Oceanfront destinations are as captivating as they come, so naturally, an organically beautiful backdrop is one key ingredient for planning the ultimate beach wedding. Bonus points if the destination comes with dynamic options to choose from! Especially now, couples are flocking to open-air venues, waterfront hotels on tropical islands or historic homes and gardens with ample room for revelry. And while the world may be your oyster for locales such as these, you’re sure to find pearls in Southwest Florida on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Not only can you curate a powerhouse team of wedding vendors that are well-versed in the area, you can rest assured that your guests will find solace in a destination that enthralls the senses and keeps them entertained from start to finish.
Planning a wedding is no effortless feat. Planning a destination wedding even more so. Yet somehow, the art of entertaining seems like nothing but good-humored fun when planning the ultimate wedding on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Southwest Florida-based planners, photographers, floral designers, caterers and bakers give you one heck of a starting edge for their experience alone. But what else goes into creating the experience of a lifetime? Let’s dive in.
1.Why The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Is The Perfect Location
The old adage suggests that location is THE most important decision you can make, and we stand by it. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel lend themselves to destination weddings of all sizes, styles and levels of formalities with their globally recognized resorts, restaurants and experiences. Multi-faceted properties like Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina make for the most breathtaking wedding ceremonies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, but serve as great accommodations for guests as well. If you play your cards right, you can eliminate the need for transportation altogether!
We’re seeing more and more elopements, vow renewals and micro weddings take place at these inspired properties, ranging from a beachfront resort to a palm frond surrounded island house to a 110 acre ranch. Bottom line? The location you choose will inform every other decision you make throughout the planning process, so be sure to hire a planner, then start here.
Pro Tip: Before you book, consider if the property will be Public or Private during your celebration. If you don’t opt for a “buy out”, ask your waterfront resort if privatizing the beach for your wedding might be possible so you don’t end up with passerby who make like One Republic and stop + stare.
While location goes beyond zip code alone, there’s a lot to be said for the spirit of the 100+ islands making up the southwest coast of Florida. Choosing a destination as dynamic as this guarantees your guests can be entertained throughout their entire stay, making it all the more worth it for them to take those extra vacation days. Perhaps you decide to plan a few group activities such as sailing, kayaking, dolphin encounters or a tranquil nature outing through Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, where a 2.25 mi boardwalk offers unparalleled nature, bird, and wildlife viewings. Or maybe you leave them on their own to enjoy a sun-soaking day at Lovers Key State Park, a bicycle ride through historic downtown Fort Myers or manatee scouting via paddleboard on the Great Calusa Blueway. Your guests will remember how you make them feel, so speak to their desires and give them a chance to rejuvenate while they celebrate!
2. Book a Group Stay for Your Wedding
This is a great segue into your new best friend, hotel room blocks! A hotel room block is essentially a block of rooms reserved for your wedding guests before the wedding weekend, often at a discounted rate, guaranteeing an agreed upon number of rooms will be available at your top recommendation for lodging. It’s a great incentive to keep your guests in one to three places, saving you the headache of complicated transportation plans, timeline constraints and budget impacts. When invited to destination weddings, guests will look to you to be the expert on the destination, and they’ll likely want to keep their travel booking research to a minimum. So being prepared with this information before the save-the-dates have been sent and the wedding website goes up will not only save you a hundred conversations on the subject, but also make them feel held from the start.
Another reason we love a good group stay is that it makes curated wedding welcome gifts that much easier! From goodies inspired by the destination itself (anyone for calligraphed capiz shell tags?) to functional extras that will come in handy on the wedding day (SPF, sunglasses, beach blankets, oh my!), welcome treats are a classy way to surprise + delight your guests. It’s a simple gesture, but it goes such a long way!
3. The Perfect Weather Year Round (Bye Bye Cold Winter!)
Warmer temps mean open air gatherings, which makes having not only a gorgeous wedding amid the sunset but also abiding the safety guidelines for COVID-19. A seasoned planner can help you determine the best course of action based on your vision and the dates you’re most interested in, including selecting the right venue for your needs. A few things you’ll want to keep in mind include sunset, temperature and tides. A good rule of thumb is to plan your wedding ceremony start time 2 hours before sunset, giving you plenty of time for newlywed portraits during Golden Hour, with the sun setting just after dinner service has begun. Daytime ceremonies are also recommended for safety purposes, considering that sand isn’t the easiest surface to navigate in the dark (for you or your guests). Not to mention when there are boardwalks or dunes in the mix!
You’ll also want to be conscious of historical averages for temperatures at that time of day so you can prepare accordingly. Higher temps may mean that you’ll want to provide some shade and cooler temps may mean you need to have some blankets or wraps for everyone. And as for tides, make sure to check the tide schedule in advance since tides coming in are a bit noisier (though having a microphone with a windscreen cover is typically a must for weddings on the beach regardless!).
4. Designing a Dream Wedding on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
The most unforgettable weddings are those that tell a story, weaving together passions, traditions and notable moments in a love story as two individuals, and two families, become one. Our challenge to you is to go deeper than repeating a look you loved on Pinterest. Think about what elements might make this celebration uniquely you. Consider what you love most about the destination and infuse those details into everything, from the menu and textiles to the transportation and entertainment. Brainstorm different ways you can employ the five senses throughout the various guest touch points (that also speaks to their comfort!) and take some time during a pre-wedding visit to your venue to immerse yourself in the destination and just reflect. If you can bring those feelings to the wedding design, your guests will have a clear and memorable understanding of why this spot is so special to you.
With the global pandemic happening, the team at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is prepared to be a resource to you as you continue to plan your wedding during these uncertain times. Some factors you might want to consider when hosting your wedding ceremony at the venue include pre-event virtual meetings with your local wedding planner, any type of complimentary live-streaming service, mask wearing staff, and socially distanced tables. Don’t be afraid to ask their team for help or questions in regard to COVID-19 safety protocols. You can even request more wedding information using their form here to figure out ways in which you can work together so that you have a safe and healthy celebration.
Pro Tip: Sign up for The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel bridal newsletter for ongoing ideas surrounding the destination!
Along these lines, be especially mindful of your wedding attire, remembering that not every fabric lends itself to sandy shores. Lighter fabrics with a little room to flow in the wind tend to do best for beach weddings, as do unfussy veils. Trust me, walking down the aisle is not the moment for an unscheduled paraglide once your veil catches the wind!
5. You’ve Got a Rock Solid & Chic Windy Day Plan
You’ve heard the importance of a good rain plan, but you might be surprised to learn that a wind plan is something you’ll definitely need to consider for a beach wedding too. Everything from welcome signage and wedding programs to floral designs and hairstyles is vulnerable on an especially windy day. Not to mention the risk of sand being blown at you and your guests during the Vows… not ideal! That’s why choosing a venue that offers a backup space you love is a great thing to remember from the start. Fortunately, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel have no shortage of properties with impeccable taste!
With these thoughtful ingredients, you’ve got yourself the ultimate beach wedding, my friend. Preview the tried + true favorites of Florida’s southwest coast during a Bachelorette weekend that includes a shelling excursion to one of our barrier islands, Cayo Costa, a peaceful spa day at Aquagene Spa and a boat rental on the open seas with champs + OJ in tow!
Ready to start planning your wedding on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel? Call the Weddings Specialist at (239) 338-3500 or complete this form to receive a personalized reply guiding you through next steps now!
This post was sponsored by The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!