The wedding went from 180 guests to about 12, but the couple was happy to tie the knot.
For Savannah Cobb (nee Schield) and now-husband Aaron, a beach wedding was the backup plan.
Savannah, who works for the town of Longboat Key as deputy city clerk, didn’t plan on getting married on Longboat Key, the island where she grew up and now works. She and Aaron had planned a May 9 wedding at the Palmetto Riverside Bed and Breakfast with 180 people.
Their wedding was going to be on the river and the reception on the patio.
“Obviously that’s all crashed and burned,” father Steve Schield, a longtime town planner who retired in 2018, said a day before the big event. “They wanted to go ahead and be married, so we’re doing this very immediate family only.”
The newlywed Cobbs changed course on the venue, not on the date. They wound up getting married at Zota Beach Resort on May 9 with about a dozen guests, mostly members of their immediate families, plus the maid of honor.
“It’s kind of funny because I never thought I’d ever get married on the beach,” Savannah said. “This is something I always said I just didn't want to do. I always wanted to get married near the water. but not on the beach just because I just grew up on it. But I also said the same thing about moving back here, but Longboat is very special to me.”
The Cobbs will still have their 180 guests come together to celebrate their marriage, but at a later date when it’s safe to gather in such large groups, of course.
“I just think May 9 meant a lot to both of us,” Savannah said. “I just think we didn’t really want to wait any longer, for another six months. It’s about the marriage, not just the wedding.”
The current planned date for the reception is Oct. 24.
Luckily, many of the vendors were able to move with the wedding.
“She (Savannah) said, ‘Dad, I’m only getting married twice,’ and I said, ‘OK,’” Schield said laughing about the dual dates in May and October.
The beach wedding came together with a little imagination — and flowers from Publix. Savannah still had her bouquet, but the reception (AKA the Schield family pool) was decorated with flowers from Sam’s and Publix, said Schield.
“I’m a very low-key person so I was actually kind of stressed about the whole big wedding, so this is kind of nice having a small, intimate wedding,” Savannah said.
On the evening of the wedding, the small group headed down to the beach at Zota where Savannah and Aaron got to tie the knot on the date they planned.
“People were cheering us from the beach,” Schield said. “We had to walk up the beach a little bit to get away from the crowd.”
Savannah’s boss, city clerk Trish Shinkle, arranged for a parade of police and fire vehicles to whisk the newlyweds back to the Schield home for a reception. A dozen cars of former wedding guests formed a procession down Gulf of Mexico Drive, capped off by a fire truck at the end of the parade.