Destination I Do

Jewel of the Emerald Coast

Words by Jennifer Stein
Jewel of the Emerald Coast, Florida
By: Carolyn Steere
Looking for a mild climate that is not too far from home for your destination wedding? Then be sure to consider the Emerald Coast of Florida. Surprisingly, many states in the Midwest and south are closer to the Emerald Coast than the Emerald Coast is to Key West.
Twenty four miles of exquisite shoreline, white powdery sand and emerald green waters make a breathtaking backdrop for your barefoot nuptials. Located on the Gulf of Mexico in northern Florida, the communities of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island offer a wide array of wedding venues and activities to keep your guests amused from sunrise to sunset.
One gem we discovered on our travels was the Henderson Park Inn, a 32-room beachfront bed and breakfast. Quaint meets romantic in this Nantucket-style inn that overlooks a quiet beach where you can exchange vows with the sun setting behind you. Then just a few steps away you can retreat to the Beach Walk Café for a sumptuous meal with your closest family and friends.
Family-friendly accommodations are plentiful on the Emerald Coast, with more than 16,000 rooms lining the shore. Our pick here: the brand new Waterscape Condominiums on Okaloosa Island. Modern and spacious, perfect for those with little tykes who will delight in the lazy river that runs through the spacious pool area, or the beach just over the sandy dune. 
Your guests will have trouble deciding which of the many activities to choose from…should they rent a wave runner and explore the shoreline? How about a catamaran cruise to search out dolphins in the wild…or visit the Gulfarium and see them up close? Anyone up for a round of golf at Regatta Bay or a casual stroll through the myriad of fun shops at nearby Destin Commons or bargain shoping at Silver Sands Factory Stores? And, of course, if you are looking for a place to pamper your attendants, you do not have to search any farther than the Spa at the Emerald Grande.
If you enjoy the thrill of catching your own lunch on a deep sea fishing excursion and then having it masterfully prepared at the Lucky Snapper, then this area is for you. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin holds nine saltwater records and the area boastsleast 20 species of tasty fish available during various seasons – over four times more than most destinations.
This welcoming and affordable seashore destination has consistently received accolades for its uncommonly beautiful sandy beaches, and we add this to our list of favorite wedding destinations as well.
Henderson Park Inn,
Waterscape Condominiums,
Emerald Grande,

Another Broken Egg,
Magnolia Grill,
Beach Walk Café,
Lucky Snapper,
Catamaran Cruise, Emerald Dancer,
Florida’s Gulfarium,
Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier,
Spa at Emerald Grande,
Regatta Bay Golf,
Boogies Watersports,
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