Taken By Storms in Paradise

It takes a special kind of magic to make a long distance relationship work, but if all parties are equally committed, these relationships can go the distance.  And boy were we committed to our friends Sarah and Jon, who found us all the way from Ohio!  This couple was set on bringing family and friends from all over the country (and, indeed, from out of the country as well!) to share in their wedding celebrations at their oceanside ceremony in St Pete.  

Over hundreds of miles we cultivated such a strong bond with these two awesome people, so that when we met them for brunch the day before their wedding, it was like sitting down with old friends we had just seen last week.


We arrived at the Sirata Beach Resort where Sarah and Jon would spend their day getting ready, exchanging vows, and celebrating their new beginning into the night.  The morning was off to a solemn start when we were informed that one of Jon’s groomsmen had passed away suddenly the night before.  As upsetting and tragic as this news was, all of Sarah and Jon’s loved ones agreed to come together to remain strong and give the couple the day full of celebration and love that they deserved and had planned for.  So we did the same, offering up love and support all day to give our friends the day they had dreamt of.

Just before sweeping our bride down to the resort’s courtyard for her First Look with her groom, we captured a joyous First Look between her and her father.  Strategically keeping our bride and groom sheltered with shade from the bright midday sun, we found all of the cutest nooks and crannies in which we could capture their First Look moment, a handful of portraits, and their wedding party formals as well!

Their ceremony took place on the beach beneath a brilliant blue sky dappled with clouds, and before vows were exchanged, the officiant took the opportunity while everyone had come together as a congregation of love and light to acknowledge the absence of Chris; to remind everyone that though he was missed as a groomsman, he would be rejoicing in Sarah and Jon’s union in spirit nonetheless.


Because the sun was still high in the sky after the ceremony, we arranged to steal our couple away from their reception closer to sunset.  This gave them the chance to enjoy cocktail hour with their guests, as well as enjoy a bit of food and refreshment before their Just Married portraits.

When it was time, we whisked our newlyweds back beachside, and we were blessed with the most beautiful and serene sunset.  It was as if Chris was reminding us all that there was still beauty and peace to be found in this day.  Sarah and Jon were the real MVP’s as they allowed us to spread our creative wings by bringing a mixture of editorial, journalistic, and just plain FUN images to life.  This involved manipulating direct sun and shadows, relaxing for a moment in a seaside hammock, and last but not least some stunning veil-play just as the last rays of sun dipped into the sea.

After all the portrait magic had been made it was time to party!  Sarah and Jon’s close friends and family gave lovely speeches in their honor, and a final word was spoken by Jon and his mother to commemorate both Chris’s absence and presence in their lives and in their special day.  A small bouquet of flowers held his place at the table while everyone made peace with their sorrow for the time being and celebrated the forever bond that Sarah and Jon had found.

Although struck by a tremendous loss, this couple overflowed with so much love and positive energy.  They are a beautiful couple who deserved an equally beautiful day to commemorate their union, and so many years of friendship, happiness, and adventure await them!  Come back to visit us soon: Florida just isn’t quite as sunny without you both!

Venue: The Sirata

Dress: Wendy’s Bridal

Caterer: The Sirata

Photo booth and DJ: Expert Production

Hair and Make up: KyleLynn Weddings Hair and Makeup services

Nails: London Hair and Spa

Florist: Blümen