A Chic Island Welcome Party Off the Coast of Florida
EB Kapnick and Mike Vandenberg's love story came full circle when their wedding welcome party took place at the same spot at which they'd vacationed during their years at Williams College, and later got engaged at too. The house where this tropical welcome party was held, lovingly called the "K Beach House" — as it is located on Keewaydin Island in Florida — had been in the bride's family for years.
Spanning almost ten hours on the Friday before the wedding, the logistics behind this party were quite involved to say the least. Located just south of Naples, Florida, the closest resort to Keewaydin Island is 20 nautical miles away – meaning that all the supplies and guests had to be brought in by boat. The barrier island is so remote that there isn't even running water or electricity – but rain barrels, solar panels, and the help of Anna Lucia Events meant that the destination wedding weekend could kick off in style.
The second day in a four-day wedding weekend, the November 4, 2016, welcome party included 330 guests and was a fun, casual day of relaxation before the formal nuptials. Held from 1pm to 10:30pm, the party encompassed the magical time of dusk on the island, a highlight for Mike, whose favorite part of the day was "arriving at the island party at sunset and seeing EB in her evening dress while the band started to play."
The Welcome Boat
Four large boats shuttled guests from Naples to Keewaydin Island throughout the afternoon and the bride and groom took her family's boat. "On our way to the island, we saw the guests behind us and turned our boat around to wave hello. They gave us a big cheer — it was so special," remembers EB.
This Way to a Good Time
Large wooden signs by August Blume gave guests a preview of what the day had in store for them.
Women in White
EB and her nine bridesmaids wore white for the party and a thoughtful friend of EB's brought orchids to put in the bridesmaids' hair. While most everyone was in swimsuits and cover-ups during the day, guests changed into their "Island Cocktail" attire for the evening festivities.
Tropical Rest Stop
The natural colors on Keewaydin, like the white of the sand and the green of the palm trees, inspired the event's color scheme. The bride had always loved the signature palm print at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which served as the inspiration for the palm pattern on the lounge pillows.
Tables were set up in the sand for lunch and dinner on the island, in the same spot where the couple had entertained their friends during college. "They were used to a much more rustic experience on the island and it was fun to watch their reactions as they arrived and saw that it had been transformed into a chic beach club for the day," says EB. In keeping with the green and white theme, orchids and succulents were also used throughout the wedding weekend.
The Sundries Station
Dubbed the "Keewaydin Sundries Station," this area provided anything a guest might have wished for during their time on the island — such as sunscreen, beach towels, and bug spray. The items available were listed on a large cloth sign printed and designed by August Blume.
Hats Off To A Great Day
Pineapples and coconuts accented the sundries station display. Customized hats were available with the couple's flamingo logo on the front and wedding date embroidered on the back.
The Beach Games
For the couple's many athletic friends, paddleboards and footballs were provided. Customized Connect Four and Jenga games were also available along with a beanbag toss.
The Bar Décor
A gift from a friend of the bride's family, the hanging installation over the bar was a repurposed lure for catching marlin, but repurposed as unique beachside décor.
The Island Bar
The island bar was inspired by the beach bars in Mykonos, one of the couple's favorite travel destinations. A rum bar, margarita bar, a beer station, and a rosé station were set up for the day. "When we go to Keewaydin as a family, we typically have my mother's margaritas or her favorite rum punch. Our cocktails were a play on those classics," says EB. One cocktail, the Rum Row Punch, was the bride's mom's recipe and was named for the family's house in Naples, which is on Rum Row.
Fun in the Sun
Another palm print moment came in the form of the patterned inner tubes set out by the beach.
The Water Games
Guests hung out in the water and relaxed in the on-theme floats. Despite plenty of time in the 85-degree heat during this event, nobody in the bridal party got sunburned much to the bride's relief!
One of the bride's closest friends from high school, Honor, and her husband, Jay, got in on the fun. Honor and EB were bridesmaids in each other's weddings.
The Beach Snacks
Gourmet popsicles in lime coconut, mixed berry basil, and orange mango flavors were passed on the beach. Frozen grapes and chocolate chip cookies also kept guests cool.
Dressed to Impress
Dinner on the Sand
A seafood station, tortilla station, and skewer station by Carolina Catering Co. allowed guests to help themselves to a mix of foods. The tables were set on a part of the property typically used as a volleyball court, but the bar and dancefloor took center stage here instead on this special occasion.
In the evening, The Morrison Brothers Band played some of the couple's favorite country songs as well as their own original tunes. Earlier in the day, a DJ played a mix of tropical house and country music.
The Return Trip
Though guests didn't want the day to end, they knew when boats would take them back to the mainland thanks to signage by August Blume.
Photography, Carrie Patterson Photography
Event planning, Anna Lucia Events
Catering, Carolina Catering Co.
Flowers, 50Fifty Creative Services
Videography, Cabana Pictures
Stationery and Calligraphy, August Blume
Flamingo Logo, Ceci New York
Hair, Salon Tease
Makeup, Julene Dolewa
Lighting, Bay Stage Live
Palm print inner tubes, Float Naked