Key West Destination WeddingWords by Katie Martin
Photos courtesy of Nikki Santerre
Nine months before their big day, the couple visited Florida because they knew this was the place to have a wedding. Originally, the couple had a venue in Islamorada in mind, but it just wasn’t the right place for their special day, so they started searching for a place in Key West. “We were shopping and talking to locals about venues they recommended for a Key West wedding, since they were familiar with everything the area had to offer,” Jenna says. “In one of the particular shops we went to, a lady said her son got married at The Pier House and it was a gorgeous wedding. We walked right down to the resort and asked the front desk if it was fine if we scoped it out. It was love at first sight and we both looked at each other and said, ‘this is it.’”
The couple wanted to spend time celebrating their big day with their family and friends on their wedding weekend in Key West, but first they had to get their family’s thoughts about their decision to have a destination wedding. “Most of our family was very supportive of our decision to have a destination wedding,” said the bride. “I think at first some people thought that we were just dreaming, but we took that dream and made it into a reality. We were worried that some family members would not be able to afford to make the trip because, let’s be honest, after airfare and lodging, things can get pretty pricey, but the majority of our family and close friends were there on our big day.”
With the approval of their friends and family, the research began. “The only resource I really used was the Internet,” says the bride. “Having a destination wedding, you really have to do your research. My vendors were phenomenal and if it weren’t for them, our big day could have been a lot different. We spent all this money to be able to have a stress-free day enjoying the beginning of our lives together and you should really be able to sit back and trust your vendors to be able to follow through.”
The initial planning of the couple’s wedding wasn’t easy for Jason and Jenna though, especially Jenna, who is very indecisive. “Some girls have their entire wedding planned out before they even get engaged and I was not one of those people,” Jenna says. “I am very indecisive, so the wedding planning process was a little intimidating for me. Not to mention that my mother and sister got the decorating and design gene, but it must have skipped me. My biggest challenge that I had was not being able to do a hair and make up trial and not getting to taste-test cakes and food. To my surprise, everything came together wonderfully. I really couldn’t believe that it was as perfect as it was.”
For the travel logistics, everything ran smoothly leading up to their wedding weekend. “We let our family members do what worked best for them,” says the couple. “Some family members carpooled and drove down to avoid paying airfare. Others flew right into Key West, which can be pricey since it is a smaller airport. Many others flew into bigger airports, such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and rented a car to drive the remainder of the way.”
When Jason and Jenna’s big day finally arrived, it was a memorable experience and the couple was happy that they chose a destination wedding rather than choosing to have a local wedding. “If we would have picked something local, we would have easily had 200-250 people versus what we spent for 50 people in Key West,” says the bride. “For us, it was well worth the money we spent. We were able to spend four to five days with all of our closest family and friends. We were all vacationing and free from everyday life stressors. What more could we have asked for?”
For other couples preparing to have a destination wedding, Jason and Jenna recommend enjoying every second. “You spend months planning a wedding and piecing everything together detail by detail and in the blink of an eye, you will be married,” says Jenna. “This really is one of the best times of your life, so take a step back, breathe and enjoy. I think it’s also important not to stress about the minor things that might not go as planned.”
Vendors: Photographer: Nikki Santerre, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Pier House, Wedding Planner: Simply You Weddings, Florist: Karro Events and Floral, Stationery: Cariese Hinckley, Cake: Key West Cakes, Hair and Makeup: Casa Salon, Gown Designer: Stella York
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