March 14, 2023
Amanda and Justin’s Key West elopement was filled with pizza, arcade games, lanterns, and pool jumping! It was the epitome of doing whatever TF you want to do for your elopement!
Amanda and Justin traveled from the cold north to come to hang in a tropical paradise in the dead of winter for their elopement. In this blog, we will tell the story of how Amanda and Justin met, their decision to elope, the planning process, and all the fun details of their day!
A story in Amanda + Justin’s own words with a little sprinkling of Anna pizzazz in there:
Amanda and Justin met in some of the most awkward years of school – 8th and 9th grade. One day Amanda brought her laptop to school. It was the early 2000s so bringing a laptop to school was like seeing a celebrity – totally unexpected and awe-striking.
One day Justin was sitting across from Amanda and looked over at her and said, “hey, can you get on Ebay?” Amanda awkwardly responded, “well ya, but I’m not connected to the internet”. This was back when you needed to actually connect your computer to a wire (wifi, who?). This opened up a 5-minute conversation about what they were currently bidding on Ebay. At the end of the conversation, Justin looked over at Amanda and said, “I don’t know your real name, so I’m just going to call you Ebay.”
For the next week or so every time Justin and Amanda passed each other in the hallway, he’d let out a resounding “EEEEBBBAAAAAAAYYY”. A few years later, they were reunited in a study hall. They were chatting with other students when Justin looked at Amanda and asked, “You’re Ebay, aren’t you?!?” Amanda shyly replied yes and was instantly met with unexpected excitement. They started hanging out, realized they were meant for each other, and the rest is history.
When Justin proposed to Amanda, it was in her family’s horse barn. Amanda had just come in from a horse ride, hot and sweaty, and when she had her back turned Justin grabbed her shoulder, and turned her around, and dropped on one knee with a ring box. About a minute after Justin proposed, Amanda’s dad walked past the barn and saw that we were locked in a hug, and totally killed the moment.
Amanda and Justin’s decision to elope came from a place of wanting a day that they could claim was 100% theirs. As true introverts, they both hate being the center of attention and having a lot of eyes on them. It was only natural that their decision to elope came from a place of comfort. Over the years, they’ve focused on being incredibly responsible adults, which caused them to never have taken a vacation together. Eloping seemed like the best way to make it official and be able to go on an incredible adventure with each other for the very first time. Amanda put it best when she told me that “we just wanted to be us, to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we support each other. It’s about us dammit; not about someone else [having] a good time.”
When we started planning Amanda told me she wanted two things: a total adventure and to recreate the floating lantern scene from Disney’s Tangled. Having never seen the movie, it was a requirement that I logged into Disney+ and started watching it to really understand the vision.
Part of the planning process involves a lengthy questionnaire where I dive deep into what makes the couple “them”. After getting Amanda and Justin’s questionnaire back, it was clear that they spent tons of time being super creative together, staying up way too late playing video games, and craved being immersed in the tropical nature of Key West.
Using all that information as a base, I crafted a day that was 100% focused around them being themselves, enjoying all that Key West had to offer them, and finding a cool hang-out that they could play vintage video games together!
It was incredibly fun planning this 8-hour elopement day for Amanda and Justin!
Late morning, I met Amanda and Justin at the Margaritaville Resort where they’d both get ready. Amanda had her hair and makeup dreams come true by the incredible HMUA, Frankie Key West. Their hotel room was separated into two rooms which allowed Justin to hang out and watch TV while Amanda spent the morning getting ready. This was the best layout for an elopement with a first look!
Once Amanda was ready, we staged the first look down in the courtyard which featured tons of lush tropical greenery. When Justin turned, Amanda was met with a soon-to-be-husband that was freakin’ smitten with her. After a cute victory dance, we headed off to the courthouse to make it OFFICIAL. Oh, did I mention they rented a Jeep to really get married in style?
Once things were officially official, we headed to the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens where they would exchange vows. In the garden, there was a cute wall covered in greenery and a trickling waterfall. The moment was celebrated by walking the garden and really taking in nature as husband and wife.
In true Key West fashion, we headed to Duval Street to walk around, check out the scene, grab some pizza, and video games. To be completely honest, I thought that Key West would be the last place to have a vintage video game scene with a great craft beer selection, but I was totally wrong. The Retro Room is tucked away off Duval Street and had tons of free vintage video games for patrons to play. We grabbed some saki and Amanda and Justin played all the games their little hearts desired!
As the night came to a close, we headed to Smathers beach to re-create the Tangled lantern scene. While my amazing husband helped set up the scene with LED floating lanterns, we spent some time snapping portraits with the most epic sunset, popped champagne to commemorate the day, and had the official “marriage handshake“.
As a totally last-minute and spontaneous decision, Amanda and Justin wanted to jump in the resort’s pool because why TF not? You can do whatever you want on your elopement day! While I’m sure the hotel guests were confused, it was just another way that Amanda and Justin proved that this day was truly dedicated to them and doing whatever the hell they wanted. Best Day Ever.
Are you totally inspired to elope in Key West and ready to start planning your own Key West elopement? Let’s rip it, sister! I’m here help you craft a day that’s totally unique to who you are as a couple. Period.
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