By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine
A private ceremony at a waterfront resort. A gala event on a historic property. And, of course, the iconic barefoot beachfront wedding.
Whatever your wedding preferences, Florida can provide. Inside, outside, from an intimate affair to the event of the season, you’ll find a wedding venue here sure to make your affair unforgettable.
“We have always been a fantastic wedding destination because of our year-round climate that permits weddings 365 days per year,” says Peter Ricci, Ed.D., director, hospitality and tourism management, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. “And most venues that are waterfront have ample meeting space as a backup in case of inclement weather.”
According to The Wedding Report, a research company that collects and forecasts statistics for the wedding industry, there were 1,267,877 weddings in the United States in 2020. Of those, 115,239 were in Florida, making Florida the second most-popular state for weddings last year. Only California hosted more weddings in 2020.
Here are nine Florida venues that will turn your wedding fantasy into a reality.
2 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton
No article about weddings in Florida would be complete without a mention of The Addison, an award-winning caterer, event venue and historical landmark in the heart of downtown Boca Raton. Built by Addison Mizner in 1926, it’s now a unique event venue that specializes in weddings and other functions. Elegant and charming, with historic architecture and a courtyard surrounded by 100-year-old banyan trees, The Addison offers a variety of indoor and outdoor private event spaces that can accommodate everything from an intimate wedding to an extravagant affair.
Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach
17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach
Situated on over four beachfront acres, with 400 feet of Atlantic Ocean coastline, Acqualina combines old-world Mediterranean elegance with world-class cuisine and service. The resort hosts only one wedding at a time, so your affair will be exclusive to you and your guests, whether it’s on the lawn overlooking the beach or in the ballroom. The bride and groom, wedding party and guests can stay on-site at the five-star hotel and even partake of the services offered at the 20,000-square-foot ESPA spa, which includes a couple’s royal suite – the perfect place to relax prior to the wedding or to unwind after the “I do’s” are over. Acqualina even offers a “Proposal Concierge,” who will design a customized and unforgettable proposal experience and includes a three-night stay in a room or suite.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale
With its old-world charm, unique setting and lush natural beauty, Bonnet House provides the perfect backdrop for your special day. Located on a barrier island with the ocean to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, the historic 100-year-old estate and gardens, on 35 acres, offer a beautiful outdoor setting that allows for socially distanced events. Couples can choose to host their wedding ceremony, reception and cocktails at several focal points across the estate, including the tree-lined alee/dry fountain, garden courtyard, waterfront veranda, hibiscus garden or the Bonnet House Beach. And, on the day of the wedding, couples have private use of a newly renovated wedding suite, in addition to the exclusive attention of the events coordinator and personal wedding assistant.
The Breakers Palm Beach
One S. County Road, Palm Beach
The five-diamond Breakers, which sits on 140 acres of oceanfront property in Palm Beach, can provide an extraordinary setting for your wedding, whether it’s an intimate ceremony of 50 or a grand affair for 500. Couples can opt for a ceremony at the Ocean Lawn – the most requested outdoor space at The Breakers – which directly overlooks the ocean. There’s also the Circle Ballroom, which boasts a 30-foot domed ceiling featuring eight oval fresco-painted murals depicting Renaissance landscapes and which has a Venetian crystal chandelier at its center. Another option: the Gold Room, aptly named for its gold ceiling, painted in a diagonal pattern and adorned with 260 hand-carved cherubs. Those are just a few of the venues available at The Breakers, which also offers the wedding party and guests luxurious accommodations.
The Don CeSar
3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach
Recently renovated and modernized, Florida’s iconic “Pink Palace” is a great spot for any size wedding. Set on the white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the hotel offers indoor, outdoor and beachfront venues suitable for up to 250 guests. You can even exchange vows atop a staircase overlooking tropical gardens and the Gulf. Receptions can be held in the elegant King Charles Ballroom, the Grand Ballroom, the Beach Pavilion, one of the Terrace Ballrooms or in the Del Prado or Buena Vista Ballrooms, intimate spaces with city views.
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan
Located on seven acres of oceanfront, with lush, tropical gardens and more than 30,000 square feet of event and ballroom space, Eau Palm Beach offers couples a choice of venues, whether they want an intimate wedding or a lavish one. The Resort’s wedding and event specialists help to create a perfect event, from a small garden wedding with flickering candlelight and an ocean view to a gala celebration for 1,000 with fireworks.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island
Located on a barrier island, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is a AAA Five-Diamond resort that can host a dream destination wedding that’s one of a kind. Creative options include a sunset beach wedding, a traditional Indian wedding amid palm trees and gardens, an evening of dancing underneath crystal chandeliers or a seated dinner with creative kosher cuisine. With a host of indoor and outdoor venues and on-site chefs, event designers and floral artists, The Ritz offers flexibility for couples to create their own unforgettable event.
South Seas Island Resort
5400 Plantation Road, Captiva Island
Imagine exchanging vows in a picturesque waterfront setting – it’s your choice whether it’s a simple barefoot wedding on the beach at sunset or a chic island reception on the lush lawn. South Seas Resort offers two and a half miles of white-sand beach and a 330-acre wildlife preserve on the Gulf of Mexico. Ceremony venues include Sunset Pointe, a beachfront location that accommodates up to 250 guests, the Kings Crown Lawn, surrounded by palm trees and lush tropical foliage, which accommodates 150 guests, and South Beach, a beachfront location that is perfect for a smaller event with up to 50 guests. There are several reception venues and ballrooms available, and you can even have a Sunset Luau – a relaxed barbecue followed by s’mores at the fire pit. Accommodations are available for pre- and post-wedding stays.
Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista
Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, with enchanting new ways to make dreams come true, whether that’s a princess-inspired dress and distinctly Disney wedding accessories or an epic wedding venue. Disney’s wedding planners handle all the details, from music and entertainment to floral and décor – and venues range from iconic spots like Cinderella’s Castle, complete with a horse-drawn carriage, to the wedding pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or even in front of the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Yaoska Martinez, who lives in Miramar, even got married in March – during the pandemic – at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot, before the park opened, and held her reception at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. “We are both Disney fans, and we love going as often as possible and making memories in the most magical place on Earth,” Martinez says. “We had the most magical day with our closest family and friends in our favorite place.”