I absolutely adore weddings and recently I had one of the greatest joys of my life helping my son and daughter in law pick their wedding venue and plan their wedding. I had so much fun helping them, that now everyplace I go in my travels throughout Florida it has become habit to check out a beautiful locations possibility of being a venue that would work well for a wedding. Now, having recently helped in planing a wedding I can tell you I am pretty picky with what I think is a venue that works well. There are many factors to take into consideration when planing a Florida destination wedding and weather is the big one for me and of course you want the venue to be beautiful, but there are countless other things like having reasonably priced accommodations nearby for guests, having adequate workable space for vendors to set up, parking, and the list can go on and on. I thought since it has become habit for me anyway, it might be fun for me and of course hopefully helpful for my readers who might be or soon will be planing a wedding, to incorporate a Florida destination wedding page (or maybe pages at some point) here on my site.
I am sure that I will be constantly adding to this list as we travel around the state because like I said, I adore weddings and this topic will probably be my most favorite to write about. If you have any questions on any place I mention or if you are thinking of a place I haven’t mentioned please be sure to send me a comment with your question and I will be delighted to get back with you just as soon as I can.
Also please note that this list will be in no particular order as to which one is best, however like I said, I am pretty particular of what I think is workable so if it made my list that should tell you something right there and keep checking back as I will update and add to this list as we travel around the state, So this page will continue to be a work in progress. Happy Planning!!
Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
This venue choice would require a high end budget but can cover everything from the ceremony to the reception and everything that goes along with a formal wedding. I am very familiar with this venue as it is where we chose to book rooms for family and wedding party, had the rehearsal dinner and pampered the bride and bridesmaids. We chose a nearby location for the ceremony and reception but we could have easily done it all here.
The resort has a gorgeous view of Tampa Bay and beautifully kept grounds so it would be a great choice for a couple looking to have a waterside wedding. Now, having said that, an outdoor waterside wedding in Florida where beautiful can be absolutely unbearably hot for you and your guests in the summer months not to mention the weather in the summer months is very unpredictable. However, this venue still works if you keep the ceremony outside short and retreat to an indoor air conditioned reception. Also because it is a resort hotel, I am sure that if weather conditions are such that an outdoor ceremony would not be possible they could easily move you indoors to save the day.
The spa has wedding packages for spa treatments and that is something we took advantage of for the Bride and Bridesmaids the day before our wedding. Many of our Bridesmaids and family members stayed at the resort and included with the stay was the use of the spa amenities, such as the mineral springs pool, hot tubs, sauna and fitness center. The resort has a full catering menu and a staff that is very helpful with planing.
Lovers Key State Park
For an informal beach front wedding I can’t think of a better name for a venue than the Fort Myers Beach Lovers key State Park. Located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s southwest coast.
This ideally named tropical location comes complete with wedding pavilion, white sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets. A perfect location for the bride and groom looking for a casual wedding with a gorgeous view. The area provides many options for hotel accommodations in every price range. Rates are usually higher in the winter months as that is peak season when the northerners flock to Florida for the milder winter. Summer rates are usually much less, however a bit risky weather wise for an outdoor wedding, as Florida summer weather can be unpredictable. Also keep in mind that summer is hurricane season in Florida. (I can tell you that I have first hand experience with the stress that hurricane season can cause on wedding plans as my son’s wedding was one week after Hurricane Irma hit. Lucky for us power was restored to our hotel and venue just 2 days before the wedding and it all worked out but it was probably the most stressful week of our lives). Click for my previous post on Lovers Key State Park and the surrounding area. Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach are the closest areas to find Vendors but since this is on the beach you would want to keep it very informal.
Suwannee River State Park
This venue would be appropriate only for the outdoors type of couple that loves hiking and camping. The river and grounds of this park are indeed beautiful but the main reason this one made my list was the convenience and reasonable pricing of the campgrounds and cabins that would not break the bank for family and guests attending. This would be ideal for a couple that wanted to theme their wedding around their love of hiking and being surrounded by nature. With a well equipped pavilion by the river a couple could have a picnic style wedding reception with a view. An idea for that bride and groom that wants to keep costs lower but still have a unique outdoor wedding experience with a theme. More about Suwannee River State Park. Not a venue for everyone but has potential for hiking enthusiast and nature lovers. This park is in a rural area of northern Florida with the closest town being Live Oak so vendor selections would be limited.
Honeymoon Island State Park – Dunedin Florida
Another appropriately named state park, located on the central west coast of Florida and on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A complete staff at Cafe Honeymoon can help you make all the arrangements and their number is 727-260-5503. Convenient to the quaint area of downtown Dunedin, this location is not only picturesque for a wedding ceremony but it is also serviceable by local vendors. Guests will also have plenty of choices for accommodations as there are numerous vacation condos in the area.