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Friday, May 29, 2015

A Playful Florida Destination Wedding

Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Ashlee Hamon Photography

Beverly and Arnel always knew they wanted a wedding on the beach, so a destination wedding was the perfect fit. “Both my husband and I are lovers of the ocean. We chose the Gulf Coast for its beautiful sunsets and calmer, clearer water.” Ultimately, the couple decided on a beachfront wedding in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.

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While their guests had to travel to the wedding, the couple did their best to be accommodating once everyone arrived. “We wanted to make the wedding into a mini-vacation for us and our friends and family, so we rented a big beach house (it slept 21 people) where most of us stayed,” says Beverly. “We chose Cay Pointe Villa because of its capacity, its oceanfront location with large stretches of white sand, and its large open-air patio that was the perfect size for our reception.”

Once the couple made the decision to host a beachfront destination wedding, they found the logistical aspects a little challenging. “It was difficult,” recalls the bride. “For example, I had to plan how many feet of lights I would need without actually seeing the venue in person. Thankfully, my lighting people went out to the venue and measured for me!” Hosting your wedding at a rental home vs. a more traditional wedding venue can add some more legwork for the couple.

Because the couple wasn’t able to visit their chosen destination before the wedding, they relied heavily on the Internet and research to make decisions. “I used weddingwire.com for [nearly] every vendor,” says Beverly. “It is a lifesaver for a destination wedding. Also, you can ask your other vendors for advice – my photographer recommended my day-of coordinator. I relied heavily on vendor reviews.”

The couple didn’t hire a wedding planner, so the majority of the work fell on Beverly and her trusted team of friends and family. When it came to the budget, the couple was smart and prioritized their wants. For example, the bride created all the centerpieces and bouquets in advance herself. “By doing these things myself, I was able to save money to use on things that were more fun such as the fire dancer, steel pan drummer and photobooth.”

When planning any destination wedding, there is a game of give-and-take. For instance, Beverly and Arnel spent more on lodging and travel with a wedding away, but saved money on renting a space to serve exclusively as the wedding ceremony and reception venue. In the end, these two got the laid-back, beach wedding they had always dreamed of.

This self-sufficient and savvy bride has some final words of advice for other couples planning a destination wedding. “Utilize reviews of wedding vendors. Talk to them on the phone to get a sense of their personality and keep written records of all information discussed. [Also,] start early and the Internet is your friend!”

Vendors: Photographer: Ashlee Hamon Photography, Day-of Coordinator: Kristen Hansen with Flawless Fetes, Ceremony/Reception Site: Cay Pointe Villa, Cake: Chantilly Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Destiny & Light, Fire Dancers: Lanakila's, Steel Drum Band: Caladesi Steel Band, Videographer: Fairytale Productions, Photobooth: K2, Gown Designer: Alfred Angelo, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Calvin Klein

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