Getting Married In Paradise – Key West, Florida

One of the things that attracted me to my boyfriend at the time was the sense of adventure we both had. It was certainly something that brought us together and made for exciting times. When we decided to get married, we wanted our wedding to be an adventure as well. We were looking at all sorts of crazy ideas, but we both realized we were feeling the same thing: it wouldn’t be the same without our friends and family. We needed something that was bit of a compromise, and that was when we discovered Key West.

So much about it appeals to so many different people that we knew it would be the perfect choice. People who loved to spend time on the water would have plenty to do, as would those who enjoy history. There were coffee shops for early birds, bars and night clubs for night owls, and an amazing number of Key West restaurants for everyone to choose from.

Of course, we weren’t just concerned about our guests. We wanted to make sure our wedding was meaningful and special for us. We found a wedding planner who understood what we wanted and she helped us find the right location for the ceremony and a great restaurant that had an amazing reception menu of fresh seafood and crab cakes, not to mention a killer view. She even helped us violate one of the pre-wedding traditions that says a bride and groom aren’t supposed to see each other on their wedding day until the ceremony.

We spent that morning sky-diving.

Seaside Southernmost Wedding Season In Key West

My husband always wanted to get married in Key West. I always wanted a traditional church wedding in June. Much to the shock and surprise of our friends and family, we each got we wanted, and it turned out to be a magical time.

We had been on vacation to Key West a couple of times while dating when he brought up the idea of a tropical island destination wedding. We had started talking about marriage but not about our plans. Needless to say, this caught me off guard. I had imagined a big wedding in a church, followed by fun relaxed reception. I couldn’t possibly see myself abandoning all of that, but I didn’t think there would be much of a way to compromise. Instead of letting it blow up into something big, he proposed a compromise. Since it included a vacation, I was game.

We returned to Key West that June. We certainly did all the fun things we loved to do down there, but we also took the time to explore the life of the island. We even found our denomination’s church and talked to the pastor about having a wedding there. Discovering how easy it would be to arrange it was like the first domino falling. Soon everything else started falling into place.

The following summer we returned with 120 of our closest friends. The wedding was everything I had always pictured in my head with one stunning difference: a beautiful beachside tropical sunset that we took our pictures in front of before going off to the reception.

The Wedding Of My Dreams In Key West

I think I’m the only girl who didn’t have a dream wedding planned out in her mind. I knew I would like to be married someday, but the marriage itself seemed far more important than the wedding day itself. That was when my fiancé suggested Key West as a tropical island wedding, I said “Sure, why not?” We’d both been there on vacation, separately as well as when we were dating, we both liked it, and it would be a nice change of atmosphere for us and our friends.

I was definitely excited about getting married, and as we went around the island with our wedding planner, I certainly had opinions of what I wanted and didn’t want, but maybe because I had never built it up in my head, it never became super overwhelming. That all changed on the morning of the wedding.

If I had scripted the day, it could not have been more perfect. The weather was warm, but the breezes were blowing all day so it felt relaxing. The ceremony on the beach was perfect, with the sun setting behind several sailboats. The reception, on an outdoor dining patio under the stars with fresh seafood and key lime pie, went off without a hitch, and afterwards, a few of us were even up for a little karaoke on the Duval crawl.

It wasn’t until I went to bed that night, my first as a married woman, that I realized how perfect my Key West dream wedding had been. Certainly, some of it had to do with everything that beautiful island has to offer, but a lot of what made it perfect was the guy snoring in bed next to me.

Take Aways From a Tropical Wedding In Key West

When I found out my niece was planning a tropical wedding, I assumed that meant no invitation. Not because she wouldn’t want me there, but because there’d be no way she could afford a large number of guests. When my wife and I got the invitation, I assumed that meant we wouldn’t be able to make it because it would cost too much and be too difficult to get there. When my wife showed me just how easy and affordable it would be, I realized I needed to stop making assumptions and start paying attention.

She picked Key West as the tropical island for her destination wedding, and I could see that, in many ways, it was no different (and therefore probably not more expensive) than a wedding back home would have been. She wasn’t stuck using a specific wedding package from a resort but instead could create her own ceremony and reception, hire her own entertainment and work within her budget.

Key West also meant there were dozens of hotels to choose from and several different travel options, which helped keep the costs low for her guests. Many of the family members I talked to at the reception remarked on the same thing I had thought, that once they heard about it they wouldn’t be able to make it. Instead, some of them had the opportunity not only to see her get married but also take their first vacation to the tropics. My own daughter has a few years to go before she’s marrying age (thank God) but at least I can now say I won’t be too worried if she says she wants an island wedding as well.

Traditional Wedding In Tropical Attire in Key West

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 The Perfect Island Wedding in Key West, Florida


I have always dreamed about getting married on a tropical island. My husband-to-be was smart enough to not tell me that we couldn’t do it, but cautious enough to make sure we took care of as much planning in advance. He made a valid point by saying the things we are used to here at home may not be an option when it came to a destination wedding. So before we started even talking to wedding planners and travel agents, we started comparing the Caribbean islands to see which would be best.

Turns out the one that won our business you don’t even need a passport for. Key West, Florida has everything that we – okay, I – was looking for when it came to island weddings. There are plenty of different venues and Key West restaurants to choose from, the travel options means that most of our guests will be able to afford to come, and it even has plenty of things to do for people who are going to make a family vacation out of it.

Best of all, they host literally thousands of weddings a year, so not only do we – okay, I – know that we’ll have the right flowers, the right cake and the right entertainment, I was able to find a wedding planner who has years of experience and all the right contacts. She will be our eyes and ears on the ground, making sure that all of our plans come to fruition and will be able to handle any emergencies as they come up. Between my fiancé’s practical nature and my wild dreams, we are going to have the perfect island wedding.

Tips for Planning the Perfect Key West Wedding

If you are looking to plan your destination wedding in beautiful Key West, Florida, you are in luck! Not only is this spot one of the most popular locations for island weddings and wedding receptions, it is also a hot spot for vacationers and tourists year round. This means that there are dozens of options for booking entertainment and catering companies, and businesses that are thriving with the influx of people every season of the year. One of the things you may wish to utilize during the research process are restaurant review websites like Urban Spoon, where customers can post honest reviews of the companies they have hired to cater or host their events. Quality of banquet rooms, atmosphere and service can all be found in one place, as well as the answer to two of the region’s most burning and subjective questions: Which cafe carries the best key lime pie and which carries the best crab cakes?

Planning the perfect wedding is challenging, but allowing yourself the time and space to do this kind of research is one of safeguarding your wedding. The invention of the internet has made investigating businesses much easier and more thorough than ever before, and making sure you find the right cafe, restaurant or caterer for your Key West wedding is no exception. On what is surely going to be one of the most important days of your life, it can never hurt to do more research to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Pool Your Resources to Plan Your Island Wedding

When it comes to planning your beautiful and meaningful wedding, you may find it easier to elope in a tropical paradise. Many people have island weddings in order to save on costs and enjoy a very gorgeous setting. When you are sitting down and figuring out your budget for the big event, everything adds up fairly quickly. In the middle of doing this, you may find that you would rather have a very small wedding outside of your hometown. You can always throw a big party when you get back from your honeymoon!

If you are planning an island wedding, there are lots of things you should know. Of course, you will want to go online and do as much research as you possibly can. Any information you can find should be copied to your wedding folder for future reference. You may find that some resorts offer wedding packages for your bridal party and guests. You may receive discounted rates if you are bringing a significant number of people to the event. You never know until you ask! Also, if you are a member of AAA or USAA, you may be eligible for special rates on top of the packages the resort is offering you. This is perfect time to pool all of your resources in order to find the best deals in the most exclusive locations. This will ensure your island wedding is one to go down in the record books for people to rave about for many years to come.

The Perfect Way To Say “I Do” in Key West

I was never a huge fan of destination weddings. It seemed odd to me that you would want to invite all of your friends and family to your honeymoon (and odder still if you were going to travel all that way to get married and then travel somewhere else for the honeymoon). My mind was changed for me when my girlfriend’s cousin decided to get married in Key West, Florida.

I had heard about Key West and thought that I knew what it was going to be all about: lots of bars, live music, eating the best crab cakes and the best key lime pie, plenty of seafood, all washed down by margaritas. Let me tell you something: I was right, and I was oh-so-wrong at the same time.

The wedding itself was beautiful, and now I know why destination weddings are so popular, especially if they are going to be done somewhere like Key West. It seemed like everything that could be thought of for a wedding had been and was there. The wedding, though, was just the icing on the cake. Every night, my girlfriend and I ate at fabulous Key West restaurants featuring fine dining on the water, outdoor dining overlooking the night life, and food that was better than I’ve had anywhere else. I didn’t want to leave when the weekend was over. My girlfriend and I haven’t started talking about if we’re going to get married yet, but I know that when we do, we aren’t even going to have to discuss where we’re going to get married. I’m a destination wedding convert, and Key West, Florida is the place for me.

Plan the Perfect Menu at Your Island Wedding Reception

When it comes to pleasing the masses at your island wedding, you must realize sometimes it is not possible for everyone to be happy all at once. One person may love the music playing while the other is scrambling to find ear plugs. One person may rave about the food while another cannot eat because he or she is allergic. Although it is important to try your best to accommodate your lovely guests, at the end of the day it is your wedding, and you should do whatever you want!

Your wedding reception at your island wedding should be a happy and celebratory time for you to mingle with friends and family members as husband and wife. This time is all about you. However, you still want to make your friends and family feel special. They did come to your wedding and expect to be fed and entertained. Choosing the perfect menu for your reception can be a little tricky, but with a little planning and research, there should be no reason you can’t figure it out.

Some couples like to give their guests options. If you are planning a sit down meal for your guests, then the RSVP you include in the invitation should contain a space for them to choose between fish or chicken or whatever you are serving. This will allow the guests at your island wedding to feel like the couple is going out of their way to make sure you have an enjoyable experience, and get a dish they actually want to eat.