A destination wedding in the Florida Keys that doubled as a vacation for their guests. Imagine the ocean-side paradise, activities like snorkeling and drinking fabulous pina coladas. This was the atmosphere that Lauren and Chris wanted for their wedding held on Duck Key. And as the week-long celebration culminated in their ceremony beside the crystal-clear water, Lauren was thankful for the window of sunshine after a morning of, peaceful, if not untimely rainfall. The ceremony was perfect and lovely in the ocean-swept sunshine, officiated by one of Lauren’s best childhood friends for an extra special touch. Decor of succulents, driftwood and lanterns scattered around the scene, the beach vibe was perfectly brought to life in the flowing bridesmaid dresses of pale blue and green. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and when the rains ultimately returned, the reception moved inside where the motto of the party seemed to turn to “the more rain, the more fun.” Dancing, of course, ensued. It was a party that no one will be forgetting anytime soon. See a celebration bright and sunny despite the clouds with these photos by St. Augustine wedding photographer Pure Sugar Studios!
Please give us an overview of the event.
A week long celebration with friends and family in the beautiful Florida Keys. It included a snorkeling adventure to a wonderfully populated reef, an early morning yoga session under the palm trees, and a “night cap” after our rehearsal dinner that brought all of our guests together to celebrate with us on our last night as an “engaged” couple. Even when we weren’t with our guests, it was great to see them out on fishing trips catching dolphin for the first time or experiencing Key West for the day or even just sipping pina coladas around the pool with friends. We loved that we could make it a fun vacation for everyone.
Now for the proposal…details!
Chris was actually planning on proposing on Saturday, January 7th before my birthday dinner with friends so that we could all celebrate together that evening but when Chris got word that our friend Justin was planning on proposing to his girlfriend Polina that Saturday he had to bump everything up a day. Friday was my actual birthday so it wasn’t too hard to get me out of work early. It was an absolutely beautiful January day – warmer than usual and not a cloud in the sky. When I got home, Chris had our beach cruisers out and ready for a ride down to the beach. My basket was packed with bocce ball – a beach game we like to play – and a chilled bottle of white wine wrapped in a beach towel – it was looking like a nice little start to my birthday. Little did I know that half way through our bocce ball game, Chris would get down on one knee and ask me to be his wife. It was such a wonderful day. We ended up having my birthday celebration that night so we were able to celebrate with all of our friends and our family members who had gotten wind of the news early. It was an evening I’ll never forget.
Was there a specific theme or style?
Chris and I are both beach people. Although we’re from different cities, we were both raised in Florida and spent countless days at the beach. We absolutely love summer beach days on the east coast – getting our toes sandy, finding sharks teeth, swimming in the ocean – of course our wedding would encompass that love. Our colors were that of sea glass – shades of blues and greens. We had white lanterns, drift wood, and succulents scattered about which gave it that beachy romantic feel. Just having the wedding in the Florida Keys captured the overall feel we were looking for.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
After a little trial and error, I found my beautiful wedding dress at LOVE Bridal Boutique in Jacksonville Beach, FL. It was a strapless, sweetheart neckline, form-fitting gown with a diamond sash around the waist and a flowing, wave-like train. My bridesmaids wore a strapless, above-the-knee, cocktail dress with a sweetheart neckline from Modcloth. The dresses were shades of blue and green which were perfect with our sea-glass theme. The groom, groomsmen, and father of the bride wore a 3-piece light-khaki seersucker summer suit from Jos.A Bank. Chris and my dad wore all three pieces but the groomsmen went without the jacket, just vests with their sleeves rolled half-way up. All of them wore ties representing different shades of sea-glass. Everyone looked smashing!
The details that are important to you specifically. The venue was important to us. We had a destination wedding in the Florida Keys so we wanted a place where we felt right at home and comfortable hosting all of our out-of-town guests. We also splurged a bit on flowers. We checked out the two well known florists in the Keys, and while they produced beautiful arrangements, they just didn’t fit the theme we were going with. Finally, we were given the name of a brilliant florist that understood our vision of succulents, drift wood, and lanterns. He was a little more expensive but he absolutely nailed it. And even if you think hiring a videographer isn’t a necessity, do it – you won’t regret it.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event?
One of my best friends from middle school, Roni Penna, officiated the ceremony which made it all the more entertaining. Chris and I are about the least stuffy people in the world so when boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC somehow made it in to Roni’s spiel, it just added to the funny, light-hearted commentary. People were walking away saying that was the best ceremony they had witnessed. Now, they may have just said that to please the bride, but I have to admit, I would agree.
…what you can’t control. The weather for example. It absolutely POURED the day of our wedding and both our ceremony and reception were supposed to be outside. Luckily, about an hour before the ceremony, the clouds parted and we were able to have our short ceremony outside along the crystal-clear Keys water. Not long after, the humidity set in. Then the rain clouds came back. What was I to do? I couldn’t put my guests through a downpour! We had to move the reception inside. It pained me to be inside when we were down in the beautiful Keys but it was the right decision and I wasn’t about to let a little rain ruin our party!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
The master chefs at Hawks Cay did an amazing job catering the event. We had a selection of delicious salads – tomato, mozzarella and pesto, sante fe salad with corn and avocado, and a light tropical fruit salad. Our main dishes were a local fish (naturally), a chicken dish, and a suckling pig to add a little flair. On top of the three delicious mini-desserts prepared by the Hawks Cay chef, we had a beautiful ombre wedding cake made by One Small Bite, coconut and oh-so delicious.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
The best advice was from my friend Ashley. She said the one thing that she wished she had plurged on for her wedding was a videographer. Her words always rang through my head : “You don’t realize all the things you don’t get to see as a bride – your wedding party walking down the aisle, the cocktail hour while you’re away taking pictures – and everything goes so quickly that you find yourself trying to play back moments in your head the next day. A videographer captures all of that. Even though it wasn’t in our original budget, we decided to hire one and that was the best decision we could’ve made! Everyone has enjoyed watching the video time and time again and our videographer even made us highlight reels which made it easy to share.
Venue: Hawks Cay | Photography: Pure Sugar Studios | Videography: Hovis Productions | Bridal Gown: Love, A Bridal Boutique | Floral: Duarte Floral Design | Cake: One Small Bite | Invitations: Pineapple Post | Calligraphy: Sherry Wood | Lighting: PSAV | DJ: DJ Innovations | Rehearsal Dinner: Islamorada Fish Company | Ceremony Musicians : Melody Cooper & Dina Kostic | Flip Books: MyEvent FlipBooks