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John and Lauren Wohlwend tied the knot at the Church of the Palms, then headed over to The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, the same place where John popped the question to Lauren. John is the vice president of Crush-It, Inc., a custom concrete and asphalt recycling business; Lauren, the Southeast sales manager for Galatea Surgical, a medical device company, answered a few questions about their big day.

How did you two meet?

We met at a mutual friend’s birthday dinner at Michael's on East, where John had secretly planned for us to sit next to each other. We had such a fun time talking and getting to know each other that I was late to meet a friend I had previously made plans with.

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What was the proposal like?

John planned a sunset proposal on the beach at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Club. Before dinner, he grabbed my hand and walked me down to the beach to catch the sunset. As soon as we made our way to the sand, John dropped to one knee and proposed. He had beach chairs set up with roses and a bottle of champagne waiting for us. The hostess then came to get us, and told me that John had arranged a romantic dinner for us in the private room. She walked us into the private room, and my entire family--as well as John’s --jumped out to surprise and congratulate us. We all had a wonderful dinner that night, with lots to celebrate.

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How was the process of planning a wedding?

It was fun! It required many team players, including a wedding planner and tons of vendors. It was hard work, but we all worked together as a team. We put a lot of thought into the details and the timeline, and wanted to make sure that it was elegant yet fun. Our hope was that it showcased our personalities.

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How did you choose your venue?

We toured several other venues, but the Ritz was our favorite. The hotel was getting ready to embark on a fantastic renovation, and we were lucky enough to see some of the plans. After that, we were convinced it was the right venue. It also held a very special place in our heart, as it was where John proposed. Then the stars aligned and the Ritz was available the weekend we had hoped for.

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Do you have any favorite moments or stories from the wedding?

John and I had been taking dance lessons before the wedding. We were really nervous about our first dance because there were certain moves our teacher wanted us to incorporate into the dance. The only problem was that I couldn’t tell John what my dress looked like or how long it was, so I was nervous that some of the moves wouldn’t work with my dress style. Luckily, we did great, and John only stepped on my dress once!

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Do you have any advice for newlyweds?

Communication in a marriage is key. It can be very hard, but it’s extremely important for a successful marriage. Marriage isn’t about winning battles, but about finding a solution both partners can be happy with. It’s finding a middle ground. 

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Wedding Planner: Maria Brady of Choreographed Events / Venue: The Ritz-Carlton, SarasotaFlorist: Tiger Lily Flowers / Photographer: Binaryflips Photography / Dress: Vera Wang

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Editor’s Pick

Michael's On East

$$$ European, New American 1212 S. East Ave.

Sarasota’s only AAA Four-Diamond Award restaurant, this fine dining destination boasts American-Continental cuisine, an adventurous wine list and a comfortable, clubby piano lounge.