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.
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.
One of the toughest challenges my wife and I had was planning our wedding. I’m not kidding. It got heated from time to time, and what made it worse was it wasn’t us putting the pressure on ourselves. It was everyone else. As the first child to get married in each family, everybody had an opinion on what we should do and nobody was shy about sharing them. It got to the point where we almost eloped, but then we did the next best thing: we decided to get married in Key West, Florida.
We invited everybody that we had planned on, told them all that is was going to be a very simple beachfront ceremony, and that if they wanted to come to the reception, we needed to know a month in advance. Once we had our number, we then scrambled to pick from the Key West restaurants to find the perfect place. We wanted a combination of fresh seafood on the reception menu and outdoor patio areas so we could dine and dance under the stars. We were lucky enough to get a booking at our first choice, and after that, the planning was basically done.
My cousin thought it was the coolest idea ever, so he got his certification online so he could marry us. Most of the people who had shared an opinion agreed that we had managed to throw one heck of a wedding, and as the two of us danced to our first song, both in our flip flops, we knew that we had made the right decision as well…so much so that we booked our one year anniversary trip even before we left Key West.
When it comes to the reception after your wedding ceremony, this is where you get the bang for your buck! The ceremony itself will only last a few minutes, but the reception is where everyone will eat, drink and dance the night away! It is very important for you to have a great reception after your island wedding for a number of reasons. People will be hungry so you will need to have some food to fuel their drinking! People will also want to cut up and have a great time, so music is a huge portion of this as well.
Your island wedding will already be incredibly romantic because you are on a tropical island! Your guests will be ecstatic they were invited and will view this holiday as a mini vacation for their family (even though it will clearly be all about the bride and groom). You may not have seen these people for years so it could also serve as a family reunion as well. Weddings are always a great time for family members to get together and catch up over some great food and fancy drinks. If you are having an island wedding, then the fancy drink possibilities are endless!
Make sure you plan everything very far in advance. Since tropical island resorts book up to a year or more in advance, you need to lock down your venue as soon as you know where you would like to get hitched! Have a great time and enjoy the entertainment.
There are plenty of times where having a fancy sit down fine dining experience is the perfect plan for a wedding reception. Having a destination wedding in Key West on New Year’s Eve is neither the time nor the place. This is the most fun night of the year – which is probably part of the reason you chose to throw the biggest party of your life on that night – so make sure that the menu you pick for your reception is one that allows for your guests to enjoy themselves.
Conch, Florida lobster and stone crab are three of the fresh seafood choices Key West is most well known for. All of these are certainly items you should consider, especially because there are many ways to serve them as bite sized appetizers. This is the perfect way to combine the exotic flavors you wouldn’t be able to provide at a party back home with the convenience of being able to enjoy them while moving around the dance floor. And don’t worry if you have some picky eaters in your crowd. There are plenty of traditional menu items to choose from as well.
There may be a lot of seafood options, but dessert in Key West comes down to the best key lime pie you’ll find anywhere. Best of all is that it doesn’t have to be served just as a pie. You can have them make a wedding cake with it, or create an easily sharable dessert option as well. Perhaps a little key lime on a stick as your guest’s first bite to eat in 2015 while in Key West.
When it comes to choosing a perfect menu for your wedding reception, make sure you try to accommodate any guests with allergies, but also make sure it is food you will actually eat! People always say you are going to be too busy on your wedding day to eat any of the food, but you need to ignore them and make time to enjoy the food that you paid for…even if this means telling your best man to serve as a body guard for ten minutes while you scarf down a quick meal. There is no sense in throwing a fabulous island wedding if you are going to feel faint because you have not eaten anything all day!
When it comes to choosing the actual food that will be served, keep any allergies in mind, but also, you should keep it simple with all things that you like. Trying to cater to every single one of your guest’s taste bud desires will only drive you crazy. This is your day and you should serve the food you want to eat. People will certainly remember if the food is good, so if you want to spend some extra money on hiring a great caterer for your island wedding, then that is certainly a great idea. Some women have different ideas of what is important to them on their wedding day, though, so whatever you decide will be fine as long as you can live with it! The entertainment will be excellent and that is all that matters.
When you think of getting married on an island, you may think of eloping to a tropical island paradise where you can tie the knot in style and grace. Many people choose to go this route because of various reasons. Some people prefer island weddings because they are more cost effective. Instead of throwing a huge party for all of your friends and family, you will essentially be throwing a party for yourself. If other people want to be there, then they will have to pay their own way. There is nothing wrong with this at all! Also, some people who get married later in life or are on their second marriage may want to keep costs low and not make a huge spectacle of their wedding since they have done that before. This is also perfectly fine and everyone who is important to you in your life will completely understand your decision.
When planning your amazing island wedding and wedding reception, make sure you correspond with your contact at the resort or wherever is hosting this shin-dig. Since the destination may not be close to home, you may not be able to visit it to check out the scene before arriving for your wedding. It is absolutely crucial you ask every question you can to make sure everything will run as smoothly as you expect it to! This is a very important day in your life so there is no reason it should not be one that goes as planned with no surprises!
No matter what kind of wedding reception you are planning, from a traditional affair at a banquet hall, an informal gathering in your back yard or as the crowning moment of your island weddings, everyone will have a great time as long as you take care of the three D’s: dancing, drinking and dining.
Dancing is easy. Just make sure you hire a high energy band or a DJ who knows how to work a room and follow the crowd. If you have a fully stocked bar with maybe a “signature drink” that is special for the occasion, you’ll have the drinking part down pat. It is the dining part that can be the most easily messed up, but if you are planning a great destination wedding in Key West, Florida, it is also the part of the night that will keep the guests talking.
Key West is known for having the freshest seafood and the best key lime pie, and there are dozens of Key West restaurants that specialize not only in fine dining with a degree of casual elegance, but also have the experience at hosting the perfect wedding receptions. They know that most people who have their weddings there are looking for fun over formality, so they will put together a menu that features all of their great food and presents it in an easygoing way so people can relax and enjoy themselves. When it comes to island weddings, the wedding may be for you, but the island is for your guests, so make sure you give them a 3-D wedding reception they will never forget.
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.