Trying to find the right location, package, and price for your upcoming beach wedding is never an easy task as you can imagine. There are so many factors to consider. I looked at multiple resorts and filtered through various proposals to come up with three great options for you. I also explored dates, looking for something that would work around spring break crowds and before Mother's Day. That window of time tends to be better with pricing, crowds are smaller and the weather is beautiful.
It appears that the window of April 25-May 2, 2018 is going to have the best pricing and availability. That would put your wedding on Saturday, April 28. I propose doing it at sunset for beautiful light and then timing wise you have the day to prep and after the wedding you have cocktails, your dinner reception, and then enjoy the amenities of the resort after that.
FLORIDA Marriage Guidelines
In Florida you will have to comply with all the state and local requirements. For the most part, you have to have apply for the licensee in person at the court office and then there is a three day waiting period for you to get married. Anyone can officiate the wedding who is ordained as a minister or elder of some church or who is notarized by the state of Florida. Many of the wedding service companies have their own officiant. I am also an officiant and if you are interested, we can talk about having me attend to officiate your wedding. I can attend in a two fold capacity - as the officiant and as the on site coordinator so you don't have the stress of dealing with things at the resort with guests and the wedding.
Once you decide on which location, I will get all the specific requirements for that county. But overall, if you are getting married on April 28 then you will have to go in person and get the license no later than April 25 to be safe. You will need photo ID such as a driver's license or passport and your social security card. Fee of $93.50. The license is good for 60 days from date of issue and there is a 3 day waiting period before you can get married. No blood tests are required. If either of you have previously been married, you should bring your court papers nullifying that marriage. Plus, I always recommend that you bring a certified copy of your birth certificates as good measure. It takes about 30-45 minutes to get the license, but you walk out with it.
Our first step is to find the location that meets your dreams. As we talked, these were the items I heard that were important to you:
- beach wedding on US soil
- warm weather
- ocean or gulf water location
- simple ceremony
- cocktails and dinner reception afterwards
- something at the resort for people to do afterwards, like join in a beach party, dance - doesn't necessarily have to be a part of YOUR event (which will save you lots of money) but just something fun for adults.
- adults focused. Kids are welcome, but need to be able to have adult time. Choose a place that feels more adult like than kid like.
- ability to have excursions from the resort or nearby such as a booze cruise, snorkling, sightseeing, even a day at Disney
- For the guest rooms, have options with varying number of nights so that guests can choose how long to come down.
- Make the guest room prices affordable but nice, so that more people will chose to come and make this a mini vacation along with the wedding.
OPTION 1 - TRADEWINDS AT ST. PETE BEACH
This resort was the first one I thought of as we talked because it is easy access to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. The resort is wonderful for families and for adults only. It is on a beautiful sandy beach and the resort is top notch. It's has a very nice beach vibe - not stuffy, just classy. To take a closer look at the resort, click here.
One parking spot per room is included for overnight attendees. Parking for all drive-in attendees is $25 at the gate or can be charged to the Master Account ahead of time for $10 per car if you wish to do so.
Our on-site Resort Transportation Services offers a fleet of sedans, van and a 20-passenger shuttle bus to get your group to and from. Airport Transportation can be made an advance. Hertz Car Rental is on-site. Resort Transportation, LLC is located in our lobby and offers personalized service and discounted rates for our guests.
TradeWinds on-site activities include the following: Five Heated Swimming Pools, Two Whirlpools, Two Har-tru Tennis Courts, Paddle Boats, Mini Golf, Wal-Hookey, Beach Cabanas, 3 Beach Volleyball Nets, Spa/Salon, Beachside Hammocks, Pool Tables, Sports Bar, Tiki Bar, Nightly Live Entertainment in RedBeard’s Tavern, Fitness Center/Health Club, Aerobics Classes, High Tide Slide on the Beach, On-Site Recreation Team to plan your Team Building Events, Nearby Golf Privileges at the Area’s Finest Courses, Transportation Company on-site, Hertz Car Rental on-site! Located directly on the beach, in our back-yard, we have Parasailing, Jet Lev, Jet-ski’s, Motorized Surf Boards, Stand up Paddle Boards, Snorkeling, Adventure Cruises, Water Skiing, Boat Rental & Fishing Charters, and Dolphin & Manatee Cruises. Kids activities can be found here.
In order to guarantee pricing and availability, most resorts are going to require that you get a block of rooms and here is what Trade Winds requires. Room Block Requirement:
- Guests will contact me to make their individual reservations. They will only be required to pay the one night deposit and pay the rest when they check into the resort. Reservations must be made 30 days before your wedding.
- You will be required to pay for any unused rooms on your block, unless the Hotel sells out its remaining inventory.
- You are guaranteed the group rate to the number of rooms in your block. Additional rooms at the group rate cannot be guaranteed and are based on occupancy and availability.
- In order to secure accommodations on a definite basis, a signed contract and deposit of 25% of the entire room block is required. The deposit is refundable after the event if all of the rooms that you contract for get reserved or the resort sells out.
Pricing for the April 25 - May 2. Guests may choose as many night as they like, so that gives us great pricing flexibility:
Island Grand stay over April 26-May 2, 2018 with potential upgrades based upon availability for all except standard room:
- Standard Hotel Rooms @ $209
- Tropical View Hotel Rooms @ $229
- Gulf View Hotel Rooms @ $249
- Tropical View One Bedroom Suites @ $289
- Gulf View One Bedroom Suite @ $299
Rates above are based on single-double occupancy and subject to 13% tax
Rates above are inclusive of the $45 nightly resort fee and include the following:
- Wi-Fi throughout whole resort
- Self-parking – 1 parking spot per room
- 1 Two- Person Beach Cabana per room
- In-Room Safes
- Tennis Courts
- Fitness center
- Paddle boats
- Beach games
- 3-in- 1 High Tide Slide
- Pool towels
- Local phone calls, credit card access calls
- Daily newspaper and coffee/tea
WEDDING AT TRADEWINDS
Wedding Venues at this Resort
This resort will be able to give you that perfect beach side wedding. There are several locations that are perfect for your barefoot vows. They will make every effort to ensue it is the wedding of your dreams, including a sunset ceremony. An indoor back up location will also be available, should it be needed.
For the reception we can do a dinner at one of the many courtyards and beach front terraces or any of the ballrooms or the tented Pavilion is another option, depending on the size of the group and availability. This
Ceremony package. Whether you opt for beachside vows or courtyard “I dos,” your venue space is included in this package, along with a Wedding Day Coordinator. Your personal coordinator from the resort is complimentary - our “Just Let Go” wedding gift to you, and is available to assist in planning a ceremony that reflects your unique style.
Ceremony Package inclusions:
- Designated ceremony location
- Indoor backup location
- Day of Wedding Coordinator
- White wedding chairs
- Water station
- Complimentary one-night stay for bride and groom
- Complimentary amenity for the bride and groom
- $1,500 up to 100 people; $1,800 101 people and above
Please note, in order for us to reserve space for your ceremony, it must be booked in conjunction with a wedding reception.
At TradeWinds, brides and grooms enjoy these many reception inclusions!
Reception Package inclusions:
- Reception venue
- A three- or four-hour bar with option to lengthen
- A cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres (as part of your bar inclusion)
- A decadent menu that can be served in stations, buffet or plated
- Champagne toast
- Attentive, experienced staff: Servers, bartenders and cake-cutting service
- Mirror tiles and votive candles
- White table linens, along with white napkins
- Dance floor (indoors only)
- Discounted guest rooms, based upon availability
Your cake is purchased separtely and they have vendors they work. The same with photography and flower services. I will be able to help get information on these per recommendations from the resort. Here is the link with the wedding menus
Beyond the wedding and resort
As we discussed, you wanted options for guests to do things beyond the resort and wedding. I can work with guests on:
- day trips to Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World or Universal Studios
- a dolphin watch group cruise on the Gulf of Mexico. Boat launches from the beach at the resort and for three hours you enjoy watching dolphins - something they will always remember.
- any sort of excursions for adults or families
How to Secure This for Your Wedding
I handle everything for you! We will block a group of rooms to secure the rates. Based on having potential 100 people, I suggest we block 25 rooms. You will be required to sign a contract with the resort for the block and pay the deposit that is indicated in the room block paragraph.
Then we sign the wedding contract with the resort with a $1000 deposit. Additional deposits will be required before the wedding date, and the total balance must be paid in full 10 days prior to the wedding.
With the wedding ceremony and the reception, I make the original commitment for you and book the wedding, but for decisions like menu options, etc we find it best if the resort wedding and catering people work with the bride.
OPTION 2 - MARGARITAVILLE BEACH HOTEL - PENSACOLA BEACH
This wedding venue will have more of the adult beach feel - not a lot else to do beyond enjoy the resort and the beach. Pensacola Beach is beautiful sandy beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a great link for the Visitors Guide. The hotel has a nice pool and a great beach. A wedding here would be very laid back and bar like. There is always something going on at the beach as it is a huge area for beach volleyball plus you can walk to the dock, along the boardwalk..
Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, the hotel’s sense of place and attention to detail make it the perfect setting for guests who want to escape the everyday, engage their senses and make lasting memories. Anyone who has ever dreamed of escaping to a tropical island and sipping a margarita will enjoy being immersed in the Margaritaville experience at this hotel.
The beachfront hotel features ‘barefoot elegance’ with 162 guest rooms, including 24 Corner King Executive rooms with wrap-around balconies. The Margaritaville Beach Hotel is offering activities the entire family can enjoy; Beach Crafts, Sea Shell Hunts, Painting Parties, Limbo Contest, Beach Bingo and more! Rent beach bicycles and tour Pensacola Beach by peddle, or climb aboard a kayak or paddle board available for rent on the Gulf Side and Bay Side Dock. If you're looking for adventure make sure to check out our Adventure Activities with Dolphin Cruises, Paddle Drift, Snorkeling, Sunset Cruise, Sailing, Fishing and unique trips for special occasions.
The Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach sits on over 800 feet of gulf-front property. An additional 800 feet overlooks the bay.
Amenities at a Glance:
- Private Gulf or Bay View balcony rooms
- Non-smoking Property
- Poolside Tiki Bar
- Beachside Pavilion "LandShark Landing"
- Outdoor Pool Deck with food and beverages
- Outdoor Pool
- In-room dining available daily: 7am – 11am (Breakfast) and 11am – 10pm (All Day Menu)
- Indoor Fitness Facility open 24 hrs.
- HD flat screen TVs
- Laundry and valet services
- Free USA Today (Mon.-Fri.)
- Business Center
- Free Wi-Fi/internet available
- Local spa services available
- Valet parking ($12) and free self-parking
- Covered parking
For this resort, then need 15 rooms for a block and all rooms will be $249 per night. All rooms are equipped with a small fridge and rooms come with one king, one queen or two queen beds.. There are no resort fees. The resort is considered kid friendly, but has a much more adult feel to it.
Standard rooms are identical for both views. All Gulf rooms have a balcony and face south to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico (the beach) and the Bay or Sound rooms, with or without a balcony, face north to the breathtaking more scenic Little Sabine bay which is decorated with beautiful homes and cool boats!
Weddings at Margaritaville
Weddings are done through a contracted service. There are a variety of vendors in the area and they are all similarly priced. With all, we'll have to look at adding an officiant and photography services.
- Romantic beach side ceremony
- Unity sand ceremony
- Bamboo arbor with white or ivory tulle
- PA/Speaker for officiant
- 100 white resin chairs (we can adjust the number as needed - they are $5 per chair)
- Beach raking, removal of debris and grooming
- Set up and clean up of our equipment
You can also change out the arch for a variety of other arches - bamboo decorated in burlap, decorated tulle in your wedding colors, etc.
All receptions are done at the LandShark Landing. They have live music and a super fun atmosphere. If you really want to feel like you are hosting a beach party for your friends and family, then this is the place to hold your wedding and reception.
The resort provides all catering, high top tables, chairs, plates, silverware, drink ware and any extra tables the couple may need for gifts/favors/cake/etc.
LandShark is private for you from 4pm - 11pm, including decorating time. Service Staff and two bartenders are included as well.
There is a $500 rental fee for the LandShark Landing plus tax and there is an $8000 minimum catering spending on food and bar/alcohol before tax and gratuity. The wedding menu is at this link.
Your cake is purchased separately and they have vendors they work. I will be able to help get information on these per recommendations from the resort.