Outlander continues to explore unique locations for weddings, which also encourage participation of the LGBT community. This week: Southwest Florida, including the Dali Museum in Saint Petersburg, Fla.
Let’s talk beach weddings.
There is an undeniable romance in standing beneath the setting sun, curling your toes in the sand, while professing your vows of eternal love and commitment to the one you love. People fly all over the world to find exotic locales, but some of the most beautiful beach locations are right here in the U.S., tucked away in a quiet corner of Southwest Florida.
Miami and Fort Lauderdale seem to get all the attention these days, but like the beautiful but shy sister standing in the corner being ignored, Southwest Florida is quieter, slower-paced, and gorgeous. Starting in Saint Petersburg and heading south, through islands such as Sanibel, Captiva and Marco, the beaches stretch for miles with white sand as soft as powdered sugar, curling in little sandbar tendrils into the Gulf of Mexico. Facing west, the sunsets are other-worldly.
Speaking of sunsets, there is a gay beach in Saint Petersburg: Sunset Beach, a thin strip of sand on Treasure Island, one of the countless islands along the Tampa Bay coast. But don’t let that limit you. Go find your own stretch of sand somewhere, hire a wedding coordinator to set up some chairs on the sand for you, and you’re all set. Public beaches are free to use, even for weddings.
But we don’t want sand in our wedding cake, do we? So dust off your feet and host your reception at the Dali Museum, home of the largest collection of Salvador Dalí paintings —
— outside of his home country of Spain. Why is the largest collection of Dalí paintings outside of Spain located in Southwest Florida? It’s a long story. No matter — this breathtaking museum is a one-of-a-kind modern venue that is fitting for the surrealist artist’s works.
The view of the palm trees certainly beats having your party in a windowless banquet room.
If you want an extra thrill, start off your life of wedded bliss with a helicopter tour — The Dali Museum is next to Albert Whitted Airport, and charter tours are available through Tampa Bay Aviation. Let the party start without you and run over to the small airport next door for a quick tour, lasting anywhere from a only 5 or 10 minutes, to an hour trip all the way out to see the beautiful bay. Ask for Roland Collins.
He prefers flying without doors, but that’s optional.
Here’s a video of Collins taking off with Brian Longstreth, owner of Gay St. Pete House and local man-about-town, on a charter through the city. (Note: the person moaning in fear is not Longstreth.)