Chic Downtown St Pete Wedding at The Birchwood | Esther + Francis

chic downtown st pete wedding portraits in front of neon sign that says love shines

Esther and Francis’s wedding was an absolute blast to attend. Like other weddings, it had its incredibly sweet moments, tearful moments, hilarious moments, and beyond.

When I first photographed Esther and Francis for their engagement session at the Henry B Plant Museum in downtown Tampa, I already knew they would be the type of couple who would go all out in the partying moment of their wedding reception. Their goofiness in photos really brought out their personalities, and that transferred from their engagement session all the way to their wedding nearly a year later.

Esther got ready with her bridesmaids, her mom, and Francis’s mom back at The Birchwood. They provided a fairly roomy bridal suite for them to get ready in that also had natural light. If you’re photographing at The Birchwood, I highly recommend carpooling with your bridal party and doing valet parking, that way you don’t have to fight for paid parking in the bustling streets of downtown St Pete, which gets awfully crowded on weekends. If you’re going in single cars, I recommend parking your car at the end of Vinoy park since there’s free parking down there (albeit, it’ll be about a 7-10 minute walk to The Birchwood itself).

I loved how Esther’s mom had her own special wedding attire too for her daughter. Her blush pink Hanbok matched the rest of Esther’s bridesmaids dresses, too!

Their ceremony was held at the Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum, which had a backdrop of lush greenery and tall palm trees, reminiscent of Sunken Gardens that’s also in downtown St Pete. One of the heartwarming moments I loved during their ceremony was how the couple decided to commemorate the passing of Francis’s father by giving a white rose to each of their respective moms. Francis laid a white rose in the empty chair next to his mom that was reserved for his father, and you could hear everyone tearing up at that moment. In the celebratory end of that ceremony, the two walked down the aisle together, freshly married, and greeted their dog Henry and gave him lots of kisses at the beginning of the group portraits, which was super cute!

We stayed in the ceremony location for their private portraits as the bridal party and the rest of the guests headed to The Birchwood for cocktail hour. We made use of the gorgeous greenery the place had to offer and ended the session in front of a large neon sign right by the side of the venue’s building that says “Love Shines.”

Another thing I really loved about Esther and Francis is how they never stopped dancing throughout the day – you could tell they were really enjoying the entirety of their wedding because any small, inevitable hiccups that occurred throughout the day were casually shrugged away. They didn’t let anything stop them from having a special day and celebrating the moment they’ve been planning and waiting on forever, and I really admire that. I always wish for that type of experience for all my clients and try my best to craft that kind of experience for them in order for them to live that special day in the way they’ve always dreamed it would be.

Congratulations Esther and Francis!

Whimsical wedding sparkler exit in downtown St Pete FL


Venue – The Birchwood

Photographer – Jasmine Yab Photography

Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist – Femme Akoi 

Officiant – Pastor Chris Thomas with Sensational Ceremonies

DJ – Jason Nesbitt with Modern Era Weddings

Videographer – NAS Visuals

Photo booth – Chubby’s Photo Booth and Games

Florist – Presents, Petals, and Parties, Diana Scafoglio-Ducharme

Dog Handling – Fairy Tail Pets

The Journal



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