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Destination I Do
Friday, March 21, 2014

A Fun Key West Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Photography by Santy Martinez

It’s not uncommon for couples to choose a destination wedding when their families live in different places, thus forcing them to travel regardless of where the two say “I do.” Such was the case with Alisha and Ted – her being from Massachusetts originally and him from Minnesota. The couple opted to exchange vows in spunky Key West, Florida and they had some seriously strong reasons for doing so! “We chose Key West because it provided the entertainment in itself,” says the bride. “We didn’t have to worry that our guests would need constant ‘events’ to keep them satisfied and that they could create their own little vacation – and also attend our wedding. If our friends and family were going to spend the money to travel so far to see us wed, then we wanted to make sure we picked a fun location.”

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In the end, the couple’s decision was a huge hit and they can’t see themselves having gotten married anywhere else. “We were lucky – Key West brought A LOT of excitement [for our guests,]” says Alisha. “It isn’t the easiest destination to get to, but it wasn’t outside the States. Communication was key – keeping friends and family informed through our wedding website made it easier on them. We listed ALL traveling options available, gave them a variety of hotel accommodations for all budgets, and provided lots of general information about the area.”

The couple wasn’t really able to visit Key West prior to the wedding, so they did a lot of online research to help pick their vendors. For Ted and Alisha, communication was the number one factor when deciding who to work with. “When you can’t meet [your vendors] in person, you have to rely on emails and phone calls, so it’s important to pick vendors who are quick to respond to questions…because you will have a lot of them!”

While the couple did everything they could to make things easy on their guests, sometimes Mother Nature intervenes. When asked if they ran into any issues with the travel logistics, the bride said, “Of course there were issues with travel – there always is! But remaining calm was key. Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast a few days before our wedding and 50% of our guests were traveling from that area. Everyone just rolled with the punches and I’m glad to say almost everyone made it down in some way or another.” While this was an extreme situation, Alisha is right to advise other brides to just stay calm and roll with the punches when it comes to weather. After all, no matter where you choose to say “I do,” the weather will always be beyond your control.

Thankfully, the weather for the couple’s wedding weekend in Key West was wonderful and allowed them to come through for their guests in terms of planned activities. “Our wedding was a weekend-long event with everything from golf tournaments, sunset cruises and a welcome party, to a pub crawl and a send-off party. Our guests got to pick which events they wanted to attend, and which they would skip and plan a day for themselves!”

The couple admits they spent more money by opting for a destination wedding in Key West, but for them it was more than worth it! “Key West is an expensive place to travel to in general, and we knew that going into it – it’s a small island! You just have to remember to account for your own hotel and food expenses when booking a destination wedding. That becomes an added expense to your budget. But, between the wedding and the honeymoon, it’s like you get two vacations!”

Vendors: Photographer: Photography by Santy Martinez, Wedding Planner: Kristin Artz with Swivel Group, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea/The Westin Key West Resort & Marina, Florist: Mama Flowers, Stationery: Serendipity Beyond Design & The Honeypot Collective, Cake: Key West Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Southernmost Glam, Gown Designer: Ivy & Aster, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Alfani Red & J.Crew, Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Alfani Red & J.Crew

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