Adventures in Wedding Venues: Destination Wedding at Home

Welcome back! So we left off with having ventured for venues on Panama City Beach, and deciding that Carillon just didn't quite fit in flexibility or budget style. But now, we were sold on the ceremony and reception at one location. And now we have come to grips with the first irony of our wedding:
We wanted to plan a destination style wedding, in my hometown.
The remaining options in venues are resorts on Panama City Beach. We could hold the ceremony, reception, and accommodations all in one place! We quickly started our mental venture into the world of a weekend wedding and the fun extra activities we could plan and invite people to. To us, there are 2 MAJOR benefits of having a destination wedding at home. First, with it being treated as a destination wedding, people are more likely to take a few days and make it a mini vacation with a wedding to celebrate in the middle. Secondly, we get to spend more time with our guests. When the wedding rolls around, we will have moved to LA where we will be close to 2 of my friends.... and no one else. Also due to being in LA, we won't be able to make some of the trips we normally make to see friends. A long weekend to visit my girls in Orlando usually happens a few times a year. Every Memorial Day weekend, we drive up to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 and see a plethora of people that we don't really get to see anywhere else. Notsomuch for either of these drives happening from LA! So we want to be able to see these friends and family and spend lots of quality time with them, and not just a "we are so glad you're here!" moment at the wedding.

Ok, back to the options. First up, the Boardwalk Beach Resort. They are know for the beautiful ballrooms, and they are right on the water. They have also just added a condo building with beautiful interiors. This could be great because it would give a variety of price ranges (standard hotel room to deluxe condo) for guests to choose from for their "vacation". They have an on-site wedding coordinator, and a few venue options. Of these options we were interested most in the outdoor ones (with indoor as back-up). They don't do weddings on the beach, but they are in a gazebo (pictured) looking out over the water. Along the side of the building is a very large covered deck that can be used for the reception. Sounds great. None of us (my family and I) had been there in several years, so we went to check out the details. That picture of the gazebo looks very nice... from afar and as long as you don't turn around. Attention to detail is not the name of the game here. Rusted edges and corners, paint in dire need of a touch up, and - best of all - if I were standing in the gazebo facing the camera in that picture, I would be looking at the back of a motel 6 style hotel also in need of some TLC. Same thing goes for the covered deck. (Which is right next to the property dumpsters which smelled.... bad planning!) Don't get me wrong, many a beautiful wedding has been had here, but I was let down a bit. Here came the actual downfall of this option. The wedding coordinator, who was less than forthcoming with personality or information (we had to ask to see photos of past weddings - not good), made the fatal mistake of pointing out that the disarray and lack of upkeep was due to Spring Breakers. Remember me pointing out how KEY spring breaker havoc avoidance is? (If not - scroll down and read my last post.) The Boardwalk is literally next door to La Vela. Oh yeah - not kidding. Spring Break Mecca of Mtv madness and mayhem. For those who don't know - Spring Breakers descend on Panama City Beach for nearly a full 6 weeks every spring and DESTROY everything in sight. (As a whole they do. Don't be insulted if you were a PCB Spring Breaker - you weren't here for knitting class!) Anyway, the property was a classic spring break mess! She pointed out that they have the property cleaned up again by May.

Enter me taking my guests into consideration. Those not from the South cannot stand the heat and humidity. To me it means summer! Break out the Popsicles and lemonade. To everyone else however, it means sweating and sweltering heat, dehydration and oppressive humidity. So as to avoid the melted puddle o'guests, we were leaning towards a late spring wedding. Say April-ish?

So while this means Boardwalk is off the list for us, I don't want to give everyone the wrong impression. It can be a nice place. Especially, when it comes to events in their ballrooms. So that I leave this on a gripe style post. I'll end it with pictures (courtesy of my parents) from a friends wedding who's reception was held in a Boardwalk ballroom. Next post - Our Venue choice!