Hi guys! It’s been a while. I’m sorry for going so long without posting, but my now husband and I were finishing up planning wedding. We tied the knot on July 1 with an intimate beach ceremony on the beach followed by a small reception, and in my eyes, it was the perfect day. I was never someone who dreamed of having a wedding, I’d always figured if I did get married I would just elope. But now I’m really glad we did something to celebrate and the day was truly wonderful.
We took our vows on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Ludington with close friends and family, right before a huge storm hit. The sky was gorgeous, filled with dark clouds, and I am so excited to see how the beach ceremony photos turned out (we won’t get them until 6 weeks from the date and I am so impatient waiting for them!).
After the ceremony and as the storm began, we headed over to Stearns Hotel for our reception. We kept things simple with pretty blue centerpieces made by Damien’s mom and aunt. The old motor inn is more than 100 years old and while the hallway upstairs had a haunted vibe, the ballroom was gorgeous and perfect for our party. We also had a loose leaf tea bar, with the signature tea being our #S2D2teablend that I will review in another post, but it’s a smoky apple green tea.
To keep the trip to our budget, we drove and stayed in an Airbnb. Seeing a good part of the country was nice. For our honeymoon, we spent almost a full week in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a relaxing time filled with sunsets and adventures.
On our first full day there, we went to Busch Gardens in Tampa. I hadn’t been on a roller coaster since I was 13 so it was a lot of fun! It was pretty hot but there were also some water rides to cool off on, and then it began to storm so we went to an ice show at the park.
We were there on Fourth of July, so we got to see the fireworks over the rollercoaster. One recommendation I’d make to anyone visiting is to get the unlimited dining pass, because it paid for itself, and we used it over two days at the theme park as well as Adventure Island water park.
The St. Pete area has a lot of great food. Some of my favorite meals of the trip were breakfast food at a local diner, great seafood and delicious Cuban sandwiches.
Some of the other highlights of our trip were visiting Treasure Island, Anna Maria Island and Honeymoon Island — and swimming at some of the most beautiful beaches during sunset (always a nice time).
We kayaked in the Gulf. It was only our second kayaking experience ever (our first was in Northern Michigan the week before) and it was intense with the strength of the Gulf but also a really cool experience.
I can’t go on a trip without trying a tea place, and we tried two. Sweet Tea Celebrations was for a more traditional afternoon tea, while the Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar other was an Alice in Wonderland themed tea bar that offered tea for relaxation. I will do another post to talk about both places, but we really enjoyed them.
In other news: While this trip was a lot of fun and relaxation, and I’m glad to be home, our time on the road is not over just yet. Sometime this month we will be packing up our things and our pets and heading back up north to Chicago! It’s definitely bittersweet since I’ve met some wonderful ladies in the book club and have things I like about this area. But I’m also super excited to have a real midwest fall, and also to get away from scary bugs. 🙂
**Wedding photos in this post are courtesy of Janeen Redman. All others taken by me.