Many Tampa wedding photographers would agree that Grand Plaza Beachfront Resort (known mostly as Grand Plaza Hotel around here) is probably one of the most recognizable landmarks of St Pete beach, mostly due to its unique tower-like shape. It is also one of my favorite hotels to shoot at – I love the bright and roomy penthouse suites (which are excellent for the “getting ready” shots), gorgeous reception halls overlooking the Gulf and of course the beach, with its stunning sunsets.
I blogged about Jen and Ian’s St. Pete Engagement Session earlier and today I’d like to share few of my favorite shots from their wedding day.
The ceremony took place at a small but very beautiful Church by the Sea. One unusual aspect of shooting there was the fact that photographers aren’t normally allowed near the sanctuary during the service. That meant I had to remain in the back for the entire duration of the ceremony. Fortunately, we knew the rules well in advance and I was prepared. Using the upstairs and shooting mostly with powerful zoom lenses I was able to “get” so close that one couldn’t tell by looking at the pictures that there were any restrictions at all.
After the ceremony we headed back to Grand Plaza for the bridal party pictures. We started out in front of the hotel and continued on the beach. It was still pretty hot outside so we decided to postpone the bridal portraits until around sunset time. During the reception I kept an eye on the horizon and as the sun was about to disappear we came out to the beach and shot a very nice series with the sunset. When shooting around Grand Plaza I also like working the hotel into the pictures, which is best done at twilight. The light is magical but you have to work fast as it doesn’t last long. Finally, as we thought we were almost done, the sky over the Gulf turned orange-red, so we took few more shots and headed back to the reception.
The rest of the evening was a lot of fun as well – dancing, cake and, of course, a lot more dancing. Congratulations Jen and Ian and thank you for letting me be a part of your most special day!