Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West

February 25, 2015
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Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West

When it came time to plan our wedding, my partner and I began our journey on the traditional route: looking at local venues for the ceremony, reception, and showers that would soon follow. It didn’t take long for us to determine that we aren’t the traditional type, but didn’t want to throw what felt like a budget wedding. Instead of walking down the aisle in our hometown church, we opted for something different that reflected our personalities without blowing our budget: a destination wedding in tropical Florida Keys.

Naturally, we looked at the typical destination wedding resorts in Hawaii (too expensive!), Mexico (too cliché!), and South America (too far!). We decided on Key West, by chance or by fate. Florida is the only place we’ve both been. Florida also happens to be on our list of places to possibly move, due to their almost year-round beach weather. I love the crystal clear blue water and white sand beaches; my fiancé loves the ability to spend every waking minute outdoors.

Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West
Key West; photo by Barry Fitzgerald

Because we love to travel, we knew we wanted to plan our wedding on a budget. Why spend an extra few thousand dollars? Through my research, I discovered that having a destination wedding was going to be cheaper than a traditional wedding.

Let me break it down for you: We estimated about 150 wedding attendees. The ceremony location we were going to book at home would have totaled about $1,000 for the combined cost of location, officiant, and very basic decorations. The reception after the ceremony was a minimum charge of $7,000. Yikes! We knew we were in way over our heads. A minimum charge of $8,000? We could plan three nice vacations with that!

The thought of getting married on a beach in the Keys came naturally to me.

We decided there had to be cheaper—and way more fun—alternatives, and I began my Google marathon. I searched wedding packages in Europe, Australia, Fiji, Bali, Alaska, and so many more. But I wasn’t satisfied with the results. The packages were too close to the cost of the traditional wedding, if not more expensive, and we decided the locations were just too far for guests to visit.

When we started thinking about Florida, the thought of getting married on a beach in the Keys came naturally to me. I could picture myself standing under a palm tree even as I was typing the words into my Google search box. I came across several links for companies that specialized in weddings in the Keys. After days of searching, and nearly giving up, I finally found a company that gave me hope that we could plan this destination budget wedding.

Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West

 

After deciding on the location, I recommend hiring a wedding company to handle all arrangements. You and the wedding planner are going to spend a lot of time getting to know each other, discovering your idea of a perfect wedding. Then they take it from there, which is the best part, because remember, you’re planning a destination wedding. You’ll be nowhere near the location until a day or two before you take your vows.

And then they take it from there, which is the best part, because remember, you’re planning a destination wedding. 

After booking my beach wedding ceremony, I quickly started reviewing the rental market in Key West. We decided on a Friday wedding, because we wanted people to have a chance to attend the wedding and enjoy the location we picked. Staying in the Keys isn’t cheap, but we wanted to splurge for a beach house rental with Vacation Homes of Key West. There are dozens of choices that fit any budget. We found a beach house that sleeps 14, which was just enough for us and our wedding party. Splitting the cost, no one is paying more than $500 for their week-long stay in the Florida Keys!

Let’s breakdown the cost one last time: For the traditional wedding back home, it would cost a minimum charge of $8,000. And that’s just for one night of partying. For a week-long stay in the beautiful Florida Keys, it’s costing us less than half that price! Plus, we’ve splurged on daily excursions, including a day trip on a yacht, snorkeling, parasailing, and nights out on the town, and all these are included in our costs.

There’s a myth floating around that says you can’t plan an extravagant destination wedding while on a budget. I’m living proof that you can.

Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West

 

About Danielle Rose

Danielle RoseDanielle Rose is a writer, editor, and adventuress. Danielle resides in the Midwest, where she spends her time at a local coffee shop planning her next vacation or plotting her next novel. In addition to her writing endeavors, she is also the owner and editor of Narrative Ink Editing LLC. When not writing, traveling, or writing about traveling, Danielle enjoys coffee, being outdoors, reading, binge watching movies and/or television series, and cheering for her favorite football team (Go Packers!). Visit Danielle on the Web: www.danielle-rose.com

17 thoughts on “Planning a Budget Destination Wedding in Key West

  1. Avatar
    Jamie
    August 9, 2017
    Reply

    Hi! Could you give me some wisdom on how you did the reception? My fiance and I are paying for our wedding on our own as my parents have passed away. It seems like this may be the best option but how do you then do a reception?

  2. Avatar
    Kathy
    February 20, 2017
    Reply

    Did you have a reception?? If somwhere and what was the cost. Looking for April 2018. 40 peps! Thanks

  3. Avatar
    Arlene
    October 26, 2016
    Reply

    Interested in a small romantic wedding on the beach. Maybe 20 people total. Looking for pricing. Everything included (Flowers, pictures, music and dinner reception.) This would be in Sept. of 2017. Can you give me an estimated price? Thank You!

    • Avatar
      Heather
      January 22, 2017
      Reply

      Did you every find a place in the keys that included everything you mentioned above?

  4. Avatar
    Brandie
    May 12, 2016
    Reply

    Where was the reception and how much?

  5. Avatar
    B rand
    April 19, 2016
    Reply

    Where did you have your receptiona and how much was it?

  6. Avatar
    Nicole
    April 10, 2016
    Reply

    Hi! I’m a fellow die hard Packer fan from Milwaukee but now live in San Antonio. We are planning our destination wedding in Key West in July of this year. Love the all inclusive white glove package! But we are stuck at reception venue… A couple of options have fallen through and the package doesn’t include reception. We have only 25 guests. Where did you have yours and what was the cost?

  7. Avatar
    Jessica
    April 7, 2016
    Reply

    Hey! Thanks for sharing! If you dont mind me asking how much did you end up paying overall? And what venue?
    Thanks in advance!
    Jessica

    • Danielle Rose
      April 7, 2016
      Reply

      Hi, Jessica!

      Are you referring to the actual wedding? I went with the All-Inclusive White Glove package, which is $2,780.00. I opted for this package because it included an hour of photography, the cake, flowers, decor, hair/makeup, and a live musician. You can always email me with more questions: Danielle@Danielle-Rose.com. 🙂

      Danielle

  8. Avatar
    Nicole
    July 18, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this information! I literally just sent Weddings To Go an email about a possibly for a wedding there! We were going to have our wedding at home, in PA, but were quoted for $20,000 JUST FOR FOOD! Not even alcohol or rental fee! My dad almost fainted! I’m so excited after reading so many good reviews on this company and can hardly wait to sink my toes into that beautiful sand!

    • Danielle Rose
      July 19, 2015
      Reply

      Hi, Nicole! Glad to hear you enjoyed my article. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have. You can always email me: Danielle@Danielle-Rose.com. My husband and I got married in Key West on May 1st. It was a beautiful wedding, and we’re SO happy we did the destination wedding. Best of luck!

  9. Avatar
    Brittany
    February 26, 2015
    Reply

    Great ideas, and thanks for sharing!

    • Danielle Rose
      February 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for reading, Brittany! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂

  10. Avatar
    auntie Kris
    February 25, 2015
    Reply

    I’ve always said…you are truly amazing and I am so very proud of you. Again…you will succeed in everything you do or touch. This is just another example of that.

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