Back in March of 2021, I went to Tampa for the first time. While in town, my sister insisted on stopping at the Oxford Exchange. As a couples photographer hopeful of moving to the area, I was intrigued to see this facility that's often rented out for weddings. Now that I've oficially in Florida, the Oxford Exchange is at the top of my "dream venue locations" to shoot at, and I’d like to explain why.
As a New Englander, I grew up with European influence all around me in art, architecture, and home design. Florida's surroundings, for the most part, look much newer, brighter, and sometimes lacking in historical character. So, when I went to the Oxford Exchange, I was delighted to see such a curated and well-designed European-inspired facility. The Exchange has kept its tradition of housing several businesses in one hub while simultaneously modernizing the space to fit within the 21st century.
When entering from West Kennedy Boulevard, you'll be met with a home goods shop filled with coffee-table books, candles, tasteful decor and more. I felt inclined to sit at the Champaign Bar, stationed at the left of the entrance, with its boho seating and brick-exposed backdrop.
In the center of the Exchange is the Atrium. This area is shared space between TeBella Tea Company and Buddy Brew Roasters. Between the cafes, there is ample seating(which is sometimes cleared and used as a reception/dancefoor), allowing customers to stop and take in the high ceilings and dark wood accents. The Atrium gives a spectacular view of the grand staircase with a backdrop of framed historical figures. The stairs lead to the balcony, private library, and working spaces which is used by Commerce Club members.
The Conservatory, found across from the stairs, is used as a seating area for the Exchange’s in-house restaurant. This space is filled with natural light and eye-catching elements including a checkered floor, diamond-patterned brick walls, and lush plant life. A large fountain centered in the middle of the room adds a feeling of lavishness. The eatery is so popular that the owners are opening a Mediterranean restaurant in Tampa's own Water Street Development come 2023.
Moving on to the "back end" of the building, you'll find the wood-paneled hallway leading to a Warby Parker and the bookstore. Each offers choices for both glasses and authors, and special products such as leather-bound classical volumes.
Everything in the exchange feels connected, yet distinct with each changing section. Its unique design lets you feel a part of history while staying in modern times, and it made me feel at home. This is why I’m looking forward to shooting at this venue in the future. Getting married at the Oxford Exchange? Have I got a photographer for you! (surprise, it's me!) Scroll below to inqure about a wedding or event.