WITH OVER 25 years of experience in the travel industry, Stephanie Miller Murphy decided three years ago to open her own boutique travel consulting company, Travel with Stephanie, which specializes in luxury travel and custom international travel.
According to Stephanie, the top reasons couples choose destination weddings are ease of planning, cost-effectiveness and amount of time with loved ones. Many couples who have destination weddings choose to stay for several days after their guests have gone home. By combining the wedding and the honeymoon, the bride and groom save on cost as well as on the headaches of planning two separate events. Also, many couples opt for destination weddings because they allow for more quality time with friends and family. The typical wedding reception will last only a few hours, and all too often the bride and groom are unable to enjoy most of it because they spend so much of their time trying to say hello to everyone. Destination weddings usually span out over several days, allowing the bride and groom ample quality time with their loved ones in a far more relaxed environment.
As Northshore residents, we are fortunately able to have destination weddings without traveling far at all. Florida’s gulf coast provides the perfect setting for a beach wedding without the added expense of air travel. And though it’s long been a local favorite for summer getaways, Destin’s sugar white sands and emerald green waters have made it a choice backdrop for romantic beach weddings. Convinced yet? Pack up that dress and take a trip east!
When choosing a location, it is important to be sure the venue can accommodate your wedding party and any of its unique needs. For a Destin-ation wedding, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa is ideal. Whether you’re looking for a small, intimate gathering or a large, extravagant celebration, this resort can accommodate. This resort offers three all-inclusive packages, which each include a team of wedding experts available to assist you every step of the way.
Another reason to love the Hilton Sandestin is the plethora of activities available that contribute to the carefree vacation mood. With four golf courses, 15 tennis courts, three pools (including one indoor), and free shuttles to local retail shops, there is something here for everyone in your wedding party. Also, between the six restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining and the 24 hour room service, this resort can cater to any guest’s dietary needs or dining preferences.
One distinct benefit of a destination wedding is that the entire bridal party gets to relax for a few days and experience the beauty of the location. No matter how near or far you travel from, a clear advantage of destination weddings is that everyone is in a more laid-back vacation mood and can enjoy the couple’s special day. With proper planning, a destination wedding weekend can feel just as carefree as the most luxurious of vacations.
Speaking of luxury, the tranquility of the Hilton’s exquisitely decorated 14,500 square foot Serenity Spa offers a perfect place to unwind before the wedding. Treat your bridal party to some pre-wedding spa time with specialty treatments featuring seawater pearls and sea salt or traditional beauty treatments like facials, manicures, and pedicures. Also available is a lounge area that can be rented for the bridal party.
The hotel offers several location options for the wedding ceremony, but what better backdrop than beautiful sugar white sand beaches and emerald green waters? A sunset ceremony offers an idyllic backdrop and flattering light for wedding photos. Your team of experts will handle the catering, flowers, organizing, and officiate all your day-of needs to ensure that your special day is as perfect as you dreamed it would be.
The best part is that after the wedding you can immediately begin your honeymoon in one seamless event.
Stephanie Miller Murphy can be contacted at Travel With Stephanie, 985-727-5577, Travelwithstepahnie.com. Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa can be reached by calling 800-559-1805 or visiting hiltonsandestinbeach.com.