band a safe, dry place to perform and an additional tent was installed on to the left pool deck for cocktail hour coverage. Lighting was installed under the clear tent to allow the night sky to peek through while bringing light for the party.
As I unloaded the white and green florals we created for Katharine and Tully's day, I went in to check on our beautiful bride and I found her surrounded by her favorite ladies and truly enjoying the moments. Femme Akoi Beauty was in full swing making sure all the ladies were gorgeous, comfortable and ready by photo-op time.
With a space flip, we're limited to ceremony only for decor set up that happens prior to ceremony. So, we got started on the arch that would later frame the cake table. This white and green neutral design was meant to compliment the natural open-air atmosphere, and it did, so beautifully.
As we got closer to start time, the first shuttle of guests arrived from the hotel and that rush of 55 guests caused excitement and a bit of angst for some. It was close to go-time, there was another shuttle on the way. Were we ready? The sure answer I gave was "yes", and after some reassurance (and maybe a drink from the bar for a few haha) the angst turned into excitement. A few deep breaths, bouquets in hand, officiant in place and a bride ready to be married. We were ready!
As the guitar soloist played, Katharine's dad fought back tears as he prepared to give his baby girl away. When she finally walked out, Tully saw his bride for the first time that day. His response proved reassurance to dad that his daughter was oh, so loved.
Tully's family pastor performed the wedding ceremony in a completely unique and perfectly personal way. As vows were exchanged, the sky began to break and the rain began to fall. We had let the walls on the tent open to allow some ventilation inside during the ceremony and were praying we'd made the right choice. We had! Just enough rain came to act as a "wink" from heaven and offer cloud coverage and cooler temperatures in the Florida heat. As they kissed for the first time, and walked hand-in-hand out of the ceremony, they were beaming. They were finally married, and the sky had held!!
The staff at The Bay Club directed guests to the cocktail space so the tent could be turned over, the two-piece band began to play and the bar opened helping guests find their way. Meanwhile, Matlock and Kelly Photography worked with ease and fluidity to get all the shots the couple wanted before any additional rain drops fell. They made use of the yacht club and the huge marina for an intimate couples session that was perfectly picturesque. Now, it was time to celebrate!
Bay Kings Band was que'd, the bridal party had just been introduced and everyone anxiously awaited the new couple. As we opened the doors, their friends and family cheered as they took the dance floor, soaking in the venue full of their most loved hearts and one another.
From our first planning session, Katharine and Tully both shared that they wanted the atmosphere to feel fluid the entire night. No big break for dinner, no formal much of anything. With that direction, we had some seating under the tent for guests and family, with mostly high top tables lining the dance floor. Instead of a full buffet set up, there were food stations across the veranda that allowed guests to come in and out of the tent to grab the dinner offerings as they wished. With a shrimp and grits station, stuffed shells, lamb and other offerings - guests were thrilled with the variety of options and set up.
As the Father of the groom choked back tears during his speech, and the maid of honor talked about all of her memories with the bride, the choice to keep this one "formal" happening during the reception was proof of a "win". All the heart strings were pulled in just the perfect way.
As soon as speeches were complete, the band began to play and from that time on - the dance floor stayed full. These people had come to celebrate and that's exactly that they were going to do.
Half way through, we passed out custom beads with "The Causey Krewe" printed on them for the guests. You'd have thought we were giving them a medal or award. They were thrilled with this momento, which completely tied into their grande exit.
After the bride and groom hopped on stage to join the band and sing their hearts out, the last song was announced and soon after we were ushering guests out of the exit to line them up as the couple enjoyed one more private dance. When that wrapped, we opened the doors wide and Katharine and Tully ran through a cascade of beads being thrown - Gasparilla style, before they hopped on the Jolly Trolley waiting for their Bridal Party and family.
Every part of their day was planned for them, with their guests enjoyment at the forefront of their minds. Every vendor worked as part of a team to make sure Katharine and Tully left happy and their guests left feeling like they'd just come to an incredible party. We left that night with full hearts knowing both were fully accomplished. Another beautiful couple, another beautiful event.
Venue: @thebayclubatwyc Planning: @bustleandbloomweddings Photography: @matlockandkelly Wedding Dress: @palomablancabridal from @whitemagnoliabridal Florals: @bustleandbloomweddings Beauty: @femmeakoi Invitations: @studiordesign Bridesmaid Dresses: @azazieofficial Groom and Groomsmen Attire: @menswearhouse Band: @baykingsband Dessert: @publix Catering: @thebayclubatwyc Rentals: @fiestasolutionseventrentals Transportation: @olympuslimotampabay