Parents' Stamp of Approval

A Florida Keys Destination Wedding


July 26, 2019
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Justin Demutiis Photography

After getting engaged, Dylan and Shannon knew exactly where they wanted to host their destination wedding…well what state, anyway! The pair regularly takes family vacations to Florida and knew it would be a beautiful place to start their married life together. “The Florida Keys holds a special place in our hearts, as we vacation there often with our families and knew we’d continue to do so with our own family one day,” says Shannon. The question was – where exactly were they going to host this Florida Keys destination wedding of theirs?

“We toured locations from Key Largo to Marathon in the Keys and Hurricane Irma caused so much damage to the Keys in late 2017 that it cut our options down tremendously,” reflects the bride. “We knew our wedding size would be around 200, and started there with locations that could hold around our guest number. My parents actually visited Playa Largo before we did and raved about how incredible of a resort it would be for our wedding. Out of the four locations we toured, Playa Largo was our last of the day and it was a done deal as soon as we walked in the doors.”

Once their venue was decided and wedding planner with Island Life Events hired, it was full-steam ahead for these lovebirds. Thankfully, their large guest list was excited to travel to the Keys. Some were concerned about the cost, however, so the couple did their best to provide their guests with lots of options. “The resort was expensive to stay at and required a two-night minimum,” says Shannon. “We provided guests with VRBO options and less expensive options and let them decide what worked for them.”

The bride’s family owns a vacation home in Islamorada, so they stepped in to help the couple plan from afar. “My family lives about two-and-half hours away and they were able to meet with vendors for initial interviews. Once we hired our planner, Liz, we trusted her completely and also used her connections as much as possible.” The bride also used Instagram to research other couples who had gotten married at the same resort and to seek out their advice. 

Beyond loving Florida, the other reason the couple opted for a destination wedding was to get plenty of quality time with their guests. Thankfully, organizing an entire wedding weekend made this more than possible! “We loved the idea of having an entire weekend to celebrate with our friends and family,” explains the bride. “We started Friday night with a welcome party, where we spoke to all of our guests and caught up with those we hadn’t seen in quite some time. We think this helped us to really be able to enjoy our wedding night with our guests. As soon as the cocktail hour started, we were mingling again and saying ‘hi’ to those who couldn’t make it Friday, and then once we entered the reception, we were actually able to eat dinner and dance the entire night. I’m not sure we would’ve had enough time had we not been able to start the party on Friday night.”

We asked the bride what special advice she would offer other couples currently planning or considering a destination wedding and what she shared is an oldie, but a goodie!

“Enjoy every second! It truly goes by so fast. Dylan and I made sure to stick close to each other all night and took some time for just the two of us to sit back and look around the room to take it all in. This is the only time you’ll have this many people here to celebrate you!

Vendors: Photographer: Justin Demutiis Photography, Wedding Planner: Island Life Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Playa Largo Resort and Spa, Florist: A Lavish Event Design, Stationery: Do Tell Stationery and Designs, Cake: Maggie’s Bakery Key Largo, Hair: Samantha Seider, Makeup: Lips to Lashes, Gown Designer: Made With Love Bridal, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suit Supply, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Jenny Yoo Collection & Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: The Black Tux

For other potential Florida Keys wedding venues check out these Destination I Do articles: The Fantastic Florida Keys and Florida Keys Destination Weddings.

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