To say that Key West, Florida, is beautiful is a complete understatement. It is absolutely breath-taking!
Back in September, I had the privilege of spending four days in Key West, and I was introduced to all that it has to offer, specifically for same-sex weddings and honeymoons. And upon leaving, I was convinced it would be a perfect place for either or both. The place felt like an oasis from any problem. It had the charm of old Charleston with its historic architecture, the shopping of any major city, and the entertainment and vibe of New Orleans.
I was surprised to find out that Key West only has a population of a little over 25,000. It feels so much livelier than that small population could support! And yet, while feeling so full of life and urbane culture, the residents of the city were so warm and inviting, it felt like home. I remember taking a stroll from my guesthouse, The Equator, down to Duvall Street for some shopping. As I walked along the sidewalk, couples sitting on their porches greeted me with friendly smiles and hellos.
Dining there was one of the best parts of the trip. From lunch at the Waldorf—personally prepared and served by the chef—to a sunset dinner on the beach at the Westin Resort, needless to say, I ate well. The island has something to offer every palate, but with the sea on every side, it would be hard to find fresher seafood.
While there, I also had the opportunity to tour some amazing wedding venues and honeymoon destinations. We began our tour at the Little White House Museum, a home of former President Truman, which has an amazing outdoor wedding space that can cater to any size event.
One of my personal favorite venues was the Casa Marina Resort. Originally opened in 1920, the resort is now part of the Waldorf Astoria family of resorts and hotels. Casa Marina enjoys 1,100 feet of private beachfront and is less than a mile from the nightlife of Duval Street, not to mention being close to historic locations such as the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. From its gorgeous Spanish-style architecture to its floor-to-ceiling dark wood interior, it speaks to a bygone era of class and refinement, while its location and amenities offer the epitome of relaxation and comfort. There are many spaces at Casa Marina suitable for holding the perfect destination wedding, each with its own unique atmosphere.
For a honeymoon, if you want a more intimate, non-resort stay, my first recommendation would be The Alexander Guesthouse. When walking into the Alexander, I immediately understood why it was voted the best LGBT guesthouse in the city for five years in a row: the Guesthouse comprises three historic homes that are decorated tastefully with modern art, and it boasts beautiful pool and sundeck areas. Its inviting staff, intimate accommodations, and laid-back all-LGBT clientele seal the deal!
It is hard to say what I enjoyed the most, because I frankly didn’t want to leave. However, my day trip to Fort Jefferson, the oldest masonry structure in the United States, tops the list. After a two-hour catered boat ride seventy miles into the ocean away from Key West, we arrived at the Fort, which is the only thing on its island. It was so far out that I lost cell phone service and couldn’t have been happier.
After touring the fort at my own pace, I then snorkeled around it, swimming with fish of colors I had never imagined. Of all the places I toured for wedding venues—hands down—this would be the one I would choose. It’s directly in the center of that gorgeous fort in the middle of the ocean, so far from the worries of everyday life.
Key West is one of those places I believe everyone needs to see in order to believe. Only after experiencing it for yourself will you truly understand why I, like many others, consider it to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.