4 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning a Beach Wedding

Beach Weddings are beautiful and classic, and there is something very romantic about exchanging your vows outdoors at sunset with the sound of the waves crashing in the background.  Here are some tips to help you plan a beautiful beach wedding.

Here’s Where to Start

If you are not sure where to start, consider booking the vendors that can only do one event/wedding per day, such as your photographer, your band or DJ, and in many cases, your venue. A florist and pastry chef can prepare for multiple weddings at one time, but you need to book the people who have to be present on the day of your wedding first.

For a destination wedding, it’s also important to find experienced planners who have relationships with
vendors in the area and can assist you in finding the perfect partnerships.

Do You Need a Beach Permit?

You will need to check with your venue to see if a beach permit is required. Some locations require a permit from the city, and you wouldn’t want to show up on wedding day with another bride and groom saying “I do” in your spot.

You should also find out whether your beach of choice is a public beach or private beach. During peak summer months, it’s not uncommon to have two weddings within view of each other on public beaches. There are some resorts, such as The Beach Club, who have private beaches and can guarantee you won’t have other weddings or umbrellas and chairs in background of your wedding pictures.

Keeping Your Guests in Mind

Although it is your day, always remember to consider your guests when planning your wedding. Do you want chairs for everyone in attendance? Do you have any elderly relatives who might have trouble walking in the sand? If so, find a venue where you can have the beach view and feel, but not necessarily have to be in the sand.

Waves are crashing on the shore can provide calming background noise, but they can also be too noisy depending on the weather. You may want to consider booking a wireless sound system through your DJ or venue so that your guests can hear your vows.

Also, consider finding a place that can host both your ceremony and reception. This allows your guests to start celebrating right away, and makes it easier for you to finish pictures and not feel too far from party. Driving 30-45 minutes in tourist traffic after the ceremony to the reception can be stressful and inconvenient.

It’s also a big convenience for a destination wedding and reception to be booked in a place where your guests can take the elevator home and not have to travel after the reception. There are several locations in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area that can assist you in planning your ceremony and reception as well as provide discounts for your guests to stay onsite and keep the celebration alive all weekend. Some of your guests may even want to take the opportunity to extend their stay and enjoy a family vacation.

Back-up Plan

Most importantly, when planning an outdoor wedding of any kind you must have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather. Whether it is a tent on standby with a rental company or an alternate indoor space, preparation is a much better alternative than hoping for the best.

With the proper planning and preparation, you will be able to relax and enjoy your special day.


Battle of Mobile Bay Brings History to Life August 1st through 3rd

This August 1st through 3rd, re-enactors from all over will come together to relive the Battle of Mobile Bay at Fort Morgan’s historic location in Gulf Shores. “Damn the torpedoes!” will be heard once again along with authentic music, tall ships and artillery fire.

What is the significance of the Battle of Mobile Bay? On August 5, 1864, Union Admiral David Farragut led his fleet through the Confederate defenses in Mobile, Alabama with the goal of sealing one of the last major Southern ports. His victory, which was a major blow to the Confederacy, would eventually help secure the re-election of President Lincoln later that year.

This year will be the 150th anniversary, and Fort Morgan will be filled with 19th century history. Not
only will there be a re-enactment of the battle, but you and your family can also experience authentic camps and costumes from the time period, a living history demonstration on how soldiers and civilians lived during the Civil War, 19th century musicians, and a special naval exhibit in the museum. Local food vendors will also be on site for the event, and a gift shop will be open full of 150th anniversary souvenirs. A full schedule of events can be found on the Battle of Mobile Bay website.

Haven’t made reservations for the weekend yet?The Beach Club is located on Fort Morgan Road which means easy traveling to the re-enactment. This full service family resort is located right on the beach, so when you’re not reliving the Battle of Mobile Bay, you and your family can hang out on the sugar white sand and enjoy the other scenes of the Gulf Coast.

Fort Morgan’s gates will open at 8 a.m. each day, but parking will not be available at the reenactment site. Shuttles can be taken from Pelican Place near the Cobb Movie Theaters or Faulkner State College, Wade Ward Campus which are both located on Hwy 59 in Gulf Shores. If you are staying at The Beach Club, a shuttle stops will be available on-site, and rental packages are available that come with refreshments and snacks for those attending the event.   The price for the shuttle is $2 per person each way. There will also be onsite parking for vehicles that traveled on the Mobile Bay Ferry. A map can be found here.


Simple Seafood: Chef Brody’s Shrimp Linguine

Shrimp happens all over the Alabama Gulf Coast. In last week’s blog, we described an award-winning shrimp dish prepared by Spectrum Resorts’ very own Executive Chef, Brody Olive. Now, we are in the kitchen with Chef Olive and he is teaching us the Brody way to create succulent Shrimp Linguine.

“Seafood is my bag. I love it,” says Chef Olive who is a professionally trained Chef that loves to cook and create dishes that spotlight fresh coastal seafood and farm-to-table vegetables and fruit. Living on the Alabama Gulf Coast allows him the opportunity to experiment and experience the best of both worlds.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised just south of Atlanta, Georgia, Chef Olive attended Johnson and Wales University, where he learned the culinary fundamentals. He began his career at Ocean Restaurant in Birmingham as the Sous Chef, learning under the owner and well known Chef George Reis.

Ocean achieved many honors during Brody’s tenure including the AAA Four Diamond Award, Five Stars by Birmingham News to name a few. He won the Southern Breeze Gulf Coast Cook Off in 2008 and Zatarain’s Annual National Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge in 2009 and 2013. Brody also won the Wine Spectator Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Chef Olive’s focus has always been on seafood. It’s not every day you dine out and experience such a succulent entrée like Shrimp Linguine. But now, you can have the help from Chef Olive with step-by-step instructions on how to make it the Brody way at home or on vacation!

Follow the link below to watch Chef Olive creating his famous Shrimp Linguine or follow the recipe below to create this dish in your own kitchen. Please comment and let us know a recipe you would like Chef Olive to feature from the Coast Restaurant  menu.

What you’ll need:

Basil Pesto (See Instructions Below)

1 lb.  Linguine

1 lb  Jumbo Shrimp

1/8 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Tbs.  Olive Oil

1 Pint. Grape Tomatoes (Roasted) or Roasted Red Bell Pepper

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1/8 Cup Heavy Cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tbs. White Wine

Fine Diced Green Bell Pepper to Garnish


Peel and devein shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper.

In sauté pan over medium heat, add shrimp, garlic, Roasted Tomatoes or Peppers (Your Preference) and sautee for 2 mins. Remove pan from the heat add white wine, heavy cream, 2 Tablespoons of basil pesto return to heat and reduce by half. Stir in 1/2 the Parmesan and serve over linguine garnish with finely diced bell peppers and remaining parmesan.

Basil Pesto:

2 Cups Packed Fresh Basil

2 Cloves Garlic

1/4 Cup Pine nuts

Salt and Pepper to Taste

2/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Combine basil, garlic pine nuts in food processor.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add 1/2 cup olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining olive oil.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in Cheese.


Experience Chef Brody’s Award Winning Seafood Dish in Your Own Kitchen

Coastal cuisine is a much sought after delicacy on the Gulf Coast. There is nothing like fresh eating fresh Gulf seafood with friends and family. With all of the well known restaurants and eatery’s specializing in seafood, no one should ever go hungry. You can find fresh shrimp, crab and fish at many of the areas established restaurants.

What if you have a condo or house full and you know the long summer wait time’s at the most popular restaurants are going to keep you waiting for hours? Kids are sunburned, men are hungry and the women are thirsty. No one is happy after a long day on the beach or boat and it is already passed dinner time. What should you do?

With the help of Coast Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Brody Olive, we are going to recommend a delicious
entree you can prepare right in your kitchen.  Whether you are in a rental condo, house or your home, you can cook up an award winning dinner for your guest.

Chef Olive won the 2013 Restaurant Challenge at the Annual National Shrimp Festival by preparing Pan Seared Alabama Gulf Shrimp, Zatarain’s Jambalaya Arancini, Broccolini and Tasso Creole Corn Cream. When preparing this recipe, the most important ingredient is the fresh Alabama Gulf shrimp.

There are several places to purchase fresh seafood in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Blalock Seafood and Specialty Market and is a favorite for fresh seafood, fine wines and gourmet additions including pastas, seasoning and sauces.  The main ingredient you need is one pound of 21-25 peeled and deveined shrimp with the heads on.  Now that you have the shrimp, here is Chef Olive’s recipe for a serving of four.

Pan Seared Alabama Gulf Shrimp

1 pound of 21-25 Alabama Gulf shrimp

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 each lemon quartered

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 Oz. white wine

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil, season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat source and add white wine. Steam shrimp for 3 minutes in wine stir and in juice of lemon and butter.

Jambayla Arancini

1 24 oz bag of Zatarain’s Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Frozen Meal

3 large eggs (whipped)

4 oz smoked Gouda, grate half and small dice other half

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

Follow direction on Jambalaya box. Once cooked place on sheet tray and allow to cool thoroughly.

While rice mixture is cooling set a breading station of All-purpose flour, whipped eggs, and panko bread crumbs. Once rice is cool, mix in grated smoked Gouda, shape into ping pong sized ball and stuff remaining small diced Gouda into center of the ball. Follow standard breading procedure flour, egg, panko. Place on to small baking sheet. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry until golden brown. 


1 pound Broccolini

1 teaspoon Shallot

1 teaspoon Garlic

.5 oz white wine

Salt and Pepper to taste

.5 oz unsalted butter

1 oz olive oil

In double boiler steam broccolini for 4 minutes, drain excess moisture. Add to sauté pan of olive oil, shallots and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes and add white wine and butter.

Tasso Creole Corn Cream

4 oz Tasso Ham (diced)

1 ear sliver king corn (shucked and washed)

1 each tomato

1 each green bell pepper

1 each yellow bell pepper

1 bunch green onions

1/8 cup chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon garlic

1 Tablespoon shallot

1 Tablespoon Zatarain’s Creole Mustard

.5 oz. white wine

2 Tablespoon olive oil

6 oz. heavy cream

Shave corn off the cob; dice Tasso ham, julienne tomatoes, bell peppers, finely chop green onions, shallots, garlic, and parsley. Heat sauce pan over medium high heat and add olive oil. Place all ingredients into sauce pan. Stir frequently; cook for 5 minutes add white wine, cream and Creole mustard reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Check back next week for another great recipe from Chef Olive that you can prepare in your own kitchen, and be sure to read our other posts on Gulf Coast dining.


Is The Wharf The Perfect Location for a Family Day Out?

When it’s time to take a break from the beach or pool and go on an excursion, The Wharf in Orange Beach is the perfect place to find everything you need for a fun-filled, laid-back day or evening out. With the many options available along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we are recommending the Wharf because it is centrally location with shopping, dining, and fun for the entire family.

Start your day at The Wharf with breakfast at The Southern Grind Coffee House. They have a coffee menu that competes with Starbucks. If you are looking for an egg and toast breakfast or just a simple bagel, they have everything you need to fuel up for a day of shopping and activities. The southern charm and unique coastal style of this cafe is warm and inviting and a great way to start the daily grind.

Now that you have completed the most important meal of the day, it’s time to walk around The Wharf’s many shops. They have everything from locally-owned boutiques to department stores. Take the younger kids to Build-A-Bear Workshop and let them bring a Teddy Bear to life. If you are looking for a women’s clothing boutique specializing in recognizable fashions and emerging designers then we recommend shopping atLucca.

Ladies, we strongly suggest sending your man to Archipelago before starting your shopping ventures at the Wharf. Archipelago is the premier shop for men’s clothing. They offer a complimentary drink while you shop and a cigar with your purchase.  This makes life a little easier on the ladies looking to spend freely and shop til’ they drop.

If shopping is not for you, The Wharf is hosting a 100 Days of Summer which includes free activities
throughout the peak season. Every night there are three free Spectra light shows! At 8 pm is A Night at the Movies, 9 pm is the Aqua Show and 10 pm is the Patriotic Show.  Additional entertainment includes a magic show, a hula hoop artist and fire enchantress.

If you are looking to get a birds-eye view of the Alabama Gulf Coast, just hop on theThe Wharf’s Ferris Wheel. It is the tallest in the Southeast and it has become a landmark in itself. It operates from 12 pm until 10 pm daily and it is a great way to get a tree-top view and feel the gulf breeze.

If you are a big fan of the Ferris wheel and most likely a thrill seeker, then Sharky’s Family Adventure Park has something for you. There you can test your skills and balance ability while making your way along one of 3 rope courses. They even offer one for children less than 48” so the smaller kids can participate.

The Wharf offers a unique selection of great shopping, dining and entertainment for the entire family.  For additional information about the Wharf, visit their website at www.alwharf.com.  Please tell us about your favorite place at the Wharf and leave us a comment below. Have fun, be safe and enjoy your 100 Days of Summer!