Kelly and Matt’s destination waterfront Sarasota wedding featured an elegant reflection of Florida’s natural elements paired with a luxurious ambiance under a Sperry Tent with vintage market-string lighting. The bride and groom designed a wedding weekend that included amazing live entertainment, a cigar roller, and a firework grand finale.
“The theme of our wedding was bright, elegant, and airy. Because the previous year was so difficult for all of us, the last thing we wanted was a serious, uptight, stuffy vibe. We hadn’t seen some of our friends or family who live in different states for over a year, so it was important that we keep the feel of the entire weekend very light and playful,” the bride revealed. “We incorporated white crisp florals, ranunculus and orchids, deep lush greens, and small hints of local kumquat sprigs, as well as lots of candlelight. We chose sea blue drinking glasses as a pop of color. The ladies wore champagne dresses, and the men wore black tuxedos.”
The couple prioritized hiring a Sarasota wedding planner experienced with hosting events of this magnitude and that would be able to assist them throughout every detail.
The Chicago couple carefully considered how they could safely host their destination wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic for their 85 guests. With the help of NK Productions, Kelly created a system using small groups and social distancing that left guests feeling comfortable and secured.
“The safety and comfort of our guests were our top priority. We went above and beyond to communicate with our guests how each event would be laid out and what preventative measures would be in place. We implemented a wristband system, where each guest could identify their level of comfortability that reflected their greeting preference to avoid any confusion or uncomfortable situations,” the bride explained. “It was very well received, and all of our guests were respectful of others. Our planner, Nicole, helped us design a floor plan that was strategically spaced and mindful of groups or ‘bubbles.’ We received many compliments about how safe our guests felt and are delighted to report that there was no COVID spread.”
While reminiscing on all of the details of their wedding, it was the surprise fireworks grand finale that left a lasting impression.
“We had a really fabulous firework show that we will always remember. We had arranged for all of the guests to exit the tent for the cutting of the cake, and then surprised them with the best firework performance we’ve ever seen,” Kelly gushed. “It was an incredible feeling watching the spectacular show with our closest friends and family. It gives us goosebumps to recall!”
Matt showed up by surprise in Siesta Key to propose in December. He arrived by boat to the pier in my backyard, which was a complete shock as I was certain that Matt was back in Michigan celebrating the holidays with his family. When I saw Matt pull up, engagement did not even cross my mind, as I knew he would not propose without his brother and sister-in-law around, who (to my knowledge) were celebrating the holidays in Denver. It was a complete shock when he, in fact, did propose on the boat dock, and his entire family (including brother and sister-in-law included) were waiting inside to celebrate!
What made your wedding unique?
One thing that was particularly unique was that we actually had been married in a Catholic chapel back in November. We weren’t sure what January would bring as it was the height of the pandemic, so we chose to be married with our immediate family and grandparents (12 people) in Chicago. Not only was that very emotional, intimate, and special, but it also took a lot of stress and pressure off of our Florida wedding.
The few weeks leading up to the wedding were particularly chaotic as a handful of our closest friends and family, including our officiant, had to make the unfortunate call to not attend the wedding due to COVID restrictions. While this could have been a much bigger deal, we had a lighthearted approach and chose to view our second wedding as an “added bonus” to the first. Matt’s dad was able to officiate the ceremony at the last minute, and we would not have had it any other way. The nerves were very minimal, and all we really cared about was having a good time! It all was truly perfect and went off without a hitch. And who else can say they had two weddings during a global pandemic?! We had the best of both worlds and made the most of an unfortunate situation.
What did you look for in a wedding planner?
When looking for a wedding planner, NK Productions stood out by a mile. Nicole and her team are wildly connected in the area, and there was no vendor that they recommended that did not completely blow us away. They were super organized and handled all of the contracts and COVID discussion with our vendors which was an enormous weight off of our shoulders!
What we valued most about Nicole was that she was incredibly calm. Because we were trying to navigate uncharted territory (a wedding during a pandemic), it was easy to get worked up about all of the what-ifs. I remember during the spring of 2020 when things were starting to turn south, we were hearing horror stories about weddings for the first time, and the idea of postponing was first introduced. Of course, we had so many questions that no one (not even the all-knowing Nicole!) could answer, but she told us that we should remain calm, and she would let us know if/when we should panic or consider changing our date. That really worked! She kept us incredibly optimistic and understood our concerns for safety. Ultimately, the NK Productions made the planning process fun, enjoyable, and dare I say, easy? They made our day as perfect as can be and we’d recommend them to anyone!
Where did you host your bachelorette party?
Where did you spend your honeymoon?
Miami and Little Palm Island
How did you incorporate your personalities into the wedding?
I was adamant about incorporating the bright, fun touch of cumquats in the flower and table arrangements which made the tablescape unique! We chose to have our family sit at the head table instead of our bridal party as we are very close with both sides of our families and wanted to spend time with them before the rest of the night got away from us. That was one of our favorite elements of the night, being able to take in the moment and listen to the toasts with our family. Lastly, we had a cigar roller present, which signified the bond between Matt and his dad, as they enjoy indulging in cigars at momentous events.
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Bright, elegant, and airy. Because the previous year was so difficult for all of us, the last thing we wanted was a serious, uptight, stuffy vibe. We hadn’t seen some of our friends or family who live in different states for over a year, so it was important that we keep the feel of the entire weekend very light and playful.
What were your colors?
We incorporated white crisp florals, ranunculus and orchids, deep lush greens, and small hints of local kumquat sprigs, as well as lots of candlelight. We chose sea blue drinking glasses as a pop of color. The ladies wore champagne dresses, and the men wore black tuxedos.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Bay Preserve at Osprey
Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo
Videographer: Olson Film
Planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Florist: Victoria Blooms
Caterer and Cake: Michael’s on East
Rentals: Swanky Soiree
Tent and Flooring: US Tent Rental
Furniture Rentals: So Staged
Ceremony and Cocktail Music: Simply Strings
Reception Music: The Rivertown Band
Officiant: Daniel James McCarthy
Invitations: Brown Fox Creative
Dress Shop and Designer: Alice in Ivory (Chicago), Jane Hill Bridal
Shoe Designer: Alexandre Birman
Bridesmaid Dress Designer: White by Vera Wang
Hair & Makeup: Eri Vincent Makeup
Rehearsal Dinner: Ritz Carlton Beach Club
Fireworks: Fireworks Displays Unlimited
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.