Our wedding on Bradenton Beach was a wonderful experience. We rented a house in the area for the week of the wedding to take advantage of the various activities to be enjoyed in the area, including beach yoga, kayaking, and (of course) hanging out at the beach. When our wedding day finally came, we stood on the white sand beach in bare feet and said our vows under clear, sunny skies with the blue Gulf of Mexico in the background. It could not have been more perfect.
On a practical note, the Anna Maria Island/Bradenton Beach area has tons of local vendors who are eager to provide wedding-related services, so we found it easy to plan the event. Having the ceremony and reception in the same location helped avoid confusion among the guests about where to go following the ceremony.
The salon owner, Carol, was professional and courteous on the phone and over e-mail. She also asked for pictures of my desired style, which showed great attentionto detail. My stylish, Rebecca, was so sweet and did an amazing job on my hair. An unexpected bonus was that, since I came with a few friends, the bride's hair styling was free!
Note: This review is for Head Quarters Salon on Anna Maria Island, not in St. Pete. The website is displaying the wrong address. It should be 5376 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach.
A girl friend and I joined a free Wednesday beach yoga session (suggested donation 2-10 dollars) that took place just down the beach from the BeachHouse Restaurant. This was a welcome chance for some relaxation in the midst of all our last-minute wedding errands. The owner of Island Wellness offered to come by our house to give massages, which might be nice to do with one's bridesmaids and/or friends (we weren't able to work it into our schedule, though).
We wanted a vegan cake and Wired Whisk delivered! Christine was a pleasure to deal with over the phone and through e-mail. Our lemon cake with lemon icing and raspberry filling was a highlight of the reception, and no one suspected it was vegan (until we told them)! The cake was moist and not at all oily. Our one slight let-down was that the cake was placed on a cake board that was much wider than the cake stand we had prepared, so the stand was totally hidden. No big deal, it was still beautiful and--most importantly--delicious.
We did our ceremony on the beach right behind the restaurant and held the cocktail hour and reception in an outdoor pavillion at the restaurant. Nicole and Shawn at the BeachHouse did an excellent job, from answering our millions of questions about the venue to arranging for a vegan option on the menu. We got lots of compliments on the food from our guests; I only wish I'd had more time to enjoy my meal--the potatoes and portabello mushroom were so flavorful! The restaurant clearly has plenty of experience doing weddings for out-of-towners, which made for stress-free planning for us.
Our guests who stayed here were less than happy with the quality of the rooms; some rooms in the cottage did not have closing doors (just open entryways), so guests sharing the cottage had less privacy than they would have liked. A budget option if you're staying several nights, but do consider the cleaning fee. For just one night, you may be better off with a hotel that charges more but does not charge a cleaning fee.
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