It’s a New Car!

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One of the things you have to get use to when living on a little island is the limited amount of choices you have when it comes to products. So, if you’re getting married in Key West be sure to pack everything you need. Or ask me, and I can tell you if something you’re looking for is available here. Of course, you don’t need much while you’re here…a couple pairs of shorts, a couple shirts, a bathing suit and a pair of flip flops pretty much covers it any time of year no matter where in Key West you go!

Once or twice a year most of the locals in Key West day trip the 160 miles to Miami to stock up on whatever they can’t get here. Hubby and I did that yesterday. The lease was up on my car and it was time to trade it in on another. We do have two car dealerships on the island but neither offer my car. So, off we went to Miami and ended up with a new car, some new clothes and even a new living room ceiling fan!

By 3pm we were done with the mainland and headed home. As soon as we crossed over the 18 mile stretch which connects the mainland to the Keys everything changed. Traffic disappeared, speed limits lowered, the air felt clearer and the water bluer. It’s good to be back in the Keys.

As for my new car….it’s the perfect Keys car!


Beach Wedding and an Around the Town Photo Shoot

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Katia and Zsolt wanted more than just a beach wedding. They wanted to be photographed at many of the historic Key West sites. No problem! After the ceremony we hopped in the car and headed off to all of the Key West “must see” places. It’s such a little island, we had no trouble stopping everywhere the happy couple had in mind, and even added a few sites they hadn’t thought of. And, everywhere we went, people cheered and applauded as soon as Katia stepped out of the car in her wedding dress!

Our two hours together was a blast and Katia and Zsolt went home with a whole island full of memories.

If there’s something that you want for your wedding, don’t be afraid to ask. If we can make it happen, we will!

What do I wear for a beach wedding?

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In Key West, you can go anywhere in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. And that’s how a lot of couples get married. I’ve married couples who were wearing everything from bathing suits to formal wear to Santa Claus suits. If you’re getting married on the beach, there are a few things to keep in mind:

It will probably be warm and sunny. But, that’s why you’re here! Depending on the time of year, the poor groom could melt in a suit. Key West formal is a pair of khaki shorts, a Tommy Bahama shirt and sandals.

Ladies, if you are wearing a long gown, it will get sandy. And maybe a little wet. Also, heels sink right into the sand. Leave them at the edge of the beach and stick your toes in the sand or wear flip flops. Also, there’s probably a breeze at the beach, so take that into consideration while planning your hairdo. Also, if you’re getting married in the summer it can get quite humid which is a consideration if you are wearing makeup.

So, think tropical, warm, breezy and casual and you will look and feel absolutely perfect!

How Do We Get a Marriage License?

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Getting a marriage license in Florida is very easy. You have to get your marriage license in Florida to be married in Florida. But, that Florida license is valid everywhere in the U.S. If you live outside of Florida, there is no waiting period. Your marriage license is valid immediately. If you, or your fiancé, live in Florida there is a 3 day waiting period after you get your Marriage License unless you take the pre-marital course. A marriage license is valid for 60 days.

You can get your Marriage License at any courthouse in Florida, including Key West. You just go into the courthouse any time Monday through Friday from 8:30pm to around 4:30pm and tell them you’d like a Marriage License. The clerk will ask to see photo I.D. from each of you and will then give you the application to fill out, which will take you about 10 minutes.

If you have been married previously you do have to write down the date your last marriage ended, but no one will ask to see any paperwork. Once you’ve given the clerk the completed paperwork and $93.50 (no credit cards, please), the clerk will give you your license. That’s it! Bring your license to the ceremony and I’ll take care of it from there. Witnesses are not required in Florida.

Laura and Neil from Gulf Breeze, Florida got their marriage license in Milton, Florida. After the ceremony I notarized the license, recorded all the information and mailed it back to Milton where the courthouse will issue them a certified copy that they’ll receive in the mail. You don’t have to sign anything or worry about a thing once you give me you license. You can just relax and have fun, as Laura and Neil did as you can tell by this picture!


Bike Riding In March

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BFor all of you living up north, this has been a long difficult winter. I lived in the frozen north for years, so I definitely sympathize! Right now it’s 82 degrees in Key West, not a cloud in a brilliant blue sky and a soft ocean breeze. I was just speaking with a bride in Wisconsin where it’s 19 degrees and snowing. All you folks, come on down!

A lot of people think it gets really hot here in the summer. July and August are the hottest months but it rarely gets over 92 degrees. The record high was 100 degrees in 1886. What it does get in the summer months is humid! Just a short walk and you can be “glowing”. But, that’s what the ocean and swimming pools are for. So, don’t be afraid of coming down in the summer. Prices for hotels and airfare are a lot less when there’s no snow up north.

If you decide to get married in the summer, just be sure to dress appropriately. A sundress for the bride, a pair of khaki shorts and a short sleeved shirt for the groom and you are Key West formal.

My hat’s off to all of you braving this horrible winter in the north, and now….I’m going for a bicycle ride!

Cruisin’ To Key West

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If you’re on a cruise ship and Key West is one of your Ports Of Call, you can get married, or have your Vow Renewal Ceremony while you’re here. If you don’t live in Florida, there is no waiting period after you get your marriage license, so you can just hop off your ship and walk the 3 blocks to the courthouse where you’ll receive your marriage license after filling out the paperwork. If you live in Florida there is a 3 day waiting period after you get your marriage license, so you’ll need to get it at your local courthouse and bring it with you. At the courthouse you’ll have to show photo I.D. and the license will cost you $93.50. If you’re having a Vow Renewal, well, you don’t even need a license.

Then grab a pink taxi and head over to Smathers Beach which is on the opposite side of the island from where the cruise ships dock, about 2 miles. I’ll meet you there, we’ll have the ceremony under a palm tree and then back you go to your cruise ship to explore and enjoy the rest of your time here in Key West.

No stress!

How To Get Here

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Key West is 160 miles from Miami (180 miles from the Miami airport) and 90 miles from Cuba. You can fly directly to Key West, drive down from the mainland or take a cruise. To the surprise of many, we do have an airport. In fact, the first international flight was from the Key West Airport to Cuba in 1913. So, you will be flying into the Key West International Airport. Direct flights originate in Charlotte, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. The view of the Caribbean waters from the air is stunning.

If you’re driving, you’ll cross 42 bridges between the mainland and Key West. It’s a beautiful drive with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, but it’s not a speedy drive. The road is only 2 lanes most of the way and you’ll go through several small towns where the speed limit is 35mph, and they mean it! You’ll also go through the protected Key Deer area. If you’re lucky you’ll see one of our Key Deer, animals that grow no bigger than large dogs and are found only in the Keys. And, you’ll feel the difference in attitude as soon as you cross into the Keys. Everything slows down. So, take your time and enjoy the ride.

If Key West is one of your ports of call on your cruise, well, that’s a whole blog onto itself! I think I’ll save that topic for next time!



Getting Around

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Key West is a very small island, only 2 miles wide by 4 miles long and extremely flat! In fact the highest elevation in Key West is a spot called Solares Hill and it is 18 feet above sea level.

Being such a small island and with so much architecture from the 19th century, roads are narrow and parking for cars is scarce and expensive. With the beautiful weather and laid back lifestyle, bicycles are the perfect way to see the island at your leisure. There are plenty of places to rent bicycles, you can even have them delivered to your hotel.

Bicycles were the way that Renee and Matt from Colorado Springs, CO arrived at Smathers Beach for their Vow Renewal Ceremony. They were staying at a B&B at the other end of the island so it took them a leisurely 15 minutes to get to Smathers. On the way to the beach they found many nooks and crannies of this island that they were going to explore after their ceremony. Places that you’d never see cruising by in a car.

So, when you get here rent bikes and go explore. And, make sure you have lights for riding after dark. You’ll discover parts of Key West a lot of people never see and you won’t feel nearly as guilty about stopping at Kilwins for ice cream or fudge when you know you’ll pedal it off!


Birth Certificates Are Not Required

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A lot of people ask me if they need to show their Birth Certificates to get a marriage license. The answer is no. All you will need to show the Clerk at the Courthouse is your photo I.D. It may be your driver’s license, passport or any other I.D. that matches your name with your face. They just want to make sure you are who you say you are.

And, if you have been married previously you will need to write on the license application the date your last marriage ended, but no one will ask to see any paperwork.

People come from all over the world to get married in Key West for many reasons: the warm weather, the beautiful beaches and because it’s so easy!

So, no matter where you are from consider Key West for your destination wedding. Charline and Mike from Belgium did just that and were married on Smathers Beach on a beautiful day while back home they were expecting a high of 40 degrees. Brrrrrr!

Same Sex Marriage is Now Legal In Florida

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At the stroke of Midnight, Tuesday, January 6, 2015 became an historic day in Florida’s history. At that moment, same sex marriage became legal in Florida and the courthouse opened up to grant marriage licenses. There were more than 400 people at the courthouse celebrating the first 3 gay couples who legally wed.

36 states now recognize same sex marriages.

There is still a 3 day waiting period after you get your marriage license if you live in Florida unless you take the 4 hour pre-marital course. There is no waiting period if you live outside of Florida.

Congratulations to the 3 couples that took the plunge at midnight on Tuesday and congratulations to all those couples now eligible to be legally wed!

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