Since we are having our wedding in Florida, the first thing most people expect is:
Image via Gulf Beach Weddings
A beach wedding.
I always knew I wanted my ceremony to be in a Catholic church, but I never really pictured myself having a beach reception. I am not into shells and sand dollars. I certainly could not swing a “nautical” theme. That’s just not what I was going for. Where was the whimsy? Where could I hang my lights?
When Mr. Squirrel and I started looking for a venue, we were targeting those with a garden type feel to it. (In a perfect world, we would get married in the middle of the woods, but Tampa is a little lacking in the forest department.)
Sunken Gardens is absolutely gorgeous! It is a huge botanical garden with lush foliage and a crazy mix of plants, trees, vines, and flowers.
Wedding at Sunken Gardens / Image via Stephanie A Smith Photography
Sunken Gardens / Image via Jason Angelini Photography
I was in love! I could really see our vision coming to life here! Literally anywhere we walked, we would be surrounded by trees and flowers! Imagine the photo-ops…dang.
Unfortunately, things were too good to be true, there were a few issues with this venue:
Boo, talk about toying with my emotions…
**OK, fine—we could have paid for a very expensive tent to have the reception outside (a requirement for our number of guests), but what’s the point of a tent if we have this beautiful background?**
Then, at the previously mentioned bridal expo, we were talking to man who has a lights company, and when I was describing the wedding vision to him, he highly recommended this next venue.
As the name describes, it is basically a big house right on the beach.
The view from the house / Image by Sunset Beach House
I don’t know what came over me. Remember how I said I wasn’t interested in a beach wedding? Then why was I considering a beach wedding? Bridal brain. It was a beautiful venue and our families could have stayed in the beach house for the weekend (or full week). It was a great idea in theory, but just not for us.
This would be an awesome location for someone who is looking for a small destination wedding and wants their guests to have a private place to stay all weekend.
Back to the drawing board…
I scoured the web looking at any venue that wasn’t a hotel. I was driving myself crazy, because I knew what I wanted and I wasn’t going to give up until I found it.
I was in a new city, with no family, a few work friends, and no recommendations for a venue. Blah. All I wanted to do was send out my bridesmaid boxes, but I really wanted to lock in a date (and by default: venue) first.
So what’s a girl to do? Stay tuned and you’ll find out!