We are not among those who can say, “She sells seashells by the seashore” with never a twist of the tongue. But we have been to Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast often enough to understand why shells play a part in the themes of so many destination weddings on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Sanibel and Captiva, which are actually made entirely of shells, have a reputation for being home to the best beaches for shelling in the U.S., if not the world. So it is only natural that brides and grooms planning a wedding there might think of ways to work shells into their celebration.

“We see shell accents on wedding cakes, shell themed center pieces, and shell themed favors,” says Jennifer Tacey, who heads the four-person wedding team at Captiva’s South Seas Island Resort, which has 2 ½ miles of its own private beach.

There are even occasions, said Tacey, when guests follow up the vows by tossing their favorite hand-picked shell into the ocean, along with a special wish for the couple.

And how well do local vendors celebrate the shell? “All of our bakeries can do shell-themed pastries, candies, and cakes,” Tacey said.

What also makes shells a special part of a wedding ceremony at South Seas Island Resort is that it’s been around long enough that wedding couples may well remember shelling on its beach as one of their earliest and fondest childhood memories.

Multi-generational, too, is the crowd you can invite to the wedding, as the resort, 35 miles from the Southwest Florida International Airport, has a variety of accommodations, ranging from guest rooms to villas, condos, and cottages, and activities that range from exploring a wildlife sanctuary to immersing yourself in the spa.

Oh, and really want to impress your guests? Practice that famous tongue twister so that you’re not only able to say the first verse four times, fast, but the second verse, too, known to almost no one except for a few of the staff at the South Seas island Resort:

The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure.

By Bob Payne

South Seas Island Resort covers the northern two-thirds of Captiva Island.

South Seas Island Resort covers the northern two-thirds of Captiva Island.


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