Anna + Casey
October 8, 2022 in Key Largo, FL)
The blog post describes a bride's experience planning a weekend-long, destination wedding in Key Largo, FL. The bride wanted a simple, classy, elegant wedding near the water and relied on The Knot and Wedding Wire reviews to choose local vendors. The weekend included a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, and brunch, and the wedding day itself was described as perfect, with a simple ceremony, personalized vows, and a reception with panoramic views of the ocean. The bride's number one tip for future brides is to hire a day-of planner.
By our real bride, Anna:
What was the vision for your wedding?
I didn't want my wedding to be just one day, I wanted it to be a weekend where we were surrounded by family and friends. I wanted a simple, classy, elegant wedding, somewhere near the water. The final product was just that. From the florals to the simple table settings, I was able to see my dream become a reality. The week was truly amazing - a destination wedding was the perfect answer.
When I started planning my wedding, I wanted to use as many local vendors as I could. I'm not familiar with the Keys, so I relied heavily on The Knot and Wedding Wire reviews, and they were SO helpful (Brides, make sure to leave reviews for your vendors!). I ended up loving every single one of them. We took one trip down in April for a planning weekend and knocked out our hair/make-up trials, food tasting, and cake tasting. The rest of my communications were on the phone, by email, or via text.
We arrived at the resort on Wednesday, and family and friends started trickling in too! We spent Thursday snorkeling, hanging on the beach, and catching up with everyone that had arrived. We had a welcome party at Dry Rocks and on the beach - ending the night with Domino’s pizza and too much wine. Friday I spent the morning with my bridesmaids before our causal rehearsal at noon in our swimsuits so we had as much beach time as we could. That evening we went off the resort to Buzzards Roost, where my wedding party and family dressed in all white, while Casey and I sported bright colors for our rehearsal dinner. Come Saturday, it was so fun seeing all of our friends and family on the beach while we got ready. We closed the weekend out on Sunday with brunch and goodbyes.
How did it go the day-of?
If I could relive this day over and over again, I would. I woke up and sat on the balcony of our room overlooking the spot we would be getting married later that day while Casey was still sleeping. I took some moments to myself taking it all in, enjoying the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves hitting the shore. My bridesmaids came to my room to help me gather my things and head over to the bridal suite. We spent the morning hanging out, listening to music, and chatting while we all got our hair and makeup done. My mom and her girlfriends steamed all of our dresses and Casey's suits. We had a few visitors throughout the morning and a Starbucks delivery from 2 of the bridesmaid’s husbands (put them to work ladies!). I exchanged a little gift with my parents that morning (a handkerchief for both of them with something written in my handwriting on it), and it was such a special moment.
After lunch, we wrapped up hair and makeup and started with some final touches as the flowers got delivered and the photographer and videographer showed up. We popped a bottle of champagne and took in the final few moments in our PJs before we got dressed. We let the bridesmaids get dressed first and they exited the room. I had a moment with my mom in the bridal suite as we put my dress, shoes, and veil on (12/10 recommend). I did a first look with my bridesmaids, then my dad, and next Casey. After we wrapped up portraits, we knocked out wedding party photos and family photos (we were making the most of our time before the ceremony). We wrapped up with about 30 minutes to relax in the bridal suite with our wedding party, and to enjoy a glass of bubbly before we took our places.
Our ceremony was pretty simple - no flower girl or ring bearer, I wrote the script the officiant (a personal friend) used, and we wrote and said our own vows - we wanted it to be personal and intimate, and had a beautiful ceremony right on the water. It was everything I could have dreamed of. Post ceremony, Casey and I got to spend some time alone to grab a bite to eat (also 12/10 recommend), and entered into the cocktail hour with about 20 minutes left.
The reception was amazing. We were nestled upstairs in a room with panoramic views overlooking the ocean. We entered into the reception to the song "My Wife and 2 Dogs" by Quinn XCII and went straight into our first dance, followed by father/daughter and mother/son dances. The guests were served dinner, and Casey and I made it a point to stop at every table and say a quick hi and thank you for coming. One of my favorite parts was the guest book - we used a winery from Sandpoint to make custom wine bottles, and guests were asked at each table to sign, decorate, etc. our bottle of wine. Now we have a sweet memory to look at when something big in our life happens! Once dinner was served, I snuck away and changed into my second party dress!
The dance floor was everything and more. Our DJ absolutely crushed it. Once the lights went down and party lights turned on, there was not a moment where the dancefloor was empty. We danced the night away and danced to "Final Song" by MO. Once the lights went on, the party did not stop. We headed to the pool to hang out until the early hours of the morning.
What is your #1 tip to future brides?
Hire a day of planner. It is worth every single penny. I am such a type A, control freak of a person, and I hired a day of planner and it was the best thing I did. We started working together ~6 weeks before our wedding day, and we met via FaceTime as many times as I wanted. She provided me with a detailed checklist, and Excel sheet that I filled out prior to our first meeting. She contacted our vendors, created our timeline, and did every single thing that needed to be done on our wedding day. If something went wrong, I still don't know about it.
ENJOY YOURSELF. I thought I would be so stressed out to see everyone and make everyone happy, but this day is about you and your significant other - enjoy it.
VENUE: BAKER’S CAY RESORT
PLANNER: EBJ EVENTS
HAIR: FLORIDA KEYS BRIDAL TEAM
MAKEUP: LEX SMITH
RENTALS: TABLE SEVEN WEDDING DESIGN
CAKE & CUPCAKES: MAGGIE’S BAKERY
PHOTOGRAPHER: BRE THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY
VIDEOGRAPHER: REACH FILMS
DJ: DJ DONNIE EVENTS
FLORALS: MARATHON FLORIST
RINGS: TAPPER’S JEWELRY
GROOM CUSTOM SUIT & GROOMSMEN RENTALS: MEN’S WAREHOUSE