Key West Wedding

Rachel & Andrew’s Destination Key West Wedding

For the most part, we capture weddings in the beautiful state of Florida, however many of our sweet couples like to venture a little farther. When Rachel reached out to me about capturing her destination wedding to Key West and Mexico, I just knew I had to be a part of it. Rachel and Andrew are just the absolute sweetest. I first met my couple last year for their adorable magical engagement in downtown Celebration, but you may also recognize them as the one of two couples who starred in my little about me video up on the home page.

When we first met, their wedding was still in the very, very beginning stages of planning. The two were thinking of doing a destination wedding, but wanted to ensure that friends and family could all come, so nothing was set quite in stone yet. I just loved their laid back personality, Rachel’s darling smile, and the way Andy makes her light up every time he kisses her. When I first started planning out my about me video, Rachel and Andy came to mind right away for the type of couple I wanted to focus on. Both are just so genuine, love life, roll with the punches, and truly want to enjoy their big day. They were perfect.

I honestly thought Rachel would think I was a little crazy when I first reached out to her. I mean they hadn’t set a date quite yet and I didn’t know how they would feel with ‘playing pretend getting married’ on film. To my absolute excitement though, both thought it would be a blast and I am so grateful that they accepted.

Over the past year we all kept in touch and I had hoped they would keep me in mind when their wedding planning would begin.

Well a few months after the film, Rachel reached out to me about joining along in the festivities to capture their destination cruise wedding. I of course said “yes” and absolutely could not wait to be a part of such a momentous occasion. Now the one caveat with cruise weddings, is that you are required to use a photographer who works on the boat, as there is always the chance that things will run late and the boat will need to sail away. In turn, the three of us planned for a beautiful ‘day after’ session in the vivacious city of Key West and during their reception after the wedding.

After months of planning, the big week came and we were ready to set sail! I woke up extra early to capture Rachel and her girls getting ready before we departed for the boat. I just love all of the sparkle and lace that Rachel was draped with from her diamond earrings to grand veil. Shelby, Rachel’s sister and Maid of Honor, also had a little bit of sparkle with diamond straps on her gown. It is incredible how well we can all pile into a room and make magic happen from makeup to hair. All of Rachel’s bridesmaids looked absolutely stunning!

With a few minutes to spare, I captured Andy’s details. It is so rare now a days that my couples write, yes with pen and paper, their vows. I just loved capturing his ring and vows together – both truly a sacred part of the ceremony.

Heading off from the hotel, we arrived on the boat and I headed off with the girls to get a few more photos of them getting ready. Let me just say – cruise rooms, regardless of being a suite, can be a little small, but I did my research well beforehand and knew what to expect. I brought along my special wide angle lens that I use for landscape photography to be able to capture a wide view in a small space, i.e. multiple people in a small room. It was spot on for being able to grab some adorable cute shots of Rachel and her bridesmaids in their “Mate of Honor” shirts before changing into their gowns.

The ceremony was just as sweet as my couple and their reception was a blast. After capturing some fun times of guests enjoying the reception, we grabbed a couple wedding party shots in a quieter space away from guests on the boat. As much as I loved being with my bride and groom on their wedding day, I just knew that the ‘day after’ would be just as special.

I seem to mention it quite frequently, but I am completely enamored with shooting newlywed portraits. Truly my favorite part, yes my absolute favorite, is the time I have alone with my couple and in turn the time they get alone together. It is just incredible to see the emotions of just pure joy and happiness when a couple realizes they are finally married and has a moment or two to actually take it all in. Photos can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you have to roll quickly through family and wedding party right after having just said “I do,” but the moment after it all, newlywed portraits, are truly what a wedding is all about – the bride and groom.

We woke up extra early to be the first ones off the boat, which I ensured happened. Yep, we were literally the first guests off the boat and completely skipped the line that was already forming. A little convincing can go a long way!

I am most certainly a planner. We planned the days, times, and when photos would take place – but the where, that was up in the air. Rachel and Andy were just as new to the Keys as I was, so we made it an adventure. Wandering through cobblestone roads, mansions, Key West style shacks, and stunningly beautiful foliage, we found so many gorgeous spots to shoot.

The morning light was just as perfect as well as the weather. It was though the day was meant for photos and truly I am so happy with every single image. They truly capture the love Rachel and Andy share for one another since the first day they met.

The two actually were first introduced back in college through a mutual friend at a Halloween party. True to his nature, Andy remembers the little things that matter to Rachel and after several years of dating knew that his proposal would have to include a little bit of spookiness as an owed to the day they first met. Andy planned out a little date day that included carving pumpkins and dinner. Little did Rachel know that there would be more to her pumpkin than meets the eye. While carving out the pumpkin, she was completely surprised with a hidden piece of treasure – it was a ring! To her complete surprise, Rachel pulled out the ring, while Andy dropped to one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. Rachel of course said yes!

Cruising continued on with formal dinners, dancing at night, and tanning by the pool. It was truly such a blast to be a part of such a momentous occasion and to meet so many wonderful people.

A big congratulations to my sweet couple as they begin their journey through life together as one!

For more information on Florida, U.S. weddings, or destination weddings, please email We would love to travel with you!

Venue: Carnival

Key West Venues: Custom HouseConch Tour TrainErnest Hemingway HouseAudubon House and Tropical Gardens, Southermost Point

Makeup & Hair Beauty by Glo

Dress Designer: PC Mary

Veil: Rosa Bridal

Shoes: GUESS

Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein & Mens Wearhouse

Florist: Morgan Hill Designs

Rings: Jared

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  1. These are gorgeous wedding photos, Samantha! I love that they went with you as their wedding photographer even with the cruise line’s rules. You have given them so many awesome memories they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Their day after session in Key West was perfect!

  2. I loved reading about the story of this destination wedding, and you documented it perfectly! Amazing wedding photos…and I love all the brides sparkly accessories.

  3. Gorgeous destination wedding photos! I love that you prepared for the ship’s small quarters by bringing extra gear (such as your wide angle lens) because the images of the “bride’s mates” are perfection. The images in Key West are amazingly gorgeous and perfect for your couple!

  4. That bokeh! I love how you started this Key West wedding blog post off with the blingingest wedding ring shots! Such beautiful day after wedding photos! They looked relaxed and stress free.

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