A Chic Island Welcome Party Off the Coast of Florida

eb mike welcome party couple boat
Carrie Patterson

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."

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The Welcome Boat

eb mike welcome party boat
Carrie Patterson

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.

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This Way to a Good Time

eb mike welcome party signage
Carrie Patterson

Large wooden signs by August Blume gave guests a preview of what the day had in store for them.

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Women in White

eb mike welcome party bridesmaids
Carrie Patterson

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.

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Tropical Rest Stop

eb mike welcome party lounge
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Setup

eb mike welcome party tables
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Sundries Station

eb mike welcome party sundries
Carrie Patterson

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.

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Hats Off To A Great Day

eb mike welcome party hat
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Beach Games

eb mike welcome party huddle
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Bar Décor

eb mike welcome party decor
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Island Bar

eb mike welcome party bar
Carrie Patterson

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.

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Fun in the Sun

eb mike welcome party innertubes
Carrie Patterson

Another palm print moment came in the form of the patterned inner tubes set out by the beach.

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The Water Games

eb mike welcome party groupphoto
Carrie Patterson

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!

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The Guests

eb mike welcome party guests
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Beach Snacks

eb mike welcome party icepops
Carrie Patterson

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.

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Dressed to Impress

eb mike welcome party couple
Carrie Patterson

EB wore white all weekend, including this Oscar de la Renta dress for the evening. In keeping with the "Island Cocktail" dress code, Mike sported an Eleventy jacket, Thomas Pink shirt, and Ralph Lauren pants, and skipped the tie.

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Dinner on the Sand

eb mike welcome party crowd
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Music

eb mike welcome party music
Carrie Patterson

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.

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The Return Trip

eb mike welcome party signage
Carrie Patterson

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.

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eb mike welcome party couple
Carrie Patterson

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

Music, DJ Travis; The Morrison Brothers

Rentals, Event Effects; Tidy Coast

Bride's attire, L *Space swimsuit; Oscar de la Renta white dress; Temptation Positano cover-up

Bride's accessories, Bibi Marini blue earrings; Giuseppe Zanotti shoes

Hair, Salon Tease

Makeup, Julene Dolewa

Groom's apparel, Eleventy jacket; Orlebar Brown swimsuit and linen shirt; Ralph Lauren pants; Thomas Pink blue shirt

Lighting, Bay Stage Live

Transportation, Dolphin Transportation; Sea Excursions

Palm print inner tubes, Float Naked

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