The Best Florida Wedding Destination

Couples fl y, drive and cruise into Florida for weddings from all over the country, drawn by the state’s broad blue sky and bright sunshine. As for venues, planners, fl orists, bakers, entertainers, offi ciants and photographers, brides and grooms easily match their likes to the providers eager to step up from coast to coast. Here are some highlights. SOUTHERN COMFORT For Miami chic in an easy-to-reach locale, choose Sunny Isles Beach for your wedding and honeymoon. Near two airports yet distinctly away from the crowds, this coastal hot spot runs along 2.5 miles of Atlantic coastline. The wedding locations wow as much as the sunsets.

The destination is home to over-the-top indulgent world-class hotels, yet also splendidly stylish ones; both types are eager to host your ceremony and reception. Also in Sunny Isles, unusual venues cater to weddings, such as one party space designed to look like a monastery and another fi lled with highly themed rooms James Bond, antique European cars and more. Marry in Old Florida fashion by pastelhued buildings where Ernest Hemingway himself might have walked.

Or at sunset on a quiet beach. Or in a raucous public gathering spot surrounded by fun-lovers. Or off the coast aboard a luxury yacht. In the Florida Keys & Key West, weddings have one rule and one rule only: No rules apply. This diverse destination at the southern tip of the United States is renowned for its beand-let-be attitude. That applies to weddings, from traditional church ceremonies and elegant ballroom receptions to rainbow ring exchanges with nontraditional celebrations. Couples can even end on a sweet note with wedding cakes that look like sushi. From serene fi shing spots to activity-fi lled resorts to quaint historical inns, the Florida Keys are, in essence, what you want them to be with sun. Lots of sun weddings Hawks Cay Resort brings the best of the Florida Keys to one spot: Stunning sunrises and sunsets, spa treatments, fi ne dining, interacting with dolphins, paddle boarding, fi shing, tennis, diving and way more will entertain wedding couples and their guests. Yet the wedding itself will take center stage.

Hawks Cay has six outdoor wedding venues and four indoors. All the venues were just updated. So kick off your married life in a colonial-style gazebo with ocean views, or in a 6,000-square-foot ballroom with Atlantic vistas, or surrounded by bottlenose dolphins, or on the sand at the Beach Grill, or in terraces overlooking the beach, or around one of two landscaped pools, or aboard a 65-foot catamaran. Your choices are that extensive and inviting. The wide portfolio of options continues beyond the ceremony and reception. Invite the whole gang because the choices are tremendous. Break the ice with a private sunset cruise featuring dinner and wine or have a sand volleyball tournament. Gather the gals for a spa day or the guys for a deepsea fi shing expedition. Throw a Keys-style street party.

Take a snorkel trip to a private island. Then wish your friends and family adieu so you can privately experience Hawks Cay Resort’s beauty and activities. You might want to lodge in one of two brand-n ew penthouses with private outdoor space and expansive views. NORTHERN EXPOSURE If you are travelers seeking an authentic Florida experience, rather than tourists wanting bells and whistles, choose Santa Rosa County for your wedding and honeymoon. This quaint, historic and charming corner of northwest Florida, known as Florida’s Playground, is home to Navarre Beach 8 miles of pristine Gulffront shoreline with little development along its coast. Its new Navarre Beach Pier juts out 1,500 feet over the calm, clear blue water and is a popular spot for fi shing and sunset viewing. Weddings here can be on the beach, in a quaint white church or at the naval air station’s Whiting Field. Celebrate at a barbecue restaurant, within a golf club or in a hotel ballroom. For sure, your honeymoon options will range from antiquing in historic Milton to kayaking the Blackwater River, dining in quaint bistros to hiking miles upon miles of scenic trails or just relaxing on the pristine white sandy beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast.

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