Destination Weddings

Best Wedding Venues in Fort Walton Beach | 2015 Recommendations

In the final installment of our 2015 picks for top destination wedding venues in the Panhandle of Florida, we’re going to show you the Best Wedding Venues in Fort Walton Beach.  There has been a resurgence of weddings in this area over the past year thanks in part to some new development.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working these particular venues and think you be pleased to  have any of these are your wedding day venue!

Watervue at Brooks Street – Destin, FL
This is a recently renovated property under new ownership/management.  The venue is extremely spacious (over 5,000 square feet and a guest capacity of up to 300).  Mary is a delight to work with.  She is extremely personable and looks to make each event stand out.  With both indoor and outdoor options as well as the ability to bring in your own vendors, this is a venue that should definitely be considered.  They have a permanent dance floor installed as well as an elevated stage for the entertainment but what I think is their best feature is the wrap-around outside deck that circles around the ballroom with a waterfront view.  Plenty of on-site parking as well.

Watervue at Brooks Street Wedding DJ


Holiday Inn Resort – Fort Walton Beach, FL

This new property officially opened its doors in 2014.  Kevin (the venue manager) has some amazing group rate specials for wedding parties. While this is a smaller property, the open lobby floor plan, pool, and beach access makes it a perfect place to have your guests stay for your wedding celebration.  Their private beach access works well for ceremonies and they have a few indoor ballroom options for receptions.   What we like about this resort is that because of its size, they can’t have too many events happening at one time.  This means dedicated attention to you and your event.  In a day and age where venues want to flip ballrooms as many times as possible in a day, this resort has taken a quality over quantity approach which you will really appreciate!

Holiday Inn Fort Walton Beach Wedding DJ


Southern Bay Manor – Fort Walton Beach, FL

Tucked off of Highway 98 in downtown Fort Walton Beach, this venue is pretty amazing.  It’s located along the Santa Rosa Sound and the lush green lawns and beautiful trees give off a feeling of serenity.  Capacity is 500 people.  The set-up configurations are truly limited only to your imagination.  One of the best things about this venue is the fact that you can utilize the private boat/boat captain for some amazing sunset photos of the couple of honor.  Amber (the venue manager) has years of experience (though she looks like she’s 25!) so you’ll be well taken care of.  If you’re looking for a non-traditional wedding venue, check it out!

Southern Bay Manor Wedding DJ


Compass Rose – Valparaiso, FL

While not technically in Fort Walton, this is literally minutes away and we had to mention this venue!  They recently converted from a restaurant to strictly a private event venue. Not only is the food top-notch, but they have 3 spaces for you to have your function.  The have an outside patio that seats up to 100 people and is partially covered with a fantastic waterfront view of Tom’s Bayou.  Inside, you have two options.  If your guest count is 100 or less, we’d recommend the Banquet Room. It’s updated wood floors give it a real modern touch.  If you have between 100-150, then you’ll want to utilize the dining room.  It’s very spacious and has some window views out to the Bayou.  If you really want to get a feel for each room, go to their website and utilize the 360 degree view function of each space.

Compass Rose Weddings
Want more location ideas?  Check out our 2013 picks and Part 1 and Part 2 of our 2014 picks as well as Part 1 and Part 2 of our 2015 picks.

Best Wedding Venues in Destin | Best of 2015

Here’s Part 2 of our 2015 picks for top destination wedding venues. In this post, we’re going to focus on the best wedding venues in Destin.  This is the town everyone talks about for weddings in the panhandle of Florida and for good reason!  The beaches are amazing and it’s quickly become of the most developed areas around with some of the hottest retail and restaurants having just come to town in the last year. Believe it or not, there’s still some gems of wedding venues that you may not be aware of.  So let us tell you about them.

Resorts of Pelican Beach – Destin, FL
You have to be careful NOT to get this confused with the Pelican property by Wyndham.  The Resorts of Pelican Beach can be easily missed as it is backed into the south side of highway 98 with a ton of foliage disguising it.  But once in, you realize you have a fantastic all-in-one venue that has accommodations, private beach access and indoor venue spaces. This venue has been around for quite a while but we’re always surprised when people say they’ve never heard of it.  As one of their preferred vendors, this is a spot we highly recommend. If there’s any negative to the venue, it would be that it is that the indoor venue space is a bit dated.  However, it is very clean and the pricing is perfectly in line with the space.

Pelican Beach Resort Wedding

The Venue at Surfside Resort – Destin, FL
This event space was re-launched in 2014 and Nicki (the venue manager) did a phenomenal make-over to the space.  It sits off of Old Highway 98 with unobstructed floor to ceiling window beach views of the gulf. Although not directly on the beach, it’s literally a 5 minute walk away.  It has both indoor and outdoor cocktail hour/reception space and can fit 60-75 very comfortably. We honestly believe this is one of the best kept secrets in Destin.  They do offer accommodations. Parking is on-site.  While they do push their all-inclusive services, they allow outside vendors and catering. With a very neutral color palette, this venue should definitely be considered for intimate and mid-size weddings.

The Venue At Surfsider Wedding DJ

The Henderson – Destin, FL
Just when you thought Destin was all built up, here comes the latest resort development which is opening in the Summer of 2016.  It is called “The Henderson” and there won’t be anything close to it as far as luxury goes in the Destin area.  The owners also have the Henderson Park Inn property, which is rated the #1 Hotel in Destin according to TripAdvisor.  What does that mean?  This sister property place is going to be even more spectacular!  This will be the only “Diamond” rated resort in the area (next closest one is in Tampa).  There will be multiple ballrooms and beach front options for your ceremony and reception. Sherri and her team are one of the most professional in the area so you will have nothing to worry about with your wedding if you choose this location.

The Henderson Wedding DJ
Stay tuned for our 3rd installment (the Fort Walton Beach 2015 picks) coming out soon. In the meantime, want some other location ideas?  Check out our 2013 picks and Part 1 and Part 2 of our 2014 picks as well as Part 1 of our 2015 picks.

The Most Awkward Weddings We’ve Ever DJ’d | Wish Lantern Gone Wrong

After almost 20 years in the wedding DJ business, we can tell you that weddings, in and of themselves, make for great stories. With the exception of a few minor glitches, most turn out as planned, but in some rare cases, the “glitches” can be a bit more….well…interesting. As a matter of fact, some can be downright awkward.

Obviously, the awkward ones make the most interesting stories. We have whittled it down to the top 5 most awkward weddings we have ever DJ’d (as told by our entertainers themselves) and will be posting them over the next week.

NOTE: To protect the innocent, we’ve purposefully left out names but beyond that, I assure you that none of this has been embellished.  If you’re in the industry, I’m sure you will sympathize with us.  If you’re a soon to be bride or groom or a general reader, this may have you shaking your head.

Awkward weddings

A while back, we had a groom who wanted to use wish lanterns for their grand exit.  Mind you, this was before they became the rage so we had no clue what he was talking about.  The grand exit on the client sheet just simply read – “Wish Lanterns”.   No bold letters, no all caps, no special attention, and no instructions. As a result, we had no mental preparation for the eminent disaster that lay before us.

For those of you who don’t know, a Wish Lantern is an eco-friendly lantern that you write a wish on then set on fire and it flies away in the sky.  It symbolizes good luck for the couple.  Admittedly, it’s pretty cool to see, but you should only use them in the right conditions…conditions which were not present at the venue in this story.

The groom had paid a pretty penny for his lanterns and by golly, there was no way that heavy winds, low hanging trees and a nearby building was going to keep him from lighting them.

The first spark of the lighter gave off a familiar glow, but quickly sputtered and died in the gale force winds: another attempt, and another fail. Those fails might have shut the lantern party down, but in the wake of vows and romantic first dances, the promise and hope of eternal bliss still filled the air.

Finally, one of the lanterns accepted its flame (barely), took shape and rose gently into the sky. If you had been there, you would thought it postcard worthy, but that was short-lived. An event that had started out as a dreamy and romantic celebration was now turning into a terrifying and hellish nightmare.

The flaming ball of death slowly hurdled towards the wedding party, ricocheted off of an unsuspecting girl’s head, and finally found rest in a few dry tree branches. Did I mention that they were dry branches? A second flaming sphere soon followed and found refuge on the roof of the clubhouse (which allowed me to segue appropriately to the song “The Roof Is On Fire”). Cheers of jubilee soon turned to blood curdling screams and as you could imagine, panic ensued.

Every couple wants their reception to be memorable… and though blood soaked arson wasn’t the original plan… that day will surely go down as “memorable”.

Have a story of your own?  We’d love to hear it. Please comment below.

See more awkward wedding stories stories here!

DJ Josh B and Hilton Sandestin Wedding DJs | Dominique and Rumiko

With the mild autumn temperatures setting in on Florida’s Emerald Coast, the white beaches of the Hilton Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort are all the more inviting for happy couples seeking the perfect setting for their wedding day. For Dominique Kuykendall and Rumiko Murrell, “perfect” turned out to be a very fitting description! The calm waters turned turquoise as the setting sun painted the sky a fade of orange and purple—offering a splendid color palette as a backdrop for their ceremony and their first photos as newlyweds.

On the Hilton’s Sunset Deck, the reception layout presented an intimate setting for the event’s quaint number of guests. The dining tables all connected in a “U” pattern, so every loved one was never far from the gathering as a whole.

Sandestin Wedding DJs

The wedding party entered to Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” soon followed by Rumiko and Dominique’s very spirited first dance to “You & I” by Avant & Keke Wyatt. As dinner was being enjoyed, I treated the guests to a short round of Bride & Groom Trivia—with prizes! The lucky winners went home with a thousand “doll hairs” (still attached to the doll), a brand new “toy Yoda,” and two “100 Grand” candy bars.

The champagne toasts after dinner brought many a heartfelt moment, but plenty of laughs as well. The bride took a moment to voice her sincere appreciation of all the friends and family who were present, just before the ceremonial cutting of the cake … And then it was time to party! Kicking off with a throwback to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” filled the dance floor instantly, and it never emptied until “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith signed off the night in true romantic fashion. Memorable highlights included some impressive moves on display during “2 Step” by Unk, and everyone joining in to dance the Electric Slide to “Candy” by Cameo.

Hilton Sandestin Wedding DJ

It was a joy to celebrate with Dominique and Rumiko and their guests, and I consider it an honor and privilege to have been a part of their wedding day. It was a day I am certain they will hold in fond memory for their many happy years to come.

 

WaterColor Inn Wedding with DJ Brian B | Catie & Russ

WaterColor Inn Wedding DJ

I truly believe that WaterColor Inn is one of the most stunning wedding venues on the planet.  Having performed all over the country as a wedding DJ, I say this with extreme conviction.  So when Catie called us to inquire about our services and mentioned they had just booked that venue, I was so happy for them.  Multiply that excitement by 110% when she asked me personally to perform at her wedding!

Although she was extremely laid back, Catie and I were in contact frequently up to her wedding day.  I love it when a bride takes that much interest in the entertainment portion of her wedding.  We threw formality song suggestions back and forth many times until we found songs that fit them perfectly.

On the day of the wedding, the weather was stunning.  We set up on the lawn for the cocktail hour and reception while the ceremony took place on the beach.  With our 2 person DJ/Emcee package, DJ Charles handled the ceremony sound technician duties while one of our guitarists provided the ceremony music.

WaterColor Wedding Ceremony

Image Courtesy of Paul Johnson Photography

At the reception, we kicked into “The Wobble” immediately following the first dance and the entire crowd came out onto the dancefloor.  Talking about setting a dancing tone right off the back!  Wow!  They were ready to party.

The Wobble Wedding DJs

As I started playing for dinner, a huge cloud formed over us.  I tried my “music karma” in getting the sun out there with this Beatles selection.

WaterColor Wedding

In true Florida fashion, within all of about 90 seconds, a slight drizzle started. We quickly covered our gear and waited for it to pass.  As soon as it did, we went back out and started again.  The weather kept threatening and when the wind picked up, it was obvious that Mother Nature had other plans.

WaterColor Inn DJ

We quickly packed up our gear and moved inside one of the ballrooms and carried on with the rest of the night.  The crowd was in such a great mood despite the weather ordeal.  It was probably one of the best dancing crowds I had all summer long.

Emerald Coast Wedding DJ

What really stood out to me, however, was the love that this family shared.  The toast tributes to both the bride and groom were so touching.

Wedding Toasts WaterColor

Image Courtesy of Paul Johnson Photography

It was great sharing this wedding with some of the local area wedding industry all-stars.  We had Cheryl from WaterColor coordinating the event, Paul and Mecheal from Paul Johnson Photography, Celia and Danny from Momentus Films, and the crew from Fisher Flowers and Events.

DJ Brian B

Image Courtesy of Paul Johnson Photography

We send out heartfelt best wishes to both Catie and Russ!!!  With that, we’ll leave you with this awesome highlight video from Momentus Films.