Will You Regret NOT Having A Destination Wedding?

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Let me tell you a little story about my recent 10 year wedding vow renewal. Yes, I (Christi Winsor) have been married for over a decade! We decided to commemorate our anniversary by renewing our vows in a beautiful international destination that is near and dear to me personally. This is 10 years after our local Tampa wedding, and out of our original 100 guests we had about 7 of those same people present for our vow renewal, plus another 10 very close friends we made over those last ten years (this goes to show how close you really are to some of those original guests you ‘have to invite’). Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED my wedding! It was the BEST day of my life and I had a blast with everyone who was there to celebrate with us. But once I spent 3 days in paradise with this small group of my closest friends and family, enjoying their company for sightseeing and excursions, our incredible vow renewal event, and casual breakfasts and poolside hangs, I realized “Wow, this is the INCREDIBLE! Every wedding should be more like this!” (And I plan local weddings for a living!! That’s really saying something!!)

Whether you’ve considered a destination wedding or you’ve always thought you’d marry locally, you MUST read this article and ask yourself these questions before you have serious wedding remorse!


winsor event studio destination wedding living coral bouquet

Do you have a modest wedding budget?

The National average wedding costs around $33.400 for only 136 guests - or about $245 per person! (And Florida tends to come in closer to $40,000, higher than the National average). If you aren’t prepared to spend this kind of money, or if your anticipated guest count for your local wedding tends to be very high, you should seriously consider a destination wedding. After all, guest count is the single biggest factor in your wedding budget and overspending! Destination weddings tend to cost less than local weddings due to a smaller head count, a more favorable currency rate, or both! (sometimes up to 1/3 the price - ask us for more info!)

winsor event studio luxury destination wedding living coral

Do you long for a unique guest experience that your friends and family will remember over all other weddings?

This is a time where every couple wants their wedding to be unique and different, but if you’re getting married locally and inviting a lot of local people within your social network, chances are your guests have attended a wedding at your venue before, seen your band perform at another wedding already, or even eaten those same cupcakes before your big day. If you want to provide your guests a unique and memorable experience that will make every other home-town wedding pale in comparison, then you should give a destination wedding some thought. There are plenty of options to suit your desired travel distance and event style (i.e. not every destination wedding is on a beach! HELLO!)

winsor event studio luxury destination wedding

Are you worried the day will go by too quickly, without enough quality time with the ones you love most?

This is a big motivator! A wedding day goes by crazy fast (ask anyone who has been recently married); you’re lucky to spend about 4 hours with your guests during your reception, maybe up to 8 hours with those extra special people who are in your wedding party and shadowing you before the festivities. Ideally you should plan to spend a little time with everyone who attends your wedding, and that’s already hard enough to do with an average count of 136 guests let alone more than that number (let’s see, if we divide them into pairs and have 3.5 hours of reception time after the formal dances finish, that means you need to greet almost 20 couples per hour in order to have face time with everyone… Sound like fun? No?!? Wait, you mean you want to dance and socialize and enjoy yourself instead of feeling like you’re running for office? Well there is another option…) Cue the Destination Wedding! A typical destination wedding spans a weekend instead of a single evening (sometimes even 3-4 days depending on the location). Often an all-inclusive resort will offer your lodging and wedding venue all on site. This gives you ample time with your guests, both before and after the actual wedding. And since the guest count for a destination wedding is often a smaller group of your truly closest friends and family, you have even more quality time with that tight knit group of people. It’s win-win!

winsor event studio luxury destination wedding save the date

Do you love to travel?

If the answer is Yes, then a destination wedding should really be at the top of your list! This gives you the opportunity to gift yourself a unique wedding travel experience along with your friends and family. Be it a favorite vacation spot you’ve visited before, or somewhere new and exciting you’ve always wanted to see, imagine how special it would be to share that distinct ‘local’ flavor and culture as part of your wedding day experience. And even if your answer was No, but you answered Yes to the other 3 questions above, you shouldn’t rule out the idea of a destination wedding. Some locations are as close as a 2 hour plane ride away; that’s less than most drives across the state! It may be worth expanding your venue search if it means getting everything else you’ve ever wanted.


Photo Credit: Lifelong Photography Studios

Adilen and Manny - An Elegant and Intimate Wedding

Adilen and Manny planned an intimate wedding with their closest friends and family in celebration of their many years together. Adilen envisioned vintage details and soft colors, and Manny made sure there was great food and music! A charming and cozy venue created a modern garden setting, which was the perfect backdrop for all of the romantic flora that Adilen favored! Gold details added a vintage element to the elegant decor, and little brass airplane bottle opener favors gave a nod to the groom’s pilot skills. The result was a perfect combination of romantic and sophisticated.

Initially worried about inclemental weather for their outdoor ceremony, the resulting sky full of pinks and purples proved to be beautiful surprise that complimented the blush colors found in the reception.

Initially worried about inclemental weather for their outdoor ceremony, the resulting sky full of pinks and purples proved to be beautiful surprise that complimented the blush colors found in the reception.

The gorgeous bride wore an ivory, mermaid style lace gown, with a plunging back and beaded cap sleeve straps.

The gorgeous bride wore an ivory, mermaid style lace gown, with a plunging back and beaded cap sleeve straps.

Bridesmaids glittered in rose-gold sequined gowns and the flower girl looked precious in white lace and tulle.

Bridesmaids glittered in rose-gold sequined gowns and the flower girl looked precious in white lace and tulle.

The couple exchanged vows during an outdoor ceremony beneath an arbor of flora and greenery, and a crystal chandelier.

The couple exchanged vows during an outdoor ceremony beneath an arbor of flora and greenery, and a crystal chandelier.

Elegant details, like drapery and twinkling lights strung overhead, as well as tables dressed with mirrored pedestals, gold and crystal candelabras, and clusters of blush and ivory roses, elevated this intimate wedding.

Elegant details, like drapery and twinkling lights strung overhead, as well as tables dressed with mirrored pedestals, gold and crystal candelabras, and clusters of blush and ivory roses, elevated this intimate wedding.

Gold and rose gold details were displayed amongst blush linens, soft candlelight, and bouquets of ivory and blush florals.

Gold and rose gold details were displayed amongst blush linens, soft candlelight, and bouquets of ivory and blush florals.

A handmade mantle was used as a focal point and backdrop for the simple and sophisticated three tiered cake, which was decorated with metallic gold accents and fresh peonies.

A handmade mantle was used as a focal point and backdrop for the simple and sophisticated three tiered cake, which was decorated with metallic gold accents and fresh peonies.

Together the couple cut into their gorgeous cake amongst their closest friends and family.

Together the couple cut into their gorgeous cake amongst their closest friends and family.

The bride carried a bouquet of garden roses, peonies, and sprigs of greenery which complimented the enormous vine wall, that sat behind the guests’ feasting table, which was uniquely created for this event.

The bride carried a bouquet of garden roses, peonies, and sprigs of greenery which complimented the enormous vine wall, that sat behind the guests’ feasting table, which was uniquely created for this event.

Vendors who created this beautiful wedding include:

  • Venue: Forty Two Ten

  • Catering: Flavor Gourmet

  • Florist: Hannah’s Flowers

  • Hair & Makeup: Destiny & Light

  • Stationery: All That Glitters

  • Videography: Brett Rohlfing Video

  • Bar: Spunky Spirits

  • Officiant: Sensational Ceremonies

  • Linens: Connie Duglin Linen

  • Transportation: Suncoach Transport

  • Cake: Publix Greenwise

TRENDSETTING - A Coastal Chic Styled Shoot on Anna Maria Island

The Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club is one of many resorts in the Autograph Collection hotels, which are specially designed to be unique to their locations. The Waterline on Anna Maria Island was designed with an emphasis on island life and elegant coastal chic vibes. So this styled shoot incorporates the cool, laidback attributes of living on an island with the upscale, chic details of the luxury Autograph Collection resort. Shades of ivory and ocean blues were accented with natural seaside greenery, nautical elements like driftwood, and pops of pearlescent shells throughout.

The resort, which offers activities like kayak and bicycle rentals, provides a beautiful backdrop for photos in the setting Florida sun.

The resort, which offers activities like kayak and bicycle rentals, provides a beautiful backdrop for photos in the setting Florida sun.

Fun invitations, with elegant script writing, in a range of shades of cobalt, dusty-blue, sage green, and ivory create a watery motif that perfectly sets the tone for this elegant beach wedding.

Fun invitations, with elegant script writing, in a range of shades of cobalt, dusty-blue, sage green, and ivory create a watery motif that perfectly sets the tone for this elegant beach wedding.

A beaded dress with delicate straps and light accessories are the perfect compliment to the natural beauty of this island wedding.

A beaded dress with delicate straps and light accessories are the perfect compliment to the natural beauty of this island wedding.

The bride and bridesmaids enjoy mimosas while wrapped in fluffy hotel robes.

The bride and bridesmaids enjoy mimosas while wrapped in fluffy hotel robes.

The gentlemen relax at the bar before the ceremony begins.

The gentlemen relax at the bar before the ceremony begins.

Navy suits with pops of grey and ivory perfectly accent this waterside affair.

Navy suits with pops of grey and ivory perfectly accent this waterside affair.

The bridesmaids wore short, striped dresses to incorporate a fun and relaxed searsucker vibe.

The bridesmaids wore short, striped dresses to incorporate a fun and relaxed searsucker vibe.

Fun, beachy elements, like nautical rope and barnacles, were used as decor and fun props for photos.

Fun, beachy elements, like nautical rope and barnacles, were used as decor and fun props for photos.

winsor event studio waterline resort wedding coastal destination
A seaside ceremony between palm trees, took place in front of a chiffon draped arch with complimentary floral arrangements.

A seaside ceremony between palm trees, took place in front of a chiffon draped arch with complimentary floral arrangements.

Glassine envelopes, printed with the program, were filled with ivory rose petals and handed out during the ceremony to use during the send off of the couple.

Glassine envelopes, printed with the program, were filled with ivory rose petals and handed out during the ceremony to use during the send off of the couple.

Silver lanterns and ivory florals, with pops of blue and green, lined the aisle.

Silver lanterns and ivory florals, with pops of blue and green, lined the aisle.

The bride’s bouquet was kept simple and sophisticated with all ivory roses, greenery, and mother of pearl branches to resemble shells.

The bride’s bouquet was kept simple and sophisticated with all ivory roses, greenery, and mother of pearl branches to resemble shells.

The couple are showered in rose petals as they’re received by guests for the first time as husband and wife.

The couple are showered in rose petals as they’re received by guests for the first time as husband and wife.

Escort cards, that were made to resemble mother-of-pearl shells, were displayed above a driftwood table.

Escort cards, that were made to resemble mother-of-pearl shells, were displayed above a driftwood table.

Soft blue and white burlap linens were paired with clusters of florals and candle light, on tables overlooking the waterfront pool, during cocktail hour.

Soft blue and white burlap linens were paired with clusters of florals and candle light, on tables overlooking the waterfront pool, during cocktail hour.

White linens with sheer overlays in varying textures and patterns, were paired with pops of blue and silver in the ballroom.

White linens with sheer overlays in varying textures and patterns, were paired with pops of blue and silver in the ballroom.

Silver candelabras that resembled painted driftwood were set against pearlescent shells and dusty blue greenery.

Silver candelabras that resembled painted driftwood were set against pearlescent shells and dusty blue greenery.

Lanterns and florals transferred from the ceremony adorned some of the tables.

Lanterns and florals transferred from the ceremony adorned some of the tables.

The silver chargers set with blue napkins, and elegant script menus brought a hint of watercolor to the neutral tables.

The silver chargers set with blue napkins, and elegant script menus brought a hint of watercolor to the neutral tables.

A dessert display boasted a coastal-inspired three tiered cake, cupcakes, cake pops, macarons, and handmade marshmallows, accented with nautical displays like wood trays, rope, and seaglass.

A dessert display boasted a coastal-inspired three tiered cake, cupcakes, cake pops, macarons, and handmade marshmallows, accented with nautical displays like wood trays, rope, and seaglass.

Cake pops the color of ocean foam were accented with metallic gold and ivory sugar roses. Sweet coastal chic!

Cake pops the color of ocean foam were accented with metallic gold and ivory sugar roses. Sweet coastal chic!

The incredible team of wedding professionals who created this shoot include:

Venue: The Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club of the Autograph Collection Hotels

Photographer: Stephanie Smith Photography

Hair & Makeup: Femme Akoi

Wedding Dress: Isabel O’Neil Bridal

Florist: Arlene Floral Designer

Stationary: The Southern Wedding Belle’s

Linens: Connie Duglin Linen

Cake & Desserts: Trudy Melissa Cakes

Videography: VH Video

Rentals: US Tent

Liz and Leo - A Timeless Beachfront Wedding in Clearwater

Liz and Leo knew two things when they started planning their Clearwater Beach wedding; it needed to have amazing food, and it had to have incredible live music (in honor of the couple's many concerts attended together), including the best Hora anyone has ever witnessed. Liz had event planning experience through her work with the American Heart Association, so details were very important to her (and there were plenty of beautiful and personal touches throughout the event). Guests enjoyed hosted poolside cabanas the afternoon of the wedding, and a jazz trio during a cocktail hour complete with a raw bar and a 4-tier cake made entirely of cheese! Leo's Argentinian background inspired a true party vibe for the reception, keeping the dance floor packed all night until the after-party in the hotel suite.

Clearwater beach and a Florida sunset provided the perfect backdrop for romantic portraits.

Clearwater beach and a Florida sunset provided the perfect backdrop for romantic portraits.

From the first impressions of receiving elegant pocket-style custom invitations, guests knew they were in for a special celebration.

From the first impressions of receiving elegant pocket-style custom invitations, guests knew they were in for a special celebration.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of roses, hydrangea, anemones, lisianthus (in honor of the bride ‘Liz’), and eucalyptus.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of roses, hydrangea, anemones, lisianthus (in honor of the bride ‘Liz’), and eucalyptus.

To keep things simple and sophisticated the bride chose matching bouquets of ivory florals with greenery to subtly pop against the bridesmaids’ charcoal dresses.

To keep things simple and sophisticated the bride chose matching bouquets of ivory florals with greenery to subtly pop against the bridesmaids’ charcoal dresses.

Timeless elements like this natural bouquet and the bride’s mikado, slightly off-the-shoulder dress were a stunning addition to the classic details of the ceremony and reception.

Timeless elements like this natural bouquet and the bride’s mikado, slightly off-the-shoulder dress were a stunning addition to the classic details of the ceremony and reception.

The groom wore a sharp three piece suit in complimenting shades of charcoal with pops of ivory details.

The groom wore a sharp three piece suit in complimenting shades of charcoal with pops of ivory details.

The groom signing the beautiful Ketubah, which outlines the promises he makes to his new wife.

The groom signing the beautiful Ketubah, which outlines the promises he makes to his new wife.

The ceremony was an evening celebration on the lawn overlooking the ocean.

The ceremony was an evening celebration on the lawn overlooking the ocean.

Lush arrangements of floral and greenery complimented the natural beauty of the ceremony space on Clearwater Beach.

Lush arrangements of floral and greenery complimented the natural beauty of the ceremony space on Clearwater Beach.

Pre-ceremony champagne cocktails and popcorn, with toppings like truffle salt and white cheddar, were displayed for guests as they found their seats on the lawn.

Pre-ceremony champagne cocktails and popcorn, with toppings like truffle salt and white cheddar, were displayed for guests as they found their seats on the lawn.

The “blushing bride” champagne cocktails were served with pre-ceremony snacks.

The “blushing bride” champagne cocktails were served with pre-ceremony snacks.

The stunning vine-clad chuppah, which symbolizes the home the couple will build together, was a stunning focal pooint set against the fading sunset before the evening ceremony began.

The stunning vine-clad chuppah, which symbolizes the home the couple will build together, was a stunning focal pooint set against the fading sunset before the evening ceremony began.

Beneath the chuppah, the couple exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish ceremony, lit by a canopy of bistro lights.

Beneath the chuppah, the couple exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish ceremony, lit by a canopy of bistro lights.

The reception featured feasting tables adorned with neutral linens, lush florals, delicate candles, and French country chairs.

The reception featured feasting tables adorned with neutral linens, lush florals, delicate candles, and French country chairs.

Floral arrangements included plenty of greenery for a natural element, and an abundance of candlelight for a romantic effect.

Floral arrangements included plenty of greenery for a natural element, and an abundance of candlelight for a romantic effect.

Glass charger plates were layered with linens in shades of grey and white.

Glass charger plates were layered with linens in shades of grey and white.

A mix of towering florals and candlelight with the natural color scheme created a perfect blend of sophistication and simplicity.

A mix of towering florals and candlelight with the natural color scheme created a perfect blend of sophistication and simplicity.

Fun bubble favors were passed out before the reception.

Fun bubble favors were passed out before the reception.

The wedding party showered the dance floor in bubbles during the first dance.

The wedding party showered the dance floor in bubbles during the first dance.

The couple’s first dance as husband and wife was shared with their 250 guests, most of whom traveled from across the country and even across continents to attend.

The couple’s first dance as husband and wife was shared with their 250 guests, most of whom traveled from across the country and even across continents to attend.

The live band played an epic Hora that lasted a full 20 minutes!…

The live band played an epic Hora that lasted a full 20 minutes!…

…and ended with the bride and groom crowd surfing!

…and ended with the bride and groom crowd surfing!

During dinner guests enjoyed plated surf & turf of Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail, finished with wedding cake in chocolate, vanilla, and dulce de leche flavors.

During dinner guests enjoyed plated surf & turf of Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail, finished with wedding cake in chocolate, vanilla, and dulce de leche flavors.

The couple shared the first piece of their gorgeous cake and a kiss!

The couple shared the first piece of their gorgeous cake and a kiss!

Guests enjoyed a late night snack of chicken tenders or grilled brie and strawberry sandwiches, with mini cupcake favors to take away as they departed. Talk about a wedding fit for a foodie!

Guests enjoyed a late night snack of chicken tenders or grilled brie and strawberry sandwiches, with mini cupcake favors to take away as they departed. Talk about a wedding fit for a foodie!

And of course no wedding photos on Clearwater Beach would be complete without the famous pirate ship at sunset!

And of course no wedding photos on Clearwater Beach would be complete without the famous pirate ship at sunset!

The incredible collection of wedding pros who created this gorgeous event include:

  • Venue & Catering: Opal Sands, Clearwater Beach

  • Photographer: Andi Diamond Photography

  • Floral Design: FH Weddings & Events

  • Entertainment: DeLeon Entertainment

  • Chairs & Chargers: A Chair Affair

  • Staging: Coast to Coast Event Rentals

  • Linens: Connie Duglin Linen

  • Videography: VH Video

  • Stationery: Oh My Designs

  • Cake: Corey’s Bakery

  • Bridal Gown & Bridesmaid Dresses: The White Closet Co.

  • Suit: Bespoke & Co.

  • Hair & Makeup: Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

Nadia and Shay - A Rustic Chic Wedding at the Historic Tampa Armature Building

Nadia and Shay's wedding was the very first at Tampa's newest (and hottest) venue, Armature Works.  The couple envisioned rustic glamour on Tampa's Hillsborough River with lush greenery, good food, and plenty of dancing for their big day!  They fell in love with the charm of the brick walls, exposed industrial ceiling, and view of the city skyline.  But with a couple this gorgeous, who’s looking at the buildings, anyway?!

The couple posed for sunset photos on the Hillsborough River following their waterfront ceremony.

The couple posed for sunset photos on the Hillsborough River following their waterfront ceremony.

A classic pocket style invitation suite in coordinating colors featured gold accents and script calligraphy.

A classic pocket style invitation suite in coordinating colors featured gold accents and script calligraphy.

The bride wore a stunning bead embellished, lace and tule mermaid style gown.

The bride wore a stunning bead embellished, lace and tule mermaid style gown.

Personalized, reusable Starbucks cups made for a fun and eco friendly gift!

Personalized, reusable Starbucks cups made for a fun and eco friendly gift!

The bride carried a bouquet made of ivory roses, lisianthus, garden roses, stock, and greenery.

The bride carried a bouquet made of ivory roses, lisianthus, garden roses, stock, and greenery.

The groom's passion for high end sneakers inspired a surprise for him later on in the wedding.

The groom's passion for high end sneakers inspired a surprise for him later on in the wedding.

As a professional model, the bride was seriously working her bridal portraits! Yowza!!!

As a professional model, the bride was seriously working her bridal portraits! Yowza!!!

Natural wood chairs adored the rooftop ceremony space to compliment the natural florals and greenery accents.

Natural wood chairs adored the rooftop ceremony space to compliment the natural florals and greenery accents.

Opulent gold details gave a hint to the chic decor found in the reception.

Opulent gold details gave a hint to the chic decor found in the reception.

The couple exchanged vows overlooking the Hillsborough River and city skyline.

The couple exchanged vows overlooking the Hillsborough River and city skyline.

A Tampa sunset on the river provided the perfect backdrop for romantic photos.

A Tampa sunset on the river provided the perfect backdrop for romantic photos.

Organic and loose floral with lots of greenery were perched atop tables accented with gold details and lots of romantic candlelight.

Organic and loose floral with lots of greenery were perched atop tables accented with gold details and lots of romantic candlelight.

Alternating tables boasted mirrored pedestals with gold mercury urns of coordinating flora and gold framed table numbers.

Alternating tables boasted mirrored pedestals with gold mercury urns of coordinating flora and gold framed table numbers.

Arrangements of hanging amaranthus, ruscus, eucalyptus, hydrangea, stock, and roses towered over tables on opulent gold pillars.

Arrangements of hanging amaranthus, ruscus, eucalyptus, hydrangea, stock, and roses towered over tables on opulent gold pillars.

Tables were set with coordinating script menu cards tucked into napkins atop gold chargers, with sprigs of greenery at each place setting.

Tables were set with coordinating script menu cards tucked into napkins atop gold chargers, with sprigs of greenery at each place setting.

A stunning four tiered cake with gold and sugar flower details was surrounded by more flowers and greenery.

A stunning four tiered cake with gold and sugar flower details was surrounded by more flowers and greenery.

A special groom's cake modeled after a favorite real life pair of Jordans belonging to the groom.

A special groom's cake modeled after a favorite real life pair of Jordans belonging to the groom.

A heartfelt speech made by the Maid of Honor.

A heartfelt speech made by the Maid of Honor.

A live band made sure this party lasted all night!

A live band made sure this party lasted all night!

Friends and family gathered on the dance floor to celebrate the couple!

Friends and family gathered on the dance floor to celebrate the couple!

Great food, great music, and great friends… What more can you ask for at a wedding?!

Great food, great music, and great friends… What more can you ask for at a wedding?!

Armature Works provided the perfect balance of industrial chic and historic charm!

Armature Works provided the perfect balance of industrial chic and historic charm!

The talented team of wedding professionals who made this luxuriously epic wedding include:

- Venue:  Armature Works

- Photography:  Andi Diamond Photography

- Floral & Decor:  FH Weddings & Events

- Videography:  Randall Productions

- Entertainment:  Tom Sartori Band

- Catering:  Puff n Stuff

- Cake:  Designer Cake Art by Elise's Pieces

- Transportation:  Clearwater Jolley Trolley & Pirate Water Taxi

- Stationery:  Invitation Galleria