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ride Q&A With our Wedding Planner

Bride & Groom Kissing
Meet Ayla Goggin, our wedding planner/event manager extraordinaire here at The Resort at Longboat Key Club! Today on the blog, Ayla shares a glimpse into her daily life of turning wedding dreams into a reality.

Headshot of Ayla Goggin, Wedding Planner

Q: What makes weddings at The Resort at Longboat Key Club so special?

Our beach is the best. I can say that up front - the beach is absolutely stunning and we get a lot of beach ceremonies. But besides that, we have a lot of variety and we have unique options. That’s what’s really appealing to a lot of different clients. When you can have a ceremony on the beach and then do a pool deck cocktail hour, and dinner in the John Ringling room. Or you can have everything on the Marina Lawn for the ceremony, the courtyard for cocktail hour, and the Harbourside lawn for dinner, having it completely outside. Or vice versa, having everything at Harbourside. Or having Spike ‘N Tees being your central location for cocktail hour and dinner. I think the fact that are so many different options and we can appeal to so many different sized groups, and we can cater to that is one of the most unique aspects of our property. We have the sweet spot - we usually get groups of 90-120. At the same time, knowing that the little group of 40; you know, if it’s a second wedding and you’re here with your kids and your new spouse and just want something intimate and to be together - the fact that we can cater to a variety is really nice. You’re not pigeon-holed into seeing the same thing every week, which makes my job a lot of fun!

Q: What has been your favorite event?

A: That’s hard. Generally, I love weddings. In our roles both Amy and I do weddings as well as corporate groups, we do birthday parties and other things like that too. But honestly, I love weddings. I love being a part of somebody’s special day, I love getting to know the people and interacting with all the different members of the family, and going on the tours and seeing everyone interact. Just to be a part of something so important, is definitely my favorite part. And seeing how everything comes out beautifully, obviously.
I think my favorite events end up being the ones where I get to see the bride’s reaction to things. We had one wedding last fall where the bride wanted the entire Harbourside ballroom covered in drapery, and she walked in, she looked like a modern-day Cinderella. And she walked in and spun around in her dress and said “it’s better than I would’ve dreamed it!” As far as weddings go, it was a blush wedding and it was beautiful, and we do a lot of blush weddings, but I’ll always remember watching her spinning around and her reaction.

Bride and groom kissing at head table during wedding reception

Photo credit: Mari Sabra Photography

Q: Which is your favorite - indoor or outdoor weddings?

A: I’m a beach ceremony girl at heart, so I love those, so anytime I see that, I know that brides make a lot of exceptions in order to have a ceremony on the beach. Whether it’s not wearing the shoes they want to wear and wearing their hair up instead because they know it’s going to be windy, but I feel like you have to be really committed to be a beach bride. So, I feel like, when they finally get to do that and have that realization - ‘here’s this background that I dreamed of and wanted it to be’- is really exciting. When people do receptions on the Harbourside lawn, I just think, with all the twinkle lights, it’s a whimsical dreamland and it’s just so magical. Being able to create something like that and have a wedding be so unique is just really awesome. Outdoor receptions are hard sometimes because of the weather, but they are beautiful when they pan out. 
Our Harbourside ballroom is probably my favorite indoor space because it looks beautiful all on its own, or if you are like Erica, the Cinderella bride, and wanting everything draped in there, it looks just as stunning that way, too. I like that’s it got enough character all on its own - as far as indoor venues go, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a stale room - it’s got all of those windows in there and I really like that about it.

Groom gets help with his cuff before wedding ceremony

Q: What would you say is your favorite part of your job?

A: The people. I get to take couples from the start - I handle the inquiries, I go through the tour process with them, I go through the contract, booking it, answering those questions, I go through the menu planning and deciding on the set up of the room - so I get to know them really well. I love seeing how everyone is different. I had one bride who is an engineer in Arkansas but her mother is based here, and another couple that is destination from Indiana and his family vacationed every year and is able to come down. It’s great to see how genuinely excited all these people that are around them and love them so, so much and do all those things for them. To be able to see that every weekend - I mean, no family is perfect, don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely drama in there too, but to be able to watch Dad shed a tear when the bride walks down, because I’m usually standing there next to them when they’re coming out for their ceremony - there’s not a lot of people that get to be a part of that. I just love getting to know the people.

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