Romantic Blue Waterfront Sarasota Wedding | Ritz Carlton Sarasota

Tampa Bay Bridal Show July 2020 | TheXpos

Jen and Geoff’s waterfront Sarasota wedding highlighted the sunshine state’s natural beauty with a simple and elegant aesthetic. The Florida destination wedding incorporated a blue color palette that was inspired by the colors of the coast.

“Everyone felt like they were on a tropical vacation. We had our wedding in October, but we are used to much colder temperatures up north that time of year, so we didn’t want to do the stereotypical fall colors when it was 80 degrees” the bride explained. “We chose a mixture of midnight and light blue plus warm grays and whites to complement the soft, sandy beach, and crystal waters. Blue isn’t limited to any particular season, and it’s timeless.

MORE: BLUE WEDDING INSPIRATION

While the Chicago pair planned their destination wedding from afar, they used Marry Me Tampa Bay to research local and reputable wedding vendors.

“We looked up past weddings at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota to see how previous couples used the space and also check out vendors’ past work to narrow down our final list,” Jen shared.

The real estate power couple had a clear vision for their wedding day but knew a wedding planner would be instrumental in ensuring the celebration would move seamlessly from ceremony to reception.

“Jen is pretty hands-on when it comes to coordinating things, both in our business and personal lives, so she wanted to plan most of the elements leading up to the wedding. After speaking to past brides, we knew we needed extra help getting everyone organized the day of so we didn’t have to rely on the wedding party to coordinate anything. We wanted everyone, especially our families, to enjoy themselves to the fullest,” the groom explained. “NK Productions was definitely the most flexible in terms of letting us do our thing with the planning but also being there to support us when we needed them. Their team has done a ton of weddings at the Ritz, so we knew they were highly familiar with the venue, their requirements, and the staff.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT NK PRODUCTIONS | EMAIL

To soothe the bride’s nerves about being in the spotlight during the ceremony, Jen and Geoff sought a wedding officiant who would set a relaxing tone for their waterfront nuptials. A Wedding With Grace provided the perfect sense of serenity to guide them through their vows.

“Jen was definitely most anxious for the ceremony, what bride isn’t, so we wanted someone who had a calming demeanor, a clear but soft voice, and a positive aura,” Geoff shared. “The moment we saw Grace’s past work online, we knew she would be the perfect person to stand by our side and guide us through our vows. She checked off all of our boxes, and our initial email exchange went flawlessly. She’s kindhearted, easy to work with, and incredibly professional.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT A WEDDING WITH GRACE | EMAIL

Their wedding of 60 guests included friends and family from around the globe, but there were two VIP’s that the bride and groom couldn’t say “I Do” without, Leo and Georgie, the family’s beloved chihuahuas, who received five-star treatment on their humans’ big day.

“We knew we would need help with our incredibly sweet but sometimes stubborn chihuahuas. Obviously, FairyTail Pet Care is the leader in the industry for helping couples have their dogs at their wedding, so they were a very easy choice. Not only do they have a wonderful service, but they are a charitable organization as well,” the bride beamed. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with how great the handlers were in terms of getting Leo and Georgie exercise before the ceremony to acclimate them with the venue. We also hired FairyTail to dog-sit during the reception so we could fully enjoy the night. We’ve never had anyone other than Jen’s parents and brother watch Leo because we are so overprotective of him, but we felt completely at ease knowing he and Georgie were in great hands. They even texted us photos and updates throughout the night.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT FAIRYTAIL PET CARE | EMAIL

Looking back on the whirlwind wedding weekend, Jen sweetly reminisced on the intimate times spent with her parents.

“A memorable moment was when my dad first came into the bridal suite to see me in my dress, and I saw tears in his eyes! He’s a pretty serious business-oriented guy half the time, but he’s also the kindest, most caring father, so it was a special moment between us, and the photographer captured it beautifully” Jen shared. “Also, I’ll never forget my mom and me on the dance floor because it’s something we’ve always enjoyed doing together. She enrolled me in my first dance class when I was three years old and I danced up until I was 15, and all of those years she would take me to my dance classes, get me ready for my recitals, watch me practice and support me unconditionally. It’s always been part of our bond, and we love goofing around and singing and dancing together. This was a special time when we were able to dance with all of our family and friends, which made it even better.”

Classic Florida Wedding Invitation Suite, Midnight Blue Reception Card, Ivory Script, Custom Couple Monogram

Classic Florida Wedding Invitation Suite, Midnight Blue Script on Ivory Stationary, Platinum Diamond Wedding Rings

Classic White Wedding Shoes, Open Toe Bridal Shoes

Sarasota Bride Admiring Her Hanging Lace Lazaro Wedding Dress

Florida Bride and Bridesmaids Wearing Matching Silk Midnight Blue Robes

Elegant Florida Bride and Mother Getting Ready Portrait, Wearing White Spaghetti Strap Floral Lace Lazaro Wedding Dress with Train, Mother in Midnight Silver Moon Inspired Long Dress

Classic Florida Bride and Bridesmaids in Long One Shoulder Navy Blue Dresses, Dark Midnight Blue Brideside Bridesmaid Dresses, Bride Wearing White Lazaro Wedding Dress, Holding Ivory Floral Bouquets with Greenery | Sarasota Luxury Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Classic Florida Bride and Bridesmaids in Dark Midnight Blue Brideside Dresses, Bride Wearing White Lazaro Wedding Dress, Holding Ivory and Light Blue Floral Bouquets with Roses and Greenery | Sarasota Luxury Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Classic Florida Destination Wedding Ceremony, Waterfront Garden Ceremony on Green Lawn, with White Chairs and Palm Trees, Floral Arches with Ivory and Blush Florals with Greenery | Sarasota Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning | Tampa Bay Wedding Officiant A Wedding with Grace

What was your wedding theme?
Having the wedding at the beautiful Ritz Carlton meant we didn’t need a whole lot of “stuff” to impress our guests. We let the venue and views speak for themselves, for the most part, with just the right amount of decor and flowers to personalize the setting. Everyone felt like they were on a tropical vacation

What were your colors?
We had our wedding in October, but we are used to much colder temperatures up north that time of year, so we didn’t want to do the stereotypical fall colors when it was 80 degrees. We chose a mixture of midnight and light blue plus warm grays and whites to complement the soft, sandy beach, and crystal waters. October 13th was a full moon as well, so we wanted to pay tribute to that special event via the colors. Blue isn’t limited to any particular season, and it’s timeless!

Luxurious, Garden Inspired Wedding Ceremony Decor, Lush Ivory Flowers, White Roses, Blue Hibiscuses, Thistle, Baby's Breath, and Greenery | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Florida Bride and Father Walk Down the Aisle at Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Florida Bride and Father Walk Down the Aisle at Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Bride and Groom Exchange Vows in Outdoor Garden Lawn Ceremony at Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Sarasota Wedding Officiant A Wedding With Grace | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Bride and Groom Exchange Vows in Outdoor Garden Lawn Ceremony at Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Sarasota Wedding Officiant A Wedding With Grace | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

What did you look for in a wedding officiant?
Jen was definitely most anxious for the ceremony, what bride isn’t, so we wanted someone who had a calming demeanor, a clear but soft voice, and a positive aura!

The moment we saw A Wedding with Grace‘s past work online, we knew Grace would be the perfect person to stand by our side and guide us through our vows. She checked off all of our boxes, and our initial email exchange went flawlessly. She’s kindhearted, easy to work with, and incredibly professional. We have to give a special shout to Grace since we continue to keep in touch despite her busy wedding schedule!

Bride and Groom Exchange Vows in Outdoor Garden Lawn Ceremony at Ritz Carlton Sarasota, Lush Floral Arches with White Roses, Ivory Flowers, Greenery and Blue Hibiscus Flowers, Bridesmaid in Long Midnight Blue Dress, Bride in Lazaro Wedding Dress | Sarasota Wedding Officiant A Wedding With Grace | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

What did you look for in a wedding planner?
Jen is pretty hands-on when it comes to coordinating things, both in our business and personal lives, so she wanted to plan most of the elements leading up to the wedding. After speaking to past brides, we knew we needed extra help getting everyone organized the day of so we didn’t have to rely on the wedding party to coordinate anything. We wanted everyone, especially our families, to enjoy themselves to the fullest.

NK Productions was definitely the most flexible in terms of letting us do our thing with the planning but also being there to support us when we needed them. Their team has done a ton of weddings at the Ritz, so we knew they were highly familiar with the venue, their requirements, and the staff.

Florida Bride in Lazaro Wedding Dress and Groom Wedding Portrait with Pets, Two Chihuaha Puppy Dogs Dressed in Tuxedos | Florida Wedding Pet Care Planner FairyTail Pet Care | Sarasota Wedding Planner | NK Productions Wedding Planning

Why did you choose to incorporate your dogs into your wedding day?
Jen’s family is super into their dogs. I have known her family’s chihuahua, Georgie, since we met back in high school. They have always had a special bond, and Georgie was really the inspiration for us bringing Leo home two years ago! Leo is pretty much our pride and joy, so we knew we had to have him and his smiling face in the ceremony. They are two peas in a pod.

We knew we would need help with our incredibly sweet but sometimes stubborn chihuahuas. Obviously, FairyTail Pet Care is the leader in the industry for helping couples have their dogs at their wedding, so they were a very easy choice. Not only do they have a wonderful service, but they are a charitable organization as well. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how great the handlers were in terms of getting Leo and Georgie exercise before the ceremony to acclimate them with the venue. We also hired them to dog-sit during the reception so we could fully enjoy the night. We’ve never had anyone other than Jen’s parents and brother watch Leo because we are so overprotective of him, but we felt completely at ease knowing he and Georgie were in great hands. They even texted us photos and updates throughout the night.

Florida Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait with Pets, Two Puppy Dogs Dressed in Tuxedos | Florida Wedding Pet Care Planner FairyTail Pet Care | Sarasota Wedding Planner | NK Productions Wedding Planning

Romantic Florida Bride and Groom Wedding Portraits outside the Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Classic Florida Bride and Groom Hold Hands and Walk on the Sand on Gulf Coast Beach, Bride Wearing Lazaro Wedding Dress Holding Ivory and White Floral Bouquet, Groom in Silver Suit, Sunset Wedding portrait

The Proposal:
We dated on and off for almost 10 years before Geoff proposed so the cat was sort of out of the bag at that point. Geoff proposed at home in Chicago a few days after my birthday, with our dog Leo in tow, right before a [real estate] showing we were both attending (only natural). It was exactly what I wanted. He told me that he had a few surprises up his sleeve for after the showing, and I had to act like it was a normal Sunday afternoon in front of the other agent even though I was so excited inside!

After the showing, he surprised me by taking me to Ralph Lauren for dinner and an overnight stay at the Ritz Carlton Chicago, which is a hotel I used to frequent with my parents growing up and a key reason we chose the Ritz Carlton Sarasota as our venue. He used my great grandmother’s ring to propose (thanks Mom!), and we went ring shopping the next day. It’s really rare for us to spend an entire day just to ourselves since we both work seven days a week, especially during the summer, so I’ll never forget walking down Magnificent Mile on a Monday with all the tourists in our own city!

Coastal Inspired Wedding Reception and Decor, Silver Moon Table Linens, Chiavari Chairs and Chargers, Low Floral Centerpieces with White Baby's Breath, Ivory Roses, Blue Hibiscus, and Greenery at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning | Sarasota Wedding DJ and Entertainment Grand Hemond & Associates

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
We have a wide array of musical tastes so we knew initially we wanted a DJ instead of a band, especially since we needed to conserve square footage in the main room for the dance floor. At the same time, we didn’t want to subject our guests to doing the cha-cha slide and hearing sports arena-like announcements throughout the night. Music is important to us, so we created our own playlist and had to trust that the DJ we chose was going to follow our wishes.

We couldn’t have been happier with Eric Harding of Grant Hemond & Associates. We created a playlist that he respected and also intertwined some other songs that we didn’t even think of that wound up being a huge hit among the guests. He’s great at narrowing in on people’s tastes and also analyzing the vibe in the room to play each song at the perfect moment. Of course, he 100% stuck to our “do not play” list and didn’t pressure us to do any over the top intros for the wedding party, which was much appreciated. We received so many compliments about Eric because the dance floor was pretty much full the entire night with guests from ages 23 to 85! Plus, he’s just a really cool guy.

Simplistic Wedding Decor at Reception, Silver Table Number with Custom Monogram, Tall Floating Candle, Low Floral Centerpiece with Ivory Roses, White Flowers, and Blue Floral Stems with Greenery | Florida Destination Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

Classic Three Tier Buttercream Wedding Cake with Pearl Beaded Accents, White and Ivory Floral Topper, Tea Lights and Simplistic Cake Table Decor | Luxury Tampa Bay Wedding Planner NK Productions Wedding Planning

What advice would you give to other Sarasota couples?
Don’t worry about the weather, but worry about the weather. We almost had our wedding at another waterfront venue, and it would have been incredible for sure, but there was no backup plan in terms of weather other than paying for a tent that you might not even use. I’m still glad we opted out because even though the day wound up being beautiful anyway, we would have been incredibly stressed out in the months leading up to the wedding worrying about rain and humidity. If you’re stressed out during the planning process, you might not enjoy the day quite as much.

Also, Sunday weddings are no cheaper than Saturday and some vendors actually have premiums for Sunday services, so don’t pick an off day thinking you’ll get a huge discount.

Ceremony, Reception Venue, Caterer and Cake: Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Photographer: Justin DeMutiis Photography
Videographer: Life’s Highlights
Planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist and Rentals: Botanica International Design Studio
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Violinist: Matt Dendy
Officiant: A Wedding with Grace *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Pet Care: FairyTail Pet Care *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Invitations: Minted
Transportation: Sarasota Trolley
Dress Designer: Lazaro
Dress Alterations: Alterations by Wendy
Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Brideside
Hair & Makeup: Fresh Salon
Wedding Bands: Ivy and Rose Vintage (Chicago)
Engagement Ring: Jewels of Lake Forest
Rehearsal Dinner: Crab & Finn

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.




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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