If you were in or near Siesta Key the weekend of August 7 – 9, 2015, I apologize. We took over the quaint little beach town for my girl Amanda’s bachelorette celebration and I don’t think it will ever be the same again. To our sunset cruise captain, the bartenders at Daiquiri Deck, the sweet guy working the doughnut stand at two o’clock in the morning (and the owners of the dog one of our girls tried to feed them to), the couples trying to enjoy a romantic sunset on the beach, the families out for a nice, quiet dinner in the courtyard of The Cottage, and the man who was the only one on the patio of Village Cafe peacefully reading the Sunday paper over breakfast until we showed up: we hope our loud mouths and intense excitement didn’t freak you out (too much, at least). I will not, however, apologize for the excessive use of Flash Tattoos, confetti and glitter, photography and Snapchat, or continuous consumption of champagne, vodka-soaked Gummy Bears and Flaming Hot Cheetos (and yes, sometimes together).
On Thursday, August 6, Amanda, Stephanie and I piled in a packed-to-the-brim Honda Pilot and hit the road for St. Petersburg, FL, where we met up with Amanda’s Michigan clan and stayed for a night before heading to Siesta Key. We stayed at the fabulous Hollander Hotel (my fave place downtown), and hit up the tiki bar immediately upon check-in for a few poolside cocktails and some sun. After unwinding for a few hours, we all spent way too much time getting dolled up for little black dress night, and headed out for a sumptuous dinner at Z-Grille (so good!). Dinner was followed by a craft cocktail at Cash & Ale, then a night of bar-hopping our way through downtown St. Pete (where we found karaoke, a dance floor all to ourselves, ladies night (where we all drank free), and late-night pizza which we took back to the hotel. Note to anyone planning a night out in St. Pete: The bars close at 3 a.m. Prepare yourself (and your liver).
And of course, I busted out the selfie stick.
Would it be possible to outdo ourselves after an epic night such as that? Only time would tell.
After lunch and a few pit stops Friday afternoon, we all made our way to Siesta Key where we stayed the next two nights. We rented an adorable little beach house about a block away from the beach, which was perfectly located within walking distance to everything. The bride and her entourage headed to the beach while Stephanie, Erica and myself (the three matrons of honor) stayed behind to organize and decorate the house. Give us any chance to craft and glitter, Steph and I are sure to take full advantage. Decor consisted of glittered bottles of champagne, handmade pom-pom stir sticks, glow sticks, glittered wine glasses, gold accents, and tiny packets of confetti (“in the event of spontaneous celebration”).
We prepared goody bags for each of the girls, filled with glittery “Feelin’ Nauti” koozies, “Pop Fizz Clink” tees, flower crowns (that we made!), gold glitter sunglasses (that again, I glittered), neon yard cups, and an Ellie’s Sparkles bangle, all stuffed into a beach bag. The sweet bride gifted us with weekend survival packs and adorable monogrammed trucker hats. It was like Christmas in August!
Then it was time to get the party started and take over Siesta Key. Amanda and James are getting married in Siesta Key this New Year’s Eve, so when brainstorming where we should go for her bachelorette she thought it would be fun to get a head start on the wedding celebrations with a girls weekend in the perfect little beach town. And boy was she right! The location was perfect, the weather cooperated (for most of the weekend), and now we all know where to go and what to do when we’re back in a few months.
After opening our goodies, we all got ready, covered ourselves in Flash Tattoos, toasted to night one in Siesta Key, and headed out for our sunset cruise. One awesome thing about Siesta Key: They offer free transportation around the island via fun open-air vehicles, which made the evening fun from the start! Siesta Key Free Ride picked us up at our house and dropped us off right at the Siesta Key Water Sports dock. The sunset cruise was the absolute perfect way to celebrate with a group of girls, and I highly recommend doing the same for anyone planning a Siesta Key getaway. The captain provided beer and wine for us, and we were also allowed to bring on any other drinks or snacks that we wanted. We cruised along the Gulf for two hours, taking in the beautiful scenery, watching dolphins jump in the wakes, snapping pictures with the gorgeous sunset as the backdrop, and “getting nauti” during Amanda’s last sail before the veil.
My mom about threw the bride overboard!
After the cruise we headed back to The Village for a late dinner at Daiquiri Deck, followed by drinks and dancing at Gilligan’s and Beach Club (where we may or may not have taken over the dance floor for personal Nae Nae lessons, courtesy of some poor guy who was trying to dance in peace … or show off). Oh yeah, and we made BFFs with the guy working at Meaney’s Mini Donuts where we may have ordered 48 freshly-made mini doughnuts at 2:30 a.m. No judging.
Saturday morning, once everyone was up and moving (which surprisingly wasn’t until around 10 a.m.), we made our way to Village Cafe for a tasty brunch. I thought the hostess was going to fall over when we asked for a table for 13, and then I thought the sweet older man who was enjoying a nice, quiet breakfast on the patio was going to have a heart attack when she seated us right next to him. He was gone before our mimosas arrived (sorry, kind sir!). After breakfast some shopped around The Village, and the rest headed out to the beach. We weren’t out there long before the rain rolled in, so we took advantage of the beach house and played card games, took a few more photos, had our own little dance party in the living room (we were determined to learn every move to “Watch Me”), and walked next door for 2-for-1 daiquiris during happy hour at Daiquiri Deck (where the dancing continued).
Ready for another fun evening, we headed back for showers and got ready for our last night in Siesta Key. Steph and I made tees for all the girls (that said “Pop Fizz Clink” in gold and were in Amanda’s wedding colors: mint, blush and gold), and flower crowns to accessorize with. We headed to the beach just in time for a sunset photo shoot with our bride.
We walked over to The Cottage for dinner, which was quite possibly the best meal I’ve had in a LONG time. We sat in the back patio where we enjoyed live music and a fabulous atmosphere – the perfect end to an awesome weekend. (A huge shout-out to the super-amazing host who went out of his way to accommodate us – thanks, Alex!)
After dinner, we headed back to the house for Amanda’s lingerie shower. She got lots of fun goodies for her honeymoon, and even got a little emotional reading the cards! After the shower we made our way back out to the bar where we wrapped up the night with, you guessed it, more dancing and late-night donuts.
We had one more present for Amanda when we got home (at 3 a.m.). I had all of the girls whip up a scrapbook page for our bride-to-be in advance and bring the pages with them, creating a scrapbook of memories from many of her close friends (thanks to my girls for doing this at my bachelorette party, which gave me the idea). And again, Amanda got emotional and made us all cry!
Morning came way too soon, and we all struggled to pack and get moving. Some girls headed out, and the rest of us rallied and made our way to Siesta Key Oyster Bar for brunch, where we toasted one final time to an unforgettable weekend celebrating a truly deserving bride-to-be.
The ride home was rough, but well worth it. I just can’t hang like I used to!
I honestly can’t put into words (or photos) how great the weekend was. There was no drama, everyone was on their best behavior, and everyone got along. Many of us met for the first time and I know we will remain lifelong friends. Guests included Amanda’s Michigan friends, two cousins, her mom, her aunt, a handful of her Jacksonville friends, and my mom, and we all blended together so perfectly. I’m seriously already having withdrawals and counting down the days until 12-31-15 to see these girls again. It’s no surprise, though. Amanda is such a special person with a heart of gold and an attitude that can light up the darkest place, so I would only expect her to surround herself with similar people.
Amanda, I hope you enjoyed your weekend and had the time of your life. It was such a treat seeing you let loose and live it up without a care in the world. It was an honor to help plan and put everything together for you, and I can’t wait to celebrate you even more throughout the rest of the year. I’m so blessed to be your friend and to be a part of your wedding and all that comes with it!
Cheers to the future Mr. and Mrs. Colhard! #AmandaTsLastSail #ColhardWedding