Whitney and Chad's Boca Grande wedding was a tropical daydream that incorporated a vibrant pink floral palette that popped against rich green monstera leaves. While the weekend celebration had been planned for May, the bride and groom decided to move forward with their wedding date and scale down the attendance from 200 guests to 11 plus their beloved dog.
“We were hesitant to postpone for several reasons. First, we already had a long engagement, fifteen months, and the thought of waiting even longer to finally be married to each other made us both a little sad. We knew we wanted to call each other husband and wife and that there would be many celebrations in the future to make up for the smaller ceremony,” the bride explained. “We also weren’t sure how long a postponement would even be in light of all the uncertainty.”
Sitting on the southernmost tip of the surrounding Sarasota area, Boca Grande offers a secluded paradise atmosphere close to home.
“We live in downtown Fort Lauderdale, but I am from Tampa Bay originally. We’ve always had a special love for the west coast of Florida, and when my brother pointed out Boca Grande, we knew it was perfect,” Whitney beamed. “It has a sophisticated Key West vibe that we can’t get enough of.”
With all of the uncertainty that comes with hosting a wedding during COVID-19, Whitney relied on the experience and expertise of NK Weddings to perfectly plan their day.
“In a wedding planner we looked for someone with familiarity with the area and venue of our wedding, as well as someone with a friendly personality,” the bride explained. “NK Weddings has intricate knowledge of west coast Florida wedding scenes and also has an eye for details, which I appreciated. They were spectacular, especially in light of the changing circumstances that occurred every day!”
As Whitney looked back on her and Chad's wedding day, she was overcome with gratitude at being able to hear their families' blessings of their marriage.
“My most memorable moment was definitely family speeches,” the bride reminisced. “The fact that our immediate family could be next to us was something we took for granted before the pandemic. Hearing them give their blessings to us and having them by our side is something I’ll always be grateful for.”
Chad and I met for the first time at a local restaurant called Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale. We sat at a cute table in the corner and talked until the place closed. For our engagement, he completely re-created our first date down to the same table and chairs. He asked me to go outside to the dock to look at the Intracoastal, where unbeknownst to me, my friends were hiding and taking pictures. He got a down on one knee, and the rest is history!
What did you look for in a wedding planner?
Familiarity with the area and venue of our wedding, as well as someone with a friendly personality.
NK Weddings has intricate knowledge of west coast Florida wedding scenes and also has an eye for details, which I appreciated. They were spectacular, especially in light of the changing circumstances that occurred every day!What was your theme?
Island chic. we wanted a tropical island vibe, while also capturing the beauty of our venue and its historic feel. What were your colors?
Sea foam green, khaki and pink.
What advice would you give to other couples who have been affected by COVID?
Try and not dwell on what should have been and focus on all that is still happening. At first, I was devastated that 15 months of planning my dream wedding with all my family and friends was for nothing. But I realized that I still had the most important day of my life happening, which was to marry my best friend. I may have spent over a year planning a wedding that didn’t happen as I planned, but I spent my adult life trying to find my person.
A big celebration can always happen later on, but finding your spouse is life-changing and is worth celebrating regardless of guest counts.
I also recommend virtual streaming, but make sure you personally test it with the crew ahead of time! Ours never got broadcasted as planned because of technical errors!
Venue, Caterer, and Cake: Gasparilla Inn Beach Club
Photographer/Videographer: Corner House Photography
Planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist: Victoria Blooms
Rentals: So Staged Event Rentals
Reception Music: Peter Simms
Officiant: The Lighthouse Methodist Church
Dress Shop and Designer: A&Be Bridal Shop; Rue de Seine
Bridesmaid Dress Shop: Birdy Grey
Hair & Makeup: Kimberly Calhoon
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.