A Real DESTINation Wedding


October 22, 2021
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Ashley Kristen Photography

Katherine and Harris have always been up for a bit of competition. The two met when they joined the tennis league “Slam & Serve” and even started playing outside regular sessions, competing in their own team, “Sets & The City.” During that time, Harris sent Katherine a message on Instagram and asked her to go on a date numerous times, but she turned him down. Then, during a fateful halftime at a New Orleans Saints playoff game, these soon-to-be-lovers ran into each other and Harris asked Katherine on a first date – this time, she said yes!

We chatted with the New Orleanian couple about what led them to wed in sunny Destin, Florida, and how it all came together in one unforgettably magical day. 

DID: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?

Bride: I choose a destination wedding because of the restrictions in New Orleans due to Covid. We were going to have to wait to have our wedding if it was going to be in New Orleans. Harris and I got engaged in December of 2021 and wanted to have a summer wedding. As much as we both wanted to get married it New Orleans it was not going to be possible to do in the summer. 

DID: How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?

Bride: I have always loved Destin, and it has been my family’s vacation spot growing up. We have gone every year since I was a baby! You cannot beat that emerald coast water! If Harris and I could not get married in New Orleans, we wanted it to be a special place. It was a little challenging having to travel to Destin before the wedding for all of the things that had to be done (site viewing, flowers, cake/food tasting, etc). However, it was so worth it. We made a little vacation out of all the times we went for wedding-related stuff.  

DID: How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?

Bride: We did not really have the negative pushback that we were expecting from doing a negative destination wedding. Friends and family were able to make a little vacation out of our destination wedding. Some guests stayed for 4-5 days, some guests stayed for the whole week to enjoy the beautiful water. My parents really loved the idea because we go there every summer, and this summer, it was going to be extra special. 

DID: 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?

Bride: A wedding planner was something that was an absolute must for me. Without Tammy, I do not think our day would have been possible. Tammy lives in Destin so was knowledgeable about venues, and able to meet with people when I was not.  She met with my vendors, she would meet with the Event coordinator at Effie to make sure my vision was clear. Because my wedding was the first wedding at Hotel Effie, I knew I needed some extra help. When we looked at Hotel Effie in January, it had just got done being built. Tammy was actually the one who suggested Hotel Effie. She helped me with the venue, my color palate, the vendors, room block, wedding website, reception layout, day off schedule, AND SO MUCH MORE. I can’t tell you how much time Tammy and I spent on the phone! I had a vision of what we wanted the wedding to be like and Tammy helped bring that vision to life.

DID: Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception? If so, please describe them.

Bride: Because it was a destination wedding, we did not have a lot of time, but we did spend a lot of time on dance lessons. That was really our fun DIY project! 

DID: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?

Bride: The majority of our guests did not have any travel problems! I was so glad about this because it was something that I worried about.  The only thing that I thought might be a problem was that guests may have a hard time finding a place to stay if they waited last minute to book. Destin in July is peak season! Luckily, I put this information on the website early, and we did not run into any problems!

DID: Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?

Bride: It was more for our destination wedding than it would have been in New Orleans, but every penny was worth it! The venue was more because it was brand new, but I loved everything about Hotel Effie!

DID: How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not held it away from home?

Bride: Honestly, I do not think it would have been as special as it was. I went up a week early with my family and Harris so we still got some vacation time. I got to spend extra time with the guests because most of them came up early. It was special to come and celebrate us at our favorite vacation DESTINation. 

DID: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?

Bride: Have fun with the planning! It is such a special time and it is hard to not get stressed over the minor details. Do yourself a favor, and make life easier, and hire a wedding planner. One that you mesh well with. The wedding planner becomes your best friend and life coach. She is the one reminding you not to stress out, and to HAVE FUN with wedding planning. 

Vendors: Photographer: Ashley Kristen Photography; Wedding Planner: Tammy D’ Agostino of The Eventful Planner; Ceremony Site: Grand Lawn at Sandestin; Reception: Hotel Effie; Florist: Bella Flora 30A; Stationery: Gem Printing; Cake: Sweet Henrietta’s; Hair: Monique Munoz; Makeup: Stacy Alderson; Gown Designer: Sareh Nouri; Groom’s Clothing Designer: BLACK By Vera Wang; Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal; Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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