If you have been following my blog you know that I love everything pink, bridal, preppy, Palm Beach chic I could go on and on but I’ll just name a few obsessions; that will do. This past Easter we spent the gorgeous long weekend at my Aunt and Uncle’s house on the island of Boca Grande. This was also that backdrop of our engagement shoot with K&K Photography last May check it out HERE. If you are not familiar with one of America’s Best Little Beach Towns as featured in Travel + Leisure you are about to read about one of Florida’s best kept secrets. I took some fabulous pictures with my Mac-Daddy Canon camera to show you just how unique this island really is below.
I will cut to the chase and give you the inside story on this retro glam little escape if you are looking for the perfect private wedding destination. The historic village of Boca Grande (about three square miles) sits on the island of Gasparilla and is located at the southern tip of the Cape Haze Peninsula on Florida’s Southwest Coast midway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers. Besides being a favorite of photographers, movie producers and brides, this is the island that presidents (George W. Bush), dignitaries and celebrities (Hepburn) sneak away to. It’s like going back to the 1950’s with a laid-back Southern vibe, where you beach all day and drink a mint julep at sunset. There are no high-rises, no fast food, no chain stores, no traffic lights. In fact, almost everyone gets around by golf cart since there are no gas stations on the island.
The place to stay and welcome your wedding guests is The Gasperilla Inn & Club I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey Bender McKelvy Senior Catering Manager at the hotel. Lindsey has been creating chic beach weddings to retro glam as mentioned by Conde Nast Traveler for over 5 years at the hotel. Gasparilla Inn has been the ultimate in chic island hotels since the early 1900’s and features 62 rooms and suites with a Lilly Pulitzer feel. You can also rent out the bungalows that surround the hotel for larger parties. The Inn is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and the National Trust of Historic Preservation. When you walk up to the hotel you will see pristine landscaping, rocking chairs on the hotel porch and attentive bell boys greeting you. Brides can choose from a couple different ceremony sites including The Inn’s Beach Club, Golf Course Gazebo, the Banyan Tree shading the fifth hole of the golf course or the Inn’s spacious living room. Outdoor receptions with seated dinners are available poolside or on the Croquet Lawn overlooking the bayou. Fresh Beauty Studio travels nationally, our hair and makeup team can come right to you on the island to make sure you have flawless airbrush makeup and modern hair throughout your island weekend wedding.
There are many churches on the island to choose from, we attended Easter Sunday mass at Our Lady of Mercy. This church is absolutely stunning with lush bougainvillea surrounding the church property and royal palms lining the walk way up to the church. You are almost guaranteed the most beautiful ceremony pictures with this backdrop.
My husband and I say every time we visit that we feel like we are on our honeymoon and never want to leave, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Herb are you listening????? Did I mention that there is your very own Lilly Pulitzer on the island called Pink Palm on Park? They happened to have one of their largest bathing suit sales when we were there, of course I coudn’t pass that up, something I like to call serendipity my husband calls it a “shopping problem.”
Boca Grande has you at all times sitting back relaxing, sipping a chilled glass of wine while watching the sunset , no cars equals no stress. Oh and Friendly!!!! did I mention that everyone is friendly??? that’s saying a lot for us Florida folk (I can say this since I am a native Floridian) be prepared to wave and say “Hello” to everyone, something that we just don’t do East side. The island undoubtedly has this carefree vibe that you just can’t get anywhere else in Florida. If you have been hunting for that perfect wedding destination, I have to say without a doubt you HAVE found your paradise. This is my favorite wedding destination for sure.
Enjoy the pictures I took while running around in my pink golf cart! XOXO