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Florida Destination - HELP!

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Chelle0511

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Hello Everyone - I''m back! After being engaged 2 weeks and getting some thoughts together, we have decided on Florida. We will be taking approx. 12 other adults, and 8 children. We would like to rent a beachfront vacation home, and wed on the beach of the home. We would like for things to be simple, fun, relaxing, and memorable - a vacation for everyone!

Possibly a pool side small reception afterwards, or a nice dinner out. Restaurant recommendations?
So, now I need some advice from you wonderful women!

Where? Oh where? There are soooooo many choices! We want somewhere with lots to do, but a bit quiet as well. We do not want to be stuck in a retirement community, yet we don''t want to be in a total party zone either. Must be kid friendly too!

Also, I know there will be nights we want to do nice dinners etc without the children, what do you suggest in this case?

Also, Florida Wedding Services - recommendations? I don''t want anything cheesy!

Florida Keys? Gulf Coast?

Help! Help! Help!

And...thank you SOOOOO MUCH in advance!
 

dragonfly411

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
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I would recommend looking into St. Augustine. There are several great venues, lots of bed and breakfast people could stay in, and it IS the oldest city in the US so lots of sights to see, the old fort, walk through old town, shopping, the fountain of youth, ripley''s believe it or not, carriage rides, great restaurants, ghost tours, etc. It''s my second home....swoon.
 

lliang_chi

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Chelle, what time of the year are you looking to go down to FL? I''d think that March is the best weather down there. I haven''t lived in FL for over 10 years so I can''t really give that many good suggestions, but the Gulf Coast is a lot quieter than Southeast FL. Other thoughts would be a on the east coast but north of West Palm Beach.
 

Chelle0511

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We were thinking April, but there are a few couples that prefer to not take their children out of school for a week. Is June really hot and uncomfortable?
 

dragonfly411

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June will be pretty muggy. April is nice, not too hot, not too cold, cooler evenings for walking etc.
 

dragonfly411

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April is definitely warm enough for swimming. I''ve been lounging by the springs fairly often this month hehe
 

Kelli

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August can be quite miserable with the muggy heat. June can be too, or it can be really rainy. You have to plan for rain if you''re going in the summer time. I''d say March and April are the best months here. If the pool will be heated, no problem swimming in April.
 

Chelle0511

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Feb 19, 2009
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78
Thank you! I have a 7 y/o autistic brother, and my mother will not let him miss a week of school ... I''m so torn!
 

Inanna

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Date: 4/22/2009 2:36:51 PM
Author: Chelle0511
Is April warm enough for swimming? Also, which would be better - June or August?
April will most definitely be warm enough for swimming in Southern Fl. August is in the midst of hurricane season, so that would be a bad idea. June is in the beginning of hurricane season and is also during the rainy season... so not ideal, but not as bad as August.

I'm having a destination wedding in the Florida Keys with about 50-60 guests and I chose a private residence that can house 25 of our immediate family members (and us). Specifically, I chose Islamorada, Fl essentially because it is only an hour and fifteen minutes drive from the Miami Airport and I thought it had the best private vacation rentals. It also has lovely resorts. We decided against Key West because it was too far from major airports and too congested.

Here is blog I found while researching, and the blogger and I have the same venue. Both of our weddings are on site and it doubles as lodging (you can also just rent 1 house if you want):

Her Venue Search: http://www.bridalbuds.com/2009/01/selecting-a-site-islamorada-venues/

Her/My Venue: http://www.bridalbuds.com/2009/01/selecting-a-site-done/

Another PSer (AceP) also chose Islamorada and had her wedding at the Caribbean Resort. Here are her PS threads:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/aceps-pro-photos.84137/

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/acep-and-mr-acep-call-it-a-day-wedding-day.81651/

Pierre's is a lovely restaurant where many couples have their reception dinner:

http://www.pierres-restaurant.com/.

If you want to look further into Islamorada, please let me know. I've done tons of research throughout this process and have spoken to most of the vendors in the area.

ETA: Here is the yearly average temperature and precipitation for the area.
 

Chelle0511

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78
Inanna - you are AWESOME! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

I will definitely reseach your links! How exciting!

May I ask what the home rental rate is?

If we do have to do June, I will definitely schedule it the very begining! When in June does hurricane season begin? I really don''t want to, but I can''t imaging being wed without my mother, and my little brother. I just wish she didn''t have to be sooo difficult!


https://www.pricescope.com/idealbb/profile/myprofile.asp?userID=32911
 

Inanna

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Technically, hurricane season runs from June 1 - November 30. July, August, September, and October are the riskiest months to book. My wedding is on the very tail end of the season and I do have wedding insurance through WedSafe just in case. June is feasible, but you''ll want to have some sort of indoor (or tent) backup plan, since it tends to be a rainier month.

The rental is typically $5500 per house per week. The property manager prorated the rate for me to have both houses for 4 days and after cleaning fees and tax it comes out to $3860 per house. It sounded expensive to me at first, but there''s no typical "venue" fee, it includes lodging for 25, and we save money by being to hire our own caterer. It was the perfect combo for us!

Have fun looking and let me know if you have questions.
 

Chelle0511

Rough_Rock
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Feb 19, 2009
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Thanks again! I found it on VRBO.com right before I read your post:). IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

I''m thinking we will need 6-8 bedrooms...not 10, but there isn''t much more of a choice for beachfront.

The area is beautiful:)! I''ll have to follow your threads to see what other exciting things you have:)! Congratulations, your wedding is going to be AMAZING!
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 4/22/2009 4:08:25 PM
Author: Chelle0511
Thanks again! I found it on VRBO.com right before I read your post:). IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

I'm thinking we will need 6-8 bedrooms...not 10, but there isn't much more of a choice for beachfront.

The area is beautiful:)! I'll have to follow your threads to see what other exciting things you have:)! Congratulations, your wedding is going to be AMAZING!
Thank you so much Chelle! I'm getting pretty excited!

Do you have any idea what other areas you're looking at? We definitely wanted a Caribbean feel and looked at all of the southern Florida Keys, but ultimately were left with a choice between Islamorada and Key West. Islamorada is definitely quieter, more private, and it has recreational choices we were interested in (scuba diving, snorkeling, sportfishing, etc.) Key West has great recreational activities as well, plus places like the Audubon House, Hemingway House, etc., but it's the opposite of quiet... we are going to have a mini-honeymoon in Key West


Finding the right number of bedrooms was one of the major issues we ran into... and many vacation rental properties don't allow large weddings or they charge a wedding fee of $1500-2000. There are lots of 4 and 5 bedroom places, and then there are a few 10 bedroom places in that area (I discovered that finding 6-8 bedroom places can be pretty tough). I'm sure many resorts would be able to accomodate you as well without a huge venue fee, especially since you have such a small group. Its really all a matter of what you're looking for.

Here are a few of the other places we considered:

This one didn't allow weddings of our size. I thought it was just the prettiest house, though... still makes me drool:
http://www.vrbo.com/161679

I believe the owners of this house do allow weddings up to 20 guests, and I have seen professional photos of a small wedding there (simply breathtaking!): http://www.vrbo.com/73619

Here's one that has a 4 bedroom house plus a 3 bedroom cottage: http://www.islandvilla.com/laplaya/

And here's another 2 cottage property: http://www.islandvilla.com/searanch/

OH, this photographer (Michelle) is a local and is AMAZING! Seriously, she's a rock star! Here's her blog and website... you will see many of the properties I mentioned (we unfortunately couldn't afford her): http://endearingstudios.blogspot.com/
http://www.endearingstudios.com/

EEK, I'm sorry for writing so much!
 

Chelle0511

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Don''t be sorry - EEK - keep writing!

You''ve been a wonderful help!

The last 2 venues/cottages that you posted links for, do you recall the rental prices?

Also - the photograper? Which photographer did you end up booking, we are on a tight budget:). We''re paying for everything ourselves, just bought a new home, and have 2 children.

I think I am sold on Islamorada, it''s beautiful!

Just in case I haven''t said it enough - THANK YOU!!!!
 

Definitely. Maybe

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emeraldlover1

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You have to look at MMM''s wedding thread. She got married in Florida and her photographer is amazing! Check her out: Agnes Lopez Photography. Also...she is located in Jacksonville. I would totally look at St. Augustine. So many great places there.
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
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Date: 4/22/2009 7:06:58 PM
Author: Chelle0511
Don''t be sorry - EEK - keep writing!

You''ve been a wonderful help!

The last 2 venues/cottages that you posted links for, do you recall the rental prices?

Also - the photograper? Which photographer did you end up booking, we are on a tight budget:). We''re paying for everything ourselves, just bought a new home, and have 2 children.

I think I am sold on Islamorada, it''s beautiful!

Just in case I haven''t said it enough - THANK YOU!!!!
The last two cottages are listed on a vacation rental site, Island Villa properties:
http://www.islandvilla.com/vacation_rentals.htm. La Playa is $10,000 per week and Sea Ranch is $7,000 per week based on the website. Apparently they are the only two properties on that site that allow weddings, but since your party is small, I wonder how the "rules" apply to your situation. It certainly wouldn''t hurt to ask, however, I found every rental agency to be much less flexible than the owners on VRBO (in my experience, the owners/contacts on VRBO are much more willing to negotiate). I actually negotiated with a friend of the property owner on VRBO and then signed a contract with the managing rental agency, and the real estate agent did not seem pleased with the lower rate and flexibility I got (hah!
) . Sea Ranch is also listed on VRBO, so you might have a different contact by going that route (you might want to compare the contact numbers): http://www.vrbo.com/29775

Our photographer is a bit of a risk for us. Michelle Young was BY FAR our favorite, but her rates started at $3300 and the minimum package we would''ve wanted was $4700. We spoke to about 7-8 different photographers in all different price ranges and talent levels and ended up booking Lisette Arencibia from the Miami area: http://www.lisettea.com/. Her personality really won me over and over the last several months I''ve seen her photography improve more and more. That and great reviews, 8 hours of photography, 600-800 edited photos, and digital proof rights for $1350 really made it seem to us that the risk was worth it.

Are you thinking that you want to do food on your own, hire a caterer, or go to a restaurant for the reception dinner? We considered all of those options, but ended up hiring a caterer, who is sort of doubling as a day-of coordinator. However, I wonder if that would be cost prohibitive for your party (considering the costs of rentals, servers, etc).
 

Chelle0511

Rough_Rock
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Messages
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Thank you once again for the awesome replies!

Innana - we are planning to have a coctail/h''orderve/cake reception pool side directly following the ceremony and then we will take everyone out for a nice dinner:)!

Who is performing your ceremony, every one I pull up online looks cheap and cheesy! HELP!
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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Sep 14, 2008
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565
LOL! Yeah, a lot of the vendors in the Keys have some really bad websites.

Are you religious? We''re not really, so we simply wanted an officiant who was comforting and put us at ease. If you are religious, you might want to talk to other vendors and ask them who they recommend. Everyone I spoke to was very eager to share information (both positive and negative) about other vendors.

We booked a woman named Susan Ashmore. Her website is bad: http://www.floridakeysweddings.us/. I talked to her on the phone, however, and was very pleasantly surprised by her warm personality - all of my other vendors highly recommended her.

The only other officiant I spoke to was Michelle De La Torre: http://www.aweddingbymichelle.com/. You''ll see she has a much more professional website, but I didn''t enjoy our phone conversation.
 

Chelle0511

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Feb 19, 2009
Messages
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I thought about finding a wedding service - that provides the decor as well. Will you have an arch or bamboo arbor? If so, where will you be getting these?

Sorry for all the questions...
 

kbarro1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
120
June and August will definitely be hot an muggy and uncomfortable for those not used to it (and those who are!
) I know a girl who got married at Seaside, FL and had a beautiful time! They have homes to rent, and a small chapel if you want it. I am not sure if you can get married on the beach there or not, but it would be worth a look!

Good luck!
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 4/23/2009 6:02:20 PM
Author: Chelle0511
I thought about finding a wedding service - that provides the decor as well. Will you have an arch or bamboo arbor? If so, where will you be getting these?

Sorry for all the questions...
Chelle - don't apologize! This is actually fun for me.

Honestly, I really don't like the look of decorated wedding arches. I'm definitely a less is more type of person. Most of the people who get married at my venue, exchange their vows at these two palm trees (minus the volleyball net).

I know many officiants, wedding planners, or caterers can provide decor as well as many florists.

03beach.jpg
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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I''m also tempted to do something really super simple like this (just with rose petals of assorted colors generously sprinkled down the isle):

cermonyonbeach.jpg
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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I''m not Jewish, but I love the look and symbolism of chuppahs:

beach-wedding-photographer.jpg
 

Chelle0511

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Chuppas are my favorite too, but we are not Jewish either.

I like this look, which is kinda close - minus all the flowers;-). I like the simple elegance of the bamboo arbor and the sheer material.

http://www.sugarbeachweddings.com/eme3.html

Sorry for the link, I couldn''t get the pic resized.
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
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Actually I would like something like that. A friend of mine had a small bamboo arbor with a semi-drapey ivory fabric "roof" on top. During setup a bunch of rosepetals were placed on top of the fabic (guests couldn''t tell the rosepetals were there during the ceremony). At the end of the ceremony, during the kiss, the officiant hit the bottom of the fabric "roof" to send the rosepetals flying up into the air and over the couple... it looked like it was raining rosepetals during their kiss.


(I hope that description is understandable - it was a gorgeous surprise and the pictures were amazing.)
 
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