Keila Ayub and Jim McGee
How did you and Jim meet?
We both started working for Crate & Barrel right when it opened in Tampa. We helped open the store together. I guess Jim immediately was drawn to me; we became friends, started dating and it went from there.
What attracted you most to him?
We had an instant connection. I’m into fashion and he’s a creative, artsy person–we really had that in common. We’re also both kind of shy, quiet people, so we really connected in that sense, too. We found a strong friendship and it blossomed into a romance.
Why did your venue stick out to you?
Once we got engaged, I knew I wanted to do an outdoor wedding and I struggled between the beach and a garden theme. But everybody does the beach; it’s been done over and over. I fell in love with [the banyan trees] and I was trying to go for a romantic feel, so that’s what I loved about Selby Gardens. We had the ceremony out by the banyans and the reception at the mansion on the porch. What I liked about that was the fact that we were still outside, but people didn’t have to worry about having their heels stick in the ground and could walk in and out of the mansion. It was very versatile.
What, to you, were the most important elements to incorporate into your wedding?
I wanted it to look beautiful and different; I didn’t want it to look like everybody else’s wedding. We didn’t have dancing; we didn’t want to have that spotlight on us the whole time, so it was a sit-down dinner. The most important thing, for me, was trying to be different and doing things that were out of the box. I think people really liked a lot of the things that they hadn’t seen before. We did a wishing tree instead of a guest book. Most people do white plastic or foldout chairs, so we did church pews to really give it a different feel. My aunt flew from Brazil to attend the wedding and made desserts for guests to take home, like Brazilian candy. Most people don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff; I wanted something that was just not what everybody else had done.
Any tips for brides-to-be?
Everything is fixable. I think, for me, it was different than most brides planning a wedding because I didn’t have bridesmaids, I didn’t do the bridal shower thing, and I didn’t have a wedding party. You don’t have to do what everyone else does. You really don’t need two years to plan a wedding; we did it in four months and it came out exactly how we wanted it to look. If you know what you want, it’s really easy.
Wedding Design & Coordination: Maria Brady of Choreographed Events
Photographer: Mandy and Me
Officiant: Fr. Pat Wenrick
Flowers: Tiger Lily
Caterer: Michael’s On East
Cake: Cakes by Ron
Ceremony/Reception Music: Jay Goodley Entertainment
Lighting: Affairs in the Air
Linens: Linens by the Sea
Hair and Makeup: Ana Molinari Salon
Transportation: Duane Magnuson
Rentals: U.S. Tent Rentals