Luxurious Jewel-toned Destination Florida Beach Wedding | Ritz Carlton Sarasota

Elisha and Dennis’ luxurious jewel-toned Sarasota destination wedding incorporated their love of family, champagne, and donuts, against an elegant beach backdrop. The Houston-based couple chose Florida, the bride’s childhood home and the groom’s alma mater, to host their destination wedding for 75 of their closest friends and family.

“Our theme was beach resort togetherness. We wanted to keep the idea that we were all secluded on some resort on an island somewhere,” the bride revealed. “We chose jewel-toned purple and navy, softened with some lavender, pink, and rose gold. We love rose gold so knew we wanted that since our wedding bands both have rose gold, and Dennis loves purple so that inspired us as well.

The couple wanted light and airy photography that felt natural and unfussy, and upon meeting Kéra Photography the connection was instant.

“We wanted a natural look; neither of us likes dramatic, staged, dark, moody photography. Kéra is quite simply one of the kindest humans on the earth, endearingly positive and supportive,” Elisha raved. “Her style is natural and romantic with beautiful light and pops of color throughout her photography. It was perfect for us.”

Rather than keeping their focus on themselves the entire weekend, the pair gave the spotlight to their family leading up to their nuptials.

“Getting married in the middle of a pandemic was not something we ever imagined. It was important to us to have multiple days of events to get all our people together as much as possible,” the bride confided. “We hosted a combination of Thanksgiving dinner and 40th-anniversary celebration for my parents the Thursday before the wedding. It’s pretty special that our wedding weekend kicked off with a celebration of my parents’ really special love. We also had a rehearsal dinner with everyone invited on Friday night, then the wedding on Saturday, followed by brunch on Sunday.”

To inform their guests of all the various wedding-related activities, Elisha and Dennis worked with a custom stationery designer to create a unique one-of-a-kind invitation suite, complete with an itinerary of the weekend’s festivities.

“We were lucky to stumble upon A&P Design Co. on an online search, and I’m so glad we did! We were drawn in by their range of colors and designs from really classy and elegant invitations to fun, funky ones as well. We were really drawn in by some Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer-inspired sets. We worked with Alicia Rohan and had such an easy, personalized experience,” the bride gushed. “The invitation suite turned out amazing! We got so many comments and compliments, and it set the tone for our vibe. The invitations were colorful and fun with some shimmer, which was the perfect mix for us. I really loved the whole thing, but especially one of the cards in our suite which was a synopsis of the various events that was set up so nicely to provide a lot of information in a very organized and readable manner.”

Despite not originally planning for a videographer, the bride and groom began considering their options and wanted someone who captured the emotions of the day rather than just documenting the order of events.

“After watching Bonnie Newman Creative‘s highlight videos we just knew she was the one for us and totally worth the investment,” Elisha raved. “Her videos included voiceovers of the different speeches or readings done at the wedding while a compilation of all the special and fun moments played. We got the full raw footage to review at our leisure if we ever want to, as well as a beautiful 8-minute highlight reel of the day, which is exactly what we wanted. It is truly heartwarming and takes us back to that day every time we watch it. Dennis tears up every single time!”

A quiet moment before the ceremony shared only by the bride and groom, was one of Elisha’s most memorable moments from the entire weekend.

“Our first touch was very special. We read cards we had written to each other, and it was such a lovely moment together,” the bride reminisced.

What did you look for in a wedding videographer?
Honestly, we were not super sure we wanted to do videography, and we didn’t actually book until maybe a month before the wedding! We looked at a couple of options and after seeing some examples we realized if we were going to do this we needed a fun videographer who caught the emotion and fun of an event, not just a chronological summary of highlights.

After watching Bonnie Newman Creative‘s highlight videos we just knew she was the one for us and totally worth the investment. Her videos included voice-overs of the different speeches or readings done at the wedding while a compilation of all the special and fun moments played. We’ve got the full raw footage to review at our leisure if we ever want to, as well as a beautiful 8-minute highlight reel of the day, which is exactly what we wanted. It is truly heartwarming and takes us back to that day every time we watch it, and Dennis tears up every single time!

Gray and Yellow Gold Groom Wedding Band, Round Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Lace and Illusion Pointed Toe with Sating Bow White Wedding Bridal Shoes | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Tropical Blue and Gold Palm Tree Leaves Wedding Invitation, Bridal Accessories, Lace and Illusion with Satin Bow White Pointed Toe Wedding Shoes, Drop Diamond Earrings, Lace Wedding Veil | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Wedding Invitations A&P Designs Co

What was your wedding invitation inspiration?
We were lucky to stumble upon A&P Design Co. on an online search, and I’m so glad we did! We were drawn in by their range of colors and designs from really classy and elegant invitations to fun, funky ones as well. We were really drawn in by some Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer-inspired sets. 

We worked with Alicia Rohan and had such an easy, personalized experience. We immediately got a sample package with different colors, paper, envelope, and packaging options so we could really feel and see things for ourselves. We then talked through our requests and picked out some examples from their online portfolio. Next, Alicia sent us a completely customized sample packet, and we went back and forth to make it perfect. Lastly, we did a video chat to see all the colors that we’d picked together to make sure we were ready to print!

It was also really cool that we got to do a mix of foil and letterpress printing which added some cool texture to the mix. The invitation suite turned out amazing. We got so many comments and compliments, and it set the tone for our vibe. The invitations were colorful and fun with some shimmer which was the perfect mix for us. I really loved the whole thing, but especially one of the cards in our suite which was a synopsis of the various events which was set up so nicely to provide a lot of information in a very organized and readable manner. 

Florida Bride Putting on Mermaid Beaded Wedding Dress | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Classic Bride in Mermaid Strapless Wedding Dress and Full Length Lace Veil | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Ritz Carlton Sarasota Wedding
Elegant Classic Bride in Mermaid Strapless Wedding Dress and Full Length Lace Veil | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Ritz Carlton Sarasota Wedding
Florida Bride and Groom Holding Hands Back to Back Unique First Look Wedding Photo | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

The Proposal:
The proposal was epic. It was a total surprise. My work as a primary care physician for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities is very important, and Dennis found a way to honor it beautifully. He arranged for my work team to spend time with a community of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our work team made Valentine’s Day cards together with the citizens for a few hours, then he pulled me away for a private moment under a decorated gazebo covered in yellow flowers (my favorite color) where he got down in one knee. He then had my parents and best friend fly in for a special dinner to make sure I was able to share this event with them as well. It was truly perfect!

Elegant Beach Wedding Ceremony Decor, White Folding Chairs, Round Greenery and White, Pink Floral Arch | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Waterfront Wedding Venue Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Colorful Tropical Elegant Wedding Ceremony Decor, Round Purple, Pink and Ivory Roses Floral Arrangement | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Florida Beach Wedding Ceremony Decor, Round Arch with Greenery, Ivory and Pink Florals | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Waterfront Wedding Venue Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Elegant Beach Wedding Ceremony Decor, Round Arch with Greenery, Purple and Pink Flowers | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Beach Wedding Ceremony Decor, Bride Wearing Full Length Veil and Groom Exchanging Wedding Vows, Round Arch with Greenery and Purple, Pink Flowers | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Florida Bride and Groom Exchanging Wedding Vows on the Beach | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Beach Wedding Ceremony, Bride and Groom Kiss During Sunset Under Round Circular Arch with Greenery Purple and Pink Flowers | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Bride Wearing Mermaid Beaded Strapless Wedding Dress and Full Length Veil Holding White Floral Lush Bouquet and Groom on the Beach | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Sunset Bride in Full Length Veil and Groom Portrait on Beach | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

What did you look for in a wedding photographer? 
We wanted a natural look; neither of us likes dramatic, staged, dark, moody photography.

Kéra of Kéra Photography is quite simply one of the kindest humans on the earth, endearingly positive and supportive. Her style is natural and romantic with beautiful light and pops of color throughout her photography. It was perfect for us.

Sarasota Elegant Bride Holding Lush White Floral Bouquet, Bridesmaids in Mix and Match Purple Dresses, Groom and Groomsmen in Blue Suits Beach Sunset Photo | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

Where did you host your bachelorette party?
We did not have bachelor or bachelorette parties. My friends compiled a sweet video of messages for me and a few of us gathered for some bubbles and lingerie a couple of weeks before the wedding, while Dennis hung out with his friends the Friday night before the wedding.

Sarasota Bride and Groom Beach Sunset Photo | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Sarasota Fun Bride and Groom Popping Bottle of Champagne on Beach During Sunset | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
Unfortunately, no honeymoon yet. We want to go big and do French Polynesia so we are waiting until travel is safer.

Elegant Greenery Wall with Pink and Purple Flowers Champagne Wall | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Unique Elegant Greenery Champagne Seating Card Wall | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Unique Champagne Bottle Ice Sculpture Wedding Reception Decor | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

How did you incorporate your personalities into the wedding?
We wanted classy but relaxed and fun. We love champagne and tequila so we had a champagne luge and a champagne wall, and we had his and her drinks at the rehearsal dinner. Dennis’ included champagne and mine featured tequila, plus we had shots at the reception and supplied disposable “I Do Crew” shot glasses.

Beach Wedding Reception Decor, Tables with Silk Blue Tablecloths, Purple Linen Napkins, Tall Clear Vase with Purple and Ivory Hydrangeas, Pink Roses Floral Centerpiece | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Beach Wedding Reception Decor, Gold Beaded Charger, Purple Linen Napkin, Gold Flatware | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Beach Wedding Reception Decor, Tables with Silk Blue Tablecloths, Purple Linen Napkins, Tall Clear Vase with Purple and Ivory Hydrangeas, Pink Roses Floral Centerpiece | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Beach Waterfront Wedding Venue Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Beach Wedding Reception Decor, Tables with Silk Blue Tablecloths, Purple Linen Napkins, Tall Clear Vase with Purple and Ivory Hydrangeas, Pink Roses Floral Centerpiece | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Beach Waterfront Wedding Venue Ritz Carlton Sarasota

How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration? Beach resort togetherness. We wanted to keep the idea that we were all secluded on some resort on an island somewhere.

What were your colors? 
We chose jewel-toned purple and navy, softened with some lavender, pink, and rose gold. We love rose gold so knew we wanted that since our wedding bands both have rose gold. Dennis loves purple so that inspired us as well.

Elegant Bride in Strapless Mermaid Beaded Wedding Dress and Groom in Blue Suit Making Entrance During COVID Wedding Reception, Purple Floral Arrangement and Uplighting | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | Waterfront Beach Wedding Venue Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Wedding Reception Decor, Donut Wall, Gold Candlesticks | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Wedding Reception Decor Donut Wall | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Elegant Three Tier White Wedding Cake with Real White and Purple Roses on Table with Blue Tablecloth | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography
Sarasota Bride and Groom First Dance Wedding Reception Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Don’t be afraid to do stuff outside, and hire Kéra Photography and Bonnie Newman Creative. They were awesome, seamlessly worked together, made sure we had really emotional/special moments and shots.

Venue, Caterer, and Wedding Cake: Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Photographer: Kéra Photography *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Videographer: Bonnie Newman Creative *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Planner: Table 6 Productions
Florist: La Vie en Rose
Rentals: So Staged
Groom’s Cake: Muriel’s Cakes and Cookies
DJ: DJ Felix
Invitations: A&P Design Co *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Transportation: SRQ Trolley
Dress Shop and Designer: Ivory Bridal (Houston) – Anne Barge
Hair & Makeup: Brides by Kelly Anne and Co.
Rehearsal Dinner: Ritz Carlton Sarasota

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

*Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.

Tampa Bay Wedding Planning Advice Group
MEET THE EDITOR

Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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