Mariel and Roman’s wedding at Mision Lago Estate was magical. Although they’ve been together for years, they have a love that radiates whenever they are together. These two just enjoyed being close: dancing, walking, whatever the day brought. And with the “winter”-time weather in the 70’s during the day and down into the 60’s at night, it made for perfect up and close moments. The week before we toured the venue and had to make a little impromptu shoot out of it, while we were touring the grounds and enjoying champagne.

The grounds of Mision Lago Estate cover 20 acres outside of Tampa. The bridal getting-ready quarters are an extension of the main house: a three-story casa with stucco accents, a hallway with rock-n-roll memorabilia, and the coolest built-in map and hand built miniature houses I have ever seen. On top of this, there is a balcony on the top floor that overlooks the grounds and gives you one amazing view of the lake. The guys were near the barn reception area. Talking, having a few drinks, and playing pool until it was time to get ready. The groomsman were given custom White Yeti cups for their favorite beverages, because although it was December, it was a warm day in Florida!

The ceremony was behind the main house and pool, with a beautiful lake giving the background. Their wedding was a little over 100 people, with 7 groomsman and bridesmaids. Before the ceremony, the bride and groom had an intimate first look, with bougainvillea vines growing over where the groom stood back-facing his soon-to-be bride, who stood on a small bridge over a creek on the property. After they shared a few intimate embraces, it was time to rush the groom off to the ceremony where he may have been a little late for his entrance. The ceremony was both simple and sweet. The officiant was a family friend, so old stories were told and the mood was very low-key and informal. The ceremony had a simple archway with the bride’s flowers adorning it. The groom did a very good job not letting the tears fall when he saw his bride, although you could tell he wanted to. The ceremony was over after about 20 minutes, and then it was time for after-photos, drinks, and the reception. 

After the ceremony the guests all went to the outdoor area beside the barn. Accent lights hung overhead and there was a very neat tractor off to the side. While they had drinks listening to the saxophone serenading the background, we walked the property getting photos of the newly weds on the rolling hills before joining back with the party. 

The cake was an elegant white cream three-story with yellow roses, the bride’s favorite. The bridal party and groomsman all wore wrist-bands commemorating the bride’s brother who passed months before the wedding. Although he could not be there in body, they made sure he was there in spirit. They wanted simplicity, so the tables did not have any over-the-top features. The bridal party and groomsman were introduced after the guests went into the main barn reception hall. Open ceilings, amazing food and drinks, and the music of DJ Xplicid kept the night rolling. The first dance was epic, but the father-daughter dance brought everyone out of their seats. Once the sun set, the antler chandelier gave the most unbelievable lighting and set the ambiance perfectly. 

I have to thank Samantha Radcliff, the wedding coordinator, because she was 5-star the entire day and kept everyone in the loop on changes and next-ups. I also want to thank the other vendors, the owners of this epic venue that still reside on premises, as well as the bride and groom who I will forever be lifelong friends with!

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