Our first trip together of the year 2016 was a 5 days tour of the Florida Keys, a small chain of islands stretching from the south Florida coast, south west towards Cuba and the Caribbean. The laid back island vibes, tropical weather and eccentric personality of the place make you feel like you’ve left the States far behind and landed in a different world altogether.
As we’re getting married in December 2016, we have marriage, weddings and romance on the brain, so we have dedicated our final year before marriage to our Pre-Wedding Bucket List and wedding inspiration! As soon as we arrived in Key West and every moment after that throughout the Florida Keys, we started talking about how it would be the perfect location for a destination wedding, offering everything from off the beaten path locations, the warm weather, breathtaking sunsets and one-of-a-kind wedding opportunities. Not forgetting, you can cap it all off with a Key Lime Wedding Cake!
6 Awesome Destination Wedding Themes you can find in the Florida Keys
1. Get married at the Iconic Hemingway House
You don’t have to be a literature fan to appreciate the grandeur and charm of this iconic landmark in Key West. The acre of land offers a breath-taking setting for both intimate and larger weddings in the carefully landscaped gardens during the day or night. Following the ceremony you and your guests can enjoy private guided tours throughout the house as well as use of the wrap around verandas during your reception offering great views to the nearby lighthouse. There will also be plenty of jokes about the irony of getting married in the home of a man who was almost as well known for his infidelity and divorce as he was for his writing!
The lush gardens full of flowers and foliage provide such an attractive backdrop that no extra decoration is needed; you and your guests will be transported back in time picturing Hemingway and his contemporaries strolling across the starlit lawns, admiring the pond and waterfall with complete privacy from the surrounding 8ft walls. You will also be joined by the many 6-toed cats living on the property so be sure to advise guests suffering from allergies!
Packages range from $1095 to $3095 with $375 fee per additional hour site rental and the staff at Hemingway House can help you with every aspect of the planning process to provide all the options for a perfect day in a legendary location.
Capacity: daytime – 30, night-time – 100
Cost: packages range from $1095 to $3095 with $375 fee per additional hour site rental
Services: they can arrange all of the following services: minister, cake, caterer, music, hair & make-up, flowers, transportation, photographer, videographer, butterfly/dove release, party equipment, accommodation, tuxedo rental, other entertainment and wedding planners.
Call their Wedding Director, Anna Morawski at 305.393.2444 or our Wedding Coordinator, Vicky Furman at 305.509.1876.
2. Be Adventurous with an Underwater Wedding
Florida Keys is home to the only living coral barrier reef in the United States and each year many marine life enthusiasts take advantage of the opportunity to have their wedding witnessed by an audience of tropical sea-life. This doesn’t mean sacrificing all the frills of a traditional wedding however, as many dive companies will equip the bride with a shell-arrangement bouquet and a tuxedo t-shirt for the groom (although full wedding dress is an option for the more traditional couple!)
Florida Keys Destination Weddings – Underwater Wedding (Photo – Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)
Guests can also witness the ceremony underwater, in which vows are exchanged on writing slates with a nod of agreement and of course, a kiss. Another popular spot to say “I do” is in front of the nine-foot bronze statue of “Christ of the Abyss” which provides a very striking wedding photo. Less adventurous guests need not miss out, and can view the ceremony from a glass-bottom boat with a reception following in the location of your choice whether at sea or land.
3. Have a Colorful Wedding at the Butterfly Conservatory
What could be more romantic than exchanging your marriage vows in a tropical garden of butterflies and exotic birds flying around your heads? Key West Nature and Butterfly Conservatory offers exactly that in an intimate setting for up to 20 guests with the added bonus of a pair of flamingos! Your ceremony will take place at 5pm when the conservatory has been closed to other guests, and to mark the occasion staff will arrange a special butterfly release on completion of your vows.
If low-maintenance and low preparation is key, this is the perfect destination! The spectacular setting requires no further decoration and the Center’s event coordinator will handle all arrangements allowing you to enjoy your day stress-free. The ceremony will be followed by a complimentary champagne toast in which the wedding couple will receive a gift of champagne glasses embossed with butterflies to remember their unique day for many years to come.
For more information contact Kyle Coskey at (305) 296-2988 ext. #19 or [email protected]
4. Have an Exotic Wedding at the Tropical Gardens
When you think of a Florida wedding, most people will picture an idyllic beach scene with barefoot guests on the sand. If that’s not your thing why not venture to one of the Key’s many tropical gardens for a more exotic experience? One of these is Key West Tropical Forest and Botanic Gardens, known as “the only frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States” and designed by the renowned landscaper Raymond Jungles.
With a total capacity of 300 this location offers so many possibilities to enjoy both indoors and outdoors, whether your choice of backdrop is a canopy of tropical palms, the butterfly garden or an ornate water feature, you and your guests will be blown away. The staff here will assist you with all aspects of planning to ensure a smooth and elegant event, and by choosing to get married here you can also help to support the maintenance of environmental gems like this.
Onsite Venue Services: Ceremony Site, Onsite Parking, Outside Alcohol Allowed, Outside Catering Allowed
Another romantic, tropical and centrally placed location is Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. A beautiful and well-kept house with space and facilities for up to 300 guests, it is surrounded by immaculate red-brick pathways and patios lit by copper lanterns between lush, tropical gardens of orchid trees. The lawn behind the house provides space for tables and dancing and the staff will be on hand to help prepare for your special day.
5. Keep moving on your Boat wedding
To do justice to your seaside location, getting married on board a boat is the true Florida Keys wedding experience! There are endless options of boats available to charter for the big day, from the traditional tall-ship or sail-boat to the more modern glass-bottom, catamaran or even luxury yacht, the choice is yours.
If a themed wedding is your thing, go all out with a pirate theme with rum for a celebratory toast and guests dressed as the crew! Be sure to celebrate with a Key Lime wedding cake and starfish confetti, if you´re lucky you may even be joined in your celebrations by local dolphins.
For a more classic atmosphere, you can relive the golden days of Hollywood on board “The African Queen” star of the 1951 film featuring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Besides the couple it can only hold 4 guests, perfect for an intimate ceremony or a private trip following an onshore Key Largo wedding if you have more guests.
6. Go for a classic barefoot Beach Wedding
Finally we can’t forget the classic barefoot on a white sand beach wedding. Florida Keys is home to many islands that are only accessible by boat or kayak offering incredibly private and personal ceremonies framed by endless blue sea and exquisite sunsets.
If you prefer to stay closer to civilization there are many luxury seafront hotels and private homes for an equally romantic and peaceful wedding among friends and family.
Florida Keys Destination Weddings – Classic Beach Wedding (Photo Azchael)
Related Article: 10 Awesome Activities for Couples in Florida Keys
Accommodation and Hotels in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys has some of the most unique and relaxing luxury hotel accommodation in the world, with unbeatable beachside views and true Caribbean vibes!
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Note: This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of the official tourism office of Florida Keys, who arranged the whole trip and coordinated with private companies for our sponsored hotel stays and tours. Thank you!
Thank you to everyone we met along the way who all helped to make this such a special experience. It was an incredible visit to the Florida Keys and we will never forget it!