Mr. Sea Monkey and I love the beach. One of the first trips we took together was his friend’s wedding and we even extended our trip just to have days to spend lying out on the sand. Well before Mr. Sea Monkey was in the picture, I actually thought about moving to Florida or Hawaii to get a fresh start in life. I’ve just always felt a strong connection to that calm, ocean breeze. When it came time to choose a location for the wedding, one thing was certain: the beach MUST be involved.
I have a sense of adventure in me and I really didn’t want to have a wedding in the Hoosier state I grew up in. I love it here, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like the traditional weddings around here didn’t scream “us”. Most people either have rustic backyard/barnyard weddings or they go the church route and we agreed that just wasn’t our vision. Also, while there are a few small beaches around here, they are rivers and lakes and not the ocean that we love so much.
We thought about going the weddingmoon route, so we each wrote a list of destinations and then narrowed them down to the top three, which turned out to be Bermuda, Hawaii and Mexico. It was important to us that our parents and my grandparents and sisters were all there, so we ran the locations by them first. After talking it over, we realized that the locations were just too far and expensive for everyone to make it and having the ones we loved there with us was much more important to me than my itch to travel.
Now we were back to square one. I knew I didn’t want to give up the beach, but I also didn’t want to inconvenience all of our guests, or worse, not have any of them be able to show up. Then I remembered that Florida was a place I had pretty strong ties to. It was the place that ignited my love of the ocean. Some of my fondest memories happened there. My grandparents took us there a few times growing up and I had a friend I would visit there on and off during college. It was perfect and it was always a place I just felt I belonged.
Now that we knew WHERE we were going, we had to figure out the details. You know, figure out EXACTLY WHERE we needed to go. We thought about all the airports and, after a few deep breathing sessions, settled on the wonderful city of Fort Lauderdale. We first settled on the Sheraton, but they didn’t do Saturday weddings, so we had to go through a recommended company to hash out the actual wedding details with. Part of that package included a wedding planner and I didn’t think I had it in me to plan an entire wedding without any help. I didn’t even know where to begin the planning process. We decided we liked the venue enough to go with it.
While it seemed fine in the beginning, they just weren’t as responsive as I needed them to be. All my planning had to be through email and we were going weeks without a single word from our planner. I also didn’t feel like I was being helped enough, being an out of town bride, and I really didn’t want to pay extra money if I had to figure everything out on my own anyways. After much discussion, we came to the very tough decision that we would have to look elsewhere. Boo. I mean, you can have a wedding with mermaids!!! Yes, that’s right. You can actually get in the water for part of the ceremony and be married with the mermaids (guests watch from the Wreck Bar). That is a childhood dream I’m sad I didn’t get to experience.
Image via dailymail/Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
So, on went our search. We wanted to stay close to our original location, but also find a venue that had everything we wanted nearby since all of our guests were flying out. We finally landed at a WONDERFUL place in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, called Sole on the Ocean. It’s a hotel and it’s main clients are small, beach weddings. This was the perfect spot for us, because it had everything we wanted: The beach, ceremony and reception space and a place to lay our heads after the festivities were over. We will be exchanging vows on their private dune, overlooking the beach. It is more than I could dream of and I cried happy tears after we found it. The staff have been so friendly and helpful and the waves have been pretty calm, so far.
Image via hotels.com
Image via Sole on the Ocean