Hop in the time machine for a second and we’ll rewind to the ‘90s. While most everyone was out rocking their parachute pants and chokers, my young parrothead parents were rocking dive suits and jamming at all the Jimmy Buffett concerts they could get tickets to.
In the summer of 1995, there they were at a Buffett concert, belting out Volcano at the top of their lungs with my mom carrying a tiny version of me in her womb. They got wind that Jimmy’s daughter was named Savannah Jane, and for some reason, it stuck with them. Fast forward a few months, and their very own Savannah Jane was born. I guess you could say I was destined to be part of the Margaritaville family from the start…it’s in my namesake!
My childhood was filled with Saturdays by the pool with my family and I singing Fins as loud as possible, closely examining my dad’s extensive collection of Jimmy Buffett albums, listening to You’ll Never Work in Dis Business Again almost every morning on the way to elementary school, and my mom secretly buying my dad a shirt of from the Margaritaville store for nearly every birthday.
We have always tried our best to encompass an island lifestyle at my home, and Jimmy Buffett has always been a point of common love within my family, particularly between me and my dad. We share the same favorite songs, both have a deep love for the ocean, and even want to visit the same islands. He and my mom instilled these Margaritaville roots within me that mean so much more than just being able to sing the bridge to Cheeseburger in Paradise flawlessly, no matter how good that makes us all feel!
Here we are 22 years later and I’m a member of Margaritaville University at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and just got engaged in August. My fiancé and I have been together for four years, and I’ve slowly but surely turned him into a Buffett fan as well. We try our hardest to find our island escapism together through lots of pool days and taking as many beach trips as we can, and one of his most favorite things to do is say “Alexa, play Jimmy Buffett.”
We just went to our first Buffett concert in 2016, and I have to admit, teaching him how to move his fins to the left and fins to the right was truly a highlight in our relationship! But, even more importantly, it’s been so thrilling for me to take a concept that encompasses my family dynamic so well and introduce it to him, who didn’t even know who Jimmy Buffett was when we first started dating. Being able to pass something my dad instilled in me over to him has truly meant so much. To be honest, I felt like I was letting him in on a little secret at first, and now, it’s become a huge staple in our relationship, even taking roots in our wedding.
In the words of Mr. Buffett himself, I’m trading my hula skirt for a wedding gown in October, and unsurprisingly, this exciting day will not be absent of the Margaritaville lifestyle. My fiancé and I wanted to make sure our wedding was fun and reflected who we are, so we’re headed to Key West, Florida, to make our vows in the sand. Aside from all the tropical vibes amidst our palm trees and decor, our bridal party will be entering to beginning of Fruitcakes, and we’re heading to the Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman for our honeymoon.
Even more special to me, however, my dad and I will be sharing our father-daughter dance to Delaney Talks to Statues. As Mr. Buffett wrote this song about his relationship with his own daughter, I get kind of emotional thinking about dynamic that my dad and I have. Buffett’s lyrics – Father, daughter, down by the water – takes on a whole new meaning for us as our favorite place to be is truly sitting at the ocean’s edge with each other. My dad taught me to embrace the Margaritaville lifestyle, passing his love for the ocean (and Jimmy Buffett in general, if we’re being honest) down to me. Those roots have truly made me who I am today, and what an honor it is to commemorate that on my wedding day to one of Buffett’s songs about his own daughter.
There’s something to be said about father-daughter relationships within the Margaritaville landscape, so much that Mr. Buffett himself wrote multiple songs about it. My parents have shaped me into a girl that loves the ocean and all that life has to offer by using his music as a platform. I can testify that his songs are so much more than simply music; they’re stories, lessons, and melodies that wind up creating bonds and shaping you into the person that you are.
I may be hopping back in that time machine here, but I’m hoping that my fiancé and I will eventually have our own girls that we can raise to be third-generation parrotheads, teaching them all the Buffett songs, defining their own Margaritaville memories, and creating new sweet father-daughter bonds between them and my husband. Until then, you can find me by the ocean with my own parents, because I’ve got to say, life sure is good on our boat.
Savannah Williams is a Margaritaville college ambassador at the University of Georgia. Learn more about Margaritaville University here.