A Destination Wedding on the Emerald Coast of Florida!

Emerald Coast Beach Wedding

My sister’s gorgeous one-of-a-kind destination wedding has come and gone… so fast! It really was a whirlwind in the best way!

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

Being a Matron of Honor (with my twin sister) and the Wedding Coordinator was fun and so busy. I can honestly say it was perfect – the bonfire on the beach, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding!

A Destination Wedding

Planning this destination wedding was so fun! It was just a bit harder since it was a wedding venue I had never seen or been to before – but that’s the fun of a destination wedding! The surprise, imagination from pictures I’d seen, relying on the recommendations from those that are there and host weddings all the time!

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

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The planning and the timeline were done and all that was left was to do was to play it out – the super fun part! It’s what the last 14 months have been leading up to. Every dream, thought, detail came together to create a perfect weekend full of family and friends to witness the greatest union one can make.

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

All the Planning Becomes a Reality

We had everything nailed down:

  • Venue
  • Catering (provided by the venue)
  • Officiant
  • Florist
  • Photographer
  • Music (ceremony and reception)
  • Cake (Brides sister – my sister too! She made a wonderful vanilla lime cake that guests could not get enough of!)
  • Rehearsal (Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner)
  • Bonfire on the Beach (post rehearsal dinner for all family and friends attending the wedding)
  • Thursday night meet and greet at the house Bride’s Parents rented for all those already in town – Dinner, Desserts and Drinks

Venue: The Grand SanDestin in the Florida Panhandle. All I can say is WOW! This place was absolutely stunning for a destination wedding. It was grand and certainly lived up to its name. It was contemporary, but had the charm of an old southern plantation – it was fun as it was right on the water. I guess it was a contemporary beach plantation feel! They also worked hard to cater to all ages. The “Village” on their property was filled with restaurants – casual to prestigious, quaint little shops, ice cream parlors and also a carousal, trampolines, playground and games. It was centered around a pond where you could also feed the fish! I was impressed. It was a place I thought I’d probably never visit and now I know I definitely want to return soon.

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

The Ceremony was held on the Grand Lawn with the Main Hotel in the background with the gorgeous tall bright white pillars. Picture Perfect! Guests were greeted with fruit infused waters as the weather was nice and toasty, but I’m not complaining – the day was gorgeous and we felt so blessed as just the next morning it poured and poured.

SanDestin, FL Flower Girls
SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

Guests then were able to have a nice stroll through the Village and walk over a boardwalk beside the bay to the Beach Reception. It was sand and sun and guests were encourage to take their shoes off, dip their toes in the water and relax with appetizers and an ice cold margarita or whatever drink was desired! So fun!

While all of this was happening the wedding party was taking pictures.

Bridal Party

Catering: All the food was provided by The Grand SanDestin. Fabulous! An upscale, fun Taco Bar was on the menu. It was a build your own with beef, chicken, shrimp and all the toppings with rice and beans, fresh pico and salsa. It was amazing. The Chef said it had to be since Mexican food was his forte – he was from Mexico!

Cake: The bride’s sister made the cake in her condo the day before the wedding from scratch which is impressive. She is a Pastry Chef and would not hear of getting a cake anywhere else! She had a vision and it was more than perfect! It was a vanilla lime cake that was a cake to remember. It was also complimented by mini chocolate and key lime tarts the Hotel made. Dessert is my favorite and it did not disappoint!

Wedding Cake

Officiant: The officiant was actually a cousin of ours – he’s done a few weddings in the past and was outstanding for this one!

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding
SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

Florist: You will never meet a nicer mother-daughter team. The bride, myself and I all met her on our planning trip to Florida. They were so attentive, listened to everything the bride was looking for and was able to offer everything within the set budget. The flowers and arrangements were gorgeous! Not one complaint. They worked hard are were nothing, but honest and reliable.

SanDestin, FL Destination Wedding

Photographer: To go along with an awesome wedding you definitely want a great photographer to capture all the memories and the things you may have missed since it just seems like it all goes so fast! The bride got just that – a professional photographer and friend who took photos from the getting ready stage to the send off of the bride and groom! The pictures were outstanding and I am sure the bride will be looking at them daily for the next year! 🙂


Music: The bride didn’t want anything over the top. A music list from her phone was all she needed. She chose a few songs for the ceremony and the reception was back ground music. There wasn’t really any official dancing except for the Bride and Groom’s first dance. For what she wanted, her phone was all she needed with her specific playlists for the night.

It was just so fun to be a part of the wedding and help with all the details. I know I made some small mistakes and there were some small hiccups and mishaps, but nothing a guest would know! All in all, it was nothing less than perfect and a memory that will last forever!

Mommy - Daughter

The Start of it All

Going backwards in the timeline – Thursday before the wedding was when it actually all started in Florida. The first thing we did was head to The Grand SanDestin to make sure everything was there that needed to be there and finalize all the details at the Hotel. It was a destination wedding after all in beautiful Destin, FL, so everything was sent to the hotel. You know how it goes with luggage – limited room and weight restrictions! We looked at the ceremony site and then the reception site and just prayed the weather would be perfect for the big day! Rain was in the forecast, but we all know that can change quickly.

Next a quick trip to Sam’s was in order since most everyone was flying in this day. A casual meet and greet for everyone coming was arranged at the house my parents rented at the last minute – we thought it would be nice since a lot of people would already be in town. Finger foods and desserts were the way to go. We made the shopping trip quick because we wanted to go to the beach!… and we made that happen. We even had some time for an hour or two at the pool too!

It was such a nice time. We all got to see friends and family we don’t see often and meet new ones from the grooms side of the family.

Rehearsal Day!

Friday! When the actual scheduled wedding activities began – the rehearsal dinner and beach bonfire! Before that though, at the start of the day, we (myself, the bride and a couple bridesmaids) went to get our nails done. Then, since I got done first, I ran next door to grab a Mother’s Day gift! Even in the midst of the wedding we can’t forget that! My mom did so much for the wedding and does so much for me in general and deserves so much! A Side note.

Next though, we headed to the liquor store to grab beach drinks for the bonfire scheduled that night. We then headed back, unloaded everything and headed to the pool. It was nice to relax a bit before the events began.

The ceremony rehearsal started at 3:30pm and the rest of the night was booked! It was the rehearsal straight into the rehearsal dinner which was also held at The Grand SanDestin on a beautiful veranda. After that wrapped up it was beach bonfire time! It was for everyone in town. So fun!

SanDestin, FL Flower Girls
SanDestin, FL Rehearsal Ceremony

We made s’mores – lots of s’mores, met some cousins, took way too long to find the nearest bathroom for my youngest daughter, played in the sand and my youngest conked out pretty early – too many activities for a two year old for one day and without a nap! I sat in front of the fire for an hour or two with my girl and people watched and had a good time.

Back to Saturday, it was the big day! We planned for months and months and months and it flew by faster than we ever could have imagined! You look back and you wish you could do it again only because it flashed before your eyes! It was a day though for Catrina and Ryan. It was a day of love, passion, emotion, friends, family, commitment, happiness and joy. I love looking at the pictures everyday over and over again and it wasn’t even my wedding!

SanDestin, FL Reception entrance for the Bride and Groom
SanDestin, FL Beach Wedding

What’s been your favorite place you’ve been to for a wedding or where did your wedding take place? Did you have a destination wedding?

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One Reply to “A Destination Wedding on the Emerald Coast of Florida!”

  1. Dear Chelsea and Courtney, Thank you for sharing this amazing magical destination wedding experience in Emerald Cost Florida. A beach wedding is always special and your writing has made the celebration and couple relives every moment again at the grand venue of The Grand SanDestin.

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