Back Home

Destination Weddings A to Z

written by | Posted on January 28th, 2014


Fort Walton wedding

Fort Walton wedding


A Opened in 2013 as a Preferred Boutique Hotel near Rollins College in artsy Winter Park, the 112-room Alfond Inn (thealfondinn.com) exudes a sophisticated demeanor 30 minutes from Walt Disney World hoopla. Couples exchange vows in private nooks or go grand amid 10,000 sq. ft. of space including gardens, an elegant glass-domed conservatory and 500-capacity ballroom. Guests of the pet-friendly property have access to its fitness center, elevated pool and Florida-inspired Hamilton’s Kitchen.

B An icon of elegance for more than 80 years, the 1,047-room Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (bocaresort.com) radiates a vibrant energy while remaining faithful to its glamorous past. Diversions run amok at its exclusive Boca Beach Club, 32-slip marina with charters, two championship golf courses and Spa Palazzo. A slew of elegant ceremony and reception options include the 400-capacity Cathedral Room, 300-capacity Cloister Garden, Dunes Ballroom and Yacht Club Terrace. Twosomes can also dial it back with barefoot beach vows and cocktail soirees at Beach Club pools.

C Wednesday is the new Saturday at Treasure Coast’s Costa d’Este Beach Resort (costadeste.com). Savvy sweethearts receive up to $5,500 in value-added amenities and savings when booking a midweek wedding with 25 guests or more. Two chic art deco-inspired towers with 94 luxe rooms reflect the tastes of celebrity owners Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Brides can spoil the girls with facials and lunch at The Spa @ Costa d’Este, while the groom’s entourage dives into kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Festivities flow from casual to classy with “I do’s” on the beach and banquets in the glitzy Crystal Room.

D A merging of Collins Avenue’s once legendary Tudor Hotel and Palmer House, Dream South Beach (dreamsouthbeach.com) oozes a hip vibe just 50 yards from the beach. Surrounded by stylish boutiques and sizzling clubs, the 108-room art deco haven lets attendees plug into Miami’s beat and then revive in a sanctuary that’s both cosmopolitan and comfy. At the rooftop pool and sleek Highbar lounge, up to 275 can toast nuptials with creative concoctions and Serafina Restaurant cuisine in a “Studio 54 meets South Beach” setting.

E Perched on Miami Beach’s prestigious Millionaire’s Row, the 632-room Eden Roc (edenrocmiami.com) perpetuates the celebrity haunt status it garnered when it opened in 1956. The AAA four-diamond refuge features indoor and outdoor venues accommodating up to 1,000. Both the Ocean Garden and Pompeii Ballroom & Promenade seat 600 for dinner, while the Spa Garden handles 200 for receptions. Prior to the pomp, the gals can splurge at the premier ELLE Spa while guys pump iron in the fitness center or cut loose in a VIP Seabreeze Terrace cabana.

F Once the private winter estate of the William K. Vanderbilt family, Fisher Island Hotel & Resort (fisherislandclub.com) lets intendeds, friends and families hobnob like the rich and famous amid 216 acres of extravagance. Accessible by auto-ferry or private yacht, the resort is in the final stages of polishing up to the tune of $60 million. Groups can sequester themselves in courtyard villas, 1920s-era cottages and refreshed guesthouse suites. They’re also privy to a 9-hole golf course, spa, tennis center, beach club and marina. The island’s landmark centerpiece is the Vanderbilt family’s former 1920s Mediterranean-style mansion, where couples tie the knot beneath a towering courtyard banyan and celebrate in an exquisite 2,250-sq.-ft. ballroom.

G A splash of Victorian grandeur just one monorail stop from the Magic Kingdom, the 867-room Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa) oozes with ambiance reflecting Palm Beach’s golden era. On white-sand fringing Seven Seas Lagoon, the lavish retreat immerses guests with beaches, tennis courts, a marina, Senses Spa and new pool area with private cabanas. Betrothed can profess their love in gardens or beneath swaying palms. An 18,219-sq.-ft. ballroom accommodates 1,300 for elegant receptions, while the Augustine Hall handles 450 for dinners. Afterwards, newlyweds can unwind in stately guestrooms or a concierge suite.

Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort


H Poised on a 2.4-mile stretch of Atlantic beach just south of historic St. Augustine, the AAA four-diamond Hammock Beach Resort (hammockbeach.com) swings with signature Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson golf courses, diverse eateries and a multi-level waterpark. Wedding partakers can opt for the 320-room resort, condos or vacation homes. Plush with more than 80,000 sq. ft. of function space, the 330-suite/villa property woos with event lawns for 500 and indoor ballrooms for 300. Think bridal showers imbued with indigenous spa treatments, mini-tournaments on Florida’s longest course and rehearsal dinners on the 117-ft. Sundancer that’s outfitted with bars, humidor and full galley.

I A Sanibel Island tradition since 1895, Island Inn (islandinnsanibel.com) lures amorous adventurers with three lodges scattered amid 10 acres and within yards of warm Gulf waters. Geared toward lovers of nature rather than nightlife, the hideaway lies at the outer point of the barrier reef that brims with birds and shell-garnished sand. With a team of wedding specialists guiding the way, partiers can toast and dance in a Gulf-view reception room or on a private beach with Italian and Mediterranean cuisine from onsite Traditions On The Beach restaurant.

J An enclave of barefoot elegance in Palm Beach County, the 168-room Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa (jupiterbeachresort.com) seduces action enthusiasts with 1,000 ft. of secluded beach, a spa with “glam up” wedding packages, game room, tennis and fitness facility. The oceanfront pool serves as icing on the romance cake with waterfall spa, ultra-lounge, hammocks and fire pit. Up to 125 guests witness partners taking the plunge in a sand dune setting, and then sip, sup and dance the night away in the 4,500-sq.-ft. Sailfish Ballroom. The 100-capacity Terrace is tops for outdoor receptions or dinners next to a tropical green wildlife preserve.

K Off the beaten path on Central Florida’s Treasure Coast, Kimpton’s Vero Beach Hotel & Spa (verobeach­hotelandspa.com) merges modern and elegant styles in its pet-friendly guestrooms, suites and 1- to 3-bedroom vacation rentals. After cavorting with water recreation at nearby Indian River Lagoon, attendees can kick back in beach or poolside cabanas before White Orchid Spa therapies and the hosted evening wine hour. Captivating culture cravers, Vero Beach chimes in with its museums, shops and restaurants. The resort’s certified AACWP specialist coordinates intimate rehearsal dinners, oceanfront gazebo or beach ceremonies, and finale dinner receptions for up to 200.

L Naples’ only true beachfront luxury hotel, the 189-room LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (laplayaresort.com) plays out fairy tale scenarios with more than 11,000 sq. ft. of indoor venues plus outdoor sites. Formal ballrooms accommodate up to 380 for banquets, while beach, pool and lawn areas take it under the stars with a Gulf backdrop. Before the formalities, adventurers can spring into kayaking, fishing, sailing, stand-up paddling, golf and instruction at the resort’s Leadbetter Golf Academy. Parties can also own the North Pool for the day, with revelry in its 15-capacity cabana, three individual cabanas and loungers surrounding the pool.

M Dotting a 2.5-mile stretch of Sunny Isles between Fort Lauderdale and South Beach, the 182-room/suite Marenas Beach Resort & Spa (marenasresortmiami.com) adds Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels perks to its menu of posh amenities. The boutique property is prime for beachcombing, spa indulgences, grazing at Caracol Restaurant and sipping signature mojitos at Caracolitos Pool & Beach Bar. Eliminating the stress factor, an onsite wedding department tailors barefoot bliss on the beach or on an oceanview terrace. For post-ceremony festivities, the 10,000-sq.-ft. Bayview Terrace combines indoor and outdoor space for receptions and seated dinners.

N An authentically restored 1939 landmark perched on Collins Avenue, the AAA four-diamond The National Hotel (nationalhotel.com) shines with 153 rooms and suites marrying art deco details with modern refinements. Wedding parties boost the gusto in ultra-hip Poolside Cabana Terrace rooms and suites flanking a 205-ft. palm-lined infinity pool. The bride and her cronies can chill with the spa cabana’s calming Happily Ever After ritual before a vow exchange on the Garden Terrace, by the infinity pool or at the National Beach Club. The hotel’s Blues Bar and Martini Room throw suave receptions for up to 60.

Fisher Island Hotel & Resort

Fisher Island Hotel & Resort


O An artful Atlantic beach getaway minutes from Jacksonville, One Ocean Resort & Spa’s (oneoceanresort.com) 193 stylish rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows elevate the service concept via docents acting as private concierges. From elegant dinners in the 3,780-sq.-ft. Atlantic Ballroom to alfresco Verandina receptions or free-spirited nuptials shoeless on the shore, the resort’s wedding coordinators infuse celebrations with personal touches. While fellows buff up at personal training sessions, ladies gain their wedding day glow at The Spa at One Ocean. Parties wishing to linger longer can recharge with a gourmet bridal luncheon in the oceanview meditation room or VIP suites.

P Aside from playing a round or two on five championship golf courses, PGA National Resort & Spa (pgaresort.com) in Palm Beach Gardens lures with a refreshed attitude after a $100 million makeover. On the bridal front, enhancements include rejuvenated ballrooms and salons within the 39,000-sq.-ft. special events center, an indulgent Wedding Suite with chic amorous motif, new 350-capacity Honda Pavilion and 225-capacity Lakeside Lawn. Onsite certified wedding planners deliver all the bells and whistles for “happily ever after” love fests.
Action addicts gravitate to the massive resort’s health and racquet center, zero-entry pool, PGA Spa with outdoor mineral
pools, nine onsite restaurants and lounges, and a bevy of area
eco-adventures.

Q Whether taking a dip, taking a dive or taking it easy, exclusive Q Club at The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort (qclubresort.com/welcome.html) woos with an aura that’s part St. Tropez and part Ibiza. The exclusive residences feature floor-to-ceiling views in elegantly appointed studios, suites, and 1- to 3-bedroom designs—all with the features, amenities and services of a five-star hotel. After lounging in a cabana near the heated swimming pool and sharing a tension-releasing massage at Spa Q, couples can tie the knot on the beach followed by a dinner or cocktail reception at the 25,000-sq.-ft. Sunrise Pool Terrace.

PGA National Resort & Spa

PGA National Resort & Spa


R Crisp from a 5-year, $65 million investment, the 445-room The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island (ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland) lets groups wallow in pre-wedding splendor with its courtyard fire pit, 1.5 miles of dune-lined beach, lavish spa, three pools, private golf course and updated restaurant concepts. While all feature coastal views from private balconies, “hotel within a hotel” Club Level accommodations up the class with a dedicated concierge and exclusive lounge presenting continuous culinary offerings throughout the day. Pairs can unite with their toes in the sand or on an oceanfront lawn, and then party with pizzazz in the opulent Ritz Carlton Ballroom handling dinner and dancing for up to 800.

S Sprawling along 63 beachfront acres, 613-room Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa (sawgrassmarriott.com) is spruced up from a resort-wide ReFresh program completed last fall. The Ponte Vedra Beach escape is a natural for groups on the go with its private Atlantic access, five championship golf courses, four outdoor pools and 25,000-sq.-ft. spa. Ideal for friends, families and avid golfers, 80 two-bedroom villa suites stand separate from the main hotel. For stress-free celebrations, the resort’s Joy Weddings by Marriott specialists coordinate everything from sunset poolside affairs and cocktails on the Magnolia Terrace to fetes at the private Cabana Beach Club.

T Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort (tranquilitybay.com) lures groups to soak in the Marathon Island scene within 87 two- and three-bedroom beach houses nestled within 12 acres. A contrast of low-key and energetic, the hideaway engages with two beaches, watersports, fishing charters, swimming pools, putting green and fitness center. Guys can hook a wahoo or yellow tail to prep in a beach house gourmet kitchen while the girls opt for yoga, beachside clay treatments and lomi lomi massages. On the big day, the festivities evolve from cocktails at TJ’s Tiki Bar to a sunset beach ceremony and Butterfly Cafe reception.

Disney's Fairytale Weddings

Disney’s Fairytale Weddings


U Uniting to the beat of a different drum, music maniacs rock it at Universal Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel (hardrockhotelorlando.com). Ultra-cool amenities let attendees carve their own paths for pre- and post-activity escapades, from grooving in poolside cabanas, browsing the rock memorabilia collection or going unbridled at Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks. Accommodating up to 250, the resort’s 6,000 sq. ft. of function space ranges from the grassy Woodstock Lawn and pool deck to the sophisticated Avalon Ballroom. Adding to event ease are Mandara Spa bridal party packages, discounted guestroom rates and a personalized reservations web page.

V Glamour-infused in a 10-acre enclave on Biscayne Bay, Viceroy Miami (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/miami) indulges with 162 guestrooms and suites tricked out with hot techie treats. Guests are bowled over with decadent diversions like a 2-acre outdoor living room “furnished” with the Florida’s longest infinity pool, and a 28,000-sq.-ft. spa. Twosomes marry on the pool terrace with reception in the 120-capacity Great Room or tap into the swanky Club 50 Lounge and Rooftop Patio with sweeping 360-degree views. As a bonus gift, those booking their wedding at any Viceroy Hotel Group property receive a complimentary honeymoon stay at another Viceroy.

W Walking barefoot down a flower-laced aisle on the sugar-white sands of South Walton, partners can take the day from intimate to grand at the AAA four-diamond WaterColor Inn & Resort (watercolorresort.com). Bordering a dune lake, the 499-acre recreational oasis is a magnet for high-octane guests that are into watersports, golf, tennis, adventure tours and fishing. Ceremonies handle 150 on the beach or 300 in Marina Park, followed by receptions in a boathouse, lake house or 150-capacity Goldenrod Ballroom. Intendeds can spice up packages with a bridal primping party, guys get-together, beach bonfire and grand exit on Western Lake.

X Exceptional options go beyond entertainment at the mega-watt Orlando destination launched under the pseudonym “Project X” in 1964. Today, the Walt Disney World (disneyworld.disney.go.com) compound is home to four theme parks, two water parks, a bevy of attractions, and an array of Disney-owned and -operated hotels and resorts. Disney Wedding Planners arrange signature “Fairy Tale” ceremonies that transport a princess and her Prince Charming via horse-drawn carriage to a romantic gazebo, and then aboard a champagne-fueled cruise beneath a fireworks-splashed sky. Themed accommodations run the gamut, from a yacht club and wilderness lodge to a tropical South Pacific oasis.

Y A 23-acre vintage sanctuary on Sanibel Island, Casa Ybel Resort (casaybelresort.com) embellishes interludes with 114 beachfront 1- and 2-bedroom suites overlooking the water. Rich with recreation, the Gulf Coast retreat has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis court with onsite pro and beach rentals. Lovebirds can share nuptials on a tropically landscaped lawn, shell-carpeted white sand beach or lakeside gazebo. The resort’s Intimate Wedding accommodates 25 guests with decorated ceremony site, plated 4-course dinner reception and other trimmings. Its Celebration Services Staff nails the details, from locating an officiate to menu planning.

Z Zen philosophies connect couples with a spiritual flair at the tony Z Ocean South Beach (zoceanhotelsouthbeach.com). All 79 suites bring the outside inside through floor-to-ceiling windows and oversized private balconies overlooking Miami Beach’s Art Deco District. Before attending to the business at hand, the girls can revive and primp at Z Spa, while guys hit sunny South Beach for a flurry of ocean action. After a Beach Club or pool deck ceremony for 40 and reception in a Rooftop Terrace Suite or Front Porch Cafe, partners and their wedding posse can take their celebratory swagger out into Miami’s vibrant nightlife.

Wedding in Flagler County

Wedding in Flagler County

Five Top Honeymoon Escapes in North Florida

1 In the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district, the 138-room, AAA four-diamond Casa Monica Hotel (casamonica.com) gives a nod to the past while embracing modern amenities. Fountains, frescos, chandeliers and Moorish furnishings enhance romantic ambiance. The Love St. Augustine Style package sets a sultry tone with lush accommodations, flowers, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, gourmet breakfast at 95 Cordova Restaurant and a horse-drawn carriage ride.

2 Celebrating its 30th anniversary with a property-wide transformation, the 598-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa (sandestinbeachhilton.com) seduces with its Ultimate Honeymoon Escape. Amorous pairs bask in beachview accommodations with roses, champagne and Godiva chocolates upon arrival, a couple’s massage, $100 dining credit, and choice of single-day poolside cabana use or daily beach set-up on Destin’s sugar-white sand.

3 Steps from lively Jacksonville Landing Riverfront Marketplace on the St. Johns River, the 354-room Omni Jacksonville (omnihotels.com/jacksonville) spices classic elegance with robust action. Its Night Of Romance package pampers with champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and daily breakfast in-room or at Juliette’s Bistro. Romance Remembered tips the scale with Chandon Brut, romantic turndown service and breakfast in bed.

4 A Florida landmark since 1928, the 250-room Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (pontevedra.com) is a AAA five-diamond refuge merging romance and relaxation with recreation. Sweethearts can swoon with golf, tennis and spa packages, or keep it simple with a bed and breakfast plan. Adding fuel to the flame are private patios/terraces for lounging in plush terry robes and toasting the future.

5 At Amelia Island’s Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (elizabethpointelodge.com) couples can elude the rat race in an 1890s Nantucket-style inn that’s located a short bike ride from historic Fernandina. Escape artists can curl up in the ultra-private Katie’s Lighthouse, where a wrap-around sun deck unfolds to ocean views. A honeymoon package indulges with champagne, goodie basket, roses, daily breakfast and an Amelia River cruise.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort

Five Top Honeymoon Escapes in Central Florida

1 The new 137-room Epicurean (epicureanhotel.com) heats up South Tampa’s trendy Hyde Park district with a foodie focus played out beyond its Epicurean Theatre culinary classroom. After a couple’s treatment at Evangeline Spa and gourmet grazing at Elevage, newlyweds can sip designer cocktails at Edge rooftop bar. Uber spacious balcony suites engage with a separate living area, wet bar, soaking tub and private balcony.

2 Clearwater Beach’s Sandpearl Resort (sandpearl.com) lures lovers to dive into coastal culture with its climate controlled zero-entry pool and beachfront fire pits igniting the night. The resort’s Caretta on the Gulf dazzles as Clearwater Beach’s only AAA four-diamond restaurant. Duos can slip away with an Elopement plan or celebrate post-ceremony with Berries, Bubbly & Breakfast In Bed.

3 Sprawling along 500 ft. of Daytona Beach’s stellar white sand, the 320-room The Plaza Resort & Spa (plazaresortandspa.com) envelops honeymooners with its century-old tradition of hospitality and service. Couples can bliss out in a honeymoon suite, unplug at Ocean Waters Spa, splash in the beachfront pool, sup at Magnolia’s and sip nightcaps at intimate Veranda Lounge.

4 At the 320-villa/suite Reunion (reunionresort.com), it’s love at first sight for pairs passionate about golf. The Kissimmee retreat swings with signature design courses by legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, plus an Annika Sorenstam teaching academy. Paramours revel with the 2-night Perfectly Paired covering a 1-bedroom villa, champagne with fruit upon arrival, couple’s massage and daily breakfast.

5 The historic 175-room Safety Harbor Resort & Spa (safetyharborspa.com) has remained a revered refuge for rest, relaxation and renewal for nearly 90 years. Overlooking Tampa Bay, the estate-like escape is tucked within 22 lush acres where ancient natural mineral springs flow beneath. The All-Inclusive Spa package plays Cupid with daily breakfast and dinner, plus one spa treatment, fitness classes, and amenities at Spa Sanctuary and Tranquility Garden.

Epicurean Hotel

Epicurean Hotel

Five Top Honeymoon Escapes in South Florida

1 Opened on New Year’s Eve 1920, AAA four-diamond Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (casamarinaresort.com) flawlessly merges old Key West ambiance with contemporary luxury. The beachfront resort’s Bed & Breakfast immerses newlyweds amid 311 refreshed Mediterranean-style accommodations and daily breakfast at Sun Sun Bar & Grill. The Spa Al Mare, swimming pool, and private 1,100-ft. beach with rentals and charters garnish the interlude.

2 A sophisticated waterfront hotel poised where the Miami River converges with Biscayne Bay, EPIC (epichotel.com) embellishes its high-energy international vibe with swank amenities. Twosomes can slip into a 3-night Mini Moon packed with perks like roundtrip airport transfers, suite accommodations, bottle of bubbly, bottomless mimosa breakfast, poolside cabana use, a dinner at Marina Cafe, Exhale Spa couple’s massage and “edible” turndown service.

3 The classically chic Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach (fourseasons.com/palmbeach) titillates health-conscious duos with its expansive stretch of beach, heated freshwater pool, an 11,000-sq.-ft. spa and fitness facility with classes. The intimate haven’s 210 accommodations are completely restyled with sea grass colors transitioning to ocean views. Newlyweds nuzzle with the Romantic Retreat’s flowers on arrival, daily chef’s amenity, couple’s massage and $100 hotel dining credit.

4 Infused with a bygone era aura on a private island in Miami, Grove Isle Hotel & Spa’s (groveisle.com) 50 guestrooms seduce with Biscayne Bay-view balconies and canopied bedding. Duos are privy to a swimming pool, beach area with cabanas and loungers, tennis center, 85-slip marina and fitness center. Bed & Breakfast on the Bay covers room upgrade and valet parking.

5 The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club (naplesbeachhotel.com) sweeps lovebirds into an amenity-rich honeymoon with onsite beachfront golf, tennis facility, a spa oozing Florida charm, and 317 renovated guestrooms. The onsite Sunset Beach Bar & Grill is known as one of the best places to catch a southwest Florida sunset, and its Orchid House has more than 3,000 orchids.

EPIC Hotel

EPIC Hotel

Tell us what you think.