Turns out, I am really enjoying wedding prep!
Last weekend my sisters and I converged in Tampa for me to try on wedding dresses and for a joint “Bridal Celebration”. (Definitely not a bridal shower… which we both very explicitly said we did not want to have!)
The weekend went perfectly! My sisters were able to get into Tampa earlier in the week, so I was the late arrival after midnight on Friday but they were all waiting at the airport to pick me up. We immediately went home and to bed, we knew Saturday was going to be packed full of activities!
Saturday morning my mom and I started our day at Hyde Park for me to meet with a photographer who I have been stalking on Instagram for months. She is very good friends with one of my sister’s best friends and they were both in the mutual friend’s wedding nearly two years ago. My mom and sister have both been singing her praises ever since and I was anxious to meet her and see if she would be a good fit for our wedding. Laura was amazing and immediately made me even more excited about how perfectly wedding planning was coming together. She even said she would do a package deal for my sister’s wedding in NYC this September. We finalized the details over email this week and I now officially have a photographer!
After coffee and breakfast with Laura, my mom and I met up with the rest of the family at our first bridal gown boutique appointment at Isabel O’Neil. While I did not end up getting my dress here, it was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for the perfect dress! The staff was so sweet, knowledgeable, and accommodating. It was so much fun!
We had a quick 90 minutes between appointments so half the family went let Banks out for a minute and the rest went to pre-order lunch at Fresh Kitchen. I have to be honest, I was a little unsure when my mom said she was picking a “healthy spot”, I am not a huge salad person and I assumed healthy meant only salad but Fresh Kitchen was so much more than just salad! Everything in my bowl was amazing. I am now on a quest to find if there is anything at all similar in Des Moines!
Our second appointment was at White Magnolia Bridal Collection. Again, I felt entirely spoiled the entire time I was there. The appointment room was so fun, gave my family a place to sit and I just had to move curtains back and forth to change into each dress. They also allowed us to bring our own champagne. Better yet, I found my dress!!! It is perfect. But that is all I am going to say! I can’t wait to see Adam’s face next March 2 when he sees me walking down the aisle! We popped some more bubbly after making the big decision, took some required pictures, signed the contract, paid the bill, and just like that, one of the biggest decisions of the wedding was done!
So far on Saturday I said yes to the photographer and the dress!
After picking out the dress, my sisters dropped me off at my friend’s Airbnb so we could hang out some before the “Bridal Celebration”. After I quickly changed into my party dress, we walked over to the Green Lemon and I started on my sangria binge of the weekend! It was so nice of Allison to drive the 4 hours from Tallahassee to our party and I loved that we took some time to catch up. A few family and friends joined us around 4:30 before we all headed across the street to Bulla Gastrobar for the party!
Two family friends hosted the party for us and kept it intimate with only about 11 of our closest Tampa friends. We shared small plates, sangria, and many laughs! I probably had a few glasses too many of sangria but had such a wonderful time! So many special moments with wonderful women who have shaped Madeline and I over the years. I feel so blessed to have them in my life! Towards the end of the party our family friend, Chan, came to take pictures. I took this as the perfect opportunity to ask him to officiate our wedding! In retrospect, maybe not the best time to put someone on the spot (my mom may have been video-taping the whole thing) but I am pretty sure his yes was sincere! I also asked a family friend to speak at the wedding! I am not going to be in Tampa very often before the big day and asking in person seems so much more special.
After the party my dad picked us up and we went for a family dinner at The Hall, a really cool place that combines the menus of 6 different kitchens, all under the one roof! It was delicious and fun to try so many different types of food!
After dinner we were all starting to crash after such a full day! We went home and quickly to bed. Sunday morning we all were moving a little slow but took our time getting ready and went to meet up with our family friends at Armature Works. As a planner, I am in love with this space and have been following it for weeks (essentially since it opened). Armature Works is a fully restored mixed-use building right on the Hillsborough River. The historic structure has been reinvented as a community destination with innovative eateries, Heights Public Market, event spaces and a co-working space. We all walked around a bit before grabbing breakfast and sitting outside by the river.
The rest of the day went quickly. We briefly (but very successfully) went shopping at Macy’s. Then back to the apartment for me to pack before heading to my favorite sushi spot, Kona Grill, in Tampa for a final meal before my flight back to Iowa.
The weekend was full but it never felt hectic or stressful. Everyone seemed happy and positive and excited for the big events coming up this year for our family! I always love seeing home, but this trip was extra wonderful!
Now you tell me:
- When did you last have a perfect weekend?
- Did you find a wedding dress on your first day of looking?