A Vibrant DIY Wedding Outdoors in Florida

Sky & Nathan

Scott Clark Photo

A friend tried setting up Sky Switser, a costume designer, and Nathan Brewer, a stage/artistic director, at a party in New York City -- without much luck. Sky didn't remember meeting Nathan, and Nathan remembered, but wasn't interested. Three years later, Sky invited another pal to join him for drinks, and she brought Nathan along. This time, a round of tequila shots kicked off a beautiful relationship culminating in a Key West wedding big on DIY touches and bold colors on the weekend of May 25, 2012.

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The Location

Scott Clark Photo

With family and friends based all over the world, Nathan and Sky considered Mexico and the Caribbean. Both places were easy to get to, and could provide entertainment for loved ones for an entire weekend. But when they came across Eden House in Key West, they knew the relaxed setting and the property's offerings were the perfect fit.

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The Welcome Bag

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The couple's friend Jeff Fender made the silk-screened tote bags that were filled with hangover kits: Key Lime Bloody Mary mix, Tito's vodka (from Sky's home state of Texas), peanut butter pretzels (from Nathan's hometown of Pittsburgh), fudge brownies, water, and packets of Advil.

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A Key to Key West

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Sky and his brother, Austin Switser, designed the welcome postcard, map of the area, and all of the other stationery elements.

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The Fashions

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The gents looked dapper in custom suits by Arel Studio in New York City. Nathan completed his wedding ensemble with a Uniqlo shirt, Bergdorf Goodman bow tie, and Allen Edmonds shoes. Sky paired his duds with a Theory shirt, J.Crew tie, Cole Haan shoes, vintage tie clip, and a handmade pocket square.

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The Portraits

Scott Clark Photo

The couple walked around the neighborhood and posed for their photographer, Scott Clark, 30 minutes before the ceremony.

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The Ceremony Decor

Unkempt Willow Branch Wedding Arch with Pink and Orange Flowers
Scott Clark Photo

Embracing the tropical locale and their love of Mexican folk art and bold colors, Nathan and Sky wanted to incorporate bright tissue-paper flowers which Sky's mother had taught him to make as a young child. He shipped them flat and brought them to life the Thursday before the wedding, during was a "party" he held to open and fluff each one. Two dozen people helped out and hung out at the same time. Here, the vibrant blooms adorn the doorway that served as a backdrop for the ceremony.

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The Tunes

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Nine of Nathan's former students (he was a choir director for 10 years) sang "Rainbow Connection," a song with special meaning for Sky and his mother.

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A Heartfelt Song

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Nathan wrote an original song, "Lift You Up, My Love," for a group of friends to sing as each groom entered with his parents.

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The Ceremony

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A dear friend served as officiant of the late-afternoon service on May 27, 2012.

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The Ceremony

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Inspired by the Jewish tradition of the Seven Blessings, the pair had encouraged seven friends to take the official Hebrew text and elaborate on it. The result? "It was like seven really beautiful and touching toasts," Sky said.

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The Cocktail Hour

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Drinks, appetizers, and photo opps took place around the pool.

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The Small Bites

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During cocktail hour guests, nibbled on red chili-roasted pink shrimp with jicama salad and grilled pineapple, yellowtail snapper ceviche with mango and poblanos on corn tostitos, and tacos de Papa (crispy flour tortillas stuffed with potato and beef chicharones).

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The Family

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Names and seating assignments were printed on pre-cut labels from Paper Presentation and then mounted on folded card stock.

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The Reception Decor

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The pair wanted the inside of the tent to be blanketed with flowers, so Sky spent the seven months leading up to the big day constructing the 350 paper blooms that were needed. Each blossom took 15 minutes to make, and the five different color combinations provided a complete transformation for the otherwise simple tent.

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The Reception Decor

Scott Clark Photo

The morning of the wedding, Sky assembled a troupe of 10 friends with theater and design backgrounds, plus his dad and brother, to help put up the tissue-paper flower garlands and streamers (which hung along the edge of the tent). Less than three hours later, the space was ready for the party.

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The Centerpieces

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Etsy artisan Molly Caskey painted the ornate table numbers that were placed with small bud vases holding sturdy and tropical flowers.

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The Menu

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The Mexican-tinged buffet was prepared by Azur Restaurant.

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The Entertainment

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DJ music and impromptu performances by talented friends kept the night lively and the dance floor packed.

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The Dancing

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Though the couple didn't have an official "first dance," they enjoyed a live rendition of Donna Summer's "Last Dance" performed by Nathan's former students, Cole Rapso and Josh Smith.

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Late Night Revelry

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Guests jumped in the pool to cool off after a hot night of dancing.

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Scott Clark Photo

Location: Eden House

Catering: Azur

Wedding coordination: Kristin Artz of Swivel Group

Rentals: Key West Party Rentals

Entertainment: DJ Jimmy Villegas

Cake: Alexa Sellers

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