Friday, August 21, 2009

The Venue, Part 3…The Strongest Contender?

Option 4 – Sandpearl Resort


So, one day, Justin and I decided to take a trip to Clearwater Beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and to hunt for some shells. Typically, we have avoided Clearwater since it tends to be overrun with tourists. Thankfully, being a native to the area, you know where the free parking spots are hidden, and which parts of the beach are quieter. So, we headed to the north end of the beach for the afternoon.

I am not one of those people that can lay out on a towel and bake in the sun for hours. I honestly cannot fathom how people can do this, but props to you if you have the ability! I quickly get uncomfortable, I hate to sweat, and most importantly, I get bored. So, my favorite thing to do at the beach is to walk. And I mean walk…a LOT. Once my legs get tired of walking, it is time to leave the beach. I’m a brat, I know. So, when Justin and I arrived, we immediately began to walk south towards the pier/touristy area. I love to people-watch, its fascinating!

When we hit the end of the beach, the two of us turned around and began our trek back to our towels. As we passed the various hotels and beachfront restaurants again, I began to look more critically at one in particular; The Sandpearl. It is a newly renovated hotel, and it is beyond gorgeous. I stopped in my tracks as we walked by, and asked Justin what he thought about a wedding at this particular location. We both thought that it had potential…and decided that I would have to get some more information. It is by far the most beautiful hotel on the beach!

Our view of the Sandpearl from our walk on the beach

Fast forward to about 2 weeks later. I was in contact with the catering manager at the Sandpearl, and my mom and I were headed over to take a tour. I tell you, this place is quite the experience! When guests arrive to check in, you are served champagne…and you don’t just stand at a check in desk at the lobby, you are escorted to a side room where you are able to sit down and sip your bubbly. Crazy! Although mom and I weren’t checking in, we did have to wait a few minutes for the manager to come down to meet us, so they gave us some champagne while we waited! Score!

How beautiful is this lobby?


A fabulous is this?


Once the manager met up with us, it was off to the tour! She explained to us how the wedding process typically is set up. Basically, depending on your guest size and budget, you select one of the banquet rooms (there is a HUGE grand ballroom, as well as some smaller ones, and even more intimate rooms if you have a very small guest list). Each room has a different minimum on food/beverage purchase. Go figure! You have the option of having your ceremony outside on the beach, out on their lawn by the pool, or off to the side a bit on another small lawn. Ok…plenty of choices there. But, in the back of my mind a little warning siren was going off…did I want to get married ON the beach? Did I want to get married OUTSIDE???? My first response is no, I don’t! I’m a prissy girl, and the heat in Florida at the end of May? Pretty steamy. The thought of my makeup melting off my face and my hair falling is just a bit too much for my liking. So, we wondered, are there options inside?

One of the lawns you can hold your ceremony on... source

The manager explained that we could essentially convert the ballroom that we would use for the reception into a ceremony location as well, and the staff would flip the room while our guests enjoyed a cocktail hour out in the hallway. Ok…interesting. It could work…

The smaller ballroom... source

The foyer/hallway for cocktail hour... source

The banquet rooms themselves? The one that we could potentially afford was nice, I suppose! The ceilings weren’t that high because it is on the second floor…but the building is new and so the rooms are decorated very nicely…nothing too gaudy/fancy/over the top. Just elegant. It had potential. Although, there were no windows in the room, which I must admit kind of threw me for a loop.

Then of course, after seeing the smaller ballroom, mom and I were escorted to the grand ballroom. Wow. It was enormous…but so much prettier and filled with light than the other room! There were actually windows in this one! Imagine that! But the price? Ohhhh dear. Yes, extremely out of budget. Not good! My heart hurt just a bit. The manager was nice enough to mention that if I were to book the smaller ballroom at first, and when my wedding date rolls around, if the grand ballroom wasn’t booked, I could automatically be moved into it at no charge. Well, that is nice…but could leave us with some logistical nightmares (how we decorate a small vs. a large room could be vastly different).

Dang...this ballroom is fabulous! Source

***Sigh*** Had we hit yet another road block? My heart wasn’t singing out that this was the place. Mom and I decided that we’d contemplate it as we walked back to the valet to pick up our car…and then…my phone rang.

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