Destination Wedding Florida: The Keys were a Perfect Match!Words by Courtney Kellar Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Stay Forever Photography
Melissa never dreamed of a big wedding, she figured when the time came that her and her husband-to-be would just elope – no stress, no planning. However, it took her meeting Justin for all those pre-laid plans to go out the window. “Then I met ‘Mr.Right,’ we got engaged and suddenly we wanted to share our wedding day with all the amazing people in our lives,” recalls the bride. “We wanted all of our family and friends to be able to celebrate our big day with us!”
Both the bride and groom had been vacationing in the Florida Keys all their lives, including annual summer trips together, so it was the natural place to say “I do.” The couple both love scuba diving and fishing, so they opted to make a whole week out of their destination wedding in Islamorada, Florida. Now all they had to do was figure out their venue.
“We ultimately decided we wanted to rent a private estate on the beach so that we could stay there all week and have most of the wedding party stay with us as well,” recalls the couple. “There are only a few estates available to rent which will allow for a large event on the property. So, after weeks of scouring the internet, we decided on the Southern Diversion Estate.”
Melissa was her own wedding coordinator and created nearly every detail included in her and Justin’s wedding from scratch. So, after nine months of creative zeal, the couple loaded up all the details into an RV and made the six hour drive to the Florida Keys. This wedding was truly a group effort – the bride wasn’t the only one creating details for the wedding. The day before, the bridesmaids assembled the centerpieces and the groomsmen decorated the property’s backyard with hundreds of string lights.
Personal touches included a guestbook made out of an old piece of Magnolia wood which the couple is having made into a bench, a homemade cookie bar with to-go bags and jars of milk and even a keg of Justin’s homemade beer. After a week of scuba diving, spear fishing and lazy days in the sun, Melissa and Justin gathered with their family and friends to say, “I do.” The couple regrets nothing and has some final words of advice for other couples planning their own destination wedding.
“Just relax, I stressed so much all year about every minor detail,” says Melissa. “In the end everyone had fun and I realized that stressing for weeks about what color ribbon to tie around my invites was really not what mattered in the end. Have fun and soak up every second – it only happens once!”
Photographer: Stay Forever Photography
Ceremony/Reception Site: Southern Diversion Estate
Florist: Always in Bloom
Caterer: Smoke & Spice
Rentals: Mile Marker Party Rentals
Cake: Bobs Bunz
Gown Designer: Marisa
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Tommy Bahama
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