I get along great with my mother-in-law now, but I almost didn’t, and it was all because of, you guessed it…the wedding. My wife and I had been to a few island weddings and we decided that was what we wanted: a simple affair on the beach at sunset, with a wedding reception that featured great seafood and an outdoor dining place where we could dance under the stars. Unfortunately, my wife was an only daughter, and when her mom saw that engagement ring, she went into overdrive trying to micromanage and plan every little detail for us. It got to the point where the two of us, plus my wife’s dad, scheduled an intervention.
We went out to dinner, figuring a public place would diminish the likelihood of a “scene”, and tried to explain the reason we wanted an island wedding and wedding reception was because we weren’t looking for a stressful environment for anybody. She was skeptical at first, but when we invited her to come with us to Key West while we made the arrangements, she decided she could use a vacation.
We imagined that she would watch us like a hawk, asking questions and making demands, but when she saw how professional all of the Key West restaurants were in making arrangements (not to mention how beautiful she found the island), she understood what we were looking for. At our island reception, I saw her having the time of her life, and she confided that from now on, island weddings were the only type of weddings she was going to attend.
Everyone (and I mean everyone) has a story about being at a wedding reception, having a great time and remarking on how amazing everything was, except the food. Overdone steak, dry chicken, bland pasta, unidentifiable fish… it’s the one constant in everyone’s experience, and in many cases, there’s nothing the couple can do about it. These giant reception halls only offer a limited number of choices. That is why you should skip the wedding factories and follow the trend of island weddings. With a destination wedding, you can have a reception that people will be buzzing about for months.
If you have your wedding in Key West, restaurants there aren’t designed to be conveyer belts of food. They are meant to offer stunning examples of fresh seafood, with tropical fruits and other flavors you can’t get at home, and they are used to cooking for people from all across the country. They have the tips for picking a great reception menu, by offering people plenty of choices, including a few tried-and-true conventional options for the less adventurous guests in your wedding.
Dining is an art form in Key West, home to the idea of casual elegance. When it comes to planning the perfect menu for your reception, this takes the form not in a formal sit down four-course dinner, but a constant stream of small plates, appetizer sized portions of entrée styled dishes so that people can taste a little bit of everything, while being sure to fully enjoy themselves. You can have prime rib any Saturday you want. Make your wedding reception memorable with Mahi-Mahi and fully enjoy the atmosphere of your island wedding.
If you ask one hundred people what they like least about their job, most of them will say the commute. I’m no different. My husband doesn’t understand, probably because he only drives ten minutes, whereas I ‘m in the car for almost an hour each way. That dreaded commute is why I insist that, when we go on vacation, it is to a tropical island paradise. My favorite island by far is Key West, Florida.
I discovered it years ago when my best friend decided that island weddings were the only way to go. Ever since that first trip, I have been going back at least every other year, and one of the little but important deciding factors was that I didn’t have to rent a car. In fact, once the taxi lets us off at our hotel, we either walk to where we are going or rent bikes for the week.
Don’t get me wrong. This car-less-ness wouldn’t mean a thing if the rest of the vacation was only so-so, but there is so much to fall in love with. The Key West restaurants are some of the best I’ve ever dined at, and that isn’t just the joy of outdoor dining under the stars talking. The seafood, as you can imagine, is amazingly fresh, and many of the restaurants feature what they call “new island cuisine.” I’ve tried making it at home and it isn’t just the same. Some days we go exploring and others we just relax by the pool, but I always smile when I first wake up, knowing I don’t have to drive anywhere.
My friends always look at me funny when I use the phrase “destination vacation”, as if I’m being redundant. Of course, once I explain to them what I mean, they never look at their trip planning the same way again.
To me, a truly great vacation is one I can’t simply replicate. If I want to go to an amusement park and ride rollercoasters, for instance, I’ve got a few hundred options to choose from. When the trip is over, there will be very little to make it stand out. A destination vacation is something more unique, like an island vacation to Key West, Florida. I know that when I go there, I’m going to have an experience that will stick with me. You visit enough amusement parks, you soon forget which vacation your memory is from, but I know when I’ve been enjoying outdoor dining tasting the best key lime pie ever, I was in one specific place.
Of course, there is one minor drawback to this. I found myself having such a great time the first time I went to Key West that every few years, I have to break my own rule and go back again. I still plan a new destination vacation for myself every year (finally going to Machu Picchu this year, so excited!) but I can’t shake the pull that the southernmost island has on me. The good thing is, I know that there is only one place I can go to scratch that itch, and that’s why I don’t even try to look for it anywhere else. That, and I miss that amazing key lime pie.
I like to think that I know a lot and can do a lot. Probably the most important thing I do know, however, is when not to do something and let someone who knows better do it. This is why I don’t fix my own car or diagnose my own illnesses, and this is why you should let the professional wedding planners of Key West plan your island wedding. It takes the stress off of you and your spouse-to-be, and it helps guarantee that it will be a successful event.
Do you know that every year hundreds of couples get married in Key West? That means there are plenty of people down there who know what it takes when it comes to island weddings. They will work with you to find the perfect locations, whether you are looking for a sunset ceremony on the beach or a quiet affair in a historic fort. They can even help you get married in the air (parasailing) or underwater! Of course, the ceremony is only a small part of a Key West wedding. There are plenty of options for the reception. Imagine an outdoor event, under the stars, with live entertainment in a setting of casual elegance. With so many Key West restaurants to choose from, you can arrange for the perfect atmosphere.
Your wedding day should be a celebration and not a stress, so know that the smart thing to do is turn it over to the professionals so you and your guests can do what you came to Key West to do; enjoy your destination wedding.
When attempting to plan a wedding reception, the choices can often be overwhelming and the tasks become quite daunting. Generally, with a destination wedding, the goal is to keep it simple. You have fewer guests, you are far from home, and you want it to be about each other and not about hundreds of people that are on the guest list because your parents want them invited. So, the reception should be no different. To maintain the casual elegance of the setting is simple; there are plenty of venues to choose from, and by simply selecting the setting of the outdoors for dining, you can achieve this. The other thing you can do is to select buffet rather than plating the meal.
Next is the food. When in Rome, do as the Romans. So, if in the Keys, have seafood. You can have pasta or meat as an option if you like, but again, you are a smaller crowd and will generally know if you have anyone who is not a lover of seafood or perhaps has allergies where an offered substitute is suitable. Fresh fruits, grilled veggies, pastries, and a variety of drinks on hand will keep everyone happy and tummies filled. You can do traditional wedding cake, and if you’d like some variety and a little twist, add the option of key lime pie to the dessert table, too. Or even forgo the cake and go with the pie alone. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Whatever you choose for food, you will be thrilled, and having the reception outdoors will provide the perfect backdrop to the perfect reception. Cheers!
If you’re trying to decide on your next vacation and can’t choose, might I suggest the Florida Keys? An island vacation is one of a kind! It’s so fun to be in the surf and the sun. There’s so much to do in the Keys and so many possibilities with the various islands to choose from, it can be an absolute blast!
Many of you may decide to start your vacation golfing on Key Largo. Florida has some of the best golf courses in the country. The greens are so soft, your ball will effortlessly roll into the hole. After a day or two, you could do some boating over to Islamorada. Boating along the islands gives you the reverse view of the beautiful beaches of the keys. The water is such a beautiful blue. You could stay there for some snorkeling with the tropical fish. Add to the fun list of things to do and scuba dive. Swim deep into the ocean blue waters and experience the tropical sea life of the Keys. This stunning experience is something you’ll never forget. Then, you can jump to another island for some fantastic food and land on Key West to wrap things up. The cuisine on the islands is like none other. The spices and marinates are mouth-watering. The seafood is so fresh. The key lime pie is the best you’ll have anywhere. Enjoy the casual elegance of the outdoor dining experience that the islands has to offer with the ocean views and stunning evening sunsets.
Time away on the islands of the Florida Keys will be a memorable one for sure. If this vacation doesn’t sound amazing enough to convince you to go yet, then heck! Move over, because I’m there!