As some of you may know, Ryan and I got married in Key West, Florida on March 19. I have been getting so many questions about destination weddings, why we chose this route, how we chose our location, how hard it was to organize, was it worth it, etc. I’d love to share a few insights on doing a destination wedding that may help you decide if it’s the right option for you.
Why a destination wedding?
Ryan and I have been together for almost 8 years and lived together for 5. We knew that a traditional wedding was not for us. We wanted something that not only we’d remember forever, but our guests would be able to look back at that day and say, “Wow. That was a blast!” I loved the idea of getting married in paradise and then being able to stick around for a few days for vacation. So many brides told me that their big day went so quickly, so making our big day more of a week-long event was extremely appealing. We also liked the idea of a non-traditional wedding because it gave us the opportunity to have two wedding events. Who wouldn’t want MORE wedding?
Why Key West?
Ryan and I have been going to Key West once a year since 2015. We completely love the island vibe of Key West, the laid back atmosphere, the sun and the water, the happy hours… When we’re in Key West we’re the absolute happiest and we decided why not get married in this place that we love so much? Plus, the added bonus was being able to show our favorite people our favorite city. Now, when we go to Key West every March we get to celebrate our anniversary!
How many people did you invite?
We invited 20 people. Honestly, you can invite basically as many as you’d like, but we knew we wanted to keep our group small. Our reception was on a boat that would fit up to 125 people and the wedding package we bought paid for up to 50 to be on the boat. You could certainly invite a much larger group than we did.
Was it expensive?
We booked our wedding through a company that specializes in doing destination weddings. I would say in terms of a traditional wedding, this was probably a little cheaper even including flights and lodging. We also take a yearly trip to Key West in March so we’ve always got that budgeted anyway. We certainly spent more down there than we typically do, but because it was our wedding we didn’t mind splurging a little. Overall, because it’s a smaller group, I’d say a destination wedding is a little cheaper than a more traditional wedding ceremony and reception.
Was the company you booked through easy to work with?
We booked through Key West Weddings on the Water. They had a couple of options for a wedding: married on the beach and then boat reception OR marriage and reception on the boat. We chose the former and they set up everything for you. There are also tiered packages depending on how much you want to spend and how much help you want. Because I knew we wouldn’t be able to get down to Key West before our wedding (thanks, pandemic) I wanted the most amount of help available. Our package included setting up the arch and aisle with decorations, chairs for guests, flowers, champagne, music, wedding coordinator and music coordinator. On the sunset cruise (we opted for a private boat due to the pandemic) we had unlimited drinks and appetizers. There is an option to have a public boat where anyone can hop on for the sunset cruise that is significantly cheaper. I would say the most difficult part is you have to turn off your inner control freak. Because of distance, time differences and laid-back-island-attitudes, communication wasn’t always necessarily top-of-mind. I like to overly communicate, especially on something that you’re spending a lot of money on and you want to be planned perfectly. Sometimes it would be days before I heard from someone about our wedding. You just have to relax and trust that things will work out. This company puts on several weddings per week and they know what they’re doing. I’d highly recommend booking out a year, that way you can have lots of time to work out details.
Would you recommend a destination wedding to another future bride?
The funniest part about this is that Ryan and I have never attended a destination wedding! We were just extremely attracted to the idea of getting married in a beautiful place and being able to bring our friends and family along. I would highly recommend a destination wedding to someone who is A) interested in a non-traditional wedding. Neither of us could picture us getting married in a hotel conference room, golf course or event center. We loved the idea of getting married on a beach in a more casual but memorable setting and B) If you want your wedding to last longer than one day. Most of our guests stayed down in Key West for five days. It was so much fun doing the touristy things together, sightseeing, going out to dinner, drinking and shopping.
Overall, this was the best decision for us as a couple. Ryan and I love to travel and this was a perfect option for our travel-loving hearts. We are so excited that we can return to Key West every March to celebrate our anniversary. We were also so excited to show our friends and family one of our favorite places on earth. Have you been to a destination wedding? Did you love it or hate it? Would you consider a destination wedding? Do you have more questions about destination weddings? Let me know!