Destination I Do
Friday, July 8, 2011

Destination Wedding Key West: An Easy-Breezy Affair

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Blueye Images

Carly and Andrew wanted a small and intimate wedding with only close friends and family. Combine that with their annual family trips to Key West, Florida and a destination wedding was clearly in the cards. The majority of their guests were coming from Michigan and Indiana and they happily made the trek south to the shores of the sunshine state.

The couple enjoyed the days leading up to their wedding as much as they enjoyed W-day itself. Most of their guests arrived five to seven days before the wedding and this allowed Carly and Andrew to make sure each of their guests got one-on-one time without the couple feeling rushed or pulled in different directions. The wedding party enjoyed day trips snorkeling, sunset catamaran sails, the Butterfly Museum and nightlife on Duval Street.

Andrew and Carly were able to make their destination wedding dreams reality, but it may have never happened if not for a chance encounter. On a scouting trip to Key West with her father, Carly happened upon the Happily Ever After offices of Kate Bentley. A well known wedding planner in the area, Kate and Carly instantly struck up a conversation. By the end of their first meeting, Kate had casually suggested both a ceremony and reception site that she felt would be perfect for the couple.

That same day Carly checked out both the ceremony and reception sites that Kate Bentley had suggested and instantly fell in love with both. The next day Carly not only booked both locations, but hired Kate Bentley to be her wedding planner. “We were very fortunate for the chance encounter with Kate, we don’t know what kind of wedding we would have ended up with without her local knowledge and expertise,” says Carly.

Come W-day, the couple exchanged vows in a beachside ceremony at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and and then made their way to their dream reception site: the Roof Top Café. Each of these locations had some serious perks, but most importantly they were very cost efficient.

“Having our wedding at a state park and our reception at a restaurant allowed us to save big time,” says Carly. “We were given the option to buy-out the restaurant for the evening which gave us privacy and the ability to utilize the entire restaurant for our reception. We didn’t have to rent linens, tableware or decorate the restaurant since the atmosphere was already so perfect.”

Another perk of having their ceremony at a state park was that the fees to use the space were very reasonable. With the money the couple was able to save thanks to their ceremony and reception sites, they were able to provide trolley transportation for all of their guests to and from the reception and ceremony.

Carly has some final words of encouragement for other couples considering a destination wedding. “We would not change any of it! It was the easiest and best experience ever. Having a destination wedding with just close friends and family attending was hands-down the best decision we made. Everything went smoothly and we were both stress-free throughout the weekend. Of course this was all possible thanks to an amazing wedding planner!”

Photographer: Lona Hall with Blueye Images
Wedding Planner: Kate Bentley Events (formerly Happily Ever After)
Ceremony Site: Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Reception Site: Roof Top Café
Gown Designer: Watters
Grooms Clothing Designer: Calvin Klein
Florist: Mama Flowers

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