My wife and I knew we wanted a wedding that was equal parts fun and simple, something that everyone could enjoy. The more we talked about it though, the less simple it seemed to be. We could feel it starting to overwhelm us, so we put a moratorium on discussing it for a week while we regrouped. Sometime during that week she saw an ad for Key West, Florida and thought that might be the solution.
When she brought it up to me, we looked into everything the island had to offer. We realized that it was easy to get to in a variety of different ways, and there were plenty of different types of hotels and inns to choose from. With July being the slower season, rates would be lower and availability would be greater. Since we were having this discussion in January, we decided that gave everyone, including us, enough time to make plans.
The only thing we did before we chose the date and sent out the invitations was look through the Key West restaurants and decide which one we’d have the reception at. Once the day was picked, we were just like everyone else: looking for a great deal on hotel and airfare. Since there was almost no planning involved, it kind of felt like we were eloping. Even a couple of days before we left it almost hadn’t hit us that we were getting married. But when we showed up at the beach with the justice of the peace and one hundred invited guests, we knew we’d made the right decision.
My son is getting married later this year, and in a move that flipped a lot of wedding traditions on its ear, he was the insistent one on where and how it would happen. He has always had a love for tropical paradises ever since I first read him “Treasure Island,” and when he proposed to his fiancé, he did it with the caveat they would get married on a beach with a palm tree blowing in the background. She said yes with a caveat of her own: it better not include any more work than planning a wedding at home would be.
Luckily for both of them, he did his work ahead of time and knew that Key West, Florida was going to be the perfect location. It offered multiple choices for every aspect, from how to get there and where to stay to where to hold it and what kind of food to serve at the wedding reception. Best of all was the number of full-time professional wedding planners living and working on the island. He and his fiancé had a chance to meet with several of them to choose the one that they felt most comfortable working with and thought could help make their dreams – okay, his dream – come true.
Already, the wedding planner has proven her worth by setting up tasting meals at several of the finest Key West restaurants to help them choose the reception menu. She checks in by phone and email constantly to keep them up to date and responds promptly whenever they have a question or concern. I’m just worried my son is setting a dangerous precedent of efficiency for the rest of his marriage.
Having one daughter, my friends laughed at me the whole time she was growing up. They knew that she was daddy’s little girl and I was spoiling her rotten. To her credit, she has grown up into a level-headed young woman who doesn’t act entitled or take anything for granted (of course I’m going to say that. I’m her father). Still, I was taken aback when she told me that island weddings were all the rage and she wanted to have hers in Key West, Florida.
All I could think of was how much more of a logistical nightmare it was going to be planning a wedding on a tiny island a thousand miles away from where we live and that I have never been to. Turns out that, not only was it no more expensive than what it would have cost here at home, there were so many people down there who work on weddings for a career that it was a breeze. The first thing we did was hire a trustworthy wedding planner who was our point person. She had all the tips for planning an island wedding and made everything, from finding the perfect beach to choosing from between the Key West restaurants, a snap.
When the big day came, everything could not have gone more perfectly. The weather was beautiful, my daughter and her husband were ecstatic, and I discovered a place where I could both go fishing and play golf on the same vacation. For that reason alone, I don’t think my wife will ever forgive my daughter for having her wedding in Key West
You might think, because you are planning an island wedding, that none of the stress most people talk about leading up to their nuptials will affect you. You’ll be wrong. Planning a wedding is the same whether you’re doing it in your own back yard or on the island of Key West. The trick is to know that going into it and prepare for it. If you just think the tropical breeze is going to blow all of your cares away, you are in for a rude awakening. It’s an easy thing to fix, however. The obvious solution is to work with a wedding planner based in Key West. They will make sure that everything, from your ceremony to your wedding reception, goes off just how you planned. The other thing that you should do may not seem so obvious, or even possible, but it’s the reason that you chose Key West in the first place.
Make sure that every day leading up to your wedding you do something just for the two of you. Make reservations at one of the many Key West restaurants and have a nice meal. Schedule a couples massage and let them knead away your stress. You may think that you have to be planning 24/7, but trust me, you can afford to take an hour or so a day just to walk away from it all and treat yourself right. By doing these little things, the same things you probably did on your first island vacation together, you will be ready and refreshed to make sure your wedding is perfect.
You have chosen the location for your island wedding in Key West, Florida. You have figured out who to invite to the ceremony, and you’ve found the wedding dress of your dreams. One other task you will need to go about deciding on that is of great importance will be what to serve your guests.
Picking out the menu for your reception might just be one of the more difficult decisions you will be making during the planning process. You don’t just have to pick out the food service company to use or restaurant that will host, you also need to make sure that every guest will have options available that suits their taste, dietary considerations and medical concerns. You do want all your guests to be happy, after all. A great way to make sure everyone will be satisfied with their entree is by providing several options. Whether you are having a buffet style reception or served dishes, you can get the information you need to make your choices by having your guests fill out their preferences and dietary concerns on the RSVP card included in your invitations.
Having a destination wedding can also make the decision process more challenging. If you have hired a local event specialist, ask him or her about Key West restaurants, local cuisine and locals’ favorites. When deciding on restaurants, look up online reviews on all of the contenders. Talk with the restaurant’s special events coordinator or executive chef for menu items that have had a high rate of customer satisfaction.
When you become engaged, you will more than likely be extremely excited to lounge around and enjoy your engagement. This is extremely appropriate for a short amount of time, but eventually you must get off your couch and start the planning.
First things first, figure out how many people you are inviting to your wedding. This will lead to choosing the perfect Key West, Florida venue. Normally, about 30% of the people you invite will not come to your wedding. Do not worry, it is not because they don’t want to come, they may have already planned their vacation or other event they cannot cancel. This brings us to the next tip for your destination wedding: Check local black-out dates. This translates to other events or festivals that may be occurring the same weekend of your Key West wedding. The last thing you want to deal with is not having adequate hotel accommodations or venue space because it is the week of Fantasy Fest and all the best Key West restaurants are and caterers are booked solid. Also, check with local hotels to see which establishment provides the best deal with the most amenities.
Another aspect to focus upon is what ranks the highest on your priority list. If you are set on having a designer gown and expensive venue, then you may want to cut some corners on invitations or flowers. This does not mean settle for anything subpar by way of accessories, it just means you should focus the larger portion of your budget to the things that are most important to you. By staying organized and being realistic, your Key West wedding and reception will be truly unforgettable.
What makes a perfect wedding reception menu? Is it the dessert? Some would argue a great dessert can trump any other course of the meal. Others would say the main course is what needs to be the focus. Whatever you choose to serve at your reception is all up to you because it is your special day!
Your island wedding is certainly all about you. This is the bride and groom’s day to be in the spotlight all day and night long. Although you need to make most of the decisions for this special event, you certainly want to cater to your immediate friends and family in case they have any disabilities or allergies. If cousin Tommy is allergic to seafood then you probably do not want to have an all-you-can-eat crab legs buffet! If Granny Jones is in a wheelchair, you need to make sure there is a ramp where someone can push her to the reception. The smallest details may seem insignificant to you, but for everyone else they make the biggest difference.
Throughout your stay at the location where you have chosen to have your island wedding, you will have someone (or even a team of someones) to assist you in planning your special day. You may only have a few days to make these decisions, so make sure you arrive with a clear head and an eagerness to work! The sooner you make these decisions, the sooner you can pamper yourself before your big day.