COVID Florida Destination WeddingWords by Kate Darnell
Photos courtesy of TRK Photography
The idea Lisann and Andrew had for their wedding from the start was to say “I do” while on vacation in one of their favorite tropical locations: the sunshine state of Florida. Unfortunately, while they were in the planning process, the pandemic hit.
We interviewed Lisann and Andrew to hear about how they navigated the difficult situation of planning during COVID and achieved their dream wedding.
Q: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
A: We chose a destination wedding because we wanted to go on vacation and just so happen in the middle of our vacation, tie the knot. We wanted to be relaxed and enjoy every moment of this special time, so we felt a destination was the best option for us.
Q: How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?
A: We're from the Midwest, so everyone was excited for a tropical trip to celebrate! A few expressed concerns but we just reminded them that we would love to have them celebrate with us but we also understand if it may not be the best choice for them.
Q: How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?
A: We went on an extended weekend trip to Florida and visited multiple locations across the state to select our dream wedding location. The JW Marriott Marco Island checked all of our boxes. It has many restaurants, pools, and ceremony locations to choose from. They also had the exact type of food and drink package that we wanted for our guests. Further, part of the hotel is adult only and the other part allows kids. This set-up provided a great balance of adult and kid-friendly options such as an on-site arcade bar. Lastly, the outside and inside options for a ceremony and reception were endless. We wanted everything to be outdoor but we wanted to love the indoor space just as much in case of inclement weather. The JW was able to provide these options and craft exactly what we wanted for both scenarios. This was a big selling point for us because most of the other venues we looked at did not have the same options.
Q: How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: We visited three times before our wedding date. Our first time to our venue, we were only able to stay for a few hours because a hurricane was coming in and we had to change our flight. We were only there for a few hours but we knew that it just felt right for us. Over the next two visits, we did food tastings, cake tasking, meeting with our planner, and meeting with the hotel to finalize details. The most difficult part about planning was planning and re-planning because our initial date was May 31st, but due to the pandemic, we pushed it back to August 14th. Our wedding planner Carrie, was so helpful. Any issues or concerns, she easily managed and helped us through different options to execute the day we had been dreaming about.
Q: Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?
A: Our first priority after selecting our wedding venue was selecting a top wedding planner, in which, we selected THE BEST, Carrie Darling. Carrie was so helpful, kind, and creative. She responded to all of our needs and addressed any concerns along the way. We're so thankful for her and the special weekend she created for us.
Q: Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception? If so, please describe them.
A: Since we had a destination wedding, we already had A LOT to fly or ship down, so we didn't do any DIY projects. Our wonderful and talented wedding planner, Carrie Darling and her husband Matt, created some timeless pieces for our event that made it SO special. I also had a painting made of our sweet doodle, Scarlett as she was our signature cocktail for the night!
Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
A: Share the wedding planning as a couple. We are very much about being equal partners in our relationship and it was important for us to plan our destination wedding together. As stressful as weddings can be (especially during a pandemic), we chose to try and enjoy the moments of planning all of the details as they truly make your event so special. We had quite a few stumbles along the way as just a few days before our wedding, my cousin who was supposed to marry us tested positive for COVID. There were many situations where we had to adapt whether finding a new officiant, changing the date, or adjusting expectations. At the end of the day, we still had an amazing trip, we got married, and everyone stayed healthy.
Vendors: Photographer: TRK Photography; Wedding Planner and Event Designer: Carrie Darling Events; Ceremony/Reception Site: JW Marriott Marco Island; Florist and Rentals: Tom Trovato Event Floral & Design; Cake: Sassy Cakes; Hair & Makeup: Duality Artistry; Gown Designer: Madi Lane; Groom’s Clothing Designer: DC Tux; Videography: Forelsket Films; Band: Matt Winter Band; Bridal Salon: Laurel Wreath Bridal; Shoes: Badgley Mischka; Earrings: Twigs & Honey; Rings and Watch: Moyer Fine Jewelers
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