Real Weddings

Southernmost House Wedding – Shelby & Jake

“Shelby and I met on a boat I was working on while she was working as a camp counselor for Reef Relief in 2013. We survived a “long”-distance relationship while she earned her Masters in Marine Biology from the University of Miami. After graduation, Shelby moved to Key West and began her career researching corals while I transitioned from working in the water sports industry to a teaching career. Three years later, we are enjoying living in Key West and love sharing our tropical home with friends and family. Sunny is our newest family member and has become quite famous around the island. After working through the transition from boatmate to substitute teacher to full time 8th grade pre-algebra teacher, I was finally able to get in the position financially to propose to Shelby the right way. Something fairytale-esque she expected from growing up watching Disney princesses. I’ll start with the ring. I ordered a customized diamond setting on-line but when I finally pulled the trigger the customer service agent told me the ring would arrive the day before we were leaving for the Bahamas (where I planned on proposing). Fast forward and the ring was not ready on time, so the company sent me a replacement stone which we later replaced with the original after the fact. So the ring was finally in my hands and I couldn’t wait to get it onto hers. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale from Key West (four hours) to save some money on our first real vacation as a couple by ourselves. All other vacations that we have been so spoiled with revolved around our friends or our families – not our own exploration and relaxation. So we parked in the long-term parking lot four miles from the airport and took the shuttle. After arriving at Silver Air to check in our bags, Shelby asked me quizzically, “Where is your backpack?” Mind you – the ring was stuffed inside two socks – inside my sneaker at the bottom of our traveling backpack which also contained both of our passports as well as $1,000 in spending cash for the weekend. Without responding to Shelby – or maybe just cussing – I “Usain Bolted” to the transportation loop and tried to find the right bus to change. After failing by running around aimlessly and calling their main office, I asked someone how to contact and they said to just wait for the next bus. So I waited…patiently. They radioed up to the bus and they had noticed my black backpack. They waited for us at the next terminal, I ran up, gave the bus driver $20 after he pretty much told me to pay him, and jogged back to Silver Air to check our luggage. Fun Stuff. After enduring that hell, the hell Shelby barely understood, the rest of the traveling was a breeze. Shortly after dropping our bags in the condo, we strolled across the street to the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a few). We enjoyed the view for a few before heading to the restaurant for a quick bite and drink at the bar. Coco’s Beach Bar was the perfect spot to meet our photographer as the mechanics for Silver Air were being put up by their company in Treasure Cay. While Shelby went to the bathroom, I talked to my new best friend Luigi who was very excited about the prospect of filming the big moment. We paid our bartender while we slowly paced to the mini breaking waves. We got a few standard tilt-headed smiles before I checked to make sure this camera-man was good enough. Looked good enough through the preview screen. So I asked for one more which Shelby questioned as I would NEVER ask for just one more picture. After a few nervous moments, I dropped on my knee, told her I loved her and asked her if she would be my wife. She didn’t really say anything coherently beyond, “Wait, what, are you…serious…,did you…how did you…did you know?!?!” Eventually she said of course she would marry me and she shared some beautiful tears. It was a great moment captured by Luigi and a perfect way to start our first real vacation together.”
 
Shelby said that “growing up, my parents always said they would help us have a destination wedding. Little did I know I would be living in that destination. When I first moved to Key West (before meeting Jake), I fell in love with the Southernmost House Hotel. It was absolutely beautiful, but I never thought I would be able to get married there. Four years later my dream came true. I used the house’s history and decor as a big part of planning my big day. I have always loved the bohemian, relaxed, elegant look and this Victorian structure on the water allowed me to run with that theme. Also, my favourite colour is pink, so that was a must. Since the wedding was on the water (Jake and I’s favourite past time) and because I am a marine biologist, we chose to go with a rustic, beach time. We used conch shells, other shells, sea stars and driftwood throughout the wedding decor. I let the bridesmaids choose their style of dress and each wore a different colour except my two sisters (co-maids of honours) they each wore a pattern of ivory with blush pink flowers. We wrote our own vows and chose a few passages that were unique to the two of us for the ceremony.”
 
For the decor, Shelby’s “mom found beautiful lanterns that were used as centrepieces on our tables and down the ceremony aisle, she contributed sea stars and conch shells, she found frames for photos and decor for the welcome table. Andrea Mungall from Petals & Twigs did an amazing job decorating the entire wedding with some of her own decor, as well as incorporating the decorations my mom brought. She set up all the tables with driftwood, lanterns, floral arrangements and sea creatures to go with my relaxed, beachy feel. The ceremony aisle was decorated with rose petal swirls that were stunning. The backdrop was simply babysbreath so that the beautiful blue ocean stood out behind it.”
 
“I cannot say enough about the florals for my wedding. Petals & Twigs did an exceptional job. The floral designs were used to set the entire mood of the wedding. Andrea took my ideas and created something better than I could have imagined. From the bridesmaids’ bouquets, to the bridal bouquet, to the centerpieces and ceremony backdrop, she hit it out of the park. The Southernmost House Hotel itself sets a mood and she was able to enhance it with the soft pinks, lavenders, whites and hints of greenery. Andrea did an amazing job decorating the entire wedding. She set up all the tables with driftwood, lanterns, floral arrangements and sea creatures to go with my relaxed, beachy feel. The ceremony isle was decorated with rose petal swirls that were stunning. The backdrop was simply babysbreath with the deep blue ocean behind it.”
 
“My mom helped me personalize the wedding day by listening to all my ideas for the year of planning and getting decorations that fit the theme I was going for. Jake and I personalized some kuzies as gifts for the guests and I got a beautiful Florida Keys Map made for use as our guestbook. Jake and I also got to personalize our food through Three Fine Cooks. Danni Becker worked endlessly with us to get the menu just right. We had items we both love to one specific favorite food for both the bride and groom. Jake chose fish tacos (anytime I bring home fish from work he asks me to make them) and I chose pizza balls (a play on pizza which is my absolute go to food).”
 
“I went to a few boutiques searching for the perfect dress. My sister, Morgan, told me I would cry when I found the right one-I didn’t believe her. Turns out, she was right. After trying on countless gowns that were just okay, I tried on a two piece dress from The Collection Bridal in Winter Park, FL. I was looking for a relaxed, yet elegant bohemian look. I had tears in my eyes as my two sisters, and my mom via FaceTime, watched me twirl around in the dress. The ivory lace Martina Liana gown was perfect.  Its all over lace gives a relaxed skirt a new twist. The Cora corset is simply stunning, its strapless sweetheart corset features fine lace in ivory. The back zips up with ease. The Sadie skirt is both elegant and relaxed with its all-over lace and pretty court train. Its a super light material, which was perfect for a Summer Ky West wedding. For my shoes, I chose from Betsey Johnson’s “Something Blue” line-the Blue Gem sandal in Ivory Satin. I do not enjoy wearing heels! Now for Jake’s attire, the first thing he said was “I do not want to wear a tie because I feel like I am choking!”-neither of us dress up often down here living the island life. So I started looking for something that was sophisticated, yet light material for the heat down here in the Southernmost Point. We decided on Perry Ellis white linen roll-up shirts and natural linen pants with a matching vest. He wore a brown belt and brown shoes.”
 

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Photographer: Freas Photography // Venue: Southernmost House // Event Planner: Soiree Key West, LLC // Caterer: Three Fine Cooks // Equipment Rentals: Prestige Party Rentals // Makeup Artist: Crystal Smith’s Theatrical Makeup // Floral Designer: Petals & Twigs // DJ: SoundWave Productions // Officiant: Weddings Key West

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