Before The Look

Destination Wedding in Key West


October 11, 2017
Words by Katie Martin
Photos courtesy of Care Studios

Heidi and Lyle knew their wedding would involve guests traveling no matter where they chose to say “I do,” so they figured why not have a Key West destination wedding so everyone could have some fun?

Besides adding some fun to their wedding, which every wedding should have, the couple had other reasons for choosing to have a destination wedding in Key West. “We chose Key West because I wanted a destination that felt like a tropical getaway, but was still in the United States, so guests wouldn’t have to worry about international travel or needing passports to attend,” says the bride. “The funny thing is, I had actually never even been to Key West before I booked everything. I made my decision because Lyle had spent a lot of time there and he loved it. Lyle was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like it because he feared it might be different than I was picturing, which was that it’s a lay-on-the-beach type place, but I instantly fell in love when we went there for the first time for a planning trip.”

For guests, they were excited to travel to Key West for the couple’s big day. Many of the guests had never been to Key West before and had always wanted to go, while others had been to the location and couldn’t wait to go back. “Others that didn’t really know what to expect had a great time, so it was a great mix,” says Heidi. “There were some that couldn’t attend because it was far for them to travel, but they also wouldn’t have been able to make it if we had it in our hometown, so although we missed them greatly, we didn’t regret our decision in the slightest.”

Now, the planning began for the couple’s destination wedding in Key West. The couple hired Destination Wedding Studio, a wedding planning company, to help them get ready for their special day. “I don’t think my wedding would have been nearly as successful without my wedding planner,” says the bride. “She helped coordinate all the vendors, kept me within my budget, lent a listening ear when I would get stressed about little things and made sure everything went perfectly on the wedding day. The only difficult aspect was planning over the phone or by email with a three-hour time difference, but my wedding planner was amazing and was always available to me, so she made the process much easier.”

With the help of a wedding planner, the couple didn’t have to worry about including any do-it-yourself projects, but the wedding was very personalized. “One of my favorite aspects of the wedding was how we personalized it, which was very important to me,” says Heidi. “We wanted each and every one of our guests to feel welcomed and loved and to know how important they are to us.” One of the personalized ideas that the couple had were their favors. The couple included a handwritten note with the nameplate thanking guests for coming and sharing their special day with them. “Another fun way we personalized the day was with our signature drinks,” says Heidi. “My husband’s uncle is known for his Key Lime Martini’s and what better place to enjoy them than Key West? That was an easy and delicious decision for us.”

For travel logistics, there were no issues for the guests and for the couple themselves. “We had guests who flew directly into Key West, and others who flew into Miami and did the famous drive on US 1/Overseas Highway to Key West and made a road trip out of it,” says the bride.

While having a destination wedding can get pricey, the couple didn’t have that problem, unless you count travel expenses. “On strictly the wedding, I probably spent the same amount than if I didn’t do a destination, however, when factoring in travel expenses I probably spent a little more by doing a destination wedding,” says Heidi. “We wanted our wedding to also be a vacation for us and our families so we flew to Key West a week before the wedding so that we could really enjoy our time down there and I’m so glad we did. We had the best time sightseeing, going on boating trips, eating at the incredible restaurants there and spending time with our family and closest friends.”

Heidi and Lyle shared these three pieces of advice for other couples looking to have a Key West wedding or even a destination wedding in general:

  1. Be flexible and savor every moment because it goes by so quickly.
  2. If you’re debating on whether or not to get a photo booth, do it! The pictures are priceless!
  3. I would highly encourage everyone to hire a wedding planner that is from your chosen destination. I would also recommend making a “wedding email” to keep all correspondence organized.  Within that email account I made folders for absolutely everything, so I could quickly access whatever it was I needed.

Vendors: Photographer: Care Studios, Location: Key West, Florida, Wedding Planner: Destination Wedding Studio, Ceremony/Reception: Hemingway Home & Museum, Florist: Duarte Floral Design, Stationery: Checkerboard Limited, Cake: Cakes by Karol, Hair & Makeup: Beauty Boutique & Glam Squad, Gown Designer: Martina Liana, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Baroni Couture, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Jenny Yoo

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