Your Wedding At The Henderson
Customized Experience. Flawless Event Team
The longer you do something, the more likely it is that you will find your “favorites”. It could be your favorite way of doing something. As a DJ, it’s often a favorite version of a song. Sometimes it’s the original; sometimes it’s a remix. As a wedding DJ, the same principle applies to wedding venues! Some of them just stand out. One of my favorite wedding venues is The Henderson in Destin, FL.
You may wonder, “Why?”. Well, the answers to that question came up as I sat down and talked to Jillian McCarthy in my latest recording of Make Your Wedding a Highlight. Jillian works at The Henderson as the Wedding Sales Manager. I wanted to get her perspective on why couples thought that The Henderson was the right wedding venue for them. And that is where we pick up our conversation.
Unique and Customized Experience
Jillian McCarthy: The Henderson is a very unique property for the Destin area. We have the ability to make every wedding we host there different. Starting as far away as you can at our resort, a couple can get married right on our private beachfront, as you would expect for a Destin wedding. If they don’t want a beach wedding but want to still have the beach and the Gulf as their wedding ceremony’s atmosphere, they can get married on the Beachside Greens that overlook that beach.
Moving closer to the hotel, we have our Grand Lawn that is also a popular reception site if that couple would prefer to have the gorgeous hotel as the backdrop with all the greenery that surrounds the Lawn. If the couple wants an outdoor reception, we can provide sailcloth or clear tent for their reception.
Whether Outdoors or Indoors
However, if they’d rather have an indoor reception, especially if they are getting married during a colder or hotter month of the year, we have the Crystal Ballroom that can accommodate up to 520 guests. We obviously don’t fill it to capacity due to COVID-19, but having that much space allows us to easily practice social distancing for the guests attending the wedding so they can enjoy it while still being safe.
The people who designed and created The Henderson did such a wonderful job putting it together. They made sure to incorporate a ballroom in the plans. It is totally suited for wedding receptions; space that is sometimes hard to find in this area. Couples don’t need to do a ton of draping in there or covering up walls or anything. And, actually, it really pops in photos when they incorporate uplighting.
DJ Josh Woeckener: Absolutely. Uplighting is the perfect match for a ballroom. It just takes the space and transforms it.
Perhaps a Terrace?
Jillian: And, I haven’t even mentioned that we also provide two terraces as event spaces as well. There’s the Sunset Terrace that provides a gorgeous view of the beach and Henderson State Park especially as the sun is setting. We also have the rooftop terrace that offers the widest view of Destin. There are so many unique event settings. Each one is beautiful and opens up possibilities for our couples.
Every single couple has a different vision when they are planning their wedding. The fact that we have so many options allows them to feel special in that it highlights their wedding. There’s no such thing as a typical Henderson wedding. And that’s how we like it.
No Such Thing as a “Typical” Henderson Wedding
Josh: I love how couples can use the spaces differently depending on what their taste is. I think my favorite wedding event layout would probably have to be having the ceremony on the private beachfront, because you’re in Destin, FL. Once the ceremony concludes, guests then transition to the Sunset Terrace for cocktail hour with the dinner and the rest of the festivities taking place in the ballroom.
Jillian: We have a unique opportunity to be able to suit a couple who want to keep their wedding super casual with a beach feel. But, we can use the same spaces and go in a more formal direction which some couples are looking for. They may love the location and the luxury coastal aesthetic that The Henderson offers but they may not want to get married right on the beach. As flexible and accommodating as we are, we are able to cater to different styles and tastes.
The Importance of Your Wedding Event Team
Josh: Something that I’ve noticed as I’ve been a part of wedding ceremonies and receptions at The Henderson is that your wedding event teams are excellent. What kind of impact do you think that has on a wedding?
Jillian: Oh my gosh. It’s probably one of the most important things in my opinion. In the position I’ve been in when working at a venue, whether it’s at The Henderson or elsewhere, having an event team that is knowledgeable of the property and the couple is so important. It really makes it a lot easier for the bride and groom, especially on the day of their wedding, to have an event team take care of all of the details.
When they know that, they can just relax. The girls will get their hair and makeup done to look amazing. The guys can relax by hanging out by the pool or spending time at the beach. They know that everything is taken care of and they don’t have to worry about anything. And it’s just things during the reception as well.
When your event team (planner, photographer, DJ) knows each other and works well together, it makes the wedding easier and seamless. For instance, if the ceremony is running slightly behind or there are a few more pictures on the beach than expected, you want to have your team full of people who can adapt and change with what’s going on. Maybe we have to wait an extra 10 minutes to serve salads. Perhaps we have to push the first dance early or late 15 minutes.
Having those people in place that can go with the flow make everything easier for the bride and the groom. That ease carries over to the bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom, and all the guests. Everyone can tell that even if things change there’s nothing to worry about.
Weddings Are Stressful Enough
Josh: For me, a wedding is stressful enough. And the hard thing about picturing your wedding is until you’ve had your wedding it’s hard to understand what it will feel like. And that’s the hardest thing to articulate to a couple. As a wedding professional, you want to minimize the number of things that are going to cause you stress because the day itself is stressful enough without taking on more responsibilities.
Full-Service Planner For Your Benefit
Jillian: That is one of the reasons we require a full-service planner for our brides. It just makes it so much easier on them. The planner can filter a lot of information and bring up things that they haven’t thought about yet. It may seem small but the planner is there to make sure all of the couple’s items get back to their room at the end of their celebration. Having to keep track of those things yourself takes away from the experience and the rush the couple is feeling with their family and friends.
We want them to be in the moment because those moments and memories will be all you have once your wedding comes to a close. They’re too special.
Main Point of Contact
Josh: Also, having a planner allows them to be a point of contact for questions from the rest of the wedding event team. Instead of contacting the bride and groom, I know I can reach out to the planner and they most likely have the answers I need. It really helps to streamline the wedding planning process for the couple even before the wedding happens. They’re not inundated with a whole bunch of emails from all the different wedding professionals that are a part of it.
Jillian: Exactly. I work with so many destination brides, and I know firsthand that this area has so many great planners that know the industry like the back of their hand. They’re all so resourceful and helpful to have. It’s like with anything. Sometimes things come up that you may not be able to anticipate. Plus, it’s helpful, and a bit of a relief, to have someone there who can be a buffer and liaison between the couple and the vendors.
Josh: Absolutely. It’s always best to have one, main point person who knows what’s going on. If you don’t have that, you run the risk of getting misinformation.
The Amazing Catering & Culinary Team
But, as much as wedding planners are essential to wedding success, I have to highlight your catering staff.
Jillian: They are the best.
Josh: They are the best! When I show up for a wedding reception, the catering staff is usually the first people I meet. Whenever I greet them, I am reminded of how great they are to work with, and I know it’s going to be a flawless event.
Jillian: I know. We’re so spoiled by our catering and culinary team. They’re just really so good. I’ve been at The Henderson for two years and done 100 or so weddings in that time. I’ve never once heard a complaint about our banquet, catering, or culinary teams. It’s really a blessing to have that because they’re such a big part of making weddings go smoothly on our side. I’m just there to guide. They really are the ones who do the leg work and just make it happen for our couples.
Jillian, thank you so much for sharing with everyone about how The Henderson is not only unique to the couple but also has a top-notch staff making their, and their guests’, experience one that will be remembered for years to come. You can find more information about having your own Henderson wedding at their website. Jillian, I can’t wait to hear more about your story! The cover photo was taken by Limelight Photography
In case you missed this week’s podcast, I talked to Nicole W. Clark from www.minicouples.com about her awesome cake toppers on Episode 9: On the Cake Top. If you’re looking for great workout inspiration, check out my Aug 10 HIIT Mix.
As always, if you enjoyed reading this blog, please share it with others you think might enjoy it as well :). Here’s to the couples that are planning their weddings. And, here’s to making them a highlight!