Post # 1
Hi all! My fiance and I have decided that we would like to have a destination wedding in Florida. We are targeting the Fort Myers and Sanibel areas. We visited the area a couple weeks ago and found two places that we really liked – the Sanibel Harbour Marriott and the Sundial Beach Resort (on Sanibel). I started the process of getting a contract in place with the Marriott after negotiating the room rates and resort fees. But, when reviewing the contract, I noticed that they have a food and beverage minimum that we hadn’t discussed previously. That minimum is based on about 40 guests attending. At this point, we are thinking of inviting about 70 people and I honestly have no idea who will come and who will not. Although our first choice has a wonderful ballroom that is beautiful, I’m not sure it would be worth the extra money if only 30 people showed up (a difference of about $2,500). My second choice is actually on Sanibel, which is what I originally wanted, but does not have the wonderful ballroom like the first one. So, I guess my question to those that have had a destination wedding is, what parts of your wedding do you remember most and what was most meaningful in the whole scheme of things? Will people actually remember being in a wonderful ballroom as opposed to just an average one? What other things were important to you when choosing a destination venue?
Thank you! 🙂
Post # 2
LoloF8: To be perfectly honest, the esthetics of the actual wedding venue were pretty important to me when we were searching for a place to have our DW. Of course looks had to be balanced with cost, ease of access, food quality, etc., but I couldn’t help thinking that if family and friends were going to travel half way around the world for a wedding, it had better be to a place worth remembering!
That said, I think it depends on a lot of factors. How far will the majority of your guests be traveling? If it’s a long haul, I would probably be more concerned with the surroundings. Can you try to get a feel for how many will be in attendance? And how flexible is your budget? Are there other areas you could cut back on? The prettier venue might require less decoration or allow for cheaper florals, for example.
If you like you could also post pictures of the two venues here and get some input on how much of a difference others see. Best of luck to you!
Post # 3
kgba: I appreciate your input and you bring up a good point. People will be coming from all over – Texas, Indiana, Connecticut, and DC. Nothing horribly far, but they will be spending money nonetheless. And you’re right, we may not have to splurge for uplighting or extra floral arrangements to spruce up the nicer venue. I’ve included pictures of the two options below. Both options open up to a patio/balcony area, which we have determined is a must have. Another option at our first choice resort is to take a dinner cruise instead of doing a traditional reception. We could charter the entire yacht and feed the same amount of people for the same amount of money that would be spent in the ballroom. So, we are wondering if that may leave more of an impact and people may enjoy that better. Decisions, decisions…..
Option # 2
Post # 4
Option 1 is breathtaking!
I had a destination wedding in Florida as well. We had a food/bev minimum as well, which was very stressful. In the end we planned for about 80 guests and ended up with somewhere around 115! I was totally surprised but it was all worth it.
keep in mind with a destination wedding, you should also take into consideration the hotel/grounds where people will be staying. the actual wedding is just one event of a whole weekend! 🙂