Brides historically chose June as the most desirable month for their ceremony, but destination weddings have throw out the calendar. Exchanging vows somewhere other than a hometown church is the growing trend. Resorts and exotic locations temp couples with gorgeous settings, warm winter weather – if desired, and assistance with planning. Plus, family and friends can enjoy a getaway, too.
Hotels embrace the concept because lavish functions and even those more low-key produce big income. Host facilities maintain a list of reliable vendors like florists, bakeries, photographers and transportation options to help coordinate nuptials. They essentially become “the wedding planner.”
Destination weddings do not necessarily mean an international venue. Some brides choose a place where the family has vacationed for years, a place that holds memories.
In the Southeast region, the Casa Marina Hotel on Jacksonville Beach, Florida, reigns as one of the most popular choices. Rebekah Blakely, the hotel’s Director of Catering says, “We have an intimate facility and only hold one wedding per day. We assure exclusivity and our entire staff is committed to delivering dedicated service.”
The historic hotel must be doing things right because the Casa Marina earned a Best of Weddings listing from The Knot, a premier wedding website. General Manager Mark Vanderloo said, “Back in 2004, the hotel hosted about 30 weddings but the number grew to approximately one hundred by 2011.”
Brides are choosing the ease of holding their wedding and reception in the same locale. Beach weddings have tremendous appeal and Casa Marina brides can choose between an oceanside ceremony or the hotel’s courtyard which lies just steps off the shore. When brides realize they can eliminate the complications of sand and rent a tent in case of bad weather, they often choose the courtyard. This also negates the need for a beach permit.
To match the non-traditional setting, many couples want flower arrangements or favors that feature a beach theme. They often incorporate shells, driftwood, starfish, floating candles and sand. Some couples select a seafood menu and specialized wedding cake featuring nautical designs. For example, Classic Cakes of Jacksonville Beach offers wedding cakes with white chocolate sea shells and brown sugar sand.
Wedding photographer Emily Martin suggests working the beach as a romantic backdrop. She frequently whisks the couple onto the sandy shores for a quick sunset photo shoot. Sunrise is the best, she adds, ” but few brides select early morning ceremonies. ”
Today’s saavy brides know what they want and they want a memorable day that runs flawlessly. We can’t guarantee the weather, say Blakely at the Casa Marina, but we can take the worry out. Weddings are our specialty. We pride ourselves in excellent management of every detail. No wonder brides and mother-of-the-brides are choosing the Casa Marina.