Welcome back to our newest “real bride” series, Mere Found Her Beau! If you missed last week’s post, you can meet Meredith and her fiance right here. Today, she’s back to tell us about where they’re getting married and how they chose their venues! – Emily
Our families are getting so excited about my and Beau’s special day in one of our most favorite places, and I’m excited to share the details with you all! Being in a long distance relationship and traveling back and forth between states, Florida has always been the one constant place for us. We’ve spent many happy summer weeks there with family, filled with stillness, rest, and relaxation. When it came time to chose a wedding location, Beau and I didn’t hesitate for a moment: Rosemary Beach, Florida, hands down. Well, that was our dream, of course, but lots of things had to fall into place before it could become our reality. Let’s rewind a bit, shall we?
In the summer of 2010, and Beau and I decided to go on an after dinner walk through the town of Rosemary Beach. We already knew it as a dream-like fairytale during the day, but we fell even more in love with it that night. I can remember the two of us strolling past the Eastern Green, holding hands, and allowing our hearts to dream big “what-ifs” as we discussed the possibility and hope of a future wedding:
“Ooh! What if we were married right here on this lawn? What if we had a reception out here? Oooh, yes. An outdoor reception. With twinkly lights! I love twinkly lights!” We were getting a little carried away… or maybe I was. Oh, who cares who it was :) All we knew was our hearts shared a love for a little town at the east end of 30A, and an even deeper love for one another.
I know I’m making this sound like we made a snappy decision, made one quick call, and BOOM: our venue search was done. That would have been lovely, but it’s not exactly how things played out. Wanting to view and discuss a few things in person before we made any final decisions, my mother and I quickly arranged a (whirlwind) weekend, made a list of our favorite venues, and flew down to Florida to continue the search for our perfect venue.
Our first visit was with Alys Beach. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe Alys’ atmosphere… let’s go with dazzling. From the moment we met with our wedding specialist on their grounds, we were wowed as they offered us coffee, escorted us around in a futuristic white golf cart, and kindly showed us each of the available venues in their area. Based on our tour of the town, we knew a few things:
— Alys is beyond beautiful. I mean, there was a glistening sunset reflecting off the ocean in the distance just over two of their perfectly-trimmed greens (that detail alone – gracious!).
— The soft feel of the town, and the all white architecture, would have fit my wedding style perfectly.
— There was a pretty hefty minimum on weekly rentals that had to be met in order to book a green on their grounds. Since our date is during “busy season,” prices seemed to be even higher than we had imagined (not easy on a budget).
— Beau and I are getting married in July. Florida’s summer heat and humidity are not very forgiving, and without any air conditioned option, it was hard to imagine Alys as the location for our wedding and reception.
All three (main) greens were super lovely, but by the end of the tour, my mom and I had decided that they would visually be a great fit for our wedding, but not practically, so with that, we zoomed off to the next venue.
The second place we viewed was good ole Rosemary (we’re on a first name basis these days). Obviously, I was going in already loving this venue. When my mom and I arrived at our meeting, we were given a key to view the Town Hall and a highlighted map to view the available greens. In our previous research, we had learned that the Eastern Green was no longer available to summer brides due to wear-and-tear from the “busy season.” This was upsetting for about all of three seconds, before it clicked (again) that we were getting married in July (hot!). With that in mind, we headed to view the St. Augustine Green first, and the Town Hall second. Both were even lovelier than we remembered, but had pros and cons that we needed to reason through:
— St. Augustine Green would allow me to fulfill my dream of an outdoor, tented reception, whereas The Town Hall would provide a lovely air-conditioned venue, as well as a small courtyard to the side for something fun… say, twinkly lights, perhaps? :)
— Rosemary’s venues had the light, white architecture and feel that would nicely accentuate my wedding style, just like Alys.
— St. Augustine Green had an area to its left that was under construction, but we were assured that it had not been an issue for brides in the past and was easily blocked off by event décor, tents, etc.
— The Town Hall was quaint and lovely, but could possibly to be a little snug inside or outside during the reception with our guest count.
— Rosemary Beach had a rental requirement number higher than any of the other venues we looked at.
My mother and I knew two things when leaving Rosemary Beach: we were not certain that the suggested décor to hide the construction would be a style we would love, and we still felt uneasy about our guests being outside for the entire night without any indoor option. With these things in mind, we were able to cross off the St. Augustine Green, and head to our third visit: Carillon, or “the village by the sea”.
I hate to admit this, but since Carillon was more of a “spur of the moment” visit, my mother and I took our final tour into our own hands (making it more of a “trespassing browse” of Carillon, rather than a tour). As we moseyed down the main street, we began to realize how sweet this town was, complete with soft colors and a warm elegance – truly a village by the sea! Eventually, we stumbled upon the Carillon wedding chapel and green, and immediately ooh’d and ahh’d over how darling they were. The back wall of the building was mostly glass, opening up to the dune lake that sits in the middle of Carillon — very romantic. I could have easily pictured my wedding in this venue: cute and quaint, with many possible areas for those twinkle lights I envisioned. The only problem: size. Carillon was definitely too small for our guest count, an unfortunate problem that is difficult to wiggle your way out of. We quickly crossed it off our list.
After many meetings, tours (and “tours”), and long chats over warm cups of coffee, we made a decision: we would be married at our dream venue, Rosemary Beach! My indecisive heart had officially found peace. Although my initial vision included a large, tented, outdoor ceremony and reception on a green, when considering all of the factors (most importantly heat!), providing adequate comfort for our traveling guests was of much greater importance to Beau and I than aesthetics. On July 11, 2014, I will be marrying my beau in the Rosemary Beach Town Hall, and I could not picture a more perfect location to choose forever with my best friend!
Where are y’all getting married? Have you ever visited this part of Florida? I’d love to hear!
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