September 16, 2017
words by Emily Bailey // photos by Yazi Davis
Between filling drinks and wiping tables as servers at a restaurant in Ybor City, Kristen and Jessica found companionship in one another. Jessica had just moved to Tampa from Jacksonville to attend USF and was the new girl on the job. Kristen—being the outgoing person she is—was drawn to a new friend and started switching her shifts so their schedules coincided. One night they made plans to meet at a City and Colour concert at Janus Live.
“We both went to dinner beforehand, separate with different friends and somehow ended up at the same restaurant. That completely freaked us out knowing something pulled us together. It ended up being just the two of us the whole night,” recalls Jessica. “A few nights later, we had drinks after work. That night I’ll never forget. We sat on the patio talking about our signs and compatibility. Kristen is a Scorpio and I am a Cancer. It felt like we were the only ones in the place. It was such an intense moment—we both knew there was something strong between us.”
From that moment the couple was inseparable. Three years had passed when Kristen determined she could no longer wait to be married to Jessica. As they were wrapping Christmas presents they decided to give each other one gift early. Jessica picked out a pair of slippers she had purchased for Kristen, not realizing that in exchange she would receive an engagement ring.
“We did a first touch shoot before the wedding,” explains Jessica. “We exchanged love letters we wrote and read them with our backs to each other. It was a sweet moment, and we got to have it photographed.”
“When it came time to exchange our vows we were both so nervous we kept messing them up! It’d be time for me to say my part and I would just stare at Kristen to repeat the vows, then no one said anything. So, then everyone just started cracking up,” laughs Jessica.
The couple gave individual bags of coffee that read “love is brewing” as favors.
“Hurricane Irma hit the week before our wedding, which damaged our venue pretty badly. As it was outdoors on the water, there were trees down all over the place and flooding,” says Jessica. “The venue did not have power until the day before our wedding. We were very lucky that everything was cleaned up so fast. The weather the day of the wedding turned out to be perfect!”
The first dance was to “Faithfully” by Journey, remixed by Boyce Avenue.
Wedding Planner: Kim Ferguson • Photographer: Yazi Davis • Ceremony & Reception: Cedar Bay Retreat • Hair: Chris Trevena • Bride’s Wedding Gown & Veil: David’s Bridal • Bride’s Attire: H&M • Groomsmen’s Attire: H&M • Rings: Kay Jewelers & Midnight Sun • Cake: Publix • Flowers: Park Avenue Florist • Caterer: 4 Rivers BBQ • Invitations: Vistaprint • Music: Mikey Gluskin