Your wedding day should be one of the most special events in your life; many even dream up their perfect wedding years in advance of the big day. From personal touches like a bride’s something old and something borrowed to memorable favors and unforgettable photos, there are plenty of ways to customize your wedding. One of the most unique ways is to have a destination wedding. You’ll never forget saying “I Do” along a sandy coastline or at an off the beaten path locale. And for those dreaming of such an affair, Florida is an ideal location. Many distinctive locations around the Sunshine State provide the perfect setting to celebrate the next chapter in your life. From the Panhandle to the First Coast and the Florida Keys, Florida offers a number of exceptional wedding venues. These one-of-a-kind locations provide everything that you need to make your special day stand apart from the ordinary and create an outstanding occasion for you and your guests.
South Florida & The Florida Keys Unique Wedding Destinations
The Old Grove
Located in South Florida, the Old Grove is a five-acre avocado grove featuring a lazy river, impressive waterfall, arched bridges and lush gardens. This picture perfect, rural setting is the ideal environment for couples that enjoy the rustic outdoors. You can opt for a barn wedding in this quiet oasis or choose one of the tropical gardens to create a distinctive backdrop for the ceremony. The Old Grove is a versatile event space that enables you to have the ambiance that you always wanted for your special day.
The Walton House
Built in 1917 by W. K. Walton, this historic wood-frame and stucco English-style cottage is surrounded by a five-acre botanical garden. The English flower gardens feature exotic and rare species of plants and the estate’s former stables have been transformed into a reception hall. The venue also includes a sunken pond with a waterfall and a large lagoon with white swans as well as a collection of tropical birds. The centerpiece of the garden is an Indonesian-style Chickee hut. You and your guests can experience the ambiance of Old World England or a tropical South Seas wedding without leaving South Florida.
Key Largo Lighthouse Beach
There are many reasons why Florida beach weddings are so special and unforgettable, and location plays a big part. The award-winning Key Largo Lighthouse Beach is recognized as one of the Sunshine State’s top wedding venues. It is situated on a gorgeous, private location in the Florida Keys surrounded by the deep blue ocean. The views and scenery provide an unforgettable background for photos.
Christ of the Abyss
While most weddings take place on land, why not blow your guests’ minds with an underwater ceremony? Christ in the Abyss is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus located in 25 feet of water off the coast of Key Largo. More than 200 couples tie the knot underwater at this hidden gem each year. The event can be captured on high-definition video so you’ll always have memories of your extraordinary day. The statue of Christ with its arms raised toward the heavens creates a matchless backdrop for the ceremony.
Truman Little White House
A haven for President Truman while he was in office, the Truman Little White House was originally built in 1890 as the headquarters for the Key West Naval Station. Truman visited the property 11 times during the 1940s and 50s as a winter retreat. The history of the building adds to its charm as a unique Florida wedding venue. The stunning tree-canopied, manicured gardens provide an intimate setting for a daytime tropical Key West wedding or a romantic nighttime ceremony under the stars. Filled with original furnishings, the wedding party can also tour the historic Little White House. And to make planning easier, the presidential dining room is perfect for your rehearsal dinner.
The Florida Panhandle Unique Wedding Locations
Eden Gardens State Park
Situated in the Florida Panhandle and featuring 161 manicured acres, Eden Gardens State Park has been a popular wedding venue since the 1930s. Home to manicured gardens, a 600-year-old Virginia oak tree and the century-old Wesley House, an antebellum-style mansion, the park exudes southern charm. The site boasts towering moss-draped oaks, colorful gardens and reflecting pools. The park pavilion can serve as an intimate reception hall for up to 150 guests.
Northern Florida Wedding Destinations
Located in historic downtown St, Augustine, the gorgeous Amore Chapel is housed inside the spectacular Spanish Renaissance Revival-style Lightner Museum. Built by Henry Flagler in 1887, the museum is accentuated by majestic towers and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. It provides a perfect setting for the ceremony, reception and wedding photos. The chapel offers intimacy and elegance that reflects the grandeur of the Victorian era in the heart of romantic St. Augustine.
Also located in St. Augustine, the Government House served as the official residence of colonial governors from 1710 until 1821. The building, adjacent to the town plaza, was once the capitol building for the Territory of Florida. Exhibits in the lobby explain the rich history of the Government House, which can serve as the backdrop for your unique wedding ceremony. The building’s beautiful courtyard faces the Plaza de la Constitución in the center of historic downtown. And for those planning indoor festivities, the Sala de Montiano room is an indoor event space. The stately Georgian-style stone mansion and the more than 400-century-old plaza create the perfect setting for an elegant wedding.
Located off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is home to 13 miles of beautiful sundrenched beaches, an abundance of native wildlife and pristine water. You can tie the knot in a grand ballroom, in the garden of a historic home or on the warm Appalachian crystal sand as the sun ascends toward the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Island beach ceremonies conjure up visions of fairy tale romantic weddings. The natural beauty, including the possibility of sea turtles and aquatic birds, provide a matchless background for photos of the memorable event.
Unique West Coast Wedding Destinations
Tampa’s Florida Aquarium’s 500,000-gallon floor-to-ceiling Coral Reef exhibit filled with over 2,000 fish and other marine animals provides a breathtaking background to profess your love. The customizable event space captures the festive atmosphere of the Sunshine State, both above and below the ocean’s surface. And to add a whimsical touch, treat your guests to an entertaining promenade of penguins. The aquarium’s catamaran is suitable for cocktail hours, small receptions and sunset cruises.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates
The estates, both located in Ft. Myers, date back to 1885 when Thomas Edison first visited Florida. His good friend Henry Ford purchased the adjacent property several years later. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the homes, picturesque gardens and romantic river views offer the perfect setting for any wedding ceremony. Wedding venues on the property include the intimate Moonlight Garden and the expanse of lawn known as Edison’s Coconut Grove along the Caloosahatchee River. Another option is the similar Riverside Lawn on the Ford estate. The tree-lined Royal Palm Alleé creates a one-of-a-kind wedding aisle. The majestic Mysore Fig Tree with its sprawling breadth is a popular backdrop for wedding photos.
Chapel by the Sea
Located on Captiva Island, the Chapel by the Sea was built in 1903 as a schoolhouse. It later served as the venue for church services whenever a circuit preacher was in town. This historic white clapboard chapel is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and set among sea grape palm trees. The chapel and native plants create a backdrop that summons images of old Florida.
Sanibel Island Beach
Picturesque Sanibel Island is the ideal location for a sunset beach wedding. Situated along the southwest coast of Florida overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this hidden gem offers a quiet retreat. As the sun slowly descends below the horizon in a kaleidoscope of colors, exchange your vows to the serene cadence of the waves. The beach is ideal for small intimate ceremonies as well as large gatherings.