With all of the romance in the air this Valentine’s week, it has us thinking about one thing – weddings! Since Anna Maria Island is considered the #1 destination in Florida for beach weddings, we have a few insider tips for those of you who are thinking about walking down the aisle on one of our beautiful, sandy beaches.
Think outside the wedding box! If you’re going to have your wedding in beautiful Florida, we suggest including a boat rental in your wedding plans. Hey, you could even have your wedding on a rental boat! Why not break all of the traditional rules! That’s what having a beach wedding is all about.
Instead of having your ceremony or reception at a waterfront restaurant, why not choose a private beachfront vacation rental instead as your wedding ceremony or reception location? There are so many ways to turn a standard beach wedding into the magical one that you’ve always dreamed of. Find out how with these insider tips from a local.
Tip #1: Don’t Miss the Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival
The best wedding event that Florida has to offer is happening on February 26th and 27th – the AMI Wedding Festival. This is way cooler than any other wedding “show” out there because it doesn’t take place in a convention center or hotel ballroom – this one starts with a kick-off “Tiki Party” at Gulf Drive Café and Tiki. After you get your tiki on, you and your fiancée will hop on a trolley or limo and continue visiting ceremony and reception locations around Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. Along the way you’ll meet and greet some of our wonderful wedding professionals including local photographers, caterers, florists, DJs and more.
Tip #2: Choose a Private Spot for your Florida Beach Ceremony and Reception Location
If you dream of having a beach wedding on a gorgeous Florida beach, make sure you keep one thing in mind: your privacy. Florida beaches are public so depending on what location you choose, there could potentially be a lot of onlookers (a.k.a. “gawkers”) for your special day. Most people are usually very cooperative and will voluntarily move out of your wedding’s way, but there is no “beach wedding rule” that forces people watch their sunset somewhere else just because they’re not on your guest list. To eliminate this problem or cut down on the number of people rubbernecking (and also making a cameo appearance in your wedding photos), we suggest choosing a location where there are less beach-goers. Longboat Key has very little public parking, so its beaches have a lot less foot traffic than those of Anna Maria. For access to one of the most private Florida beaches (and perfect for wedding ceremonies,) we recommend renting Cannons by the Sea Cottages. These vacation rental cottages are located on a secluded portion of Longboat Key, which is situated on the stunning Gulf of Mexico. You can rent all four cottages and have a beachfront ceremony site, a reception site and housing for up to 15 people. Really, this is ideal location that will make your dream beach wedding come to life – without any gawkers.
Tip #3: Choose a Local DJ and Florist for Authentic Island Style
Getting married on the beach allows you to drop the formality of so many cumbersome wedding traditions…like shoes, for instance. Who needs ’em? We say, go barefoot or go home! Enjoy the sand between your toes (and the fact that the weather is warm enough to go shoeless!). You and your guests can shed your socks and shoes – this is a rare chance to let your toes see the sunshine, so go for it.
Those bare feet will want to dance while they’re free, so let’s talk about some beachy wedding music options. Local musician and DJ Chuck Caudill can put together a classic mix of groovin’, beachy tunes or John Rinell’s steel drum music will have you jammin’, mon!
For flowers, you have to go bright and tropical to compliment this stunning scenery. We love Sylvia Zadarosni’s unique floral creations from Sylvia’s Flower Corner on Anna Maria Island. Sylvia uses deeply-hued orchids, orange and yellow proteas and even pink mini pineapples for unusual bridal bouquets and table centerpieces. And if you don’t want to deal with flowers at all, you can skip them all together and use seashells instead. Your flower girl can be a “shell girl,” and sprinkle small shells along the sandy aisle.
Tip #4: Add a Boat Rental to Make Your Wedding Unique!
Including a rental boat in your wedding plans is an affordable (and fun) way to make your event really special. Offering a rental boat as a pre-wedding excursion will absolutely thrill guests who have come a long way to be a part of your special day. No visit to Florida is complete without a chance to get out on the water! The morning of your wedding, a fishing boat rental makes a great outing for the guys while the girls get mani/pedis. Another option? Choose a waterfront restaurant (like Mar Vista or Moore’s Stone Crab) for your rehearsal dinner and bring your guests to the restaurant via boat. If their boat ride includes a view of the sunset and a glass of champagne, your guests will absolutely think they’re in paradise…
Wait, they actually are in paradise.
And after your Florida beach wedding turns out to be better than you ever imagined, you’ll be in paradise too. Mazel Tov!