How to Plan a Sarasota Beach Wedding

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Local experts share how to plan the perfect Sarasota beach wedding.


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Sarasota is blessed with gorgeous natural scenery—we know this to be true. So if you’re planning a wedding here, why not use the Gulf as backdrop to plan a relaxed yet elegant surfside ceremony and reception? Wedding planner Sarah Tucker shows us how to get the look with help from a crack team of local vendors.

The inspiration

“I was inspired by Sarasota and the sea,” Tucker explains, so she erected flagpoles and allowed white linen flags to wave gently in the salty sea breeze. The result was a beautiful prop that’s different from a traditional altar or chuppah. “Also, it didn’t obstruct the view of the ocean,” Tucker says.

Invitations

Each invitation has a vintage map of Anna Maria Island as a backdrop and contains colors in line with the blue palette Tucker picked. “The only darker color I wanted to incorporate was navy,” she says. Place cards written in blue script and “Captain” and “First Mate” signs on the back of the bride’s and groom’s chairs complete the look.

Color palette

Tucker used the colors of the ocean and the sand as inspiration; she wanted everything to complement the natural surroundings instead of compete with them. The turquoise piece that holds that placecards, for example, is from Sarasota Architectural Salvage.

Place settings

Gold plates and flatware with unique details add interest without being gaudy, and linens in a neutral shade allow the settings  to shine.

Flowers

Tucker wanted the flowers, by Victoria Blooms, to feel natural and ethereal. “They complement the sea oats and the beach plant life,” she explains.

Dresses

The bridesmaids’ dresses are from local designer Camilyn Beth’s Toast Master collection. “They’re current and on-trend, but not trendy,” Tucker explains. “And they’re beautiful, but they don’t take away from the bride. I also liked that the sequins mixed things up and added texture.” The bride’s dress is model Victoria  Warren’s own Vera Wang, and the simplicity lent itself perfectly to a beach bash.

Florida flavors

“We wanted to use local foods that people don’t necessarily get in other locations,” Tucker says of the food, which was by Sarasota Catering Company. She encourages her brides to incorporate grouper or other Florida foods (Key limes, anyone?) into their menus.

Cake

Leigh Growney of The Short Giraffe baked up a watercolor-inspired cake that was both elegant and in sea colors. Cake truffles with tropical toppings were the perfect bite-size accompaniments.

Jewelry

Tucker pulled in a mix of modern and vintage jewelry, including a vintage Tiffany watch and a vintage locket attached to the bride’s bouquet. “We didn’t want to go too heavy on the vintage, though,” she says, “so we mixed those pieces with modern ones.”

Hair and makeup

Braids and neutral makeup combine to create a look that’s relaxed, elegant and un-stuffy. “I wanted soft makeup and hair,” Tucker says, “nothing too harsh.”

And finally…

Tucker’s best advice for beach weddings? Let nature inspire the whole affair, from the invitations to the servingware. Don’t be afraid to do something others haven’t. And above all: Be flexible. “You have to go with the flow!” she says.

Vendors:

Photography: Naomi Chokr Photography

Styling: Sarah Tucker Events

Bridesmaids dresses: Camilyn Beth

Jewelry: Diamond Vault

Venue: Private residence on Anna Maria Island, courtesy of Pam Watts from Coldwell Banker

Hair and makeup: Styles by Kelly Anne

Flowers: Victoria Blooms

Invitations: Paper Please

Calligraphy and illustration: Shannon Kirsten Illustrations

Desserts: The Short Giraffe Mini Confections & Catering

Hors d’oeuvres: Sarasota Catering Company

Décor: Affairs in the AirU.S. Tent Rental and Sarasota Architectural Salvage

Models: Bride and groom: Victoria and James Warren; bridesmaids: Molly Morrison, Ellery Stricklin and Hannah Thompson.