My Latest Conquest

Every trip home to see my parents¬†concludes with a department store bag full o’ goodies from their pantry.


The Goods

I left with lots of tasty finds:

  • Spice Cake Mix
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Chicken Broth
  • Beans
  • Biscotti
  • Protein Bars, Fiber One Bar
  • Popcorn
  • M&Ms
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Organic Mac and Cheese
  • Apple Cider Mix

Not too shabby, huh? It would be pretty nice if the grocery store had similar prices. ūüėČ

The Wedding Planning Begins

Whoa what a busy weekend! This was the official kickoff of our wedding planning!

On Friday we headed for St. Petersburg to meet up with my parents to check out Feather Sound Country Club as a potential venue for our big day.

feather sound

Feather Sound County Club

The facility was very nice for a reception site, but I wasn’t sold on the club as a ceremony site. If possible I think we all agreed that we would like to have the ceremony and reception in the same location. I loved the views from the possible reception room though. It overlooks¬†a gorgeous golf course with lots of palm trees.

That night we headed to the dinner at the Vinoy, an amazing hotel where we had an appointment to meet with¬† a wedding coordinator the following day. We ate dinner at Marchand’s at the Vinoy and it was unbelievable.

Ryan, my mom and dad all ordered the three-course special: salad with marinated grilled shrimp, seared scallops and filet with gourmet macaroni and cheese followed by chocolate mousse. SO delicious. They definitely made a fantastic choice. I ordered the shrimp cocktail appetizer and the mussels and clams with sausage. Also quite tasty!

We left full and excited to return for our appointment the next day.


On Saturday we woke up hungry and made a big breakfast of oatmeal pancakes.

pancake mix

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

This mix provided a great base for some yummy pancakes.

I topped mine with strawberries.

pancakes with strawberries

Oatmeal Pancakes and Strawberries

Ryan and my dad used lots o’ syrup.

pancakes with syrup


Once my mom returned from her doctor’s appointment, we drove out to the beach to check out a community center as a potential venue before¬†walking through the Don Cesar hotel.

don cesar

Don Cesar

The ballrooms at the Don Cesar were so neat. We loved it, but after receiving the wedding packet with pricing information, we basically took this out of the running for a potential venue.

After stopping for lunch at Coney Island for hotdogs, we headed over to the Vinoy for an appointment with Jennifer at 2:30 p.m.


Vinoy Hotel

Jennifer was very friendly and immediately took us on a tour of the various rooms used for weddings in the hotel.

Our first stop was the Tea Garden, used for the wedding ceremony.


Tea Garden

The Tea Garden was gorgeous and would be an unbelievable location for a ceremony. The foliage added so much to the location and it was nice and secluded from other parts of the hotel.

We then moved on to look at ballrooms, including the Sunset Ballroom, located approximately 1.5 miles from the hotel at the golf club.

vinoy sunset ballroom

Sunset Ballroom

This ballroom was built in the 1920s. It was beautiful and the example pictures Jennifer showed us highlighted the various ways the rooms can be transformed to create a romantic reception site.

Jennifer also gave us a little gift from the pastry chefs at the Vinoy.


Mini Chocolate Wedding Cake

This cake was unbelievable and soooo fudgey. We split it four ways, but I easily could have enjoyed a whole one by myself.

After walking around the Sunset Ballroom and asking questions, we returned to the main hotel and talked prices and enjoyed some drinks on the veranda. We all agreed a wedding at the Vinoy would be memorable and a dream, but we want to visit some other places and compare prices to make sure our decision makes sense.


We worked up one heck of an appetite and headed over to El Cap, home of the BEST hamburgers in St. Pete.


Big Burger

This burger was great and very juicy.


Basket of Fries

Dinner was greasy goodness!

Yesterday was a very productive day in the wedding planning process. I feel better knowing the basic prices for a few facilities. We have quite a lot of work cut out for us, that’s for sure!