Glen and Kailey knew exactly what they wanted for their wedding – a southern-style celebration with lots of time to enjoy family and friends. Simply You Weddings helped them plan a full week of activities for their Key West destination wedding, from a welcome reception to a beach volleyball tournament to a sunset cruise. But the event to remember was, of course, the wedding ceremony and reception, captured by Finch Photography. From the special musical performance by friends to the late night dancing courtesy of Bay Kings Band, we know this celebration is one their guests will never forget. From the Bride... Glen and I have been to over 30 weddings together in our five years of dating, so we had a pretty good idea of what we liked and didn't like already. Some of the weddings we enjoyed the most were the ones where we were able to spend more than just a day with the wedding party and really got to know their family and friends.We wanted to choose a city that would entice guests to stay more than a day and was a place that offered activities that would appeal to a variety of people. Our hope was that our wedding would allow for everyone to get to know each other, make new friends, and ultimately become one cohesive group as we became one in marriage. We wanted a place that provided ample opportunities to be able to get quality time with everyone. After one visit to Key West, we knew this was just the place to make this happen, with its history, beautiful sunsets, ocean activities, and fun vibes on Duval Street.Once we chose Key West, we started planning all the events for the week. The women in Glen's family always host a welcome party at the family weddings, and they wanted the same for us. We wanted this to be a casual meet and greet for our families and friends. Our hotel accommodations had a great back yard courtyard and patio, so it was the perfect place for people to “come as they were,” enjoy a few drinks and appetizers, and make some new friends.Glen loves volleyball, and his mom was a collegiate volleyball player, so he wanted to have a beach day that included a volleyball tournament with customized tank tops, koozies, and tumblers. Higgs Beach was the perfect spot because it had volleyball courts, beach rentals, and a cute restaurant that let us reserve the patio. We decided to have this event on Saturday after the wedding so it was a day we could really relax and everyone could let loose. For Saturday night, we decided a sunset cruise would be a great last hurrah to wind down the wedding activities. The Fury Commotion on the Ocean cruise was a perfect fit for our group with its live music, drinks, food, and beautiful views.Our hotel accommodations were one of our favorite choices. The Light House Court was the place we stumbled upon and stayed at on our first visit to Key West. It's in the perfect location, across from the Hemmingway House, a block from Duval Street, and down the road from the beaches (and it ended up being close to our ceremony and reception sites). This is a renovated estate, which makes each room unique. It's a quaint place with a small pool, great mojito bar (Kailey's favorite), a courtyard with cornhole, and a daily breakfast served outside accompanied by the local hens and roosters. We envisioned our friends and family having breakfast together and sitting by the pool.When thinking about the theme, we really didn't want your typical destination wedding with flashy details. We wanted both the destination and the traditions we were raised with – a southern wedding, just in a beach city. We chose neutral colors, with taupe bridesmaids’ dresses and black tuxes, white florals with greenery, and accents of gold. The head table was made of four farm tables pushed together with a eucalyptus garland runner and mercury glass votives scattered down the center. The guest and cocktail tables were simple with white linens and hand made arrangements by the groom’s mother and friends featuring greenery halos, mercury glass votives, and ivy tie backs.My dress was a custom design by Anna Maier. I had found two dresses that I loved, and they were both by Maier, so I was able to combine what I liked about the two and then add some other details. From the color to the lace and the actual fit, I was able to pick everything out. I liked the look of an off the shoulder dress but also wanted an open back; many stores told me I couldn’t have both. However, the girls at White Dresses Boutique helped me see how I could make my vision come to life. Once we got the dress in, White Dresses connected me with Altered Heart Alterations who helped me design the back and create the soft shoulder look that I loved.Family and tradition are important to us and were incorporated throughout the wedding. Glen’s wedding band had belonged to my great grandfather and was accompanied by the original box. My mom surprised me with a second wedding band, solid gold and created from a variety of family jewelry. I was also presented with a necklace, repurposed from a ring that my father had given my mother.Glen’s grandfather had fought in WWII and always said that Psalm 23 helped him make it through. Since then, the Bible verse has remained special to Glen’s family. We had a hand painted welcome sign made with a portion of Psalm 23 on it to honor him.It was important for both of us to be married in a Methodist church, and we were lucky to find a beautiful Methodist church that allowed us to be there. The reception location was not at the beach, but at the Historic Truman Little White House (Glen's family has ties to President Truman, so that made it even more special). The lawns are beautiful with green grass and overhanging trees, and the neighborhood provided the privacy we wanted (we didn't want random people watching our wedding from a restaurant or patio or walking through in their swimsuits).Our first dance was sung and played by two of our best friends, Ken and Cheyenne. They not only sang the first dance song, but they also sang and played the mother/son and father/daughter songs. The father/daughter song was an original that was written by Cheyenne.We knew it would be pretty steamy for the reception, but we wanted guests to be as comfortable as possible, so we served a mojito during cocktail hour to help cool everyone down as well as provided hand cut wooden fans that guests could use throughout the night. Our friends love to dance, so we had to have a good band. We decided against the typical beach band and instead went with a 6-piece Motown band. In college, we loved Motown bands best, and Bay Kings did not disappoint. It was the perfect mix of Motown favorites along with today’s catchy hits. We may have all been a little sweaty, but that didn’t stop anyone from being on the dance floor all night.
Photography: Finch Photo | Cinematography: Wild Story Wedding Films | Event Planning: Simply You Weddings | Floral Design: Love In Bloom | Invitations: The Happy Envelope | Ceremony Venue: Key West United Methodist | Reception Venue: Truman Little White House | Catering: Great Events Catering | Band: Bay Kings Band | Bridal Boutique: White Dresses Boutique