FIRST LOOK: Key West Wedding

First Look Photography

FIRST LOOK: Key West Wedding

When I found out that my fellow midwesterners, Heather Lackner and Ryan Lewis, were going to be getting married in Key West, I knew the southernmost point of Florida would never be the same. Of course, it is a tourist location and sees its fair share of people from all around the world, but the midwest is a different breed of awesome!

My first experience photographing Heather and Ryan was during their engagement session on Palm Beach. And by “photographing Heather and Ryan,” I mean taking pictures of them and their adorable puppy!

Heather and Ryan’s dream wedding was a destination-style wedding that wouldn’t require them to leave the country. They chose Key West, which is about as distinguished as you can get from their Michigan and Ohio upbringings.

Associate photographer, Tina and I took photographs at the official southernmost point of the United States, which required me to clear the area for the bridal party in true celebrity fashion. “Clear the way, we have a bridal party coming through!” We also took a Beatles-inspired photograph of the groom and groomsmen walking on Duval Street as if it was Abbey Road. In my humble opinion, having the “first look” early in the day and having time to explore the area and use our surroundings to take photographs created one of the most epic collections I have in my repertoire. I highly suggest to couples getting married that they consider structuring their days similarly!

We also headed over to Casa Marina at the Waldorf Astoria hotel for photos, a sister property to The Reach where the ceremony was held. Have you seen the row of palm trees at Casa Marina!?  It’s amazing.

Heather and Ryan’s wedding ceremony took place on a dock at The Reach that overlooks the ocean, so, essentially, the entire congregation was floating on the water as the couple said their “I do’s.” It was absolute perfection. The other thing that made this wedding incredibly memorable and special was that one of the bridesmaid’s husbands officiated the ceremony, creating a more personal feel for everybody involved.

The reception took place on The Reach balcony, overlooking the gorgeous South Florida sunset and incredibly well planned by, Jenn at Simply You Weddings. The party was exactly what I would expect from my fellow midwesterners — an amazing time! The guests ate their meals inside The Reach’s ballroom, following an outdoor cocktail hour. After the shoot, I was lucky enough to have the hotel room directly above the dance floor and I was able to hear the party continue well into the night. However, the celebration did not end there. The couple and their guests moved the party to the local hotspot Hogsbreath Saloon and kept the party going until the last person dropped. And, in case you are wondering whether the bride changed out of her dress, the answer is NO! In fact, when I asked Heather if she was going to change, she said “Heck no!” and she marched down Duval Street, fully clad in her wedding garb.

Something unique that I loved about this wedding (other than the many things discussed above) is that Heather wore a birdcage veil, which she put on herself since she is a hairdresser. It was something I don’t see often at weddings, but hope for such a cute accessory again soon.

Heather and Ryan’s wedding was truly a dream come true — both for them as the couple and Tina and I as the photographers — I cannot wait to provide them with the wonderfully epic photographs from their destination wedding day. For now, I hope you enjoy the “first look” at Mr. and Mrs. Lewis’s wedding!


Planning: Simply You Weddings
Ceremony Location: Gazebo – The Reach Resort
Reception Location: The Caribe Terrace and Ballroom – The Reach Resort
Floral & Decor: Milan Events
Photographer: Sara Kauss Photography
Videography: Kustom Films
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Rusty Lemmon
Reception Music: DJ Mark Gallo
Makeup Services: Studio Marie Pierre
Lighting and Sound: PSVA
Transportation: Bone Island Shuttle



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