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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and love is in the air. That’s why this new bride has been reminiscing about the weekend when she and her man became beach buddies for life.

Captiva Island, Wedding, Sunset Wedding

I’ve mostly been thinking about our unconventional wedding reception and what a great choice we made for us and our guests. Instead of the usual dinner and a DJ, the salty soul in us decided to treat our family and friends to a day out on the water.

Cayo Costa, Jensen's Marina, Captiva Island

Believe it or not, RumShopRyan was originally pushing for a traditional wedding reception with dinner, music and all the other blah blah guests don’t really care about or soon forget. Me on the other hand, not so much. I know how even a simple wedding reception can be expensive. Plus with a reception comes decorating, making center pieces and all kinds of little details that add up. Ugh! That’s a nightmare for me! I am nowhere close to being the Martha Stewart type. 

Ryan was persistent with the idea, so I went along. Once the dinner menu was finalized and Ryan saw what the total was going to be he quickly changed his mind. Aah, not even married yet and my hubby-to-be was already learning that the woman is always right. (Smile, winky face).

Looking like a crazy person, on the same day I finalized the menu, I cancelled everything. Wedding planners are use to that, right?

Once the reception idea went bust, we started brainstorming on what we could do to make the wedding festivities more memorable for our loved ones.

Half of our guests were out-of-towners and the half who did live in town never go out to Captiva. We wanted to make the weekend worth the trip. We wanted them to experience the magic of Captiva Island and the surrounding area.  My pirate groom came up with the idea of taking our guests out on boats the day after our wedding. 

I loved this idea! A beautiful day relaxing on a boat with family and friends, island hopping to Cayo Costa (where Ryan proposed) and North Captiva. No half eaten cake, no decorating, no stupid center pieces, YES! SOLD!

Not only did the boat day sink my burdens of planning a reception, but it was also the perfect way for everyone to get to know each other a little better in a more relaxed environment.

Cayo Costa, Captiva Island, Pontoon Boat

We rented two pontoon boats from Jensen’s Marina which was walking distance from where we were staying on Captiva Island. As a plus, this marina seems to be a popular hangout for the manatees. Every time I’ve been on the property, there is a manatee party going on by the docs. Even if you’re not renting a boat for the day, you should stop by and say hello to these gentle giants. They are a part of what makes southwest Florida so special.

Manatees, Jensens Marina, Captiva

We said goodbye to the manatees, loaded up the boats and headed out. Our first stop on the little excursion was Cayo Costa. The skies were blue and the water was clear. Mother nature was on our side…for once.

pontoon boat, Cayo Costa, Captiva

bride, groom, captain, first mate, pontoon boat

The Captain and his First Mate.

As I mentioned earlier, Cayo Costa is where my pirate groom proposed. The sentimental man that he is, he wanted to show everyone where the special and unexpected day happened. Funny enough, we couldn’t locate the exact area where he popped the question. We assume the tree we were standing next to during the big moment had eventually fallen down. I hope that’s not a sign.

Even though we couldn’t pinpoint our sacred little spot, we had an amazing time looking for it. The scenery was breathtaking, the water was refreshing and the company was priceless.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that our friend Castaway Jen had never seen the beauty of Cayo Costa even though she had grown up in the area. It was a real treat to know that we had given her that experience.

cayo costa, captiva island, boat day

family, friends, cayo costa

cayo cosa, boat day, captiva island

Cayo Costa, Boat Day

Walking around and splashing in the water of an uninhabited island can really work up an appetite. With our stomachs grumbling, we gathered our crew, hopped back on the boats and headed off to have lunch at Barnacles on North Captiva.

On our way there, dolphins were jumping out of the water from every side of the boat. I like to think they were celebrating and congratulating us on our recent nuptial.

barnacles, North Captiva

North Captiva, Boa Day, Barnacles

Barnacles, North Captiva, Boat Day

After we had our fun at Barnacles, it was time for us salty pirates to head back to the marina. Arrg!

Our castaway reception was a success! The weather was perfect. We saw beautiful beaches and wildlife. And most importantly, we made treasured memories with the people we hold closest to our hearts.

Did you have a non-traditional wedding reception? If so, please share.

Cayo Costa, Boat Day

Cayo Costa, Jensen's Marina,

Never Stop Exploring

Castaway Crystal

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About the Author: Castaway Crystal

I'm a beach bunny hopping from island to island with camera in hand. I love experiencing all the Caribbean has to offer and sharing it with you! Conch fritter connoisseur, animal and nature lover, and RumShopRyan’s salty first mate. To learn more, visit our About Us Page.