Casey & Billy’s Rusty Pelican Wedding | Tampa Wedding Photographer | The Jessica Lea


One of my favorite cities in FL to photograph is Tampa, FL! This Rusty Pelican Wedding is no exception!

Rusty Pelican Wedding Day

1. Let’s start from the beginning… When and where was your wedding and does the date/location have any special significance to your relationship?

Billy and I got married on October 12, 2018 in Tampa, Florida at the Rusty Pelican. At the start of our wedding planning, billy mentioned he wanted to be married next to the water, so the beautiful windows at our venue made for the perfect spot. We chose October because it would be less hot and humid, as many of our guests were from Pennsylvania and New England.

We wanted to provide a weekend where they could enjoy the sunshine without being stifled by the hot weather. Also, the chance of a hurricanes was significantly less than a summer month, even though there was a hurricane that passed through some of the states to our north! 

2. How and with whom did you get ready with for the big day?

I got ready with all 10 of my bridesmaids, my mom, Billy’s mom and stepmom, as well as my junior bridesmaid, flower girl, and two cousins. We got to share breakfast and lunch together with mimosas and had a giant dance party. I felt surrounded by love all morning! Not even the FIRE DRILL that occurred at 10am could stop us. My bridesmaids grabbed my dress and ran down the stairs as fast as possible, all while frantically calling Billy to make sure he wouldn’t see me! Billy had lunch and drinks with his groomsmen after spending the morning by the pool!

The Fashion

3. Tell us about the fashion for your wedding… how did you choose your dress or tuxedo? Did the groom wear anything special (socks/shoes/tie)?

The gown I wore at my Rusty Pelican Wedding was actually my 2nd wedding dress. The first dress I chose very early after getting engaged, but after some thought I decided I needed a dress that was more “me”. Billy and his groomsmen wore navy blue suits from Men’s Warehouse, and Billy had special dress shoes (with sneakers on the bottom!!) that were a gift from his mom. My bridesmaids wore mismatched gowns from David’s Bridal because I wanted them to choose something they were happy to wear. 

4. Did you exchange any special gifts or notes before the ceremony? Did you have a first look/first touch? Why or why not?

Pre Wedding Exchanges

We exchanged notes and gifts prior to our first look. I gave billy a Michael Kohrs Watch and custom dress socks with our dog Daisy’s face on them. I think he was most excited about the socks! When we first got engaged Billy bought me a Kate spade necklace that said “I do” on it, with the promise of upgrading me to the “Mrs” necklace when we were married. He kept his promise and I wore my new necklace on our wedding day. 

I was pretty adamantly against a first look but after talking it over with Jess, I came around. Looking back, it was the best thing we did for ourselves at the wedding. Having those few moments alone together not just for pictures, but to get out the nerves and jitters really made the rest of the day go smoothly. I recommend everyone to have a first look now! I don’t feel like it ruined walking down the aisle at all. I actually think it made it more special! We were able to be really present in that moment and enjoy the ceremony instead of being nervous! Also, our dog Daisy was there with us to give good luck kisses before the big moment!

The Ceremony

5. How did you feel during the ceremony? Did you choose a traditional ceremony or a non-traditional? Were there are personal touches you added?

Most of our very short ceremony was spent giggling and being ourselves. We aren’t really religious but we wanted a more “prayer service” vibe. Pastor Jerry really hit the nail on the head and we were able to choose readings that meant a lot to us. We had two cousins read the Irish wedding blessing as well as the poem “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog”. Our fur-baby Daisy wasn’t allowed at the ceremony but we were able to incorporate her through this reading. 

6. What was the best part of your reception?

Aside from my husband rocking out to Africa by Toto and wearing a muscle shirt for the garter retrieval… I think just standing back and looking at our family and friends enjoying our special night. Seeing all the hard work come to life and seeing how happy everyone was for us really made us feel so special! The Rusty Pelican staff outdid themselves with the decor for our wedding.


7. Did you go on a honeymoon right away? Where did you go/are you going? Why did you choose that location?

Yes! A few days after the wedding we flew to Cancun, Mexico where we stayed for a week in the honeymoon suite at Secrets The Vine Cancun. We relaxed and enjoyed the all inclusive resort in the sunshine! We wanted to decompress after the weekend festivities and just enjoy each other.

Looking Back

8. What advice would you have for couples getting married soon? Is there anything you wish you had done or didn’t do?

Don’t stress! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of planning a wedding that you can forget what it’s really about. On the day of your wedding you are going to be so happy that nothing else is going to matter at all. Enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast!

9. What are your plans for future?

Right now we are saving our pennies to buy a house! We are also planning on a transatlantic cruise in 2020 and hoping to get another dog! We want to enjoy our married life as a young couple before deciding to have children, but kiddos are definitely on our list in the future! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.