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How to create a fabulous beach wedding in 21 days during Covid!

Marilyn- Beach Wedding

Why would you want to plan a wedding in 21 days? No, I’m not pregnant, my husband is not being deployed on a military mission, and we aren’t running away together!

We got engaged in December of 2019, unaware that a virus was going to side-line our May 2020 Mississippi wedding plan. But, by March, we quickly realized, May was not likely going to happen. So we waited. And kept pushing it off. Hoping something would break in the form of a vaccine, cure, that it was all just a bad dream. But, it just kept marching on, affecting all of us. 

By November, the weather in Chicago started to get cold & gloomy. We still wanted to have a beautiful wedding, but now my dad was in lockdown at the VA home in Mississippi, so our plan to get married there wasn’t happening. I knew that Jim’s dream was always to get married in Key West, on a beach and have drinks at sunset afterwards…So, we started brainstorming ideas. I talked to my mom about moving the wedding to Key West in December and Zooming my dad in to give me away, she liked it!

We landed in Key West on a direct flight from Chicago right after Thanksgiving was over and we started planning the wedding. A few weeks earlier, we hired Weddings-to-go-KeyWest, we rented a house with a pool from Roberta Mira an amazing VRBO owner and we made a few dinner reservations (more on that later).

Saw lots of happy beach people, tried out the restaurants we were thinking of, and while I won’t mention them here, we couldn’t get the one we wanted to give us a table for 14, sadly. As I was exploring the island, I found a wonderful yoga studio Shakti, where I quickly bought a class package (and a yoga mat @ Ross for $6!) plus they had these amazing candles from the P.F. Candle Co. that smelled amazing! Just a few doors down was a super cute little bakery, where I tried a few of their cookies, key lime pie and a cupcake. I went back there and ordered our key lime wedding cake, a key lime pie, muffins & a quiche for the day after brunch.

Jim and Marilyn- Wedding cake

Everything was coming together! My girlfriend Kate landed about a week later and we got to work getting the house organized, decorated with Christmas lights, printed pictures of me and Jim over the years and strung them on little lighted clothespins, got white table cloths for the tables outside, tea light holders with a little sand and tea lights, flowers and cool distressed silver vases from Publix, and all the place settings from Ross.

The countdown was officially getting closer, as we rounded the corner on December 11th, our rehearsal dinner, my son’s were coming in for the wedding, plus a few friends and my family. And did I mention my birth mom and my adopted mom were meeting for the first time?! 

So, we had all the food and drinks set up, Taylor helped cook, while Clay and Vivi helped prep and clean up. Laurie and Kate hung the pics we had printed by the outdoor bar, set the tables and arranged the flowers.  That morning I had a facial and talking my aesthetician, discovered her husband was a guitar player and singer, so we hired him to come play for an hour during dessert, that was a fun surprise!

Saturday, the big wedding day! Was my dress going to fit? Did I have all my new wedding makeup? I had a virtual makeup lesson with my makeup artist, Jen, she’s amazing! And she helped me get ready and tweak my look:) My amazing friend and hair stylist Monika came down from Sarasota to do everyone’s hair and that was so special:)

Then, off to the beach! We all arrived in various ways, Uber, Lyft, a rental car, etc. And the camera’s were rolling! My mom walked me down the aisle with my dad on FaceTime so he could give me away at the altar (he was also just recovering from Covid the week before) and that went well. The ceremony was fabulous and I noticed my dress had picked up a Starfish as we were walking down the aisle, haha! It was a perfect beach wedding. 

We finished up the day with drinks at the Southernmost, and dinner at First Flight, where my oldest son started a wave of toasts at the table. Every single person stood up and said what Jim & I mean to them and how happy for us they are, it was so touching. As we have all been separated during the year, it was such a treat to be surrounded by the people I love the most. And so nice that everything we did was outside, socially spaced and felt somewhat safe as we also wore our masks everywhere. Even Gustav had a good time!

So, you might be asking, what does this have to do with Productivity and Leadership? Funny you should ask! To have so many helpers, and to see everyone pull together to create the most special weekend of my life was indeed leadership, not just mine, but all my friends who are self-starters and motivated leading themselves or following the lead of someone else. Everyone pitched in and helped pull this wedding weekend together in their own way, they each demonstrated their productivity. 



These two qualities are not just reserved for work, they come in handy in all aspects of my life and it was fabulous to see so many of the traits I value come into play on my wedding weekend. Without Productivity from each person or our vision & Leadership, things might have gone a bit differently!

If you’d like to kick start your productivity, here’s a link to my free planner page you can download:)


Marilyn Dollar- Woman sitting at desk
Marilyn Dollar - The Woman's Coach

They call me the C-Suite Whisperer.

High-Performance Coach For Leaders and CEO’s. It’s time to embrace your true identity and grow into your next achievement!

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