A weekend in Lido Beach, Florida for a family wedding

We spent the weekend in Lido Beach in the Sarasota area of Southwest Florida. We were there to celebrate the wedding of an awesome couple, and we had a great time. (And I made a little video about our time here.)

This trip was the first time Dave, Brady and I had been to Florida together in a whole year. We last went in August 2021 with my family to spread my dad’s ashes in the Florida Keys, which was a really special trip.

This time, we were there for a much different occasion, and it was also special. Brady had never been to a wedding before, and he was very honored to be one of the flower children, who got to spread flower petals down the aisle. Also, he hadn’t ever spent a lot of time with his cousins (and second cousins) who all live in the Northeast, and he truly enjoyed meeting, re-meeting and playing with them. And of course, the wedding also fell on Dave’s birthday, so we had that to celebrate too. Many things to celebrate, as well as the actual wedding.

Because I have a lot of great pictures, I wanted to share a quick recap of our weekend trip in a post. Let’s do it …

A weekend in Lido Beach, Florida for a family wedding

The wedding was for Dave’s younger sister, Gwena, and her now-husband, James. Gwena and James met in San Francisco, and we were lucky enough to spend time together with them when we lived there. Dave, Brady and I loved “Mr. James” from the moment we met him, and we had a lot of fun times with the two of them at Golden Gate Park and even at our house for Thanksgiving one year. They are such a kind and wonderful couple, and we’re so happy for them! They recently moved to the Boston area, by the way, so now all of Dave’s immediate family is back on the East Coast.

Back to the trip …  

Day 1 in Lido Beach — arriving, saying hello and a laid-back beach party at sunset

We arrived in Florida around 2 p.m. on Friday, and we felt the heat and humidity immediately. Even though I grew up in Florida for my first 28 years of life, I still forget what Florida air feels like. It’s thick!

Brady at the airport by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my bag, here are my shorts, here are my slides, and here is my top.)

We flew into the Sarasota airport, which is such an easy place to arrive. You literally hop off your plane, and walk down some stairs to baggage claim, and then you walk right out to the parking lot. We got an Uber, fastened Brady’s carseat (we almost always travel with his carseat, because it seems easier to have our own), and then went to our hotel, Lido Beach Resort, on Lido Beach.

The resort was right on the beach, and we loved having our feet in the sand. That first day, we said some hellos to family members who were hanging by the pool, then we had lunch and went back to our room to get ready for the first event.

The first night was a beachside party at Lido Beach Pavilion, which was basically next door to our hotel. It was a laid-back casual beachy affair, and we had drinks and food, chatted, met some new people and then walked out to the beach to sit in the sand for a sing-along. The family had printed out the lyrics to some folksy fun songs, and one of the family friends and his wife sang/played guitar to lead us all. And we did “Wagon Wheel,” which is one of my favorite songs, so I was very into that. Yay!

I was eating my burger during the first part, but during the second part, I was definitely singing along, especially when we got to my song. The breeze was blowing, the waves were crashing, and the sun was setting. It was lovely, and we took some nice sunset pictures too — once I realized it was nightfall and we hadn’t gotten a good family picture yet.

Ashley and Brady at the resort by A Lady Goes West

Dave and Brady at the resort by A Lady Goes West

Ashley and Dave on Lido Beach by A Lady Goes West

Lido Beach 3 by A Lady Goes West

Lido Beach 1 by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my dress.)

After the sing-along, we made our way back to the hotel bar. And because we were traveling with Brady and no babysitter, we brought him with us. Granted, it was more of a hotel bar/restaurant situation, so it was actually more of an appropriate setting than a full-fledged bar.

For the first bit, Brady and one of his cousins ran around together tunneling under tables, but once he was the last kid left, we set him up with a show on Dave’s phone. I sat near him sipping on white wine and chatting with some family members, and Brady was a champion who made it until about 10 p.m., which is much later than his usual 8 p.m. bedtime. A solid first day, full of good moments with good people.

Day 2 in Lido Beach — Dave’s birthday, beach/pool time and the big wedding event

Even though we all hoped to sleep in, we were up by 7 a.m. in our hotel room. I popped down to the lobby to get a couple of oat milk lattes for Dave and for me, and a mug of warm milk for Brady (which he refused to drink, because it was reduced fat, and he prefers whole milk).

Then we got ready, gave Dave his gifts (I had packed them with us, as well as a birthday banner for the hotel room), and then we took the resort’s shuttle down to St. Armand’s Circle, which was only about a mile away.

Lido Beach Resort by A Lady Goes West

Lido Beach Resort 2 by A Lady Goes West

St. Armand’s Circle is a lovely area with a mixture of fine shopping and local touristy spots, as well as plenty of restaurants. We wanted a delicious meal, and because we were there before 10 a.m., not a lot of places were open.

We stumbled upon the Blue Dolphin Cafe, and it was/is a no-frills local breakfast place. And dang … was it good. We had incredibly fast service. We had incredibly delicious food. And our bill was about $30, which was nearly the same price I paid for our hotel lattes earlier.

Honestly, I think the California-style omelette I had at Blue Dolphin Cafe may have been one of the best omelettes I’ve ever had. And that sourdough toast was delicious as well. Brady had a Mickey pancake, which he devoured, and Dave had a sampler breakfast.

Blue Dolphin Cafe breakfast by A Lady Goes West

Blue Dolphin Cafe by A Lady Goes West

We left there super full and content, and then we walked around a bit, before taking the shuttle back to the resort. We did a lot this day, because as soon as we were back, we changed into our swimsuits and went down to the beach to meet some of the family and cousins. (Dave has four sisters, by the way, so when I say family, it’s a lot of people, because three of the sisters have kids and babies.)

Brady hasn’t really spent a lot of time at the beach, so he was very happy to play in the sand and in the waves with his cousins. He kept getting saltwater in his mouth though, and every time he would come over to me and ask what to do. I was like: “Close your mouth, buddy.”

This part of the day was a really nice way to spend a little time catching up with family and soaking up the Florida sun, once again, with our feet in the sand. I loved it!

Gwena wedding 6 by A Lady Goes West

Gwena wedding 7 by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my swimsuit, and here are my sunglasses.)

Once we finished up beach time, we moved to the pool, then we grabbed some snacks from the hotel restaurant and went back to our room to shower and lay down. Luckily, we got Brady to nap for a bit, because he definitely had a long night ahead. I tried to nap, but instead I just rested my eyes for a bit — and sometimes I do think that helps me to recharge.

We were ready for the big event promptly at 3:45 p.m., so we could meet the group in the lobby to hop on the trolleys that were taking us to the venue. The trolley ride was about 45 minutes, but it didn’t seem long, because great music was playing, we all had some drinks to sip on and it was a fun way to see Sarasota on an open-air vehicle. Brady was a little nervous, because he felt like the trolley was going really fast, but once again, he had fun. (Just another new experience for this 5-year-old!)

Gwena wedding 5 by A Lady Goes West

The wedding and reception were at the Bay Preserve in Osprey, Florida. It was a lovely little spot on the water, with a big lawn area, as well as a historic house/building.

Unfortunately, the Florida weather didn’t hold out, and it rained both before the ceremony and after, during the cocktail hour and reception, and before the rain, it was incredibly hot (we were all sweating), so it was a real temperature/weather rollercoaster. The good news is that the bride and the groom just let it roll off their shoulders, and the party continued like no plans were changed — even though yes, many plans were changed.

Gwena wedding 3 by A Lady Goes West

Gwena wedding 1 by A Lady Goes West

Ashley and Brady at the wedding by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my dress.)

Dave and I were in the front row during the ceremony, and we were absolutely dying when little Brady and his cousins came down the aisle spreading flower petals. He looked so cute in his bow tie and suspenders, and he did a great job as a flower boy. Once he finished, he came over and sat with us to watch his Auntie Gwena tie the knot with the Osprey Bay in the vista. He wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, and I had to quiet him down a few times, but I think that’s to be expected.

Gwena wedding 4 by A Lady Goes West

Wedding cousins by A Lady Goes West

Gwena wedding 2 by A Lady Goes West

After the ceremony was done, we did some professional pictures (I jumped in front of the photographer to capture that one above of the cousins with the bride and groom), and then we went into the house to hide from the rain during cocktail hour. Once the rain let up, we made it over to the tent for the dinner on the lawn.

Amazingly, the skies finally cleared just as it was time for the speeches and dancing to begin. Dave and three of his sisters gave a wonderfully constructed speech, and they talked about growing up with a much-younger sister (Gwena is about 10 years younger than the other siblings), and they all shared ways they think they helped Gwena grow up to be the person she is. It was very funny, heartfelt and really well done. I got the whole thing on video, so maybe we’ll go back and watch it one day. 

After some more usual wedding activities, it was dancing time. Meanwhile, it was already later than Brady had stayed up the night before. But our little man hit the dance-floor hard and owned it. He was kicking his legs, jumping around and having a blast with us and his cousins. I maybe would have guessed he would enjoy dancing in this setting, but I didn’t know he’d be quite so crazy into it. It made me so proud, because I also love to own a dance-floor.

The rest of the reception was super fun, and we danced under the stars, while laughing, smiling and celebrating the new Mr. and Mrs. with Dave’s family all around us.

Dave, Brady and I hopped on one of the last trolleys leaving the venue, and we weren’t back to the hotel until just before midnight, and Brady held on strong. Overall, a very fun evening, and it was actually so nice to share the whole thing with our little guy in tow, even though we had been a little nervous about letting him stay up and be a part of it. Wedding success!

Day 3 in Lido Beach — cleaning up, saying goodbye and hitting the road back to Charlotte

We were tired on Sunday morning! And I mean very tired! But we popped down for some lattes, and then spent a lot of time cleaning up our hotel room. (Quick side-note: I’m a total neat freak and keep our house spotless, but when I go to a hotel, I will sometimes let my stuff get everywhere during a trip. And Brady even asked me why there was trash on the floor of our room because he’s not used to my stuff being out of place. I cleaned everything up before we checked out, but still, I felt like sharing that little detail. It’s unlike me, but sometimes I let it happen.)

That morning, we went to the resort’s restaurant for brunch, then went out to the pool to spend the last 45 minutes with the family and friends that were hanging there.

It was great to see everyone and get a chance to give an official send-off to the bride and groom too. We were at the Sarasota Airport by 12:30 p.m., and our flight was only delayed about 15 minutes (having been on-time on the way there), so our travel was pretty seamless. My mom picked us up from the Charlotte Airport, and we were home and unpacked and organized by 6 p.m. Not too shabby, because we had/have a very busy week ahead (which is why this post is going up later than usual, because I’ve been running around like crazy since we returned).

We had a really nice time on this trip, and we definitely made some fun memories with our little family and Dave’s family — I’d say that watching the little cousins run around crazy together may have made up my favorite moments, as well as watching Brady shine as a flower boy! And that’s the recap.

Lido Beach 2 by A Lady Goes West

We have some super-packed weekends ahead the next few weeks, then we’re off on our final two weekends trip away in mid- and late-November. Hope you have a wonderful day, my friend! Thank you for reading! 🙂 

Other posts you may like …

Questions of the day for you …

When was the list time you went to the beach?

Have you ever been to Lido Beach?

What’s something you’re looking forward to this weekend?

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  1. What a fun weekend! And that little page boy outfit – so cute on Mr. Brady! All three of you looked fantastic!

    The last time we were at the beach was in June, and we are headed down to get some sunshine on our shoulders this weekend, as a matter of fact. It’s supposed to snow here in MI tomorrow, so it will be great timing.

    We are headed back to the Beach to ring in the New Year. I truly can’t wait. I’m happiest at the beach!

  2. Thank you for sharing! You have a beautiful family. I love Lido and St Armand’s and the lido beach resort is so nice. I’ve never actually stayed there, just gotten drinks and food at the tiki bar since my husbands good friend works there. I live in Sarasota btw so it was so nice to read about it from another’s perspective! And it’s a great reminder for us to venture to lido soon as we usually go to siesta beach. Have a great week.

    1. Hi Emily! Thank you for reading and greetings in Sarasota! How nice is the Sarasota airport? So simple and easy — and I love that! We noticed a couple of down trees on Lido Beach, but not much damage from the storm, so that’s good. I hope your home was alright too. Isn’t it funny how we get stuck in our routine and ways and forget about this just nearby? I do that too!

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