5 Steps You Can Take Today (or at least start talking about)
Look at you, you’ve gone and done it. You’ve found that one special person, you’ve gotten engaged, and you are now planning your perfect wedding. Felicidades. Complimenti. Congratulations. Now it’s time to get started planning your Key West wedding – the wedding of your dreams.
Whether you have always dreamed of that perfect tropical wedding or if you have never really thought about this whole “wedding planning thing”, we can guarantee one thing — you won’t regret hosting a wedding in Key West.
A wedding in Key West offers beautiful scenery, a world-famous night life, interesting history, and fantastic dining and lodging options. And not only that, it feels like an exotic, international vacation… without having to dust off your passport (something your guests will no doubt thank you for).
But now that you have decided on a destination wedding in the fabulous Key West, what do you do next? Here is our best advice for what steps to take when you are the very beginning stages of planning your Key Wet wedding. In fact, with the exception of one of these steps, you can probably get a good start on these today, giving you a great foundation to your wedding planning experience.
Get Started Planning Your Key West Wedding
Step 1 – Decide Which Island You Are Getting Married On
Ok, so this is a site dedicated to Key West weddings so the assumption is that you will be getting married in Key West proper. However, the fact is, the Florida Keys stretch over 180 miles and among those many miles are many islands that all offer a little something different. Key West just happens to be the most populated, the most visited, and is our personal favorite BUT I wouldn’t be honest if I said Key West was for everyone. What we will say though, is that we believe, if you want a tropical wedding, then you can probably find what you want somewhere within the Florida Keys.
So, basically, step one of planning a Florida Keys wedding is to ask yourself where exactly you want to get married. What island is your favorite? What type of vibe are you going for? Do you want a luxury hotel for your guests to stay at? Or perhaps you are dreaming about a private villa to celebrate at. Is night life important to you and your guests? Or is quiet, relaxed, and unassuming more your style?
Will your guests mostly be flying or driving to your wedding? Is budget a factor? Make sure you take accessibility for your guests into account!
If you have no clue or have never been to the Florida Keys, maybe a quick trip is in order. I recommend flying into Miami and then taking the slow drive down Highway 1, slow being the operative word. Take time to stop at each key and maybe even tour a few of the venues there to see what speaks to you. Look at the options for activities, nightlife, and restaurants. By the time you get to Key West, you’ll have a really good idea of what island is best for you.
And if that is Key West – great! We here at Plan Your Key West Wedding have you covered.
And, side note, as this site grows, we will start including all of the Florida Keys… but, like wedding planning, we have to start somewhere, so Key West it is!
Step 2 – What Time of Year Do You Want to Get Married?
The next step, before deciding anything else, is to decide what time of year you want to get married. You need to do this before contacting any venues or planners or making any commitments of any kind.
We have a whole blog devoted to topic (HERE!) so you can dive a bit deeper into this one but basically, when you are getting married in the tropics, the “when” is very important.
The majority of weddings in Key West (and all of the Florida Keys) are held outside so seasons and weather is always a factor in planning your wedding. You also have to factor in area festivals and events, busy seasons with their higher prices, and your schedule. You can check out historical weather data here and a list of Key West events here to help with planning purposes.
The blog goes into so much more detail but the bottom line is that deciding what time of year you want to get married is truly the starting point for your concrete plans!
Step 3 – Create a Guest List
Your next step before contacting a single Key West vendor is going to be to come up with a guest list. This may seem premature but it really isn’t. Having a rough (a very rough) estimate of guest count is the starting spot to working with a planner, finding a venue, and creating a budget.
And the truth is you won’t have an exact count, not for a long while but you can get an estimate.
Make a list of everyone you want to invite. If you feel inclined, share the list with your parents and future in-laws to see who they want to add to the list. Statistically, anywhere from 25-75% of those invited will attend your wedding (this is usually lower with a destination wedding). So, as a starting spot, assume that 75% of your guests will come.
This is probably a high count but that is fine. Your list will change and evolve but this will give you a good idea of where to start with budget and venue searches.
Step 4 – Create a Budget and Priorities
The 4th step is the one that most people dread – creating the budget.
What we don’t recommend is creating a super detailed budget. Unless you are in the wedding industry, you probably don’t have an accurate idea of what weddings cost. You don’t want to budget $1000 for a wedding photographer only to find out that every photographer you like is in the $5000 range.
Instead, sit down and talk with your fiance and any other person who is contributing to the wedding (parents, grandparents, etc). Come up with one large amount that you would like to stay within.
Having this number is the best starting spot. When you hire your planner (see step 5), they will want this number and can help you realistically allocate the money in a way that will maximize it.
This is also where knowing your priorities comes in handy. If having a particular venue is your dream or if hiring a higher-priced photographer is a priority than your planner should know that so they know where to budget the bulk of your budget.
Never go into wedding planning without a budget. This will set you up for overspending quicker than anything.
Step 5 – Find Your Planner
The final of the first steps is to find your wedding planner. We highly recommend that every couple coming to Key West hires a wedding planner, whether this be a day of coordinator or a full wedding planner. Here is a blog about exactly why a wedding planner is the most important piece of the wedding planning process.
And before you do anything else in the planning process, finding that perfect planner is the next step. They will help you find the venue (and the wedding date), your vendors, and walk you through all of those little details that will take over your life for the next few months.
Before you fall too deep into the wedding planning rabbit hole that is Pinterest, we here at Plan Your Key West Wedding highly recommend you start with these 5 steps. And, unless you need to actually take a trip to the Florida Keys to decide on an island, these are all steps that you can easily take today.
What questions do you have for our pro-team?