Destination wedding

Posted on 26 January 2011

When we got the news that Kelly wanted to have a “beach” wedding, we all were thrilled with the location—Seaside/Seagrove/Rosemary Beach area.

(This was mid-February, prior to the oil spill that later occurred in Louisiana.)

Kelly had attended a friend’s wedding in that area recently and she too had always dreamed of a sunset wedding on the beach. Kelly began looking at locations for the reception, lodging options and caterers. When she found what certainly seemed to be the perfect location for both the reception and housing for the wedding party, Brown and I met Kelly’s father, Steve, in Destin to see first-hand if the site was suitable.

Kelly found a house through vacation rentals by owner (VRBO) that was the model home built in a subdivision just north of 30A. The home was huge and it sat adjacent to a community pool with a bathhouse, gazebo and lots of room for seating around the pool. It was indeed a perfect site for the reception. No other homes had been built in the subdivision—so this house had parking galore.

We then began looking for a wedding location.

The date Kelly and Jay selected for the wedding could not conflict with Jay’s fall schedule at Kennesaw State. It happened to be not only a long holiday weekend (Columbus Day), but also what turned out to be a very popular wedding date (10-10-10) weekend, too.

After driving aimlessly down street after street on the beach at Seaside, we actually found a home with the most beautiful location on the beach. The house was located adjacent to a State Park, so it was rather isolated from the other public places on this beach. The house was large enough for the parents/grandparents to stay in, and the stairs leading to the beach were absolutely perfect for Kelly and her father to walk down at the wedding. The house was also very close in proximity to the reception site. It seemed almost too good to be true! Brown and I found a lovely restaurant available for the rehearsal dinner that was also close to both locations.

We all met at the beach for a long Mother’s Day weekend. Kelly had arranged meetings with the caterer, event planner, bakery, and we arranged to have the Realtor let us see the house on the beach. Jay selected suits for the groomsmen to wear and got those reserved in Destin. Logistics were discussed—guests could easily park at the reception site and a “party” bus was secured to shuttle guests to the wedding site and back to the reception after the ceremony.

Plan B – The oil spill, inclement weather

Brown appointed himself chairman of Plan B. Kelly refused to have her spirits dampened by the daily ominous news of the oil spreading ever so close to the beaches of south Walton County.

We made another trip in June to look at other wedding site locations and found very few options. After meeting with the manager at the restaurant we selected for the rehearsal dinner, he assured us that officials in the area were equipped to handle any obstacles and not to change any plans. He was very cautious about menu selections, but assured us again that most items could be served—may not be fresh from the Gulf, but all entrees would be just as good!

Golf reservations were also made for the guys for the wedding weekend, too.

My parents met us on this trip so that Dad could get his bearings for the “beach” wedding!

We made another trip early in July to see if there were any signs of oil on the beaches, yet. Although there were workers walking up and down the beach—the water was beautiful and it was hard to imagine that anything could spoil the beauty of the beaches along the Gulf. Brown made one last trip to look at the beach—a week before the wedding!

He was determined that everything was going to be perfect for Jay and Kelly’s wedding!

The wedding weekend was perfect … the weather was fabulous, the water was beautiful, and Jay and Kelly were surrounded by those friends and family members that love them dearly.

We gave ourselves an extra day at the beach to clean up, to turn in tuxes and to relax from all the festivities—something I would highly recommend!

For out-of-town guests, Kelly was able to secure a block of rooms at the Marriott at Sandestin with her work affiliation. We also were fortunate to have Joe and Barbara Mulholland graciously offer us their townhouse for family members to use—it was a block away from our house! The kids were able to bike to our house to sit out on the beach. The rehearsal dinner was held at Café 30A.

Initially, Kelly wanted a “small” wedding—relatively speaking—it was “small.”

However, her father has six siblings and I have three, so immediate family alone is close to 65 people!

They then selected six bridesmaids and six groomsmen, so “small” soon became medium!

We were deeply touched to have Jay’s entire golf team from Kennesaw State attend, and the KSU Golf Director Dennis Stubblefield and his wife, Gerta, traveled to the wedding, too.

Jay’s golf coach from Auburn, Mike Griffin and his wife, Joyce, came, as did his assistant coach, Ryan Cabbage, who was one of Jay’s groomsmen.

Many of his Auburn teammates were there as well; Bainbridge native and Auburn track star Ty Akins came for the festivities, too!

After the wedding ceremony, a loud celebration yell was heard from the house: It was not for the nuptials that had just occurred, but rather the wedding party just learned that Alabama had lost to South Carolina!

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