In May, we got to help bring the Crall’s Wedding Welcome Party vision to life at a private beach on the Gulf of Mexico. For a taste of the complete experience guests enjoyed, let’s take a look at how the Crall’s personality shined through at a luxurious destination wedding welcome dinner.
How to Personalize Destination Weddings in Southwest Florida
A beach paradise continues to be the most popular place for destination weddings. This serene and picturesque location gives guests a vacation and wedding experience all in one. With perfect weather and a steady, cool sea breeze, the scene was set for the Crall’s wedding welcome party to whisk away guests into another world.
Of course, it is all the little details that take even the most naturally beautiful space up a notch. Event planner Kelly McWilliams completely transformed the blank canvas into a stunning space where guests were able to relax and soak in the surroundings. Lounge furniture placed outside the tent on the beach encouraged guests to take in the ocean at sunset while wonderful flowers by Isn’t She Lovely Florals put the final touch on the tranquil atmosphere.
Tip: Destination weddings are often in rather remote locations, and parking may not be available. All the more reason to give guests the convenience of traveling via shuttle buses! This helps them arrive relaxed, so they settle right in to your beachside wedding atmosphere.
Add Personal Touches to Your Cocktail Hour
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are your first chance to impress guests with a premium bar and artfully prepared and presented dishes that showcase local cuisine. With seafood being an essential element of a Southwest Florida destination wedding menu and customization being a given for couples working with our Naples catering company, the question was how to fuse the couple’s taste and local dishes.
Because we use produce and specialty items sourced by local vendors whenever possible, infusing the local cuisine into innovative dishes that embody the Crall’s style came naturally to our culinary team. The result was the following creative small bites.
Passed Hors d’Oeuvres
- Mini lobster club: Tarragon aioli, Campari tomato on a silver dollar roll
- Marinated peppadews: Cheese and prosciutto stuffed peppadews
- Mini watermelon bites: Topped with blood orange balsamic and toasted pistachios
- Gourmet cured salumi and meats including Surryano ham: Accompanied by house-made pickled vegetables, mustards, dips and crostini
- Tastebuds’ signature cheddar chutney cheesecake: Finished with Gala apple
- Artisanal cheeses: Accompanied by house-made jams and chutneys
Provide a Light Salad to Complement Touching Speeches
After the cocktail hour ended, next up on the Crall’s welcome dinner itinerary were speeches. To keep guests satisfied through these heartwarming moments, we immediately served a plated Florida greens salad made with baby kale, arugula, Bibb lettuce, marinated baby artichokes, heirloom tomato, black radish, toasted pistachios, pistachio vinaigrette and EVOO-soaked bread. The complexity of this refreshing salad was the perfect pair to the heartfelt speeches.
Feature Local Cuisine in Elaborate Food Stations
At the conclusion of the speeches, we opened a variety of innovative food stations featuring the fresh seafood that the Gulf of Mexico is known for in exciting ways that captured the essence of the Crall’s personality.
Creative Raw Bar
Of course, we had to put seafood at the forefront of this wedding on the Gulf of Mexico. And our creative professionals wanted to do so in a way that would really wow guests. A raw bar with this selection of fresh seafood did just that:
- Kumamoto oysters on the half shell: Served with San Marzano cocktail sauce, horseradish, lemon wedges and champagne mignonette
- Grouper ceviche shooters
- Shrimp cocktail: Fresh jumbo shrimp served with a true Bloody Mary cocktail sauce
Satisfying Skewer Station
At destination weddings, many couples choose to offer a fusion of local and traditional food. This is a great way to ensure everyone finds plenty of delicious dishes they love. So while seafood connoisseurs were guaranteed paradise, we made sure meat lovers found their own heaven at a skewer station. We set out delectable pineapple and chicken skewers as well as beef tenderloin skewers made with toasted farro, roquette, tomato and corn chow-chow with roasted tomato-red miso vinaigrette.
Fresh Fish Taco Station
With house-made hot sauce and plenty of local flare, these were no ordinary fish tacos. These mouthwatering fish tacos were bursting with flavorful ingredients like grilled fresh mahi-mahi carved station side, house-made corn tortillas, pico de gallo, pickled seasonal vegetables, fragrant jasmine rice and crème frâiche.
From the number of guests that came back for seconds, you would never know we had to eliminate all cilantro due to a food allergy. Our creative chefs are always keen to find ways to accommodate dietary needs without sacrificing big flavor.
End with Memorable Desserts
When planning destination weddings, don’t feel obligated to feature local cuisine in every course. Desserts are a great time to showcase the sweets that make you (and your guests) smile—anywhere in the world. While the Crall’s guests enjoyed live music and incredible vistas, they also indulged in these tantalizing sweets designed by our culinary artists:
- Chocolate tea brownies: Decadent chocolate brownies made from scratch and baked into individual portions
- Mini ice cream cones: In both vanilla and chocolate flavors
- Strawberry cheesecake jars: with fresh strawberries, graham cracker crumb and whipped cream
Destination wedding packages are not complete until you add the value of an experienced catering company committed to excellence. Fortunately, you can bring the expertise of the premier Naples wedding catering company to any paradise.