2016 Northwest Florida Weddings

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LAYING OUT THE LOGISTICS At the start of the planning process, you want to be as flexible with the date as possible. Do your research. A beach wedding during the height of college spring break might be fun for the groomsmen, but your wedding photos won’t have the ethereal vibe you’re going for as hordes of coeds line the coast. Meanwhile, finding nearby guest accommodations on the heels of a major spike in the tourist season can also be complicated. Stay open-minded. Your wedding date might look different than you originally thought but better than you ever hoped for.

water, sun protection and even lightweight blankets or wraps close by to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy throughout the night. “This will be the first time you’re entertaining as a couple,” noted Gandy. “You want to make sure that your guests are having a good time. I know a lot of people who say it’s the bride’s day, but it’s really the bride and groom’s time to entertain. That’s the biggest thing.”

We love beach weddings! With the right professionals behind you, a little luck and a lot of love, nothing is more romantic than a coastal ceremony.

CANDICE K. PHOTOGRAPHY

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COORDINATION IS KEY Beach ceremonies are gorgeous. They’re also practical, because the average ceremony takes approximately 20 minutes. Beach receptions are a tad more rare because of their length and the legalities surrounding having a private event on public property. Glass and adult beverages are often not permitted — a major letdown for some couples. “More than likely you can’t have the reception on the beach,” admitted John Gandy, owner of the awardwinning John Gandy Events. Nearly half of Gandy’s brides incorporate some form of coastal celebration into their wedding. “It’ll have to be on an adjacent property.” Once you two decide on a coastal community that speaks to your needs, see what types of resorts and other proprieties are situated there. When venue shopping commences in that neighborhood, don’t be shy asking the local event coordinators questions. Make sure wherever you sign has a clear plan in case of inclement weather. Tents can do the trick if skies are just a little gray, but indoor space is crucial if there’s an actual downpour.

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THE CONSIDERATE HOST Couples should always strive to make their wedding as comfortable as possible for guests. That’s especially true when hosting outdoors. Be as courteous as you can be on the big day, and pay special attention to partygoers’ most basic needs. Have cool

AMY SUSI PHOTOGRAPHY

OCEANS OF STYLE The next step is to decide how you want the ceremony to look and feel. The possibilities are endless, but articulation comes first. “I have a lot of brides that reach out to me wanting a beach wedding without a beach theme,” laughed Gandy. “That’s always interesting. But you know, it’s totally doable. We’ve had beautiful black tie weddings on the beach.” Just remember, while there’s no such thing as a perfect wedding, a wedding that’s perfect for the two of you is always on the menu. “Be true to yourself,” added Gandy. “If you love it, that’ll translate to your guests.”

NORTHWEST FLORIDA WEDDINGS 2016

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