Jenn and Kevin

Tampa, Florida

 

 

Photography | Taylor’d Southern Events | @taylordsouternevents

Venue | Oxford Exchange | @oxfordexchange

Floral Designer | Botanica Design Studio | @botanicadesign

Gown Designer | Carolina Herrera | @carolinaherrera

Men’s Attire | Turnbull & Asser @turnbull_asser

Makeup Artist | L.T. Artistry

The historic St. Andrews Church established in 1871 and settled in downtown Tampa, Florida was the most beautiful stained-glass embellished backdrop where two aspiring lawyers recited their ever-so romantic wedding vows to one another. The feeling of love in the air between Jenn & Kevin, was as palpable as the petals of the peonies in her beautiful white bouquet. Beginning almost 14 years before when Jenn & Kevin met in Philadelphia at UPenn Law, the pair were in a small class together and became fast friends. A few years into their friendship, they gave dating a try but their career paths took them in separate directions and to different parts of the east coast. Fast forward to ten years after they first met, Jenn moved to NYC and immediately had Kevin on her mind. Little did Jenn know, Kevin had never quite stopped thinking of her as “the one that got away.” What came across as a LinkedIn reminder, was actually the start of their happily ever after! Technology is such a funny thing! They met up a week after reaching back out to each other and here we are now, sharing their amazing love story and dreamy wedding day!

 

Kevin knew he was ready to propose to Jenn less than two years after they began dating again and he planned the most unforgettable engagement for his bride-to-be. Beginning with a candlelit dinner at the restaurant where they’d shared their first date, a charming rose garden bistro called Palma, Kevin then took Jenn to Washington Square Park, got down on one knee, and slid the most perfect solitaire diamond ring onto her finger. In addition, Kevin had also compiled years worth of photos of their life together into a slideshow that was on a USB drive around the neck of her brand new Labrador puppy! OMG, right?! A ring AND a puppy?!! They called their closest loved ones letting them know the big news and everyone couldn’t have been more thrilled. The surprises didn’t stop there though! Kevin had also secretly planned to have Jenn’s youngest sister and best friend in the world, fly in from Nashville to share this wonderful time with them! That evening, they hosted a Halloween costume party at their home and were able to celebrate their engagement with their closest friends and topped off the night with an endearing toast from Jenn’s sister. The memories of their engagement are ones Kevin and Jenn will cherish forever.

June 22, 2019 began with champagne and makeup, every girl’s dream! Jenn, along with her mom, sisters and closest girlfriends, began the getting ready process at Le Meridien, one of Tampa’s oldest and chicest boutique hotels, renovated from a historical courthouse built in 1905! While the girls were getting glamorized, the guys were across town at a trendy dive having brunch and Bloody Mary’s, killing time before sliding into their pristine black tuxedos. Little did Kevin know, Jenn had a surprise of her own for her soon-to-be spouse.

 

Small but sweet side note- Kevin LOVES oysters, especially raw ones! With that in mind, Jenn had one of a kind oyster cufflinks custom made for her groom to wear on their wedding day. They were so unique and special and Kevin was absolutely ecstatic! Jenn had yet another surprise for him when they entered their cocktail hour together, for him to find a fully decked out raw oyster bar set up for him and their guests to enjoy! Jenn had begged and pleaded with the Oxford Exchange where they held their reception, to allow an outside vendor to bring in oysters as a surprise for Kevin. This is something they’d never allowed in the past but after much determination and convincing on Jenn’s part, they agreed and it was a huge hit!!

 

The Oxford Exchange is an incredible European inspired venue that houses an old fashioned book store and shoe shining station, as well as a restaurant, coffeehouse and gift store. It’s beautiful white brick exterior, antique staircase adorned with famous portraits, and black and white tile floor that leads out to an enclosed outdoor patio with a bubbling fountain in the center, was absolutely stunning! I mean, WOW. Everything from the art displays to the ivy lined walls and overhead skylights that let in the twinkling stars, was perfect. The white flowers and touches of greenery intertwined with the vibrant pops of orange from the Kumquats that adorned every table, really brought out that Sunny Florida inspired feeling. The Kumquats were a special addition for Jenn, as her and her grandmother would pick them together when she was a little girl. The groom and his groomsmen even wore them in their boutonnières! They always held a special place in Jenn’s heart and now, on their special day.

 

After posing for their stunning portraits across the street at the architecturally striking University of Tampa, soft saxophone music played and butlers passed cocktails on sparkling silver trays as Kevin and Jenn entered their beautiful wedding reception. The guests were dressed in the most exquisite evening gowns and sharpest tuxedos for this black tie affair, but that didn’t hold a candle to the absolutely gorgeous white satin wedding gown Jenn wore. She. Was. Stunning. Her dress was simple and sleek but elegant and timeless with a classic bow tied at her lower back. The bow was Jenn’s favorite part of the dress (we can see why!!) and it looked like it was made just for her. It was amazing!

 

Kevin and Jenn’s reception was filled with love and laughter and an especially heart warming toast from Jenn’s father. With friends and family from New York, Tennessee and Florida, you could tell that the newlyweds were surrounded with people that love and care for them both dearly.

Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?

We wanted a chic and classic aesthetic with a soft Floridian twist. Oxford Exchange, our venue, inspired much of our day. We loved the black & white checkerboard floor, contrasted with the white brick covered in fresh ivy, plus a fountain, brass detail, and exposed skylights. We could picture a black tie event in that space and wanted to embrace the natural fresh greenery rather than compete with it. So we made our theme a natural green and white look, with some statement black. The Florida “pop” that was also personal was adding kumquats into our design elements — tabletop, church pews, boutonnieres, etc. We pulled our Floridian elements through the entire weekend: fresh oranges in the welcome baskets, rehearsal dinner at the oldest restaurant in Florida (the Columbia), a welcome cocktails & cigars party with an authentic Ybor City cigar roller hand rolling poolside in the bride’s family backyard, and so in. We had an episcopal ceremony, as the bride grew up in episcopal church and school. Bride and groom’s aunts did the church readings.

 

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

We wanted to showcase what Oxford Exchange already has — a gorgeous wood & brass stairwell with a classic gallery wall just enhanced with some fresh greenery at the bottom of the railing and twinkle lights overhead; floral arrangements in natural white and green with the kumquat statement. We wanted a few additional focal points. Guests were greeted with an ivy covered 10 foot champagne wall, with oranges and kumquats at the top — this also served as the escort card display. Guests found their name on wine charm tags attached to the displayed champagne glasses. The bride designed, hand punched and handmade the wine charm tags.

 

What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

Botanica nailed it with fresh natural florals that blended with the space beautifully. The bride used to pick kumquats with her grandmother as a child, in Tampa. This addition was personal and Floridian. The groomsmen wore fresh kumquats in their lapels, oranges were tied at the ends of the church pews with fresh greenery and they were studded throughout the bridesmaid bouquets and floral arrangements.

 

Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

We wanted the wedding to be intimate, personal and special for everyone involved and tried to tie in those small touches throughout the weekend. Guests were greeted with gift baskets filled with a “Tampa meets Tennessee” cocktail recipe and ingredients with Tennessee whiskey to reflect the groom’s hometown and Florida oranges to squeeze in, representing the bride’s home. The bride also hand-wrote personalized welcome notes to each guest, included in their baskets. Jenn is a baker and made her signature homemade peanut butter sweet treats which were packaged and included in the basket.

 

The weekend started with a round of golf for the groomsmen and pool time for the bride’s side, to embrace Florida. The hand rolled cigars that were made at the Friday night welcome party had personalized labels reading “Schuberts, est. 2019,” and came with personalized matchbooks including the wedding date. At our wedding ceremony, we had candles lit throughout the whole church in honor of all of our grandparents who are no longer with us. For the wedding reception, we loved our champagne escort card display — Jenn’s favorite. Kevin is an avid fan of raw oysters and as his groom’s gift, Jenn surprised him with a raw bar by Boat Run Oyster Co. They handshucked fresh oysters with homemade toppings during cocktail hour. Our other culinary choices were reflections of the South (chicken and waffles), our love of Mexican (mini tacos and tiny Yuzu margaritas), and raspberry chocolate ganache cake for the bride — and an ice cream version for the groom. Kevin also loves jazz, so we had a saxophone player throughout the cocktail hour. Our DJ was also a longtime friend of the groom! Our cake-cutting song, Sweet Melissa, is one Kevin played for Jenn on the guitar during their courtship. We also had a “slow motion” video booth for people to record slow-mo videos with props during the reception. Our last dance was to “Walking In Memphis,” another nod to the groom’s hometown. When guests left the wedding, they each got perfect white-icing heart cookies that the bride’s mom baked and packaged by hand.

Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

Jenn saw a crisp white dress with a statement bow on Pinterest and knew she had found the look for her gown. The Carolina Herrera dress was a dream of impeccable silk, with a bias cut tuxedo lip on the strapless neckline and her favorite — the gorgeous asymmetrical statement bow. She tried on the Carrie Bradshaw Manolo’s in white at a Carolina fitting and knew those were also perfect for the big day. Jenn loved how these all had a little bit of an NYC flair but also suited summer in Tampa. Jenn lost both of her grandmothers, and wore something to represent each. She wore a gold and pearl bracelet from her maternal grandmother that she has worn at every big life event — graduations, etc. She also wore a gold pin inside the hem of her dress from her paternal grandma, that is two gold rings linked together which felt just right for this occasion. She wore her favorite necklace from Kevin, and earrings her parents gave her for college graduation, with another ring they gave her at law school graduation. Every piece had sentimental meaning. Kevin wore a classic tux and as a big James Bond fan, was thrilled when Jenn found him a Turnbull & Asser bow tie modeled after the Bond look in Casino Royale. He wore the Rolex his dad previously gave to him. To go with his groom’s gifted oyster bar, Jenn also got Kevin artisan-created brass cufflinks carved into the shape of an oyster. June’s birthstone is pearl and Jenn felt it only fitting that the oyster produces a pearl, writing to Kevin that the world is their oyster from here.

 

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

Kevin and Jenn met in law school, where they were assigned to the same section and the same small section — and also as appellate argument partners. Kevin remembers seeing Jenn for the first time in a (stylish) grey vee neck tee. The two quickly became friends, taking a first photo together at a party during the first week of school, both decked in very (stylish) brown outfits. Meant to be. The two remained friends through law school, and both moved to NYC to practice law. They dated for a short time in the City before life took them on different paths for awhile, Jenn moving to DC and Kevin staying in New York. Flash forward to 2016, Jenn had moved back to NYC for a job and still thought about how she and Kevin had lost touch. She told her best girl friend from law school she wanted to reach out to Kevin, and the friend told her to go for it. Fortuitously, that same week, Jenn received a LinkedIn prompt urging her to “congratulate Kevin on his work anniversary”, so she forwarded the email to him and did just that. They wasted little time reconnecting, meeting up on Kevin’s (now their) rooftop patio for grilling and summer drinks. The connection was clear as was the chemistry and the rest was, as they say, history.

 

When Kevin and Jenn dated in 2010, Jenn lived on Cornelia Street in the West Village. In October 2018, Kevin took Jenn back to that street saying that it is where they had started and where he wanted to ask Jenn to be his wife. He then led her to Washington Square park where he gave her the dream ring, and then took her on a treasure hunt to find thoughtful cards and little gifts including a slideshow of photos dating back to the very first (all brown) one that they took together.

 

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

The first look. Kevin and Jenn saw each other for the first time on the wedding day a few hours before the ceremony, on the stairs of the historic Henry B. Plant Hotel (now part of the University of Tampa). Jenn had performed historical monologues and Victorian Christmas strolls on that porch as a young girl. She knew the stunning architectural southern style porch is where she wanted hers and Kevin’s eyes to meet for the first time that day. Kevin is a history buff and loved the history behind the hotel — it was once the hotel of luxury that the Henry B. Plant railway passengers wrote of, recalling peacocks roaming the gardens. Kevin had his back turned as Jenn approached and it was the only moment of the day that brought nervous flutters of anticipation. Kevin was blown away by Jenn’s dress, which had been kept a surprise, and Jenn could not have been happier. Those moments alone before everything else truly began were truly cherished. After that, the next moment of excitement was walking into Oxford Exchange for the first time seeing their vision executed and being struck by the total dreamland their vendors had created.

 

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

Make it your own and support each other above all else. It is important to do special things for family and friends, and that can bring a lot of joy. But keep each other in the forefront, making sure that you are both triumphing what the other sees for that day and for your future. And then just soak it in — the details don’t matter once its all happening. Take the time to genuinely enjoy the fact that you are surrounded by everyone near and dear to you, from every life chapter and that this day is about celebrating your love and your starting of a new family together. Cliché as it may sound ; )