Barefoot Sarasota Real Wedding


October 2, 2020
Words by Katy Anderson
Photos courtesy of Shauna and Jordon Photography

McKenna always dreamt of marrying the love of her life barefoot on the beach. From the sound of the crashing waves mere steps away to the feeling of sand squishing between her toes, a ceremony by the sea was McKenna’s vision of a fairytale wedding. On a sunny day in January, surrounded by their closest friends and family, McKenna and Max lived out a dream wedding in the white sands of Sarasota, Florida.

“I wanted to keep it simple and relaxed, yet elegant and memorable and I think the destination really played a huge part in achieving that,” McKenna says.

The elegance of McKenna and Max’s wedding shined in the details – a testament to how intentional they were about their special day. Tropical flower arrangements adorned the space, decorated a handmade Beachwood arch, and were held by the bridesmaids. After struggling to find an arch that McKenna liked, Max took the project upon himself and built the arch with his own two hands, using hand-picked wood from a nearby beach. To McKenna, it was more than just an arch.

“It showed me even more that he was going to work hard to build our marriage and love for one another, during the good days and the bad,” McKenna says.

The bride and groom chose The Ritz Beach Club as their wedding venue because of its simplicity, elegance and the view of the ocean. The couple also has sentimental ties to the beach they were wed upon.

“We had our first date at that beach, hammocking in the palms, eating ice cream while watching the sunset, and dancing in the rain as it started pouring on us after,” the couple says.

The bride and groom enlisted the assistance of wedding planner, Brittany Eagans (owner of Be Wed), who knew the Sarasota area and had great contacts with local vendors. Having a helping hand guiding them through the wedding planning process, McKenna and Max could focus on the details that mattered most to them, like creating a helpful wedding website for their guests. 

“[Our wedding planner] was seriously amazing and took so much off my plate, so I wasn’t worrying or thinking about vendors much, except telling her which ones I liked,” McKenna says.

Marrying in Sarasota was well worth it to McKenna and Max. Their families were ecstatic when they found out the couple was going to wed in paradise. For many of the guests, it was their first time attending a destination wedding, and everyone was looking forward to witnessing the couple say their vows as the sun set on the beach.

“The way the waves constantly kiss the shore with such intentional power, determination, and gentleness is how I picture love between a husband and wife,” McKenna says. “It seemed fitting to have our wedding on the sand.”

Photographer: Shauna and Jordon Photography; Wedding Planner: Be Wed Srq; Ceremony/Reception Site/Cake: The Ritz Carlton Sarasota; Florist & Rentals: So Staged Florals; Stationery: Minted; Gown Designer: Truly Forever Bridal; Groom & Groomsmen Clothing Designer: The Black Tux; Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Show Me Your MuMu; Band: Matt Winter Band; Hair and Makeup: Brides by Kelly Anne + Co.; Videography: Love and Covenant; Shoes: Nina Shoes; Rings: Mayors; Lighting: Affairs in the Air; Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty

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