Hosting a Post Destination Wedding Reception

So you’ve chosen a destination wedding and an affordable, complete beach wedding package. Now it’s time to decide on whether or not to host a party back home after the wedding or at a nearby beach venue. Is it too expensive? What’s expected? What’s proper etiquette for inviting guests? Bottom line, what you want to know: is your post destination wedding reception worth having? We think yes!

Jimmy B's Beach Bar restaurant in St. Pete Beach, FL

Post Destination Wedding Reception

There are different reasons for having a post destination wedding reception. But let’s first make sure you’re headed on the right path to your “after party.” Wedding receptions are a time to celebrate the newly married couple. A time to eat, drink, and party (whatever that looks like to you)! Read below for the three post wedding reception points:

  • Affordability
  • Expectations
  • Etiquette

For example, shown above is The Beachcomber in St. Pete which will bring you to the “5 o’clock somewhere” state of mind after your Gulf beach wedding. Enjoy their private beach, outdoor pool and of course Jimmy B’s Beach Bar. Jimmy B’s Beach Bar (shown above) serves up cold drinks and delicious food right at your hotel. This is a convenient way to plan a reception dinner with your guests because everything is located close together: hotels, restaurants and the Gulf beaches. Going to a local restaurant after your ceremony, is an easy way to kickback, relax and not have to worry about traveling or getting around. The best part? The views of the sunset you will receive from the deck! 

Affordability 

Before you commit to a home reception, make sure you have room for it in your budget. Any dedicated wedding reception venue space will add thousands in rental fees to your budget (think not just the space but also tables, linens, caterer). So it’s best to keep it simple at home or, even better, plan to use an affordable restaurant/private room right after you wedding on the beach. You have already saved money on a complete wedding package, so why not maximize your budget for a post reception celebration as well?

Here are some popular restaurants and venues near our beach wedding locations that you might consider (prices vary). We have more recommendations we provide you with upon booking your date with us.

Siesta Key Beach

Columbia Sand Key Restaurant photo

  • The Tommy Bahama Restaurant allows you the privacy to hold a reception dinner after your Lido Beach Wedding. For smaller, intimate weddings and receptions you can rent the downstairs banquet room that can seat approximately 35. If you are having a larger party, you can reserve the upstairs dining room for your reception venue.
  • The Columbia Restaurant is an excellent choice. Located in St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, just minutes from our Lido Beach ceremony site. Private dining is available for groups between 24-40 people, which is also a great size for any of our beach wedding packages.  
  • On Longboat Key, Euphemia Haye is hidden in tropical greenery where palm trees are studded with lights. The downstairs area including the bar offers a total of 76 seats. Locally it is known as a best restaurant in Sarasota. They have a private dining room and features a charming dining area overlooking their tropical garden which is perfect small reception venue after a beach wedding.
  • With private dining rooms for wedding receptions, Ophelia’s on the Bay is a place for friends and family to gather to celebrate life, fun, and unique and flavorful food. Two glass walled dining rooms and outside open air patio give you an unfettered, eye-level view of Little Sarasota Bay.
  • For a formal reception in a dedicated hall or ballroom, check out The Devyn in Sarasota. It has three ballroom spaces, ranging in size from accommodating 425 people to 60 people, inside the 20,000- square-foot building.

Clearwater Beach

  • Your entire wedding party can walk from your ceremony site to the Palm Pavilion. The Tropical Room, an enclosed and air-conditioned space with panoramic views of Clearwater Beach and the Gulf of Mexico, is perfect for groups looking for a casual beachside atmosphere and they host a variety of events.
  • The Island Way Grill is unique and offers private and semi-private spaces. Every element has been carefully crafted with attention to detail. They specialize in locally caught Florida seafood and hand cut steaks pairing them with the freshest ingredients available. 

St. Pete Beach

  • 400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse has many different private dining options. This will allow you to really be intimate with your guests that came down for your wedding. Enjoy the private chef’s table, which holds up to 12. Or take advantage of their other rooms for larger weddings. With the capability to go up to 200 people, you are sure to find something that fits your needs. 
  • Take advantage of a beautiful, modern restaurant. With unique drinks, fine dining and panoramic views of the ocean, their rooftop dining is an experience you and your guests won’t forget. Not only do they have rooftop dining, but also private indoor dining if you are looking for something inside. Castile brings serves Latin and Mediterranean dishes with fresh seafood that showcase the seasons. 

St. Augustine 

St. Augustine Beach weddings and receptions at a1a aleworks provide beautiful views

  • For a unique, yet elegant, dinner reception after your St. Augustine beach wedding ceremony, A1A Ale works is a place to be considered. They have two private dining options, one for up to 60 guests and one for larger parties, so weddings of all sizes can have a private dining option. This unique St. Augustine reception venue will complete your experience in Florida. This is about a 3 mile drive from Anastasia State Park; close and convenient for your guests. 
  • Bring the tropical feel of your St. Augustine beach wedding ceremony to your reception and complete your night at the Conch House. The Conch House has a Caribbean feel, fresh seafood, unique dining huts, views of the water and marina and a fun, laid back atmosphere. 

Daytona Beach Area

Wilbur Boathouse reception venue Daytona Beach Weddings

  • Chart House Daytona Beach is an upscale and fine dining restaurant on the river. If you plan to elope in Florida, look no further for the perfect wedding dinner. The sunset views are breathtaking. This will be the perfect ending to a perfect wedding day. It is higher on the pricepoint for dining.
  •  Just a short walk from the beach is the Wilbur Boathouse, a great little reception venue! Wilbur-By-The-Sea is one of our best affordable Florida beaches.
  • The Garlic is a popular venue among our New Smyrna Beach brides. With the option to host a private party outside under the trees draped in lights, or a private indoor room, you won’t be disappointed. The Garlic has a wide variety of upscale dining options and is beautifully decorated in lights and trees, and often times has live entertainment, making it easy for you to just show up and enjoy! 

Destin and Panama City

Brotulas Restaurant Destin Harbor

  • Mimmo’s is the hottest restaurant in Destin, Florida serving authentic Italian dishes bursting with flavor and color. 
  • Brotula’s specializes in fresh, locally-sourced seafood, produce, and a wide array of steamed and boiled shellfish platters that are integrated into a fun and rustic, yet sophisticated southern fish house. The Chef-Inspired menu will display a wide variety of flavors, with focuses on New South culinary preparations of traditional coastal offerings from around the country. They have a private event space.

Expectations

The main purpose of a post destination wedding reception is to celebrate the bride and groom. Here are ideas for food, entertainment, and decor for a reception to get your guests in party mode, especially if you are DIY once you get home:

  • Food– Guests should expect some sort of food, drink, and wedding cake. Some ideas:
    • Food: Finger foods (chicken tenders, party sandwiches), themed meals (tacos, spaghetti, etc.)  You can even get reasonable catering quotes from places like Chipotle, Tijuana Flats, or Olive Garden
    • Drinks: Booze or no booze? A few bottles of wine, cooler of beer, and/or a signature cocktail are perfect if you’re going with alcohol. No need for a fully stocked bar and bartender, but nice to offer a celebratory drink. Dry reception? Lemonade, tea, soda, and chilled water are staple reception beverages. 
    • Dessert: Traditional wedding cake is always a winner or a cake can be provided by your restaurant. You can also check out these DIY “wedding” desserts 
    • Entertainment– No need for a DJ, games, and a bag of tricks. Keep it a simple, social event where you get to talk about your big day and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you are at a beach restaurant, then music will often be provided for everyone to enjoy.
    •  Photo slideshow/album. Smilebox is a great resource for creating slideshows and is very user friendly (for both Mac and PC users). You don’t need a degree in graphic design or editing to make a quality slideshow. 
  • Decor- You can really find some simple decor at affordable prices to add a little wedded touch. No need to go full Pinterest wedding mode here (although you can). A nice touch here and there will set a perfectly wedded party mood. A beach/nautical themed “Just Married” or “Mr. & Mrs.” banner is a great touch and can be set out at your table at local restaurant. Fresh flowers are also festive and fun decor!

Etiquette 

Who to invite: Give your guest list some thought. Are you inviting a large group? If the wedding reception is at home perhaps only those who were invited to the wedding, including those who couldn’t make the wedding? Maybe you eloped and you want to have a family/close friends gathering. It’s up to you how big or small you make your wedding reception. With any wedding, however, consider those closest to you that you enjoy as a couple.

When to invite: If you’ve given this a lot of thought ahead of time, you can make mention of it on your invitations. Otherwise, a simple e-vite is cheap/free and simple; these days there are sites that make this easy with beautiful results. Don’t forget “save the dates”.

Thank you: Thank your guests for coming. An elaborate speech isn’t necessary but a formal announcement of gratitude is an appropriate gesture. Guests usually love to hear from the newly married couple. Humor is always fun! The bride and groom can make their rounds to every table and say their hellos and thanks for coming to the wedding. And of course, thank you cards for any gifts received is standard practice after you return home. 

Why not Consider a Beach Wedding Reception Venue 

Anastasia Park Wedding Pavilion

Consider the perfect beach wedding reception at Anastasia State Park on the Atlantic coast of Florida in St. Augustine. This beach is state owned and has the most relaxing atmosphere a beach can provide. The best part? There are absolutely no buildings on the beach which means nothing but beautiful views of the sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean for your destination weddings. Imagine walking with your toes in the sand surrounded by the beach dunes towards your significant other as your special songs play. Our complete wedding packages take care of every detail!

You can rent the Pavilion for your wedding reception. Bring trays of appetizers and order food for delivery. Chafing dishes will keep your food warm. But remember, it is Florida so make sure there is lots of water or lemonade in the warm or hot weather. No matter the size of your wedding, Anastasia State Park is a great choice for one of the best Florida beach weddings. Take the stress away from your guests and rest assured that there will be plenty of parking. For larger weddings your permit even covers the entrance fee for you and your guests. 

Pavilions are also available at many other beaches for rent such as Fort De Soto Beach near St. Pete, Treasure Island, Siesta Key, and Sand Key Beach in Clearwater. A perfect solution for your budget and a way to provide a shady retreat for your guests.

For more Florida beach wedding information click HERE. Reserve your Florida beach elopement, wedding, or vow renewal today!

Post Wedding To Do List

Congratulations on your marriage! No more pre-wedding jitters. No more calorie-monitoring to fit into that “just right” wedding dress. So now what? Well, while your newly wedded life gets rolling, there are a few to-do’s after you’ve “I-do’d” (is that word?). 😉 Some of these items often go unchecked and can be more of a hassle down the road. So here goes, the ultimate post wedding to do list.

Attention Newlyweds: Post Wedding To Do List  

  • Thank You: A lot goes into planning a wedding, as you’ve seen. So be sure to give thanks where it’s due. Check out these fun beach themed thank you notes. Here’s a list of potential thank you note recipients:
    • Guests- thank you for gifts, appreciation for travel (if destination wedding), attendance at wedding
    • Parents/Children
    • Bridal Party
    • Officiant
    • Wedding Planner
    • Florist
    • Photographer
    • Hair/Make Up 
Ponce Inlet Beach Weddings are the best spot for reflection photos on the Atlantic Ocean.

Just married on Ponce Inlet Beach

  • Name Change: You know how all of January you’re still writing the previous year when you write the date? Get ready for lots of backspacing, erasing, and crossing out when it comes to writing your new last name. It takes some getting used to! But first you’ll have to make it official. Don’t try to do any name changing before receiving your marriage license (which we’ll refer to as M.L) in the mail (usually 2-3 weeks). Upon receiving M.L., here’s the list of things you’ll need to update with your new name. Oh, and be sure to bring you M.L. and photo ID to all these places! 
    • Social Security Card from your local Social Security Office  
    • Driver’s License from DMV. Bring S.S. card
    • Work- Send an email or call H.R. to get your name changed
    • Bank- Plan a visit to change name on accounts, debit/credit cards. You and hubby may also join accounts at this time.
    • Email- If you’re email is something like “janesmith@gmail.com” and you’re now “Jane Johnson,” an easy solution is to make a new email and simply have your old account forwarded without the hassle of managing multiple accounts.
  • Money: It’s all about the “Benjamins.” But for real, if you haven’t already discussed financial goals and plans, now is the time. Finances is one of the leading conflicts in marriages so nip it in the bud(get). Streamline accounts and discuss income, bills, savings, goals, etc. 
  • Life: Whatever your situation was before, getting married is a great start and chance to establish healthy routines. Create habits and rhythms that bring joy, peace, and fun to your new married life! And remember like Grandma says, “Marriage takes work, but it’s worth it!” 

Not married yet but want to be? Book your Florida Beach Wedding today.