My sister got married two years, almost to the day, before Freesia Dude proposed. She and I are rather close in age and in friendship. I was her MOH and she is mine. The day she got engaged was the day that I started paying attention to all those details at weddings that one does not usually consider. From my point of view, she handled the whole process like a champ. She had every bit of it under control and turned out an amazing wedding that totally encompassed the personalities of her and her new husband. It took around a year to plan her fairly sizable wedding. During her planning, I decided that if when my day came I would do a destination wedding and if not, it would be small and simple and DEFINITELY not take longer than a few months to plan.
One of the first questions I was asked after becoming engaged was whether I would have a destination wedding. Immediately I said no, I would miss out on several things that I will only get to have one chance at. I had set in my mind that I would plan a wedding on the Texas beaches that Freesia Dude and I both grew up on.
I dreamed of a ceremony on the beach at sunset, in front of a beach house that would hold the reception. A small number, around 50 or so of our closest friends and family, would make a fabulous, yet not overwhelming, party. After all, socializing does make me tired! (My apologies, this is a small joke from my family that originated during my brother’s engagement to my now sister-in-law. After attending a couple of wedding preparation events, I returned home exhausted and explained that “socializing makes me tired”, it has stuck ever since.) So a quaint wedding on the beach had my name all over it….until I began to consider who those “50-ish guests” would be, and where there was a beach house on the Texas coast that did not have a septic system that would be massively overloaded by 50 people! (again, my apologies, this time for the unsettling example)
Freesia Dude and I began looking between Galveston and Surfside Beach. This land is not within city limits, allowing us to hold fireworks which would be nice as we were hoping to have a July 4th wedding (this will be our 5th “dating-anniversary”). Also, it is less crowded, but has fewer homes. While searching we found a couple houses that looked like they might work, so we took a Saturday drive to the beach to take a look. The first house we drove to was filled with quite a buzz and, judging by the white tulle draped on the railings, we suspected they were setting up a wedding!
We decided to walk up and ask if we might look around, trying to be as non-imposing as possible. Turned out that the people were renters (like ourselves) that were, in fact, setting up for their daughter’s wedding that evening. They welcomed us to look around and showed us all of their hard work. The house was looking amazing! I’d have hired them if I could! Freesia Dude and I both loved it and left the house to call the owner. When we got in touch, I asked if the home was available for our wedding and she said no. Apparently, too soon before the date that we wanted to schedule, another couple had booked the house for a wedding and the owner refused to book two weddings so close to be courteous to her neighbors. While a very considerate and just reason, I was miffed and heartbroken. Probably more the latter.
The owner offered the house if we could move the date back a couple of months, but we couldn’t. Freesia Dude and I picked this date out of a fairly small range of available dates, and she could not fit our window. I fought for July 4th because I love the idea of getting married 5 years to the day after we began to date. Aside from that, I think it’s a fabulous day to have an anniversary every year!
So the search continued. and continued. We made more trips to the beach, visited with a couple of other beach house owners that were happy to have us. Unfortunately, we could not find a way to hold a wedding at their homes due to small, but unavoidable, technicalities. We even checked out the Stahlman Park Reception Center. While it was very nice, it was a bit large for our small group. We called anyways only to learn that the Surfside Police take residence at this site for the July 4th weekend to keep a close patrol on the beach goers.
Galveston was next. Inside city limits, no fireworks, more crowded. We considered adjusting the date if we found the right venue. Next, we learned a lesson. After finding several very nice looking homes right on the beach that looked perfect for our wedding and reception, we learned that all of them are owned by a rental agency that essentially hung up the phone the second I mentioned the “W” word. They wanted nothing to do with weddings.
While there are many, many other options in and around the Galveston area, I had my heart set on the beach. I felt stuck in a planning rut, considering one at a time each of the things that I felt was a must, even the beach. Freesia Dude saw me and decided it was time we got out of this planning rut. Briefly, during our Texas beach planning, the thought of holding our wedding on a beach in the Caribbean flitted through our minds. We almost immediately dismissed it as we felt it was too distant. However, stuck without any ideas for a wedding location, which at this point was the pinnacle determining everything, we began to consider the Florida Keys…