Last January as I was finishing photographing a wedding on Englewood Beach and about to head across the street to The Waverly for the reception, I was stopped by Katie and her father. Katie was in the beginning stages of planning her own beach wedding in Englewood and we talked for a few minutes.
A couple of months later, she called because she had finalized her venue and had their wedding date set. We talked over the phone and when she flew down from their home in Ohio to Florida with her fiancé Jim, we met in person at Joe Maxx on Dearborn St. to talk about the wedding and what kinds of photos they wanted.
Despite Hurricane Ian hitting Englewood in September, they held onto hope that The Pearl Beach Inn on Manasota Key would be fixed up and operational by their December wedding. The whole wedding party was staying at the Inn and they had arranged to get married on the beach in front of the hotel. Wedding Planner Sheryl Ash with To Honor You Weddings and Special Events and DJ Steve Ash were brought onboard to coordinate the decorations, arch, seating, timeline and music.
We talked multiple times during those last couple of months to make sure everything was going as planned. The day before the wedding, we all met at the Inn for a walk through of the site and to get prepared for their big day. We admired the new paint color at The Pearl and the grounds were completely cleaned up and ready for guests.
It was a beautiful Friday with a perfect blue sky, 75 degrees and just a light wind. Sheryl set up their arch and chairs so the guests would have a perfect view of the ceremony.
Jim got ready at the Inn but Katie got ready at her dad's house in Englewood and then came over. With everyone set, the wedding started.
The wedding was officiated by Jim's best friend's father. Because of this personal connection, the wedding was extremely heartfelt. They said their own vows (which I know Jim wrote the night before) and exchanged rings and stories of how they met and how their love had grown.
Then they went immediately into their first dance!
Then it was onto family pictures and their couple's photos as the sun was setting.
Katie and Jim planned their sparkler exit (with extra long sparklers) and we were able to create some fun photos and great memories. Like all relationships there were ups and downs planning this wedding after the Hurricane but the day turned out beautifully. A huge thanks to Katie and Jim who didn't give up their dream of a beach wedding on Manasota Key, even after the storm!