Andrew pulled off the most amazing proposal on the small island of Gasparilla, in a town called Boca Grande. His family has been going to Boca Grande for vacation for four generations, so it’s a special and meaningful place. Not to mention that it’s gorgeous, and I for one would love to get married in a gorgeous, meaningful, special place.
The major player on Boca Grande is the Gasparilla Inn & Club. It’s a gorgeous, “old Florida” style inn, surrounded by quaint, cozy cottages and a pristine golf course. There are several places to get married at the Inn, including the golf course, the croquet lawn, in the main dining room, and at the Beach Club, located a couple of blocks away at the shore. We got engaged on the beach right next to the Beach Club. It has cheerful yellow umbrellas, panoramic views of the Gulf, and delicious rum drinks with fruit garnishes. Fun place for a wedding, right?
I contacted Sharon, the Catering Manager at the Inn, and she helpfully provided me with a price list. I won’t share their prices on here since they do not list them publically, especially as they are the nicest people and I don’t want to make them mad. But I will tell you that the Beach Club is has a fee that is equal to about one fifth of the total budget we had originally discussed, and then a food and beverage minimum that is double that. So all together, that would have taken up about 60% our total budget. Doable. With service charge and tax, it would be more like 73% of the budget. We didn’t need those decorations anyway.
The key would be to keep the food and beverage total as close to the minimum as possible. The Gasparilla Inn has a wide selection of buffet and seated menus available, as well as canapes, action stations, etc. They also offer bar service by the hour, key for our particular guests, who have been known to consume remarkable quantities of alcohol.
I calculated that with the following basic inclusions: a canape buffet including coconut shrimp, salmon tartare, among other delicious offerings, barbecue buffet dinner with brisket, snapper, pulled pork and fried chicken and tons of fancy comfort food sides, and a full bar; we could have a wedding with 70 people. Wow, I thought, we could actually pull this off! If I don’t put any money into decor, my dress, invitations and other printing, any extras, we could have a fairly large wedding at a luxury location with our very average budget.
We started putting our list together. We each put our own family and friends down separately, with a third list for mutual friends. We got to 275. And that was being conservative! Even if each of us only invited 40 people (with the assumption that 5 from each list would not come) we would only be able to invite our immediate families, grandparents, close aunts, uncles and cousins, and NO FRIENDS. I just couldn’t imagine getting married in this paradise with not even one of my friends there! And I couldn’t not invite the family that is closest to me.
So we had to give up the Boca Grande dream wedding. I had gotten attached too!
Want to see some gorgeous pictures from a bride who got to have her dream wedding at the Gasparilla Inn & Club? Check them out on the Style Me Pretty blog!
Wait, no, this one might be my favorite! This wedding looks so FUN. The bride grew up vacationing in BG too, so you know she is totally taking advantage of how fun and laid back and special it is there. I am so freaking jealous.