August 11, 2023
Many couples who reach out to our Florida Keys wedding planners are at the very beginning stages of their planning process. They know they want a Florida Keys wedding – maybe they’ve vacationed here for years, or are looking for that tropical island feel without leaving the country – but they have no idea how to narrow down the many, many options! Let us walk you through a few questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your selections.
1. Does location matter?
The Keys are long! If you haven’t been to the area, you may not have experienced just how far Key West is from Miami. So the first thing to consider is if location matters to you. The Keys are divided into three sections – the Upper Keys, Middle Keys, and Lower Keys. And Key West is often considered its own category altogether. Which of these areas is best for your wedding could depend on a variety of factors.
One consideration is that there are 2 main airports your guests will fly into to get to the Keys – Miami or Key West. Miami is still about an hour’s drive from Key Largo. So when deciding where in the Keys to hold your wedding, consider how far you’d like your guests to drive after arriving. If they are fine renting a car, or you can hire a shuttle from the airport, then location isn’t a big issue!
Many couples also have strong opinions about Key West. Some come down and only want to consider Key West. It has easy access to an airport, a ton of hotels and activities for guests, and there is always a party going on! Our planners have worked with other couples who are looking at any Key except Key West. It’s just not the vibe they’re going for. Either option is fine, but just make sure you know which way you’re leaning.
One last pro tip for location: If you’re set on having gorgeous sunset pictures with the sun just above the horizon as part of your wedding album, make sure your venue is on the west side of whichever Key you choose!
2. What type of venue are you picturing?
Are you dreaming of a beach wedding with your toes in the sand and waves rolling in behind you? Would you love to be married in a tropical garden, with tons of greenery and orchids blooming? Do you want the convenience of getting married at one of the many spectacular resorts in the Florida Keys, where you can take care of your venue, accommodations, catering, and other vendors all in one spot? Or maybe you’re interested in finding a venue with a unique history, having your reception at a restaurant, or looking for a location that’s close to a bar for an after party. These are all options in the Florida Keys! Try to narrow down your search to one or two categories, and your list of venue options will become much easier to deal with.
3. What is your budget?
Venues can vary quite a bit in cost. The type of venue you choose will determine how much of your budget you’ll spend on it. Many venues are simply a venue. You’re renting out a location and paying to have their staff on site. But you’ll need outside vendors for everything else. These venues should only be a small part of your budget since the bulk will be going to catering and other vendors.
Other venues, such as resorts, have many of your vendors grouped together in a package. At a minimum, these types of venues usually include the location, food and beverage, tables and chairs, and linens. Some even include florals or decor, or even have partnerships with DJs and photographers. These venues will often use over half of your budget since they are providing so many services.
There are venues at many different price points all across the Florida Keys, so if you’re not sure what price point you should be looking at, reach out to a planner for help!
4. Do you like the look of previous weddings from the venue?
Hopefully, by now you’ve been able to narrow your options down. Next, check out pictures from previous weddings to help you envision what your big day will look like. Venues usually have pictures posted on their websites, but Instagram and Pinterest are also great ways to find inspiration. Also, try typing in a Google search for weddings at your venue, and you may come across some photographers’ blogs with mini galleries of weddings they’ve shot in the past. If you can’t picture yourself in any of the images you find, cross that venue off your list.
5. Are your dates flexible?
Before you get your heart completely set on one venue, reach out to find out their availability. If your dates are flexible, it will be easier to find a date that works for both you and the venue. Fridays and Saturdays fill up the fastest, followed by Sundays. So if you would like to get married on a weekend, lock in your date as soon as you can! This is especially true if you are getting married during the busy season in the Florida Keys, which lasts from around December to March. Weekdays tend to have more availability (and are often cheaper!).
Still not sure about your venue, or would just like some help narrowing down your options? Reach out to our Florida Keys planners on our contact page and we’ll get back to you shortly. We LOVE looking at venues, and are excited to help you with your decision!
If you’re considering a wedding in the Upper Keys, check out our post on a Playa Largo wedding to see one of our favorite venues up in Key Largo!