A Science-Inspired Formal Wedding at a Museum in Florida
Evan and Mark
Hoping to create their own spin on the traditional wedding, Evan (an architect and designer) and Mark (who is in graduate school at Stanford University) respected the traditions and structure of the day but presented each component in a way that highlighted their personalities and suited their families (who share a history of science and medicine).
Evan and Mark met while attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so it was only natural to lean toward a science-inspired, industrial aesthetic. "Modern medicine was emerging at the turn of the century, which inspired the general population to regard scientific fields with inspired wonder. This, combined with the World's Fair and other events displaying ideas about the fantastical future, made it quite a glamorous moment in intellectual history. It was easy to imagine curating an event that reminded people of that moment in time," said Evan.
So with scientific glassware, apothecary bottles, exotic blooms, and curious specimens, the design elements were born.
The invitation suite combined Betsy Dunlap's calligraphy with Hello!Lucky's designs, incorporating ivory museum board with rounded edges and letterpressed details. Dove grey museum board was used for the response cards -- and later on for the thank-you notes. A sheer fabric overlay and emu feather were the finishing touches before being sealed in the lined envelope.
Immediate family members were honored with a hand-written invitation set, incorporating each guest's name into the text for ultimate formality and personalization.
Betsy calligraphed many items throughout the wedding, from the invitation to the getaway car's banner. Here, the sign that greeted guests at the wedding.
The Bridal Look
Evan wore a silk-satin Romona Keveza gown purchased from La Mariee Haute Couture Bridal. She added gold Christian Louboutin shoes, a custom birdcage veil from Brenda's Bridal Veils, and an assortment of jewelry. She paired family jewels with vintage costume jewelry from Illume Eco-Boutique, where she also found several pairs of vintage earrings to sew onto her bridesmaids' matching gray birdcage veils.
The ceremony took place in the courtyard of Evan's grandmother's home. The house, which boasts spectacular architecture and an eclectic art collection, is a perfect fit for the couple's wedding vision. It fully symbolizes family and seemed fitting as a place for Evan and Mark to start their own family together. Evan always knew it would be the place for her wedding and where she and Mark would feel most comfortable.
Before the 5 p.m. ceremony began, 165 guests were ushered to the backyard for Firefly sweet-tea vodka with lemonade, unsweetened tea, and water with lemon slices.
Small Living Rooms
Furniture from the house was moved outside, creating small "living rooms" for people to relax in as they mingled and sipped libations.
The Wishing Well
Guests wrote their sentiments for the couple on cards that read "wish us well" and featured an illustration of a wishbone. Cards were tossed into a well located in Evan's grandmother's front yard.
The Ceremony Setup
Glassine envelopes of biodegradable confetti were labeled with calligraphed tags and placed on the seats.
Bundles of greenery marked the aisles.
Evan and her bridal party got ready in a space above the courtyard. One by one, the bridesmaids walked down the stairs overlooking the ceremony to meet their groomsmen and continue down the aisle together. After a private moment of reflection, Evan descended the stairs and met her father. The two walked down the aisle just after Evan's mother and brother had, and joined together. Then, as a whole, her family proclaimed their support for the union.
For the programs, calligraphed pages were bound with bookbinding twine and backed by a thicker card stock with the pattern from their invitation's envelope liner. Inside, text outlined the ceremony, noted the significance of the location, gave thanks, honored the memories of loved ones, and showcased a favorite poem of the couple's.
Guests gathered in the courtyard, which had been decorated with garlands of eucalyptus.
As the newlyweds walked back up the aisle, they were showered with confetti.
The Bridal Party
Groomsmen were clad in tuxedos, bow ties, and gray pocket squares that matched the bridesmaids' grey dresses from Banana Republic. The girls each wore a custom gray birdcage veil, vintage earrings, and they carried vintage handkerchiefs inside their clutch bags. Everyone posed with the couple for a group portrait in the yard with photographer Missy McLamb
The Reception Venue
Evan and Mark rented out the galleries of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art for their reception. As Evan and Mark took portraits, guests roamed the galleries before gathering in the main reception hall area for dinner.
Hello!Lucky designed small booklets for the reception, which included information about the museum, including a map; detachable cigar wrappers; a dance card; and frames for guests' drawings of the bride and groom. Small pencils attached to the top of each helped guests keep track of the art they'd seen and the food they'd tried, plus to sketch those portraits. The interactive, treasure-hunting element added whimsy to the start of the reception.
A different collection of specimens (eggs, butterflies, coral, fossils, barnacles, shark teeth, etc.) identified each table. Evan bought old table legs from a salvage store and cut them into small blocks, varnished them with sustainable shellac, drilled holes, applied small label holders, and glued each specimen to its own unique stand. Each specimen was labeled with its name, location, and date. A corresponding specimen awaited each guest to inform them of their table.
The main reception hall of the museum was outfitted with long tables covered with light gray linens and charcoal runners. Trios of white flowers and bright greenery in old glassware lined the tables, alongside the scientific specimens that served as table numbers, creating a balance of natural elements and curiosity.
Flanked on both sides by outdoor courtyards with greenery, sculptures, and lighting, the enchanting space provided extra room for food and drink by bringing guests outside.
Catering By Design put together a dinner menu of chef-attended stations serving Louisiana barbecue shrimp on white cheddar cheese grits with an assortment of topping offerings, marinated sliced sirloin with red-wine demi glaze; a roasted garlic mashed potato bar; and pad Thai noodles topped with crushed peanuts, and almond-crusted chicken with a ginger drizzle.
A Taste of Cuba
In college, Mark had started a tradition of smoking a cigar with friends at the end of each semester. Now, in his grad-school days, Mark likes to smoke cigars in honor of major occasions -- his wedding being the most important one of all.
A torcedor from Tampa demonstrated how to roll Cuban-style cigars during the evening's festivities. The reception booklet briefly outlined the history of an influential cigar manufacturer that moved his business to Florida in 1885 and the local cigar industry in the years that followed. Guests paired their stogies with cafe con leche.
A fellow college alumnus offered the couple ballroom dancing lessons, which were put to good use as The MAXX played the couple's choice for their first dance, Stevie Wonder's "As," which has been special to the couple since the early days of their relationship.
Afterward, the couple took to the dance floor with their parents as Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" played.
Accompanying dessert (assorted doughnut holes dipped in chocolate, Key lime parfaits, white chocolate-dipped cream puffs, and chocolate-dipped cheesecake lollipops) were test tubes filled with espresso. Evan found old test tube racks on eBay and bought new test tubes from a lab-supply company.
The Wedding Cake
Chocolate Pi created a champagne-flavored cake that was served with fresh strawberries.
The Getaway Car
Both of Evan's grandfathers have an affinity for Rolls Royce cars, and to honor that love, many of the family members have used them as their wedding-day transportation. Sticking with tradition, Evan and Mark hopped into a fully restored 1929 Phantom I belonging to Evan's grandfather. A "Just Married" banner decorated the rear bumper.
The front of the car featured a lovely wreath.
Evan and Mark bid farewell to their reception as friends and family surrounded them waving sparklers. "Having all of our friends and family cheering us on while they waved these stunning explosions of light in the air was pure bliss," Evan said, noting that some of her favorite snapshots from the wedding are from this very moment.
Photography: Missy McLamb of Missy McLamb Photographers
Wedding Coordinator: Samara Anderson of Voila Events and Design
Florist: Botanica International Design Studio
Seamstress: Mirta, 941-228-9115
Groom's Suit: Al's Attire
Hair: J. Con Salon
Makeup: Colours by Linny
Transportation: Escot Bus Lines
Lighting: Soundwave Productions
Groom's Wedding Band: Gleim the Jeweler
Beverages & Bar Service: Catering By Lundy's
Ceremony Music: Arioso String Quartet
Videography: Sugar Leaf Photography