If you are thinking of having a destination wedding, in the Florida Keys or any other tropical destination, then you know how hard and overwhelming wedding planning can be from thousands of miles away.
You may not have ever stepped foot in that location or if you have, you probably haven't spent enough time to get to know the locals.
You deserve to have candid, honest advice from a genuine advisor that will not steer you wrong.
YOU DON'T NEED MUCH DECOR
A tropical destination, like the Florida Keys, does not need much help to be a beautiful backdrop for your wedding day. You don't need huge floral pieces or pipe and draping to forget you are a blah ballroom. Let the tropical palms and ocean be your statement pieces.
Simple design pieces that bring in the natural beauty of your already tranquil setting will be the perfect icing on the cake. You can keep the centerpieces easy with bud vases or make a statement with palms + orchids or even driftwood. Tasteful floral arrangements as centerpieces are a beautiful way to tie in your wedding colors without breaking the bank.
GET THE RECEPTION TENT
In most cases, your destination wedding ceremony + reception will be outside. And the majority of the time in the Florida Keys, weather is hardly a factor to battle for the entire day. No matter the season, being in a tropical paradise means that it can sprinkle, rain, or down pour at any time. And although it might not last for long, it can ruin any dinner service or dance party.
However, other than protecting your guests from any inclement weather that might occur, a reception tent for your wedding also has another job - shade!
It's just a fact at after the ceremony, when the sun is still up, your guests will first flock to the bar, then head to the most shaded spot. If you don't have any shade available to your guests near by, your guests will leave to find it - true story. I have seen this so many times and it tends to ruin the flow of the evening.
The good part is receptions tents are not only helpful, but beautiful. The tent will be the structure to support the glowing bistro lighting hung overhead and you can add so many cool design elements to the reception tent to make it a true 'WOW' factor and not an eye sore. From different lighting options, to flowing linens and liners - the design elements to personalize your reception are endless!
STOP INVITING GUESTS OUT OF OBLIGATION
You picked a destination wedding instead of a local wedding, most likely, because you want to celebrate with only those closest to you. So don't feel like you need to invite every couple that invited you to their wedding or your neighbor - just out of obligation or to be nice.
Also, reducing your guest count is the number one way to cut costs for your wedding day. I know this is not an easy task, but is worth a good look when discussing the budget.
Items such as food, drinks, chairs, tables, linens, favors, desserts, ect are all priced per person - so a reduction in the guest count will reduce your costs overall.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPEND HALF YOUR BUDGET ON FOOD + BAR
If you have googled "how to budget for a wedding" then you know how many different (can confusing) opinions there are out there. Some state that you should budget at least half for dinner and the bar costs. The fact is, your budget should fit your priorities. Period. You get to choose where you want to splurge and what items are not as important to you so to cut back on the costs.
With that said, it is also true that the food + bar part of your wedding budget, most likely, will be the biggest ticket item. You are treating 50-100 of your pals to dinner and drinks - so even at the Olive Garden, it's going to be a lot of money.
However, the best way to help control the costs of the dinner and bar is finding the right venue that allows outside food and drink. Amazing venues like private beach vacation homes, gives you the opportunity to truly custom your meal to your exact wishes and budget.
Keep things cool and casual with a taco bar station or be fun and playful with gourmet pizza oven brought right to your wedding. Want to keep dinner more traditional, opt in for a dinner service that fits your vision with passed appetizers and buffet choices to please even your pickiest guest.
Your bar does't have to consume all your budget either. When you can purchase and bring in your own booze, you can save thousands of dollars from huge up-charges from bars and resorts.
Private beach estates in the Florida Keys are an ideal wedding venue when it comes to bar costs. You decide how much and what types of alcohol you want to serve to your guests. But just remember, this does require some heavy lifting on your end (literally). Make sure to set aside time and bring some mussels to go get all the boozy fun for the wedding day.
If this all sounds amazing to you, but the logistics of putting it all together makes your head spin - connecting with a local expert early will help ease the pain and confusion.
As a wedding planner, I have seen and heard it all and so happy to share my advise so you can have the
Best. Day. Ever.