Great Gatsby Inspired Engagement Session | Sarasota, Florida Photographer

Vlad and Chanel owe their chance encounter to social media. “He found me on Facebook;” Chanel tells me, “he ‘poked’ me and I had to write him asking, ‘Do I know you?’ Vlad goes on to say, ‘Oh, my cousin thought he requested you on his Facebook, but I guess it was really my Facebook that was signed on.’ Really believable, right?!”

They wound up going on their first date on July 17, 2009 at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. At first he was going to push back the time of their first date since he had an errand to run. “I told him I had to work in the morning,” Chanel continues, “so he had me run the errand with him. The first time seeing this guy…I was driving around [in] his car while he delivered another car. Once we got to the restaurant, [we sat] across the table from one another, [and] Vlad would take ‘imaginary’ notes on his hands of things I liked and did not like.”

“After dinner Vlad had to make a stop at the local drug store for a special type of Tylenol. We stopped at CVS, no luck, then to Walgreens…the special Tylenol was really a dozen roses!”

“From the day I met Vlad, he has been nothing but full of surprises. I cannot believe I will get the spend the rest of my life with him!”

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The Proposal
We have been through a lot together and we had always talked about getting married, but the time was never right. Well, the night before my graduate graduation I had made plans with one of my out of town friends to go to a local bar for drinks. Vlad wouldn’t be in town until later that evening to go to a company party with me. So, I [planned to] hang out with my friends and go out with Vlad later.

My friend Brittany picked me up from my house and we met up with our other friend, Cassie, at the Fly bar. Cassie had her baby with her, which I thought was odd. She asked us to come with her to her car to change the baby and we agreed. As we walked down the sidewalk, I noticed a crowd of people around, what I thought was a homeless man, playing piano and singing. Me being nosy, I went in closer to listen, since I love the piano.

As I stepped in closer, the crowd parted, and there he was. All our friends were wearing masquerade masks as disguises. Vlad was singing and playing my new favorite song, “In Love By Now,” by Jamie Foxx. Vlad was dressed in rags, had broken sunglasses on, and had his legs tucked under him in a wheelchair. At this point all I could do is laugh and smile.

This is so Vlad, full of surprises, and not doing the ordinary. I had fallen in love all over again, he ceases to amaze me. My friend gave me a couple dollars to place in his collection hat. I walked over to place the money in the hat, and there it was. The ring was in the hat! At this point Vlad got out of the wheelchair, [took] off his disguise, and pops the questions after making a joke. He did it! He asked me to marry him and of course I said YES!

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Wedding Plans
Vlad and Chanel are planning a winter wedding at the Kapok Special Events Center in Clearwater, FL. They are hoping for perfect weather, since Florida winters are very mild and more like a spring/summer weather up north. Most of the plans are complete, all that’s left is finding the perfect cake.

Chanel is mostly looking forward to, “Saying ‘I do!’ and officially living each other’s dream of being each other’s dream girl and dream guy.”

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Finding the Perfect Engagement Photographer
Their engagement photography session was “a time machine shoot that set us back to the 1920s, in a Great Gatsby feel,” Chanel reminisces. “We both are a special breed of characters. This [photo] shoot allowed us to pretend we were rich and famous.”

They chose to have their photo shoot at the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion on the Ringling Museum Campus in Sarasota, FL. The Ca’ d’Zan stands as a testament to the American Dream of the Roaring Twenties. To capture this unique feeling, they wanted “someone [who] takes photography seriously, and [has a] passion for it.”

“We loved how detailed their work, art was [and] we were amazed by their videography…We probably watched the video…twice. There was no pressure from Castorina Photography and Films to choose them. They fully informed us of their services and let us look through the books of past weddings, which sealed the deal. We were looking to theme our wedding in a movie style, and Castorina Photography and Films definitely reflects that.


Photographer: Castorina Photography & Films

Tampa, St Petersburg, Sarasota, Orlando wedding photography and cinematic wedding video:
Castorina Photography and Films is a St. Petersburg based, on location studio. Our wedding photography and cinematography clients enjoy a relaxed environment where they can be themselves as we do our best to relieve any stress from the wedding day. We have serviced clients in Cancun Mexico, Venice, Rome, Tuscany and other areas of Italy, Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota and many other locations in the United States.

Service information:
Castorina Photography and Films offers on location photography and cinematic wedding films for wedding, portrait, family, engagement, and bridal sessions.