Casa de Solana B&B - St. Augustine, Florida, FL 32084, United States

I Do, Take You
St. Augustine
To Be My Destination Wedding Location!
by Jamie Narehood
November 2012

Everybody loves something Victorian, whether it be art, literature, clothing, or furniture. The British Victorian era was established during the period of Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 thru 1901. It has been said that it was she who popularized the white wedding dress when she wed Prince Albert of Germany in 1840. She wore a simple white dress with a pleated skirt made of heavy silk and satin and Honiton lace, her veil adorned with orange blossom. Prior to, brides wore simply their best dresses.

There is, however, a lot more to the traditional Victorian wedding than the stunning dress; there is a meticulous process, from the way in which to ask for the bride’s hand to naming the day to the engagement announcement to ring selection to the families meet and greet and of course the wedding itself. According to the delightful, British-born Joy Warren, owner of St. Augustine’s fabulous Bayfront Westcott House Bed and Breakfast (146 Avenida Menendez), during the processional, the English bride will walk first, escorted by whosoever will be “giving her away”, followed by the groomsmen in tops and tails and arm in arm with the bridesmaids, the immediate family behind.

Perhaps the Victorian way of things, at least décor wise, appeals to you? Look no further for your destination location, as St. Augustine is loaded with Era charm! Experience that elegant romance at Cedar House Inn Bed & Breakfast, the beautifully restored 1893 Victorian home of Cynthia Humphrey. The Spirit of Love has graced Cedar House Inn for over a century through iconic images and paintings. The Inn’s ever-present decorative cupids began to weave their magic with the nuptials of 19th-century owner James Edward Evans and Lucy Elizabeth Devonshire, a tradition that continues today as this grand Victorian plays host to countless couples as they declare their love and devotion via wedding and renewal ceremonies. Cyndi has coordinated many, many events over the years (to include a dinner for a U.S. President) and will approach your wedding with the very same enthusiastic, spot-on professionalism. Cedar House options for your picture-perfect moment include the gazebo, the garden, the fireplace, and the gorgeous Tiffany window. Visit for photos and details!

For an outdoor venue with enchantingly rustic and romantic appeal, you might consider the garden/courtyard at historic Ximenez-Fatio House, located on the very old, all-brick Aviles Street. Fatio House has been host to artists and writers and travelers galore. It has been managed by strong, good women since the 1800s and is owned currently by the Colonial Dames of America. What better energy with which to surround yourself on your wedding day! Be sure to visit, click the Rentals tab, and flip through the weddings and events albums at the bottom of the page. The daydreams will begin, as likely will the planning.

Off my beaten writing track, but not really since popcorn was a popular decoration for the Victorian holiday tree, I thought it the perfect segue with which to suggest St. Augustine’s gourmet popcorn shop as a reception vendor. You’ll find 59 flavors at 59 Cuna Street, where husband and wife team Jim and Teresa Mau are housed in yet another lovely Victorian from where they promote their business, Pop N Off—affordable indulgence in the form of gourmet popcorn treats! Fifty-nine fun flavors for flirty favors at your reception, like champagne and strawberries and amaretto sour or peppermint patty (we were mint for each other), butter rum (two hearts that beat as rum?), ginger peanut satay (satay you luv me baby!) or berry delicious (we’re oh so berry in love)! See where I’m going with this? Of course, gourmet treats deserve a gourmet display. Choose from chic little favor bags to trendy tin containers to glass jars perched on what looks like a giant iron votive stand (designed and executed by Jim and his genius-cousin Dave). So give them a (pumpkin spice) whirl either at the store or online at This could be the choice that earns you the raised-the-bar, trend-setting reception queen title!

What Do The Black Raven Pirate Ship and The Newlywed Game Have in Common?

I took an online “get your pirate name” quiz and acquired the delightful name of Fancy Pants Penny but was simultaneously referred to as the Piratess who couldn’t pour a particular liquid out of her boot, even with the instructions written on the heel. Probably true! But I’d still love to play pirate and would extra-love to do a that’s-so-Saint-Augustine wedding onboard the Black Raven Pirate Ship!

If that sort of thing “floats your boat” too (sorry, I had to say it), well guess what ladies … you just might win a free wedding! All you have to do is write a 100- to 150-word narrative, introducing you and your groom-to-be, telling why you would be the perfect couple for a complimentary Buccaneer weddin’ onboard The Black Raven on December 8, 2012. That happens to be the date for the Annual Regatta of Lights, a Nights of Lights annual event hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club that celebrates with a parade the maritime roots and rich nautical heritage of the Ancient City. You can bring along 10 of your best buckos (friends and family) to join the fun. The trip is open to the general public, so if you enjoy being front and center, the stage is yours in that moment! The ceremony will be performed at the decorated-for-the-occasion forecastle wedding altar, and Pirate Oly Mackerel will officiate. You’ll enjoy a pirate toast, exclusive use of the forecastle (raised deck at the bow), and a commemorative Black Raven wedding certificate. Scurvy pirate garb encouraged but not required; it’s always “a nice day for a white wedding” onboard The Black Raven.

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 6, with the winning couple to be announced on Thursday, November 8. Be sure to include the name of bride and groom, your phone number and email address and your 100- to 150_word plea. Email your entry to or stop by The Black Raven Ship Store at the Marina at 111 Avenida Menendez, just south of the Bridge of Lions.

It would seem that producers at the Game Show Network (GSN) in New York apparently are fans of pirate weddings too, as they approached The Black Raven’s Grace Sparrow in search of potential contestants for the nationally televised The Newlywed Show. They were in search of couples who, garbed in pirate attire, were wed onboard The Black Raven.

For those unfamiliar with the show, this was a 1966 ABC original, hosted by Bob Eubanks. Each segment featured three newly married couples, and Eubanks was fast famous for comedically coaxing contestants to give hilariously awkward answers to fun and silly questions like “Would your wife say she last stuck her nose in your business or you stuck yours in hers?” or “If your spouse was a cartoon character, which one would he/she be?” The modern installment too showcases three newly married couples, each competing for a second honeymoon by correctly answering questions that range from the first time they met to details of their love life. The View’s Sherri Shepherd is host.

Eve & Dan McKay and Nicholas & Brittany Schevikhoven, both married onboard The Black Raven, were the chosen couples who went to New York for taping. The new season aired on October 25, so stay tuned to Grace Sparrow’s Facebook page (via The Black Raven’s website) for details about when the McKays and the Schevikhovens will be on TV and of course to find out who won! In the meantime, check out YouTube clips of the original show or catch the real deal via the Game Show Network on Thursdays at 8 pm EST.

Coincidentally, The Black Raven also hosts the Port Royal Wedding whereby you rent the entire ship, with the Captain, crew, and cash bar/bartender at your disposal. Only your invited guests are permitted onboard. How fun would that be?!?

The 21+ Cruise on Friday and Saturday nights is a rich blend of skits, stories, trivia, songs (all performed by exceptionally talented entertainers, singers, and actors) and drink (enjoy your favorite libation in their fully licensed bar)—the perfect bachelor(ette) party scenario! The language and the song lyrics are somewhat different, more adult oriented, and may not be suitable for everybody, but if you wish to join th' a ruckus, about 30 doubloons ($29.95) will get ye onboard.

Visit to see how to best bust out the pirate person within!

Stay tuned for December’s issue and details on how to marry in the plaza during our season-long Nights of Lights celebration (noted in National Geographic’s 2011 list of stellar holiday light displays). In the meantime, email me at if I can assist with your desire to tie the knot (or tighten it) in lovely St. Augustine!

  • popnoff
View All