In an effort to promote local businesses and reinvest in our community, the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber has designed #Buybeachesfirst, a shop local movement.
When you shop with local beach merchants, more of your money stays close to home; supporting parks, beach attractions and other things that make this coastal community a desired place to live.
"There is no second chance on somebody’s wedding day – it has to be perfect." Sue Ashton, Owner, Suncoast Weddings
What is your current title and how long have you been in this role?
"I have been the owner of Suncoast Weddings for almost 9 years. As a small business owner, at some point I have been involved in every single aspect of the business. I wouldn’t have had it any other way as it gives me total understanding of each part of the job that I might ask a member of our team to handle." - Sue Ashton, Owner, Suncoast Weddings
Can you explain how and why you ended up owning this business?
"Prior to Suncoast Weddings, I had a 20-year-career working in the press operations field at major sports events all over the world. This included five Olympic Games, Soccer World Cups, Ryder Cup Golf and a multitude of other major sports events. My role involved the very detailed planning and operation of media facilities. I was ready to put down some roots in Florida and had always wanted to run my own business. One side of me is a pure romantic and the other side is the methodical, details, logical, problem solving planner. Suncoast Weddings became by baby and is the perfect fit!"
What was your passion or greatest motivator?
"Wedding planning is not for the faint-hearted! There is no second chance on somebody’s wedding day – it has to be perfect. But there’s a huge adrenaline rush in knowing that you made dreams come to life for that bride and groom. It’s been a long day, you’re exhausted beyond belief, you zapped and kapowed any potential issues (yes ‘stuff’ happens), yet you pulled it off-and you can’t wait to do it all over again."
What would you say your business is most known for?
"After almost 2000 weddings, I think I can speak from experience when I say that no two couples are alike. There is no question that we will go the extra mile to give each wedding the individual attention that it deserves.
I’m often asked what is the one piece of advice I would give a couple? That’s easy “it’s all about you”
No coincidence that that is also our tagline."
What has been your proudest moment within this business?
"There have been so many moments when I was I was bursting with pride but I think what I’m most proud of is the way the business has grown in view of the fact that we don’t get repeat business and we don’t keep our customers!"
"And in this day and age of social media and online reviews – we are over the moon with our high ratings. It takes a lot for someone to trust you with one of the biggest days of their lives often when they’re thousands of miles away… so a good social media presence is so important."
"But to top that, I’d like to give a shout out to our Suncoast Weddings team, many of whom have been with me from the beginning and without them none of this would be possible. And it’s for them that I have the utmost respect and pride."
The TBBCoC strives to represent local independent beach businesses and connect them with you, our community-minded shoppers. That’s why we have provided a list of our local businesses HERE. Browse by category, city or keyword.
Whenever you shop local, tag #Buybeachesfirst.