Hello lovlies, I have been so excited about write about our wedding as I always get a lot of questions about planning and how we decided on the Florida Keys (site un seen) and how we did it pretty much 3,000 miles away and kept a (semi) level head. Trust us, we aren’t experts here… but this was our experience.
Let me jump right in… We met through work, I was in Georgia and he was in London (born and raised). After years of long distance and many tears at airport gates/curb side check in’s, we were able to live in the same time zone. The one place we were able to share (before London), was Florida thus it always felt like our second home. For our wedding, we always knew that was the place we would get married and start our forever but we never knew what city at the time. Seven years later, we were engaged and knew exactly the place. It was also a perfect meet in the middle place for both families coming from England and Texas. We originally decided Naples for it’s gorgeous beaches and lovely town/village feel. However fate played it’s hand and after site visits from England, showing my Mom around the possible location, having hearts set on this beach and telling all our guests- the hotel became fully booked not only on our date but all dates that worked for us. Back to square one.
Thank goodness for the internet as I happened to be on wedding wire and all of the sudden Florida Keys came up. Honestly we never even had been to the Florida Keys so I couldn’t say “this was the place we always visited and loved”… but something about it just said this is the place. I’d always loved Jimmy Buffet and thought this could be the perfect mix of Florida combined with the formal/black tie feel we wanted to incorporate at the beach. (Yes I know, NOT very Jimmy Buffet at all.) It was even more scenic and it was exactly what we were looking for all along. How we didn’t know about the magic of Florida Keys sooner I have no idea? Here was the place we would start our life together. Playa Largo Resort & Spa, the first new build in the Florida Keys in over 30 years. It was perfect for us! So not only did we book an area of Florida we had never been to, but we also decided to live a little and book a resort that wasn’t even fully built yet. Deposit down, no looking back and all our faith was on this Autograph Marriott being able to complete in 12 months time as now vendors were going to be booked and tied to a specific date which would have been a disaster should the resort have any issues opening. We know construction and we knew how delays happen and normally these things never go as planned or on schedule. (I probably should have also played the lottery that day given this gamble.) And boy did they deliver.
We never wanted a wedding that had to be a photoshoot/internet perfect. We wanted the Marriage over just the Wedding Day as it’s so easy to get so wrapped up into just this one day… however the stress came in not trying to make sure it was a gorgeous day but us just wanted to make sure we didn’t forget chairs or something extremely obvious. (Which we did forget the chairs hehe.) And once you get thrown into wedding planning, you’ll see first hand what I mean. It’s a LOT. Eloping crossed our minds several times. Especially if you have a day job and other things commanding your time. Luckily for us- Wendy Cole was our resort coordinator at Playa Largo and she honestly took all the stress and worry away from day dot. As any bride thousands of miles away does, I lived on email and photo’s, stalked Instagram and Destination I Do Blog. The second smartest move we did was hire a day of wedding planner… this is where Carin Hunt from Key Destination Weddings comes in. Wendy and Carin simply turned this wedding into something so much more than we ever could have imagined or done ourselves. If you’re reading ladies… thank you for everything. And sorry for all the 2,000 emails. These two ladies were able to make sure we could be present the day of and knew once we hired our vendors, we could relax and trust them that they would handle everything. Perfection wasn’t what we wanted or needed at all, because no matter what happened- this was the start of our life together as Mr. and Mrs. and it was ours. But truly perfect is what we got. Thank you so much ladies, it was all because of you.
The next most important item was memories. After the day comes and goes, what do you have to relive the day? Photos and if you can, the video. As I mentioned above, my gorgeous husband and I had been together several years and we talked about our wedding even before we became engaged. (Shock.) We pretty much researched our vendors over the years and me being such a photography fanatic, had already found OUR photographer a year before. I knew I wanted a natural style… not too formal and not too contemporary. (However all those styles are equally gorgeous!) I also wanted someone who knew their craft but of course the editing was super important to us. So as any crazy bride would do, I stalked her and emailed her a year before we were even engaged. Hence she became my friend long before she was our wedding photographer. (If anyone is looking for a photographer, not just weddings, Kristen Weaver Photography simply is the best. Her style, her personality and her work just speak for itself. Ladies, go book her now for your 30th/40th birthday! They even do cake smash style photoshoots. Genius!
So with the resort, photographer, and day of wedding planner all booked, it was time to find that dress. I went to several places in Texas before finding the one that I didn’t want to ever take off. If you’re engaged and wondering how you’ll find your dress circa Say Yes To the Dress- you’ll know. After I pranced around the floor in this gorgeous dress, I went back to the dressing room and didn’t want to touch the 30 or so dresses I had waiting to try on. As a huge Bachlorette fan, I shared the same designer as the gorgeous Nikki Ferrell.
Once we got all the major items booked, about three months before the big day was getting all the small details that you certainly don’t need, but so much fun to scour the web. Enter Etsy. Ladies in England, you’re missing a trick if you don’t use this website as it’s mainly used in America. I found the best getting ready robe, one that Neiman Marcus charged twice the price for, and all my ladies getting ready robes.
The day of was finally here, and as I mentioned we had a full wedding week with all of our nearest and dearest which made it even more incredible. Once the wedding day arrived, I genuinely was able to sit back and take in every moment. I tried my hardest to stop time, making sure to pause with my Husband and look around to soak everything in. If you were to ask me what our favorite part of the day was- it would be the ceremony. Becoming Husband and Wife and then celebrating the night away with our family and friends! (Which goes by in a blink of an eye.)
If you’d like to see more pictures of our wedding, please check out our feature in Destination I Do Wedding Blog.
To all you future brides out there, enjoy every second of this moment in time. There is something about planning your wedding, no matter what your budget, that is simply magic. Thank you so much for reading about our wedding, it truly was the best day of our lives but the best is yet to come!
Photography: Kristen Weaver
Videographer: James Rayner
Officiant: Frank Nunez
Wedding Planners: Key Destination Weddings
Makeup Artist: CourtMontes
Resort: Playa Largo Resort & Spa
Cake: Maggies Bakery
DJ: Liquid DJ’s
All the other items:
Flower Girl Dresses: Olivia Kate Couture
Getting Ready Kimono Robe: Bibiluxe
Getting Ready Bridesmaids Robes: SilkandMore
Lace Garter belt: The Ragged Diamond
Confetti Bags/Order of Service: Mavora
Biodegradable Confetti: Inside My Nest
The Ring box: the Mrs. Box
Donut Boxes/Wedding Favours: The Bakers Bin
Wedding Streamers for exit: Wedding Pros
Welcome Letter for Guests: Design and Pop
Cake Stand: Primitive Weddings
Mr. & Mrs. Stamp: Letta Etc
Big Balloons/tassels: GenWoo