The wedding of Jennifer and Todd was an absolute blast! The bride and groom preps were at two separate Airbnb’s. After that, we moved on to Sunken Gardens for the ceremony. The ceremony was in the heart of the gardens. A secluded area surrounded by greenery. I captured a really amazing drone shot overlooking the ceremony setup. From there we moved to the reception at NOVA 535. This is a super hip event venue. Cocktail hour was in the secluded courtyard as a musician entertained on the upstairs balcony. Inside the venue is a spacious area where the guests sat and dined during the toasts. They danced in this area afterward. There’s also an upstairs area with a second bar and a DJ booth. The whole wedding was superb with perfect weather and smiling faces.
HOW DID YOU AND TODD MEET?
“Todd and I met for the first time in 2016 at IRONMAN Louisville. For him, IRONMAN Louisville was one of his favorite races as an IRONMAN bike course contractor. At the time it was my first race working with IRONMAN in the merchandise tent.
There are definitely two sides to how that week went. I remember meeting Todd and having a lot in common with him. We both had connections in The Villages where Todd owned a Pizza Restaurant and my dad had some real estate and development projects. Todd remembers spending more time in the merchandise tent than usual, but when the race was over we actually didn’t see each other again for over a year.
Todd and I reconnected over Facebook when Todd was near Downtown Orlando and I reached out on Facebook Messenger. Long story short, Todd didn’t respond to the message. We worked a few of the same events in the coming months, talked on Facebook Messenger, and started dating. My favorite part of the story is early on when we were dating. My family had plans to go to NYC. Todd mentioned going to either Boston or NYC during the same time and decided on NYC.
One night Todd met up with my entire family and Amanda Goetz for dinner. As Todd was talking to my Dad, Todd’s Pizza Restaurant in the Villages came up. My dad seemed very familiar with the area and pizza, so Todd thought that meant he had eaten there. As the conversation continued, it came out that my dad was the landlord of the building.”
HOW DID TODD PROPOSE?
“Friday 10-09-2020, Todd and I had plans to eat lunch out on the boat. This was to occur between the calls and meetings we both had. I had to be back by 4PM so I could take a call.
We took a boat out of Downtown St Pete and went to Egmont Key. It was windy and choppy getting there, but we anchored out and ate our lunch on the boat. After we ate, we set up on the beach and talked about our relationship and our future. We talked about how happy we were. I now realize this was a very intentional conversation, and looking back it’s very clear, but I was just loving the conversation and all the sweet things Todd had said.
DID YOU REALIZE WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
I literally had no idea IT was happening until Todd pulled out a ring box and the most beautiful ring. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him… I said yes. I was full of so many emotions – excited, happy, shocked, speechless, and excited for forever with this man. Todd, as always, was prepared and thought of everything – he brought out the champagne and glasses he had hiding. Even the wind and choppy water turned into the calmest, most perfect day for us to enjoy.
We were enjoying our champagne on the beach when a ranger came by on her golf cart. She sternly told us alcohol wasn’t allowed on the island. I interrupted her and asked if she would take our picture since we were so excited over our engagement. She took our picture and ended up just asking us to just cover the bottle because of the special occasion (and not wave the bottle around for pictures like I was doing).
At this point I realized I would not be making my 4PM call. I cancelled my call and we celebrated with champagne on the beach.”
TELL US ABOUT SUNKEN GARDENS AND NOVA 535
“The things we wanted were our family and friends there, good food, open bar, and good music. We love where we live in St Pete and wanted to use as many local vendors and venues as we could. Once we found our venue at Sunken Gardens, we decided we wanted to do a retro/ old Florida vibe. We also wanted to keep our decorations simple.”
TELL US ABOUT THE LOOK
“Sunken Gardens set the stage for us to do an “Old Florida” Vibe. We had “Garden Cocktail” as our dress code. We loved the flamingos at sunken Gardens and used them on our menus/save the date. Our florals, both for the ceremony and reception, included a lot of the flowers at sunken gardens. These consisted of orchids, lilies, banana leaves, and birds of paradise. The bridesmaids wore orchid colored dresses.”
TELL US ABOUT THE DETAILS
“We used all Local Vendors which was important to us. I found my dress at The Dressing Room in St Pete. I had two hours to find a dress, I found one, and knew it was mine when I was decided between two of them. One of them was in the back brand new in my size! I had no idea what I wanted when I went in and tried on all different kinds – I loved how this one was simple and the back detail was my favorite. I also decided on a veil which I loved.
We got our rings from RockShop Jewelry – Todd went in and worked with them to create my ring – from picking the diamond/deciding the cut and designing the band! I love it so much. Todd was also able to work with them to decide on his ring!
Cake – we used a local vegan baker Curious Cat Bakery – we picked a cinnamon cake topped with coconut frosting.”
WHAT UNIQUE ELEMENTS DID YOU INCLUDE?
“Todd and I both knew what we wanted for our day as the priority. We didn’t want to feel like our day needed to be super traditional. One way we achieved that was by having a groomswoman and bridesman. It was a very large wedding party that consisted of 10 on each side. We also had flowers in the front to remember my grandfather and Todd’s dad, who didn’t get a chance to celebrate with us. Due to timing/schedule we did a Sunday morning wedding. We had a lot more speeches at the reception than any wedding that I have been to. My Dad, both my brothers, Todd’s brother and my Maid of Honor all gave speeches. We did a dance in remembrance of Todd’s Dad and my grandfather at the reception to get everyone on the dance floor.”
GIVE US A SUMMATION OF YOUR WEDDING
“It truly was beyond what I imagined it would be. I loved the planning with my mom and picking out all the details of exactly what we wanted. Seeing it all come together for the wedding day was an unreal feeling. It’s hard to put into words how emotional the whole day was. Having over 200 people there to see you and support you is a feeling I will never forget.
Todd and I feel beyond blessed to have had all our family and friends be a part of our day. There were so many little moments I will remember forever, from getting ready with my Mom and my friends to seeing Todd’s face as I walked down the aisle. Also getting to share a moment with my Dad just before the ceremony was special. Other great moments were when Todd and I looked out over the reception to see all the decor and centerpieces before the introductions, and the moment we walked down the stairs at the reception to see all 200+ people that came to be at our wedding. Lastly, all the speeches!”
WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS?
“Getting a husband! I had so many favorite moments throughout the day. If I had to limit it to one moment, it was when we came down the stairs at the reception, holding my new husband’s hand, getting introduced as The Fitzgeralds, and seeing EVERYONE standing and cheering for us. It was overwhelming to feel that kind of support – I just took in that moment of seeing my parents, family, friends and everyone there with us!
Another part of the day I loved were the 30 minutes we got alone in the AC during the cocktail hour. We could just relax with our shoes off before the reception. That was so nice.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL BRIDES-TO-BE?
“Enjoy all of it! There is a lot of pressure people put on one day and on every detail, so early in the planning I felt that. What helped a lot was Todd and I sitting down and figuring out exactly what was important to us. Everyone else will tell you what should be important, so we took time to decided where we were willing to spend money and what areas we didn’t have a preference about. For us having vendors we liked as people as well as trusted was important. We talked through what we were thinking with our vendors and asked their opinion, and then we let them run with it. This was huge in not getting caught up in little details that wouldn’t make or break the day. When things came up we knew our vendors knew what we wanted and trusted them to make a decision.
For me – a wedding planner is non-negotiable. The team at Runway Events were AMAZING and made planning fun and non-stressful. My Mom and I got to enjoy the planning process instead of being stressed about things.”
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
“Get a videographer!!! You’re spending so much money to make it your perfect day – so excited we have our video to relive our favorite day!!”
Wedding Vendor Team
Filmmaker | Luxe Filmography
Photographer | Ashley Izquierdo
Ceremony Venue | Sunken Gardens
Reception Venue | NOVA 535 Event Venue
Florist | Artistic Florist of Tampa
Hair & Makeup | Lasting Luxe
Baker | Curious Cat Bakery
Transportation | All Pro Town Car
DJ | DJ Fresh
Photo Booth | Party Cube Live
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