There’s an old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I have always found this to be a great way to travel, especially if I am taking island vacations. It gives me a chance to see the island from a different perspective and grants me a greater appreciation of where I am. Key West, Florida is no different. Granted, as part of the United States, it is certainly less exotic than other islands I‘ve gone to, but this doesn’t mean it’s the same as a trip to St. Louis or Seattle. To get the best out of it, I immerse myself in it.
Keep this in mind when you are planning the reception for your island weddings. The seafood there is some of the freshest you will ever be able to experience, so why would you want to limit yourself and your guests to the same choices they could have back home? Keep in mind that Key West restaurants host hundreds of weddings every year, and that most of those people getting married aren’t from just down the street or the next island over. These restaurants know how to take care of even the pickiest eaters, and the last thing you want to hear after your wedding is how cousin Jerry couldn’t find anything he liked to eat.
The joy of destination weddings is wedding receptions featuring outdoor dining of casual elegance with the finest foods. A wedding in Key West is going to be so special and beautiful. Don’t ruin that beauty by limiting your menu choices to the same old options. Let your guests taste the flavors that brought you there in the first place.
Something that I learned a long time ago that has made being an adult much easier is letting other people take care of things they are good at. I made my wife a convert to this way of thinking when she was still my fiancée. She was looking at island weddings and decided that’s what she wanted, and then immediately started trying to plan the whole thing. Before long, she was in over her head, but luckily, it was early enough in the process that we could start it over right.
I convinced her that it could be beautiful and special and still be easy and stress-free. The first step to making that happen was choosing Key West, Florida as our destination. I had been there on many island vacations and I knew that if the Key West restaurants, with their casual elegance and outdoor dining, were any indication, our wedding and reception would be a great time. In fact, I contacted one of my favorite restaurants and they put me in touch with a great wedding planner. That was probably the best phone call ever.
Planning island weddings was her specialty. She talked with my fiancé and I about what we were looking for and then, with us still a thousand miles away, she made sure that it happened exactly how we wanted it to. When we got there, a quick tour and meeting let us know everything was going to be perfect. It was probably the most stress-free week of our lives. Of course, getting married with your toes in the sand while a steel drum plays down the world famous Key West sunset certainly helps.
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.
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.
Thinking of a wedding on the islands? Maybe the Caribbean? The distance and expense of that may be a bit out of your budget. There is an alternative that will give you the same dream wedding but for a whole lot less. Come to the Keys! An island wedding in the Florida Keys could be the destination wedding of your dreams.
The Keys have so many options to choose from when it comes to planning your perfect nuptials. The islands are a stunning backdrop for any ceremony during that moment that you promise yourselves to one another. Nothing could be more beautiful than a sunset with the ocean waves in the background and the sand in your toes. You and your betrothed can declare your love before your closest friends and family without all the pomp and circumstance that so often clouds the occasion, and then the point gets lost in all the confusion and fuss of the petty details and annoying guests that your mother said just had to be invited. This wedding affair is sure to be intimate, romantic, and filled with moments to remember for a lifetime. The surf, the sun, the breeze, the sand and nothing more. It’s a dream come true for everyone there.
After the ceremony, continue the dream of a lifetime with a reception that is intimate, fun, and full of casual elegance. Outdoor dining venues with rooftop views or oceanfront charm are absolutely delightful and continue with the tone of the event. Dine on delectable seafood and flavors of the island that will make your senses come alive. Take a twist on tradition and serve the best key lime pie instead of cake and treat your taste buds.
Have your special moment be unforgettable. Mazel Tov!
Destination vacations are wonderful and unique experiences. You can vacation in Key West, Florida, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas and all of them would be vastly different and incredibly rewarding experiences. Vacationing on an island brings with it some general things you can plan for and look out for, including the best ways to take advantage of the local fine dining and entertainment culture, what different kinds of beaches can offer you as a tourist, and also how to access some of the more exciting, less touristy areas of a region.
Key West, Florida is a prime example of an island vacation destination that is full of both mainstream and hidden treasures. However, as we all know, some things are best learned by experience, like which Key West restaurant serves the best seafood salad or the best key lime pie? The research, in this case, can be quite rewarding! Restaurant review websites can give you a direct look into real customer reviews of fine dining establishments. Keep an eye out for a staple of island culture – outdoor dining and patio dining areas – when looking for places to eat. It might be a little warm outside, but nothing lets you experience the unique island culture like soaking up the atmosphere while enjoying some of the new island cuisine.
Make your next island vacation something to really write home about. A little bit of research and courage to try new things and get out of your comfort zone is sure to lead to a wonderful and memorable vacation experience.
When you think about a vacation, do you think about the peak of a mountain, or do you think of a tropical island? If you answered mountain top, blessings to you and don’t forget the ear muffs. If, however, you answered tropical island, join me in Key West, Florida.
The Keys is the place to be. It’s a home away from home in the deep south. With its beautiful beaches, lush gardens, and attractive night life, there is never a dull moment on the southern tip of the Sunshine State. When you think island getaway, you think of relaxing, you think sun and surf, you think sunsets, and you probably think expensive. But not so much when you remain domestic and park your beach towel and tasty umbrella drink stateside in the Florida Keys. By far, you will be able to make your dollar stretch farther and enjoy more of the indulgences that a vacation should have if you stay in the good old US of A. Key West restaurants are among the top rated in the country. With their amazing seafood and taste of the island fare, you will enjoy the casual elegance of outdoor dining like never before. Sample a variety of delicious wines, do a pub crawl, or enjoy a cocktail made with the finest top shelf liqueurs. And for dessert, sample the best key lime pie your taste buds have ever experienced. The pocketbook will have plenty of wiggle room left in it for scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, touring gardens, or experiencing a variety of historical sites unique to the Keys.
The island experience is a unique blend of relaxation, fine dining, and spoiling yourself that you will not find on any other vacation. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.