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Black Tie Tampa Wedding at The Vault

This was both one of the most elegant and specifically personalized weddings of the year!

I met Nicole only one time before her wedding, and I knew that she was very chill as brides go. She had a clear vision of what she wanted when it came to the late night sushi bar and the third story DJ booth, but for photos she was very go with the flow. She seemed to trust my judgement implicitly. SO… basically a wedding photographer in the age of Pinterest’s dream. What I did not know about Nicole, was that she was a multi season hilarious and charismatic reality tv star.

We arrived at the Hyatt House in downtown Tampa around noon (like I said, she’s chill) and Nicole was getting ready in the calmest bridal suite I’ve ever entered. No bridal party, just her mom and her makeup artist. I love the downtown Tampa Hayatt House because it has this gorgeous rich purple wallpaper in the bedrooms that really elevates the detail shots of the beginning of the day.

***PSA: This is something to consider when picking your getting ready locations!! Are there details that elevate the space and coincide with your personal style like wallpaper, vintage art on the walls, modern furniture? Is there good morning light? Are there lots of tacky cords, clutter, or exit signs that will make your pictures ugly or my life miserable?***

Anyway, I was casually chatting and clicking away because I’ve learned this gets much warmer expressions in the candids then coming in hot with unnatural poses, when Nicole hilariously blurts out that the trolls from her season of The Challenge on MTV would make very rude and VERY troll like comments about her love for makeup. It turns out she was on like.. four seasons of The Challenge AND Ex on The Beach. Suddenly her massive Instagram following and familiar face made sense. Whatever the trolls may have had to say, in real life, Nicole is the sweetest, funniest, and most casually and hilariously blunt bride I’ve probably ever worked with. I quickly decided that if this is what working with reality tv stars is like ,then consider me SOLD.

Nicole and her husband Shawn hosted both their ceremony and reception at The Vault, also in downtown Tampa. The Vault is a historic bank building turned event venue decked out with marble walls, two story ceiling to floor glass windows, and dreamy soft white drapery that encapsulates you. Their decision to host a black tie event with guests dressed to the nines in their all black best added an air of glamour to the already refined backdrop of The Vault’s architectural grandeur. Juxtaposed was the smoke and sparkler machines covering the marble floors in clouds and glitter for the first dance, and the constant flow of dollar bills quite literally raining from the ceiling for the ENTIRE. RECEPTION. Thats right. It was raining money. The scene was nothing short of breathtaking. Not like a mountain top, or a painted church ceiling breath taking, but more like the awe inspiring hilarity of a couple unafraid to start their life together in a way that is so specifically THEM that it would be impossible to copy.

I loved every last second of this wedding.

Honorable mention to the grooms Ferragamo sneakers, the brides reception dress, and the absolute banging after hours photos outside of the Tampa Theatre.

(shot on digital & 35 mm film using a combination of natural light, hard flash, and off camera light)

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