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Wedding in the keys

Boca Raton FL
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Wedding in the keys

I just planned a beautiful, CASUAL and inexpensive wedding for my out-of-state step son. Since many of us were driving in from other parts of Florida, and for a number of reasons- we found Marathon to be a perfect place to hold it.

The wedding turned out great...so I want to pass on some of the contacts I found. I did not ask any of the following for permission to put their contact info in this site- but since all are listed, and all probably wouldn't mind the business, and all were great- I thought it would be OK.

First off:

Sombrero Beach at MM 50 in Marathon is a local beach.

No fee to use it. It's on the ocean side- but curves around at its end so ceremonies done there will get fantastic sunset pictures.

The beach is clean, there is a very basic changing room. Can't bring glass bottles on the beach, and you must vacate at after sunset. Respect the fact that it is a local beach- and that you can't control the weather, dogs running by, loud boats ripping past...

Plan the ceremony one hour before sunset to ensure you can finish the cermony in time for plenty of sunset photos before it gets too dark.

We found a wonderful notary to officiate at the service: a very tasteful woman: Jill Atkinson; her number is (305) 743-2138. Her fee is just $125 to do the ceremony (she customized it wonderfully to include the bride's two sons ).

She works full time at an event/party store near the airport, but will call back eventually.

Jill does NOT do anything else with regards to the wedding other than show up at the beach when she's supposed to.

If you want someone to plan all the details for you try Bernadette: www.akeyswedding.com/; she was very helpful- just out of our wedding couple's price range-still quite reasonable though - and perhaps best for those who don't live in Florida and want everything taken care of. She'll customize and keep it down to whatever you want.

You can contact the following for other details however:

Hair: “Island Girl” hair salon-305-743-5459; a Chris there does go to hotels to do wedding hair, but cannot commit to that it. They prefer brides go to their salon (right smack in the middle of Marathon). Blow dry and simple styling- $40; up to $65 for more in depth styling.

Florist: Use Terry; her eddress is wildbynature@bellsouth.net. Her recommended wedding bouquet: a simple hand held bunch of dendrobium orchids- as many as you like, starting at $25 and up. She just started her own wedding flower business- not sure of the new website

Photog: We didn't use one to keep costs down, but a Mary Beth was highly recommended and sounds fun- she apparently always has all wedding couples laughing and enjoying their ceremony. She is at 305-743-8206. www.marybeth.photoreflect.com

Mary Beth’s Package: $500 includes:

1hour plus shoot BUT: if the sun sets and the light gets really beautiful, she will keep shooting past one hour at no charge to get more great pictures!

A small photo album with 30 enhanced photos; a CD with all images taken (up to 200- though she usually deletes any with closed eyes- etc, which can wean it down by 25%) plus the actual 30 enhanced photos are on the CD also- so you can make more copies of those- with pro-photog enhancements

PLUS: she puts the 30 photos on that website so any one can see them you tell about it (like friends who could not make the ceremony )


Many hotels to choose from- but the groom stubled on a high season find Hawk's Cay (MM 61) normal rates are $300 + usually- but if you ask for an island or garden view- you might get $159 (plus $10 daily resort fee)

For peak season (this was Feb 14) for a spotless modern hotel with a Caribbean feel that out of towners who don't know old Florida well, this is a great find.


Cake: I ordered a lovely "Lovers on the Beach " themed Wedding cake through the Publix grocery store right at MM 50. Double tiered but with shells not a wedding couple on it: came to $70 for 25 people. Call Marco, the bakery manager at (305) 289-2920


It was impossible for us to get a restaurant reservation on Valentine's Day and we neeeded dinner for 25...and the wedding couple did not want nor have the money for a reception at a high end restaurant...so we found a small extremely casusl place : Dockside Marina Bar + Restaurant -againat MM50!) that allowed us to take over a part of their place for our "after the ceremony" party. I cannot recommend this to everyone; you have to know I really mean casual "boaty" bar atmosphere. But it worked for us, and Bruce/manager andf Lee (cook) bent over backwards to help us out at every turn.


Marriage License:

If I'm not mistaken, as long as you are not a Florida resident, you can get your marriage license immediately; need only arrive in Florida a day or so before to get to a Clerk of the Court.

If you are a Florida resident there is a requirement about taking a pre-nup class (which also gives you a reduction in rate of $32. and waives a 3 day waiting period...no wait for out of state-ers)

Per the Clerk of the Court website:


You do not have to be a resident of Florida to apply for a marriage license; however, both parties must be present when applying. One of the following forms of identification is required for each party to obtain a marriage license:

Driver's license issued in the United States;

Federal or state identification card; or

Passport showing your name and date of birth.

Birth certificates or green cards are not acceptable. A blood test is not required.

If either party was married before, the manner in which the last marriage ended and the exact date the marriage ended are required. Copies of the death certificate or Final Decree of Divorce, Dissolution or Annulment are not required.

The cost of a license is $93.50.

If one applicant is a Florida resident and the other is not, they may both attend the course to receive the full benefit. If only the Florida resident attends the course, the three-day waiting period will still be required.

NOTE: You can go to any clerk in any county regardless which county you get married in (The Keys are Monroe County)

Marathon, Fl
Destination Expert
for Marathon
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1. Re: Wedding in the keys

Very nice report, thanks for sharing. Glad you enjoyed your time in the middle keys.

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2. Re: Wedding in the keys

I live in Virginia and I am using Bernadette from akeyswedding for my May 2007 wedding. She is providing my hair, makeup, flowers, photographer, videographer, cake, and even the champangne. Bernadette was able to assist me in getting my FL marriage license from out of state with no problem! I absolutely love her!!!!

Florida Keys
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3. Re: Wedding in the keys

My name is Jill Atkinson, Thank you for the nice feedback. I was just searching around the internet and found this site and came upon this message. I just wanted to update this since that wedding was awhile ago. I know own my own Party Rental Company, and we now do everything. We can plan your wedding or event from start to finish including the florists, photographers, cake, etc.... I am still a notary and also a reverend to perform the wedding ceremony's. We customize every event and work with any budget. So Please feel free to give us a call and try us out. My contact number has changed and it is 305-743-4466. If you want a stress free event please give us a call and we will gladly assist. Thanks again for the feedback I greatly appreciate it. Jill Atkinson from Mile Marker Party Rentals located in Marathon,Florida.

Marathon, Fl
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for Marathon
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4. Re: Wedding in the keys

Congratulations on your new venture Jill! You are the best!

Marathon, Florida
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5. Re: Wedding in the keys

I can vouch for Jill as one of the hardest working people in the Keys! She always goes above and beyond for any event she's involved in. It's my pleasure to know her.

Manchester, United...
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6. Re: Wedding in the keys

Congratulations,reading your post brought back great memories.My wife and i travelled from the UK to get married at the Banana bay/beach hotel in Marathon.We spent the morning on the beach at SOMBRERO,had lunch,then my wife had her hair styled at Island girl.We where married by a lovely lady at the hotel and her husband was the photographer.The photos are superb!!After swopping our vows we drank champagne and then WALKED next door to the Annette resteraunt and dined on gorgeous fresh lobster.We returned to our room about 10pm and then phoned our parents and relatives and informed them of our marriage(nobody knew we were getting married).The cost for everything was about 400 dollars,it was the best day of our lives and Marathon and the keys will always be in our hearts!!!

7. Re: Wedding in the keys

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