Sam + AJ: Tropical Elopement in the Florida Keys

Key Largo, Florida | July 20, 2020

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A loving couple embraces in a sunlit industrial-style space, with the man kissing the woman’s forehead. She wears a white lace wedding dress, and he is in a white shirt and dark trousers.

Beach weddings have been popular for me this year, and I honestly can’t complain. While working a wedding is hardly a vacation, it’s good to get a change of scenery from my usual middle Tennessee fields and mountains. This Florida Keys elopement was exactly the work-cation I needed to rejuvenate my creativity.

I have known Sam and AJ for years and was honored when they asked me to photograph and film their wedding day. A beach wedding was always the plan for these two. However, due to COVID-19, they decided to do something a little more private (and elaborate!). So we all hopped on a plane with face masks in tow to work their wedding at the gorgeous Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo.


Highlight Film


Traditional Details for a Non-Traditional Beach Wedding

The wedding was small. Sam did her own makeup and hair (with some help from my sister, her college roommate and best friend). She wore a lovely wedding gown from Modern Trousseau, complete with a cathedral-style veil. Y’all know how I feel about veils. I was head over heels. Her mom helped her into her dress, and basically all of us cried.

AJ wore a simple navy suit and a beautiful boutonnière with pops of red and green.

A First Touch with a Surprise

Sam and AJ opted not to do a first look, but Sam wanted to give AJ a necklace before the wedding. I suggested they do a kind of modified first touch. So AJ closed his eyes and Sam slipped a compass necklace around his neck. The compass has a lot of meaning to them as a couple and Sam had a tear-jerker letter where she explained why she chose it as a symbol of their marriage.

The Perfect Balance of Soft Romance and Intimate Beach Elopement

Beach wedding details are always such a mood, too. Sam and AJ had a perfect balance between romance, tradition, and a tropical elopement. I mean just look at this bouquet and all the lovely colors.

A Beach Elopement that Defied Key Largo Weather

There’s always a threat of rain at a beach wedding, and this one was no different. The morning was humid and the clouds rumbled enough for the waitstaff at our wedding day brunch to usher us off the patio. But by the time, the ceremony rolled around, the weather was clear and cooler. A real treat for a Florida Keys elopement day!

Also, let’s talk about that arbor? I’m in love. Can you believe that Sam’s mom put that stunning flower spray together herself? I walked out onto the beach and was speechless. (Judy, I still think we have a future in the florist business!)

Sam’s dad, Mark, walked her down the socially-distanced aisle. Sam and AJ wrote their own vows, which always makes me sob. (You can hear parts of them in the teaser trailer!) The couple cried, too! When AJ reached up to wipe away one of Sam’s tears, I almost passed out. So freaking cute.

A Private Space for Family Dinner

In lieu of a full blown reception, this couple chose to book the resort’s restaurant for dinner. It was a private, family affair with lots of seafood, champagne, and cake!

A Florida Keys Elopement Makes a Stunning Backdrop for Couple’s Photos

Right before dinner, we headed out to get couple’s photos with these two gorgeous humans. I’ll just let these pictures speak for themselves.

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Baker's Cay Resort


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