According to local legend, when visitors get Florida Keys sand in their shoes, it’s the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the subtropical island chain. And there is no better time to begin such a love affair than with your own wedding.

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With spectacular sunsets and seemingly endless seas, the Florida Keys & Key West offer a dream setting for your big day.

Beginning just south of Miami, the Keys are connected by 43 bridges that help comprise the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. The island chain kisses three separate bodies of water including Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a truly romantic location. Vistas are dominated by turquoise lagoons, deep-blue seas, nodding palms and olive-green mangroves. Sharing this eco-paradise are white herons, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, ospreys and countless underwater creatures including dolphins and sea turtles.

First-time visitors to the Keys immediately notice the island chain’s unique, laid-back atmosphere — a world away from big cities and theme parks. And getting married there can be just as easy-going and informal. Classic Florida Keys wedding attire might be shorts or khakis for men and pretty sundresses for women — a comfortable experience for your whole wedding party given the islands’ blissfully warm climate. With professional wedding planners taking the stress out of the process, getting hitched becomes a relaxed, fun-filled experience that’s eagerly anticipated by the happy couple and their guests.

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The Florida Keys are divided into five regions including Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, and Key West. Each region has its own special flavour, flora, fauna, memorable dining and truly unique shopping experiences. The Keys are perfect for both a wedding and honeymoon, offering a diversity of activities that ensures you and your new spouse will never run out of ways to relax, or to have fun.

And there are unique places to tie the knot. How about an underwater wedding next to the Christ of the Deep statue near John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo? Dolphins can be incorporated in the ceremony at Dolphin Research Center in Marathon. Or marry in the gardens of the former Key West home of the late author Ernest Hemingway.

Whatever your idea of romance, you’ll find it in the Florida Keys!

Most Keys’ resorts offer venues for wedding ceremonies of various group sizes. The Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada is among properties catering to small-to-medium-size affairs. Dotted with palm trees, the resort’s tropically landscaped event lawn borders the Atlantic Ocean to provide a memorable backdrop for exchanging vows.

The resort provides catered events at its poolside Sparrows Tiki Deck, accommodating up to 20 guests, or in the ‘Glass Bowl’ indoor event space, holding as many as 50 guests. The oceanside beach is well suited for an outdoor ceremony and reception for up to 75 guests.

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Amara Cay Resort, Islamorada

The newly renovated hotel features 110 luxurious guestrooms; Oltremare Ristorante, the resort’s fine-dining coastal Italian eatery; an oceanside pool and an on-property watersports facility. Experienced staff provide detailed planning assistance for weddings and other events. Before the ceremony, you and your guests might spend a laidback day relaxing in Amara Cay’s hammocks with tropical cocktails under the sun. Or, for a bit more excitement, pursue gamefish off Islamorada, known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, or snorkel on continental America’s only barrier coral reef, located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Whatever your choice, Amara Cay specialises in blending recreation with relaxation.

For more details on weddings in the Florida Keys, go to fla-keys.com/weddings

More information on Amara Cay Resort is at amaracayresort.com

For your chance to be the lucky bride-to-be, briefly explain why you’d love to pop the question on 29th February…

Unfortunately this competition has now ended. All is not lost though, as we have other great competitions you can enter to win loads of fab wedding-related prizes. You can do that here The Wedding Ideas Team xx

Terms & Conditions

  1. The prize includes Virgin Gift Cards to the value of £1,750 to be spent on flights to Miami and a rental car package through Virgin Holidays; seven nights’ deluxe oceanfront accommodation at Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada for the bride and groom, including breakfast for two; plus the normal Amara Cay wedding site fee waived for the winner.
  2. Amara Cay Resort will also extend best available rate for parents, relatives and friends of the bride and groom.
  3. The prize is subject to availability and no cash equivalent or alternative prize is available.
  4. Prize to be taken and all travel completed between 1 May and 30 September 2016. Accommodation is based on availability and excludes U.S.A. public holidays.
  5. Entrants must be over the age of 18.
  6. It is the responsibility of the winning couple to ensure they have valid passports, visas/ESTAs and are legally entitled to travel to the U.S.A. Wedding Ideas, the Florida Keys & Key West and Amara Cay Resort do not hold responsibility if either party is denied entry to U.S.A.
  7. The winner must be a U.K. resident and hold a valid U.K. driving licence and credit card. Drivers under 25 will need to pay an insurance supplement locally for the car rental.
  8. Unless otherwise specified, meals and drinks are not included.
  9. A Wedding Ideas photographer will be present at the wedding at Amara Cay, free of charge.
  10. The winning couple must agree to online and print media coverage of both the proposal and the wedding; the proposal on 29 February 2016 will be filmed for social media use while the wedding itself will be photographed for inclusion in a future issue of Wedding Ideas, on WeddingIdeasMag.com, social media channels for both Wedding Ideas and the Florida Keys & Key West and Florida Keys & Key West public relations and marketing venues.
  11. It’s the responsibility of the couple and any guests to ensure that all travellers have adequate travel insurance which covers them for medical expenses & personal liability.

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