Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Barbara and Morgan Banno

Barbara and Morgan Banno were friends before they ever started dating. In fact, Morgan was a regular at Barbara’s popular Gulfport restaurant, Stella’s.

When they first met, Morgan owned a shaved ice business with an ex. “We would try to frequent Stella’s to support local,” she says, “especially female-owned and operated businesses like the one I had.”

Barbara was also in a relationship at the time, but the two became fast friends. When their previous relationships ended, they began hanging out more. Morgan says “it was the right place at the right time.”

“We were spending so much time together, but I wasn’t really sure how she was feeling versus how I was feeling,” Barbara says. “I wasn’t sure she was on the same page.”

About six years ago, she invited Morgan to dinner, intending for it to be a date, and laid her feelings out there. “I came to find out she was feeling the same,” Barbara recalls.

Morgan, who now works at Stella’s, had always been attracted to Barbara’s personality. “She’s so personable with everybody. Her laugh is absolutely contagious,” she says. “I can hear it from inside the kitchen and it makes me smile inside and out. She made me laugh all the time. That sealed the deal for me.”

Barbara was drawn to her wife’s sense of adventure. “There was a piece of Morgan that was always challenging me to step outside of my comfort zone,” she says. “There was a sense of excitement and adventure missing in my life that she brought to it.”

Their relationship was solid from the beginning and they knew that one day they’d get married, but they weren’t in a rush.

“I knew she was the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with but there was always something going on that kept us from getting engaged,” Barbara says. “We’ve been through a lot.”

Once renovations to their home were done, Barbara knew it was time to propose. “We had this home that we had literally built together, and it just felt right,” she says.

She proposed on Morgan’s birthday, April 29, 2017.

Morgan handled most of the wedding planning duties. “I pretty much had my dream wedding in mind,” she says. “Wedding planning was a blast.”

Barbara was happy to let her plan everything. “I joked a lot that we probably could have eloped, but I wanted to give her the wedding of her dreams,” she says. “Looking back on it now, there’s nothing like having an actual wedding and feeling so much love on one day. You’d never ever think you can feel so much love.”

“Not just between us,” Morgan adds, “but all our friends and family who were there to celebrate. It was absolutely priceless to be able to share such an important day with everyone who loves and adores us.”

Engagement Date: April 29, 2017

Wedding Date: Oct. 19, 2019

Wedding Venue: Tampa Bay Watch, Tierra Verde

Wedding Song: “Everything” by Michael Buble

Wedding Theme/Colors: Coral and gray with a tropical feel

Florist: Karen’s Florist

Officiant: Angela Lagan

Caterer: Milan Catering

Bakery: A Friend Who Bakes

Dessert: A dozen different mini desserts instead of a cake

Photographer: Tropical Focus Photography

DJ/Entertainment: Mello Vibes Entertainment

Planning a wedding? Check out our 2019 LGBTQ Wedding Guide to use as a great resource to find several LGBTQ wedding resources for your special day!

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