Hemingway House Key West Wedding
Leslie + Daniel’s Hemingway House Key West Wedding
“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye — that was the trouble — I wanted to kiss you good night — and there’s a lot of difference.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Six toed cats, wild roosters, and tropical winds set the scene. Add in heaps of love and that pretty much sums up this dream destination wedding weekend. From their sunset welcome cruse to the mobile DJ jamming with the group while walking down Duval street to end the night, Leslie and Daniel’s wedding was such a blast to photograph. I loved every minute, including the two hours they gave us to wander around Key West for their bride and groom portraits. I am so very thankful to have captured their celebrations.
Q+A from Leslie + Daniel:
We knew we wanted a destination wedding and when we began to explore our options, The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, FL came to mind. I had been several times and loved it. Daniel and I are both Hemingway fans and he trusted me enough to agree without seeing the venue or having ever been to Key West. When we reached out to the venue, I believe it was the summer of 2016, they had two dates for spring available—one in April and one in March. We chose the April date but by the time I called back, it was gone. It worked out because 3/4 was an easy date to remember and as a friend pointed out, the only date that is a sentence: “March Fourth”!
Planning a destination wedding is much easier when you don’t have your heart set on very specific things like a type of flower or a certain hue of fabric for your table runners. So, I sent our florist and Vicky, our coordinator at the Hemingway home, a link to our Pinterest board. From there, there wasn’t much panning aside from a few phone calls and emails. To make things even easier, we opted for a buffet and two large family style farm tables with no seating chart. We also skipped formal bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a color theme. We wanted a classy but casual, laid-back experience not only for our guests but for our planning purposes as well.
As some of our friends and family had yet to meet—we had 65 guests from across the country and a few from the UK—we decided to do a sunset sail welcome party in lieu of a traditional rehearsal dinner. The weather didn’t exact work in our favor, it was a windy weekend in Key West, but it was wonderful to have everyone together for the shared experience.
Fortunately, the weather was much better the following day for our wedding. The morning started with hair and makeup by Marie-Pierre who was a rockstar. Throughout the morning, friends stopped by to say hi, which was so much fun for me. Daniel went on a bike ride and grabbed some lunch with friends. We did our first look on the grounds of our hotel, Casa Marina.
After taking photos with Stacy at locations around Key West including the TKTK – we arrived at the Hemingway Home with plenty of time to spare in advance of our 6 p.m. ceremony where our mutual friend, Dan Dark, was our officiant. Daniel’s son, Oliver, and my best friend’s daughter, Zuri, walked as our ring bearer and flower girl, respectively. Daniel and I made the decision to write our vows the afternoon before the wedding. From the gorgeous gardens and the beautiful house and of course, the six-toed cats everywhere, it was the ideal venue for us.
Leslie: my favorite and funniest moments were one for me. Our vows were so similar, without having seen each others we referenced the same inside jokes. And Dan, who knows us both so well, made me laugh many times during the ceremony.
Daniel: my favorite moment was a few minutes Leslie and I had alone on a bench together after the ceremony. It was really special to have those few moments. And the funniest was the mobile DJ dance party set up for us by the amazing DJ Frenchie. We set our for Duval Street with our friends and family wearing glow-in-the-dark accessories, walking along as the DJ blasted our favorite hip-hop songs.
We went back and forth on our first dance song, deciding during the reception which we would dance to, which was “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb. Our runner ups were “Your Song” by Elton John and “At Last” sung by Beyonce. We took a few dance lessons but didn’t do a single step from them once we hit the dance floor.
Groom and mom: “Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies. Daniel’s mom and his father who passed away a few years ago, danced to the song at their wedding.
Bride and father: I have some great memories singing “American Pie” with my dad so instead of a traditional dance, we did the slow intro alone then asked our guests to join us on the dance floor.
We really couldn’t have asked for more on our wedding day. It was perfect.
Vendors: Getting ready venue: Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina, Ceremony + Reception: Hemingway House, Bride’s gown: Theia Devon, Brides shoes: Badgley Mischka, Fascinator/Veil: Emilliner, Makeup + Hair studiomariepierre.com
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Midwest Wedding Photographer based in Indianapolis
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