Destination I Do
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Real Wedding Worthy of Royalty

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Damon Tucci Photography

Sharing real destination weddings is, hands-down, one of the best parts of what we do here at Destination I Do. While we’ve seen thousands upon thousands of submissions over the years, every once in a while a wedding comes along which sticks out among the rest. Payton and Kenny’s Sarasota, Florida wedding is one such example. It has all the trimmings: an adorable couple who imbued their event with their own style and personalities, a breathtaking venue and a detail-filled reception which no attendee will soon forget.

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After getting engaged in Tuscany while on vacation with their families, Ohio couple Kenny and Payton immediately began planning their dream destination wedding. “Right away we thought we wanted to have a small destination wedding in Lake Como, Italy, but once we started making a list of family and friends we wanted to invite, we felt that asking everyone to travel to Italy would be complicated and cost prohibitive,” says the couple. “Realizing our initial thought of a small, intimate wedding was not going to happen because we had so many family and friends that we wanted to celebrate with us, the thought of the Ringling Museum [of Art] in Sarasota immediately came to mind because of its Italianate architecture and gorgeous outdoor venue.”

Since their guests were top priority, the couple tried to accommodate them from the get-go. “Some of our recently-graduated friends from college were concerned about costs so we did the following: 1. Sent out very early save-the-dates, 2. Kept everyone apprised of airline deals to either Tampa or Sarasota, 3. Provided preferred hotel rates at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota and the Hyatt Sarasota and 4. Utilized our wedding website to provide information about the local area for guests to make their own decisions about lodging and transportation,” say the newlyweds. “Additionally, we wanted to make sure we spent as much time with our guests while in Florida for the wedding, so we created a series of events starting the Thursday before our wedding and ending the Sunday after our wedding.”

Once their destination and venue was decided upon, it was time to nail-down the design of their big day. “Our theme for the wedding was Italy,” recalls Payton and Kenny. “We had such a magical time in Italy on vacation when we became engaged, and since we could not have our wedding in Italy, we wanted to do everything possible to ‘transport’ our guests there. From the initial wedding invitation choice which was lace and vintage, to the choice of marine blue and gold which was rich and regal, we attempted to make our wedding feel as majestic as Italy and as formal as the venue.”

Aside from the obvious glitz and glamour, the couple took the time to add little touches throughout their event to make sure their guests had a one-of-a-kind experience. “We reserved a spot on the digital board [at the airport] which was a free and easy way to welcome our guests and make them feel special as they arrived.  We put together welcome boxes for all our guests which contained Italian sweets and treats, such as candies and biscotti, as well as individual bottles of Lemoncello. We also created an itinerary of events for our guests which followed operatic terms such as ‘prelude,’ ‘intermezzo,’ ‘crescendo’ and ‘encore.’”

While the couple was instantly sold on their “magical” venue, it did come with a unique set of issues. “We were concerned about the logistics of having transportation from our main hotel, to Ca’ d’Zan Mansion and then to the reception area in the Courtyard. While technically on the same property, the locations of the ceremony and reception were about a half mile apart and we did not want our guests to have to walk or drive themselves.” Thankfully, the couple’s wedding planner, Nicole Kaney with NK Productions, came up with a genius solution of renting local trolleys to transport guests to and fro.

Come W-Day, everything went smoothly and was all that the couple could have dreamed of! Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for after the wedding – when Hurricane Sandy made its appearance on the coast. “Fortunately, we did not feel any effects of the hurricane other than some errant wind, but it made traveling home a bit difficult for some who had connections in Atlanta, Georgia or were flying home to the East Coast, Boston or New York.” Thankfully, those guests who were delayed were taken in by the bride’s parents and got to spend a few more days in the Florida sunshine.

After a lengthy and successful planning process, Kenny and Payton have some wedding wisdom to pass along to other destination wedding couples: “Our biggest piece of advice would be to know what type of wedding you want. Once we realized that having a small, intimate wedding was not going to work because we had so many friends and family that we wanted to be there with us on our special day, we knew that having a big, formal wedding was the way to go for us. We took it as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of our guests for holding such important places in our hearts and shared history. As we met in college through mutual friends, our friends and parents of friends played very important roles in the development of our relationship.

“Ultimately, we saw our wedding as more of a celebration of friends and family as much as it was a celebration of two people uniting. Once you know what you want, everything else will fall into place as you review the options for all of the little details. The most important thing is having the people who matter by your side along the way.”


Photographer: Damon Tucci Photography, Wedding Planner: Nicole Kaney with NK Productions, Ceremony/Reception Sites: Ca’ d’Zan Mansion/The Courtyard at the Ringling Museum of Art, Florist: Flowers by Fudgie, Catering: Michael’s Event's and Catering, Lighting: Affairs in the Air, Invitations: Arabella Papers via Peabody Papers, Gown Designer: Elie Saab’s Caelum Dress, Shoes: Christian Louboutin, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Brooks Brothers tuxedo and Hugo Boss shoes, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: WToo dresses/Vera Wang tuxedos, Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co.

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