Quick Update

July 29, 2014 by Laurine

There was a new development reported in today’s Key West Citizen. The two gentlemen who sued in Monroe County in order to marry,are hoping their case will go to the Supreme Court of the USA. Here’s what the Citizen said:

“Key Largo attorney Bernadette Restivo filed a 6-page motion Monday asking the 3rd District Court of Appeal to send the case directly to the Florida Supreme Court because the case is, “of great public importance,” and will have a “great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has 10 days to respond before the 3rd DCA makes it’s ruling, Restivo said. ”

Again, we’ll keep you posted.

Almost…….

July 29, 2014 by Laurine

On the Gay Marriage front, there has been some wonderful news in both Monroe County (where Key West is) and in Miami-Dade County. In both counties, lawsuits were brought by same sex couples, challenging Florida’s ban on same sex marriage.

Judge Garcia ruled first, in Monroe County, and declared that Florida’s ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. He ruled on a Thursday, and early Friday, the clerk of the court in Monroe county was preparing to issue licenses to same sex couples as early as the following Tuesday.

But, and a very big BUT, Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General filed an appeal in the Third District Court later that day. The Judge stayed the decision until the appeal was heard which meant no licenses could be issued to same sex couples.

Last Friday, Judge Zabel in Miami-Dade also declared the ban unconstitutional, but immediately after had to stay his decision pending the appeal. So far, I have no information at this time as to  when that appeal will be heard, but I’d like to share the words of Equality Florida, emailed after the Miami-Dade ruling was stayed:

“Still, today’s ruling brings us closer than we’ve ever been to the freedom to marry in Florida. Now this case also heads to a higher court which hopefully will result in a victory that will apply state wide!”

We’ll keep you posted.

Getting Marriage Right

July 15, 2014 by Laurine

A Key West DJ friend recently did a facebook post on another DJ’s dilemma, looking for input from other wedding professionals.

The way it was put on the post, a DJ performed at a wedding where the party was rocking, the dance floor was constantly full and every guest expressed that they had a good time. The DJ ended the evening, feeling that he had done his job very well.

Not long after, the DJ received an email from the bride, saying that she wanted to meet about the DJ’s performance. Apparently, everything that the DJ did to ensure that the guests had a good time, “took away” from the emphasis on the Bride and it was her day. The Dj wanted to know what to do.

Actually, the BRIDE needs advice on what to do. And it’s very simple. THANK THE DJ FOR THE GOOD TIME AND THE JOB WELL DONE. THEN GROW UP REALLY FAST, IF YOU WANT TO SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE!

Nothing in marriage is “all about you” whether you’re the bride or the groom and if I have to tell you that in this blog, sorry to say, you are just not ready for marriage.

Emailing

July 6, 2014 by Laurine

I just got another one of those emails asking me to describe our services. Would you like me to translate the complete works of Shakespeare into Armenian and email that too??? It would be as useless as anything I could write in response to an email inquiry like that. How do I know what to respond if I do not know what you are looking for? There are as many variables in Key West weddings as there are in the people who become brides and grooms and it is impossible to answer vague questions like this.

First off, we spent a long time writing our website and putting in every general thing we could about Key West and our weddings. If you’ve found our email address, you must have found our website. And while I never mind going over those wheels again with people, I do not like having to reinvent them each time I answer these overly general inquiries. And because I know that any answer that I write is not ever going to be good, I am generally not as diligent as I would be if people asked specific questions or gave me even just a little bit of information about themselves or their ceremony,

So, what to do about this? If instead of emailing me overly general emails and me having to spend hours writing volumes to not really tell you anything you want to know, how about PHONING if you are not certain what you want to know, The email that set me off today was sent from an iPhone. I swear, one easy phone call would have kept us all happy and saved a lot of emailing time.

I can be reached anytime at 305-393-5313. We can chat, you can ask any questions you like, I will provide answers and you might just get the information you need.

Seaweed

July 6, 2014 by Laurine

I was just hunting for the draft of a blog post I wrote a while ago, and I came upon a little box on the page. It said “Top Searches” and then “why so much seaweed in beaches in Key West”.

That really surprised me. Why? Because there really isn’t that much seaweed on Smather’s Beach, one of the most popular beaches for weddings. I did a ceremony a couple of weeks ago and there was seaweed. But, and its a big but, it had been a long time since I’d seen seaweed there. Probably last summer, come to think of it. Luckily the couple was ok with it.

It takes a particular set of weather conditions for the algae to bloom and for it to be blown into the island’s shores. Those conditions are most prevalent in summer, or Key West’s rainy season. Fortunately, they don’t happen all that often and we only see seaweed at a very small number of our ceremonies.

Some people don’t mind it. It is, after all, a natural part of the ecology of our island. I have had people who were adamant about there being no seaweed and I have volunteered to rake it up for them should it occur. I have not had to rake once, but the promise still holds if seaweed is not your thing.

Domestic Partnership

May 8, 2014 by Laurine Laxer

We have gone on record many times in support of legal gay marriage in our state of Florida. We hope that it becomes legal in the very near future, but all that we can offer now are commitment ceremonies with a promise to marry the couples gratis when that day comes. We can also guide you to the Key West Domestic Partnership Agreement, so that you will have a legal document for the purposes of health insurance, banking needs and medical situations.

You do not have to live in Key West to register, but you do need to appear in person with your partner at City Hall. You must not be married to anyone else or in a domestic partnership with anyone else. You  agree to share the common necessities of life and to be responsible for each other’s welfare and you must share the primary residence with each other. There are a few more requirements, like proof of partnership, all of which can be found on the City of Key West’s web page on domestic partnership. Here’s the link: http://www.keywestcity.com/egov/apps/services/index.egov?view=detail;id=45

The cost to register is only $50.  It can be amended for $25 and is dissolved either by the death of one of the partners or notifying the City and paying a $25 fee. We urge all same sex couples to consider both having a commitment ceremony and registering for a Domestic Partnership.

 

 

Valentine’s Special

January 29, 2014 by Laurine Laxer

I had a call, this week, from last year’s Valentine’s Day couple. They had moved recently and their music cd from their wedding had been broken. They wanted to know if could replace it, including the photo on the front. OF COURSE I could, and I was glad to do so.

It makes me think about how special Valentine’s Day Weddings are. I have one, this year, at 10:30 am with a fabulous couple who I have been corresponding with for quite a while. I am very excited about their wedding, but I realized that we have a whole afternoon and evening, with no weddings. and that maybe, I. the last of the old red hot romantics, should post a Valentine’s Day Special here on the blog.

Here goes: Officiant, Photographer, Wedding Cake, Champagne toast with souvenir toasting flutes, Custom Vows, CD music of your choice for the ceremony and a Tropical Wedding Certificate, available after 2 pm on February 14th, 2014 – $350. If you want to take your chances and have me do a dozen photos instead of hiring the photographer, the price is $250.

To book, give me a call at 305-393-5313,

What Do People Usually Do?

January 19, 2014 by Laurine Laxer

That’s a pretty loaded question that I get asked time after time, especially when it comes to ceremonies other than weddings. It’s easy to understand why. There are a lot of traditions associated with weddings and no matter how many traditions are kept or thrown aside in a wedding, everyone pretty much knows what those traditions are. Not so with other ceremonies, ceremonies as diverse as vow renewals and same sex commitment/marriage ceremonies.

There’s an obvious reason why there are no litanies of tradition associated with either of these ceremonies and that is because both vow renewals and same sex marriage and commitment are relatively new celebrations. That both are becoming more and more popular, is definite, but there are still no great traditions in  either, for guidance.

I, personally, believe that marriage is a covenant between two people, regardless of sex, and I view both sexes as equal. Therefore, for me, any traditions that exist in a traditional marriage between people of opposite sexes, should also be true for an equally valid marriage between people of the same sex. In other works, if it’s good for the goose and the gander, it’s good for the gander and the gander and the goose and the goose. PERIOD. Make your own traditions if you like, but know that ALL of the old traditions are equally valid, no matter what the sex of each partner is.

Which brings us to vow renewals. One way of approaching a vow renewal, is to repeat the events of the original wedding and commitment, and that works, when that’s what people want. My favorite way of creating a vow renewal ceremony is to use a bit of the old – something from the marriage ceremony, even if it’s the traditional vows, and something new – maybe a little history of the marriage, maybe a celebration of children and family, maybe something in between, maybe a little metamorphosis into a new future……………

For me, Vow Renewals are celebrations of YOUR marriage and I applaud EVERY marriage where the couple is prepared to commit all over again! So yeah, keep the old traditions that you like and make up a few new ones, based on the things YOU love in your marriage. You can use the old vows, you can exchange the same rings, or you can do something else entirely. As long as you say “I do”, “I still do”, pretty much anything goes…………………….

The Packages & The Specials Versus What Do You Want?

December 20, 2013 by Laurine Laxer

All of us Wedding Planners post Packages on our Web Sites that offer a number of services grouped together. The Package price offers a discount compared to choosing each service at its individual price. Every Wedding Company offers packages that each hopes will entice you, the buyer. In discounting services in Packages, every company hopes that the increased volume in bookings because of the lower price of the Package will offset the losses involved in the price discount. Pretty much everywhere and in every industry, that’s the way the world works.

Nor so at Key West Wedding Services. We recognize that EVERY ceremony, be it wedding, vow renewal, commitment ceremony, same sex marriage or anniversary celebration, DESERVES to be as special as you, our clients are, and not one of our packages is set in stone.

Ask me what the package options are and I’ll ask you what you want and what your budget is. Then I’ll customize a package for you and try to come in under your budget,

I’ve been privileged enough to live in Key West for the last 26 years and I know how expensive everything is on this Island. I deal with it every day. I also choose to live in this Paradise and have learned how to make it affordable.

Accomodations, as I said in the last post, are non negotiable and not often reasonable, but………………. outside of that, everything else can be reasonable, negotiable, and, I hope, if Key West Wedding Services are involved, absolutely perfect!

 

Accomodations and the Cost of Paradise

December 12, 2013 by Laurine Laxer

Just like all of you, I read the bride magazines and I watch all the wedding shows on TV. I must tell you, I laugh and laugh and laugh at the broadcasted cost of those weddings because, if you look at the website of ANY Key West wedding company, our prices are a total joke compared to the stuff on tv. Not one wedding company, ourselves included, charge nearly as much as wedding planners in other places and the reason is very simple.

Our little bit of Paradise, Key West, is a very small island, 2 by 4 miles according to the official statistics, and space is at a premium. That means that we rent tiny boxes for apartments at Manahattan penthouse prices, the cost of buying a house is outrageous and YOUR hotel rooms are going to cost you a lot of money. There is only so much space.

There is also only so much that you can do to improve on Nature’s beauty on our beaches. If you really feel the need to decorate your wedding space, I don’t think that our island is the place for you. Anywhere you choose to marry in Key West has a natural sub tropical beauty that is unsurpassed in the continental USA.

OK, so I’m telling you that the price of wedding coordinators in Key West is a colossal bargain and that there are many incredibly beautiful places to have your wedding here that need no decoration and that don’t cost a cent to use. But, if you’ve paid attention to me, you will realize that the MAJOR cost in having a Key West wedding is your accomodations and those of your guests.

We do not have a magic formula or any super connections to lower the advertised price that you can find on line for ANY kind of accomodations from hotels to private houses and everything in between. No one does. If you come down in Season – the end of October (Goombay and Fantasy Fest), Christmas through New Year’s and the end of January through the beginning of May, you are going to be charged top dollar for your accomodations and there is no way round it.

Just accept that your major expenses in your Key West Destination Wedding is your travel and your accomodations and that’s just the way our Key West world is. There is nothing that I can do to make it any less expensive.

What I can do, is help you plan a Key West wedding at an extremely reasonable price. We think that we offer the best services at the best prices on the island. I write custom ceremonies.  I hold your hand through the whole process and help you with ANYTHING that you need. I can help you with flowers, create a custom cake that is delicious for one tenth the price you can find elsewhere and our photographer is superb………….just check out our Gallery.

What we can’t do is find you cheap accomodations in  Key West. There just aren’t any!