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14 Springtime Wedding Venues in the Sunshine State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 2, 2015) – Sunsets over sandy white beaches, cathedral-style ballrooms – whether you’re looking for laid back and low key or over-the-top extravagance for your special day, Florida has something to offer everyone.

In 2013, 24 percent of couples in the U.S. said “I Do” at a destination wedding, and the Number One destination wedding location is none other than the Sunshine State. With 825 miles of beaches, a multitude of magnificent historic hotels and plenty of quirky options for the couple with eclectic tastes (think: wedding in a hot air balloon), Florida holds the key to the destination wedding of your dreams. And for those with a more practical mindset, this tropical paradise is ideal because the waiting period can be waived.


OPULENT & EXTRAVAGANT:

Naples

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? If your dreams involve a beachfront wedding, but you aren’t ready to put your toes in the sand, consider the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club – the only hotel in Southwest Florida that has an on-site championship golf course, award-winning tennis center and a ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. An added bonus: guests bringing children to the wedding will appreciate the resort’s professionally supervised child activity program for those ages 5-12.
Contact: Karen Lamonica
Phone: 407-788-7070×208
Website: http://www.naplesbeachhotel.com/

Palm Beach

For a luxurious option rich with history, look no further than the Breakers Palm Beach. This Renaissance-style hotel occupies 140 acres of oceanfront property in the heart of Palm Beach, and is one of 13 properties in Florida to have earned the coveted AAA Five Diamond award. From its breathtaking palm tree lined entrance to the historic venue spaces, modeled after 14th and 16th century Italian palazzos, the views and décor are nothing short of spectacular. The Breakers is one of the few hotels that continues to thrive independently of chain affiliation – the staff pride themselves on catering to even the most distinctive requests, which allows for the most personalized of wedding touches.
Contact: Kym Bichon
Phone: 561-659-8415
Website: http://weddingsbythebreakers.com/

St. Augustine

Voted as a “Best Destination Weddings Hotel in the U.S.” by Fodor’s Travel, Casa Monica Hotel has everything to complete your enchanted wedding, including a horse-drawn carriage getaway. Casa Monica features charming ballrooms, adorned with gilded mirrors and brass chandeliers, as well as the outdoor Sultan’s Pavilion, offering blue skies and sparkling pool waters in a Moroccan-inspired setting. For those who firmly believe man’s best friend must be part of the ceremony, the request will be granted, as dogs may participate in the wedding service.
Contact: Marina dos Santos
Phone: 904-819-6006
Website: http://www.casamonica.com/weddings/

St. Petersburg

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach is the perfect destination to plan an enchanting beachside wedding. Renowned as Florida’s legendary “Pink Palace,” the Loews Don CeSar is a treasured landmark because of its history as the pampered playground for high society – from the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Clarence Darrow to Elton John and Justin Timberlake. Voted the Best of the Best with The Knot Brides, this location lends itself to the extravagance and elegance of the Great Gatsby era. Their seasoned Wedding Specialists will attend to every detail, including a personalized cake created by executive pastry chef Tara Bishop, who has been known to incorporate custom materials into cake décor.
Contact: Lauren Jones
Phone: 727-363-5042
Website: http://www.loewshotels.com/don-cesar/meetings/weddings

Marco Island

For an over-the-top, ultra-luxe experience, the Platinum Package at the Marco Island Marriott is absolute perfection. This three-day affair admits 175 guests and begins with “Message in a Bottle”-themed invites followed by a luau reception to welcome attendees. The bridal party will appreciate a full day of spa service and groomsmen can choose between a WaveRunner tour of the Everglades or a golf outing on the resort’s private course. The couple can remain completely at ease since two first class round trip tickets, limousine transportation and food are also included – so enjoy your special day dining on lobster and filet mignon and dancing the night away with your friends and family.
Contact: Toni Parker
Phone: 305-854-3544
Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotel-weddings/mrkfl-marco-island-marriott-beach-resort-golf-club-and-spa/modules/weddings/home-page.mi


ELOPEMENT STATE OF MIND:

Orlando

Florida is known for family friendly vacations – so why take your family to Vegas for a wedding when you can bring them to Orlando? The Central Florida Wedding Group will help put together the perfect last minute ceremony, which can be carried out anytime between sunrise and sunset. With locations in Cocoa Beach, the Winter Park Wedding Chapel and Casa Feliz, there are plenty of places to host your special day.
Contact: Heidi Parker
Phone: 407-903-1933
Website: http://centralfloridaweddinggroup.com/

St. Augustine

Looking for a quick getaway with a one-of-a-kind theme? Marineland Dolphin Adventure provides a tropical, beachy vibe with the perfect backdrop – dolphins. Allow these magnificent mammals to serenade you and your spouse-to-be as “I Do’s” are shared on a deck surrounding a sparkling 1.3 million gallon dolphin habitat.
Contact: Joan Whittemore
Phone: 904-471-1111×128
Website: http://www.marineland.net/


LAID BACK & LOW KEY:

River Ranch

Picture the charm of a white chapel perched underneath a statuesque old oak tree. The party continues as people swirl, boots pounding, on the wooden dance floor at a saloon reception. If a wedding tucked away in the heart of Florida’s cattle country suits you, consider the Westgate Resort. The resort, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, is located in Central Florida and offers wedding packages which include everything from a hayride during the rehearsal dinner, to a singing cowboy for the ceremony. Yeehaw!
Contact: Denise Brookefield
Phone: 863-692-1321
Website: https://www.westgatedestinations.com/florida/lake-wales/westgate-river-ranch/groups-meetings/weddings/

Englewood

Allow Mother Nature and a small group of friends to oversee your special moment. Phoenix Rising Kayak Tours will take your party to one of the remote barrier islands in Southwest Florida. Sink your toes into the sugar-white sand, and with six friends surrounding you, share vows with your betrothed before kayaking off into the sunset.
Contact: Chris Warren
Phone: 941-586-2836
Website: www.prkayak.com

White Springs

For the couple looking for less fuss and more leisure, it can be found way down upon the Suwannee River. Majestic oaks and the legendary waterway make Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park the perfect place for an outdoor wedding along the water. The park is often referred to as a hidden gem – with its oak-shaded sanctuaries and miles of trails, there’s no surprise why. Guests can kick back and relax at the local campsite, or enjoy the breezes on the wrap-around porches at one of the fully equipped cabins. Close your eyes and let the sounds of the 97-bell Carillon Tower take you away.
Contact: Andrea Thomas
Phone: 386-397-4478
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-activities/Stephen-Foster#Weddings


 THE FAIRLY ECLECTIC COUPLE:

Orlando

Up, up and away! As a certified notary public, Bob of Bob’s Balloon Charters, performs marriage ceremonies for couples wishing to float away in wedded bliss. Soar over Walt Disney World and catch a glimpse of the castle, then toast to happiness at a champagne brunch immediately following the flight.
Contact: Bob Wilamoski
Phone: 407-466-6380
Website: http://bobsballoons.com/BobsPromos.html


Harley-lovers can gear up for the ride of their life as they affirm their vows on their prized Harleys at Orlando Harley-Davidson’s recreated 1903 “Shack”, the historic birthplace of the Harley.  Additional special Harley wedding elements include wedding leathers and cowboy hats, Harley-themed wedding cakes, a custom-made Orlando Harley wedding leather guestbook and temporary tattoos for guests.
Phone: 407-423-0346
Website: http://orlandoharley.com/Corporate-Events.aspx


Say “I Do” among your closest friends and skeletons. That’s right – in March 2015, “SKELETONS: Animals Unveiled”, will open on International Drive in Orlando. This science museum will have 400 plus animal and human skeletons posed and composed of real bones in unusual settings. As a place of science, this is for the couple looking for quirky, not scary, so if you find beauty in osteology, consider this bone-white backdrop for your wedding ceremony.
Contact: Mark Brisson
Phone: 407-766-5179
Website: http://skeletonmuseum.com/

Fort Lauderdale

For snorkeling enthusiasts, consider an underwater wedding. With an average temperature of 77 degrees and an estimated 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place for wet-n-wild nuptials. At the American Dive Center, the dive instructor also serves as a notary public, so whether you want a private scuba wedding ceremony or a squad of snorkeling friends to oversee your special day, the Dive Center can make it happen. No need to pay extra for decorations since the colorful underwater world serves at the perfect backdrop.
Phone: 954-346-0174
Website: http://www.americandivecenter.com/underwater_wedding_faqs.html


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: 

Lucille Spann
Public Relations Representative
(850) 312-0052
LSpann@VISITFLORIDA.org