Islamorada Real Wedding


December 1, 2021
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Alyssa Morgan Photography

When James and Jaclyn sat down to plan their wedding, travel-lovers that they are, declaring their vows in a faraway destination greatly appealed to the couple.

“Our original location was Siena Italy on April 3rd, 2020,” the couple says. “COVID crushed that.”

Starting again from scratch, James and Jaclyn looked at state-side locations for their wedding that would still feel like an escape. Both being from Florida, it felt only natural to consider going back to honor their roots.

“We were looking for a quiet escape and maybe some sunshine and saltwater for our exhausted COVID brains,” Jaclyn says, “and Islamorada gave us a feeling of home.”

Family and friends of the couple supported their decision, so plans forged on from there. The hunt for a venue with high-end and intimate vibes.

“Cheeca Lodge & Spa was an easy choice – it was simply amazing! Offered a secure, private, upscale environment,” the bride says.

After making the venue decision, Jaclyn and James handed the planning reins over to their planner at The Wedding Plan & Co. and coordinator with Island Life Events. Video calls allowed the couple to get a better idea of the venue space and plan out details “face-to-face” with their team.

When wedding time came around, there were no issues with transportation as the couple’s venue in the Florida Keys only took a flight to Miami and an hour-long car ride to get to. A downsized guest list in a domestic destination led to Jaclyn and James spending much less than what they might have in Italy. Although it wasn’t the original plan, the couple enjoyed the intimate celebration in their home state and offered up advice for others in the process of planning.

“Take a deep breath! Enjoy the day. And, hire key people to take the stress off yourself,” says the couple.

Vendors: Photographer: Alyssa Morgan Photography; Planner: The Wedding Plan & Co.; Coordinator: Island Life Events; Hair & Makeup: Belle Elite; Venue & Catering: Cheeca Lodge; Rentals: Keys Audio; Cake: Unique D’Lites; Musician: Colin Pillar; DJ: Vision DJs; Dress: Martina Liana; Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN; Suit: Rye 51; Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty

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