My fiancé and I wanted to have a special destination wedding. We felt it was important to start our marriage together in a meaningful place. We both love to travel, and between the two of us, have visited most of the states and about a dozen countries, but neither of us had ever been to Key West.
At first we kind of dismissed it, mostly because all we knew about it was its reputation as a party town. But we decided that the place we chose should be new to both of us, so our first memories of it could be together, so we bought a couple of plane tickets and headed down for a week to see if it would be our tropical island wedding.
It turned out to be far more than that. We immediately fell in love with the beautiful weather, the warmth of the people and the laid back island lifestyle. We understood the reason why so many people we met told us stories of having come down for a week ten years ago. We knew we couldn’t quite do that – we each had responsibilities back home and there was still a wedding to plan – but we decided to do the next best thing.
We still had a destination wedding. We had a beautiful oceanfront ceremony and chose among our favorite new Key West restaurants for our reception. The only thing that made our wedding different than most was that when everything was over, all of our guests went back, and we stayed in our beautiful new island home.
My husband and I are perfect examples of opposites that attract. Luckily, we’ve always been able to compromise. He teaches art and sculpture at the local college while I commute to the city for my finance job. I own at least two dozen professional outfits and I think he has one suit and maybe two ties. When it came to our wedding, I wanted a traditional church service and he wanted a tropical island celebration. Key West offered us the perfect solution.
We told the local Key West wedding planner we hired what all of our concerns were and she helped us arrange the perfect destination wedding. We found a beautiful church to hold the ceremony at, and she took us to several different Key West restaurants to look at for the reception venue. We got to sample some of the fresh seafood and key lime pie that would be part of the menu, and found a beautiful location with outdoor patios and plenty of room for dancing.
Most of the guests on my side were a bit surprised when they saw the invite for a tropical wedding, knowing as they did my traditional wedding dreams. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, too. Much of that was due to how little people know about Key West beyond its reputation as a partying resort town. Everyone thanked us afterwards not only for having such a beautiful wedding, but also for introducing them to a great new vacation destination. Every time someone said that, my husband just gave me a wink. He was too polite to take credit himself, but if not for him, I never would have learned how beautiful Key West is.
Planning an island wedding? Here are a few tips to help you wash away potential disasters and bring in a tide of nuptial bliss. The first rule of thumb with an oceanside ceremony is keep it casual. Consider the fact that you are putting yourself at the mercy of Mother Nature, so you need to be able to roll with the tide.
Let’s begin with dress. The bridal gown should be something that can and likely will get a bit wet or sandy, so make sure it can dry out and be shaken out easily. Something that can flow with the breeze is generally quite flattering, photographs beautifully and wears very nicely. For the groom, light colors work best such as a tan or gray. Even Bermuda shorts with a nice button up dress shirt does the trick. For footwear, everyone should consider flip flops. The gals can bling theirs up, but if they are truly not comfortable unless donning heels, then a wedge is the way to go, otherwise you’ll be digging them out with the kids’ shovel and pails with spike heels on the beach.
The décor of an island wedding is built in, so not too much needs to be done. Perhaps some simple embellishments with bright sashing and a few flowers will enhance the beautiful beach and awesome ocean. Be sure to take full advantage of the sun either rising or setting.
If you are getting married anytime soon, you are probably already neck deep in caterers, florists and bakers. There is so much to plan when you are having a wedding that you may get a tad bit overwhelmed. Try not to worry so much about everything and certainly utilize your bridesmaids to help get any task completed and off of your wedding to-do list. If you are having an island wedding, your resort may already have almost everything planned for you. However, you will still have to choose what kind of food you will be serving at your wedding reception.
A perfect wedding reception menu is one that has diversity, yet does not overwhelm your guests with too many options. You should take into consideration if any of your immediate family or friends have allergies to any foods. It would just be mean to serve only that food! Keep in mind, this is your island wedding and you need to be able to enjoy the food, as well! For example, if your mother is allergic to onion and garlic, then make sure you choose at least one item that does not contain these ingredients so she can at least try the delicious food you will be serving. It would be cruel to make your mother suffer through the reception, not being able to eat, when you know she is a total foodie! Hopefully, you can find some common ground and serve up some yummy dishes for your guests.
Are you thinking about running away to have a gorgeous island wedding? Destination weddings are becoming very popular because people are waiting longer to get married. If you are in your thirties, then you may not want to plan a huge wedding in your hometown. Also, if you are on your second marriage, you may not want to plan anything elaborate for your second time around. It all depends on what you want to do. If you do not care what others think and have the money for a bigger second wedding, then go for it! If you do not want to make a big deal out of your second wedding, then by all means, run away and have a blast in a tropical paradise!
If you are hell bent on planning the perfect island wedding, then make sure you follow these words of wisdom: Have a backup plan in a case your luggage does not make it to your destination. A carry-on bag is always a great idea with a change of clothes and toiletry essentials. Also, what are you going to do if it rains? Your resort may have a backup plan in mind, but make sure you agree with it! After all, this is your special day and you should have some input as to what goes on.
Your island wedding will certainly be a very enjoyable time for your closest friends and family to gather together and have a great time celebrating.
When planning the perfect Key West, Florida wedding or wedding reception there are a lot of unique challenges that will need to be confronted, researched and met head on to make sure everything goes the way you intend it. The region itself has a lot of strengths that make it one of the most popular island wedding and destination wedding locations in the world. With all that warm sunshine and all those ocean activities, it’s not hard to see why so many people find themselves enjoying the beauty of the Keys all seasons of the year. However, the excellent new island cuisine being cultivated by some of the regional restaurants is becoming an additional draw.
Restaurant review websites like Urban Spoon have become archives of customer reviews. It wouldn’t be unlikely to find dozens of reviews where individuals are in search of the best key lime pie and the best crab cakes, and you could benefit from their research! When looking to book your event, the menu and location is always key. You may want to keep in mind whether you are looking primarily for banquet rooms, outdoor dining or patio dining services for you and your guests. Once you find the perfect place to book and cater, the entire process starts to really fit together – entertainment, decorations, etc. – so make sure you don’t settle when you can select. There are a countless number of wonderful, diverse and professional fine dining establishments in Key West, Florida that would be glad to serve you.
Destination weddings and Key West, Florida just go together. As one of the most popular locations for island weddings in the world, Key West is uniquely prepared to handle the various stresses of wedding planning and event hosting. Most of the fine dining establishments in the region have had years of experience that you can take advantage of for your wedding reception planning. The high traffic of the area, which receives large parties during wedding season but has tourists and vacation goers visiting all year round, can be made easier if you take advantage of restaurant review websites like Urban Spoon.
Having customers year-round and a thriving fine dining and wedding reception culture means that there are more engaged customers utilizing social media to discuss the important questions. Questions such as which spaces can handle large wedding parties gracefully, local entertainment acts for hire, and where you can get the best crab cakes and best key lime pie on the island to serve your guests. Many places will offer patio dining and outdoor dining options in addition to banquet rooms, giving you full range to decide how much of the natural island atmosphere you would like for your event. After all, it is beautiful, but the heat can be trying on older and younger family members! At the end of the day, the biggest advantage Key West establishments have over others in the world is that not only do they have the experience to make your wedding dreams come true, they are also invested in making it happen. Congratulations and good luck!