by Taylor Meredith
Erin and John Allen
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Pretty pastel-colored flower petals adorned the lawn of the Healing Garden at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. This, along with plush green grass and tranquil waters just yards away, created the perfect Sarasota setting for Erin and John’s wedding ceremony, and a romantic reception at Michael’s Wine Cellar complemented it.
You’re originally from Ohio. Why did you choose to have the wedding in Sarasota?
The scenery and environment in Sarasota are gorgeous. And I thought it would be really nice for my close friends and family coming from out of state to take a long weekend and enjoy themselves.
Why did you choose the Ritz-Carlton as the location for the ceremony?
I love the classy, elegant atmosphere of the Ritz. They offer different areas in and around the hotel to choose from. We had the ceremony in the Healing Garden because I wanted to be close to water without having to get my feet in the sand, and from the Garden lawn we could see the bay. Another benefit of the Ritz is that it’s downtown and therefore close to everything, like Michael’s Wine Cellar, where we had our reception.
What attracts you to John?
Where do I start? He’s generous, kind, and understanding. He’s caring and compassionate. The list goes on.
How did you two meet?
We were living in the same apartment complex. We didn’t know each others’ names initially, so to me he was just “Neighbor Boy.” He called me “Red Land Rover Girl,” because that’s what I drove. But I had my eye on him and he had his on me, and he ended up helping me when I moved out of my building and into his. We had run into each other at a bar on Siesta Key when he offered. After that he called and invited my roommate and me out, and a few days later he asked me out to dinner, just the two of us.
How did John propose?
He had the ring in his pocket for several months, waiting on the perfect moment. Afterward, he told me that there were multiple dinners when he’d planned on doing it, but there would always be interruptions. There would be a phone call, or we would run into someone.
He was tired of walking around with the ring in his pocket. One Saturday night, we were getting ready to go out. I had just gotten out of the shower when he asked me to come into the closet to approve his shirt choice. So when I walked around the corner, he was on his knee, and there I was in a robe, with wet hair. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I look like this right now.”
How did you choose your photographer?
Nicole [Kaney, the wedding planner] is great, and I went with all of her referrals. I’m an interior designer, so I like things to be a little different, a little edgy. I didn’t want the typical, posed photographs. Nicole matches people based on their personality and style, and when we met with Jeanne, I really liked her.
What was the most memorable part of your wedding?
It’s hard to choose just one part! There were so many memorable moments, like seeing John for the first time when I began to walk down the aisle, and watching him watch me.