ST. PETERSBURG — He likes to say they met along the Gasparilla parade route in Tampa, and technically, that's true: They were in the same social group and attended a friend's private party after that.
Peter Pastman, 27, was living in Vero Beach at the time. "She's really cute," he says now, five years after he met Sara Campbell, who took his last name when they married in January. "She's really smart. She's a dynamo."
"From that moment," Sara says, "we knew we had something special. He has an ease about him. I think everybody in his life loves him. He's funny, and he's smart. We're always laughing. We're both really quirky."
She accepted his proposal two years ago, shortly after she earned her master's degree in nursing at the University of South Florida in Tampa. And they began planning the wedding, which focused on their mutual fondness for St. Petersburg. Sara, 27, who earned her bachelor's degree from St. Petersburg College and works as a nurse practitioner at St. Anthony's Hospital, is a native.
Their rehearsal dinner, prepared by Banyan Cafe & Catering, one of their favorite restaurants, took place in glass artist Duncan McClellan's studio in the Warehouse Arts District, which they frequently tour on the Second Saturday Art Walk.
At the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, where they held the reception, guests used silver Sharpies to write congratulatory messages on one of the green benches that once famously lined the Sunshine City's downtown streets. Sara's father repaired and restored it after having salvaged it from the waters of Tampa Bay.
Her dress came from CC's Boutique, where she had her first job. They turned to the Flower Centre for floral designs. As children, Sara says, she and her sister, Amy, rode their bicycles to the florist's earlier storefront on Snell Isle to buy bouquets for their parents, Kathy and Mark Campbell.
Peter, a University of Florida alumnus, is a financial planner at Raymond James. He lived in Tampa for a bit after he moved to the area from Florida's east coast, then came back to St. Petersburg, "when downtown was changing and transitioning," he says. "My mom (Barbara Pastman) is very artistic, and St. Pete ranks as one of the best destinations for art."
"Our whole story is based on our love for the bay area," Sara says. They planned the ceremony and their honeymoon to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic so that they would be back in time to attend the 2014 Gasparilla day parade.
Their shared activities include beach trips, going to parks and artistic venues, visiting restaurants and microbreweries and volunteering for various charities. They rent a home in the Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg and hope to buy a house close by.
"We have to be within a certain radius of downtown," Sara says. "The city is just so thriving."