So you’re engaged. Congratulations! You’ve made a HUGE decision. You’ve chosen the person you will be spending the rest of your life with. Now that’s a big deal. Since that’s settled, let’s move on to the next major decision regarding your Florida Destination Beach Wedding: east coast or West Coast Florida Beach Wedding? Finding the right beach should be easy compared to finding the right soul mate, right? We think so once you have the right information. Each beach has different characteristics, just like people, and can set the tone for your Florida wedding. Check out the information below and decide for yourself.
East Coast or Gulf Beach Wedding
We’ve created a list of major selling points for an East Coast and West Coast Florida Beach Wedding. Jury (you) is still out. So here’s the case:
East Coast with Atlantic Ocean
Seaside Sunrise– Early riser? Nothing connects you with nature quite like a beach sunrise. Start your day waking up to a sky full of pinks and oranges and the peaceful sound of rolling waves. A good time for a private, intimate wedding or elopement with just the two of you. Try Ponce Inlet for a spectacular white sand beach, sun and gentle sea. St. Augustine is another favorite for romance and historic venues to explore.
Waves– The east coast Atlantic Ocean is much more active than the Gulf coast. There are many hot surf/body boarding spots. If you like the thrill of “riding toes on the nose” or surfing some “totally rad” waves, the east coast is likely your spot. Maybe you just like splashing and jumping over the waves: guaranteed to get you and your guests laughing (and soaked!) In any event, the east coast is definitely an energetic beach wedding location. We recommend a Cocoa Beach wedding, which is also close to Port Canaveral for a honeymoon cruise.
Getting Here– With Daytona International Airport minutes from the beach and Orlando International Airport about an hour car ride away, the east coast of Florida has easy accessibility. Looking for affordable flights? Check out Orlando Sanford International Airport which hosts discounted flight from lines like Allegiant and Frontier potentially connecting to a city near you.
Sunsets: Breathtaking views to end the day and begin the night are like no other here on the west coast of Florida. Sunset beach weddings are in high demand on Clearwater Beach, Siesta Key, St. Pete Beach and Destin, Florida.
Waves: Unlike the east coast, west coast beach waves are very small, if there are any at all. If floating on a raft or wading peacefully in the water is your style, a Gulf beach wedding it is. Surfers and other “boarders”, hit up the east coast for some wave action because you won’t find it here.
White Sandy, Beaches: Picturing sinking your toes into beautiful white, soft sand as you say, “I do?” West Coast it is. While the east has coarser, darker sand in most areas, Gulf beach weddings have pristine white sand: Siesta Key is a favorite with Florida Beach Weddings couples.
Getting Here: Orlando International Airport is slightly closer to the east coast, but still just over an hour from Tampa. There’s also Tampa International Airport. So it’s a draw on this topic, but you may favor one coast or another depending on your departure city and flight deals.
Entertainment- West Coast is a little quieter compared to the east, but there is still plenty to do. A visit to Ybor City, The Florida Aquarium, guided boat tours, and sunset cruises all make for a fun adventures! Check out more to do in Destin, Clearwater, and Siesta Key.
What are the bride and groom expected to pay for when it comes to Destination Wedding Expenses?
There are the family members, the bridal party, the guests, so who pays for what when it comes to Destination Weddings?
Bride & Groom
The bride and groom cover the usual wedding expenses (ceremony rentals, photographer, etc.). These are obvious and standard expenses for any type of wedding. However, it gets a little grey after that when it comes to destination weddings. Some couples still opt for a full reception, while others simply choose to dine with guests at a local restaurant. If a reception is not in your plans, it’s still nice to treat your guests to a post-wedding meal. You can find affordable restaurants to celebrate and eat without breaking the bank. Consider the money you’ll be saving with a bigger guest list in town (think feeding 100 people at home vs. 25 in your destination wedding city). Depending on the size of your guest list (and budget), a morning after breakfast or brunch is also a nice treat.
Bridal party follows same procedure as guest list in respect to paying for flight and hotel accommodations. In addition, they are expected to pay for attire and accessories. So brides, you can choose to pay for hair and make up for your bridesmaids. If you aren’t covering the bill, it’s good etiquette to make it optional. It’s also a nice idea to make earrings, necklace, or these cute footless sandals double as an accessory and bridal party gift from you!
So your traveling guests are highly likely to look back on your fantastic destination wedding with fond memories. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a relaxing tropical vacation? All that said, they should be expected to pay for flight and hotel accommodation out of their own pocket. It’s common courtesy for the bride and groom to provide hotel options and block rooms. And you could provide a Welcome Bag for an added touch! So guests are basically footing the bills for themselves with the exception of reception/post-wedding dinner. And if they are looking for some fun adventures in Destin, check out our post on DESTINation Wedding Adventures!
Bottom line- Your guests will be excited to share your special day. The financial goal for your destination wedding should be for everyone to walk away with an affordable vacation, no unexpected expenses and unforgettable memories of your beach wedding day.
Click HERE to book your Destin Beach Wedding today!
So there is a lot that goes into planning a destination wedding. With Your Destin Beach Wedding, we take of a great deal of the time consuming tedious detail planning. Things like, tides and ceremony times, decor, set up, seating, officiating, the list goes on. This allows you to plan your destination wedding as more like a vacation and less like work. So let us make even that a little easier for you with this Destination Wedding Adventure List.
Destination Wedding Adventure:
Things to do in Destin, Florida for Couples
It’s time to declare a time budget and get ready for some fun, relaxation, and bonding.
Destin Harbor: Eat, shop, take a boat tour. The harbor is a landmark in Destin and a must see for a laid back day of exploring and eating.
Segway Tour: Check out the city of Destin and learn a bit about the city’s history and tips of other must see locations. A fun way to cruise around town and take in the sights!
Boat tours: From sunrise to sunset, there are boats cruising through the gulf, harbor, and pass. Spot some wildlife like turtles, dolphins or sharks on a nature boat tour. Fly high in a parasail. Take a fishing charter boat for the freshest catch. Speed through on a high speed boat or relax and sail as the sun sets. Whatever your adventure level, Destin surely has a boat tour for you!
Beach: This is really what the destination wedding is all about after all isn’t it? Relaxing on the beach? Check out Florida State Park’s Henderson Beach. There is a small fee to enter, but the clear water, white sandy beaches free of hotels and condos make it worth it. Sightsee, hike nature trails, or simple lay back and relax on the beach.