Is a church wedding not your style? Hotel not quite your speed? Backyard shindig? Okay, we won’t even go there. When it comes to picking the perfect spot for a ceremony or reception, many brides are skipping the traditional go-tos for something a bit more outside-the-box.
Image courtesy of the Florida Aquarium
From historic estates to the world’s largest shuffleboard club, these five Florida venues are sure to provide an unforgettable backdrop for your special occasion.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Photo by Joe Capasso Photography
Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford shared more than an inventive spirit. Their neighboring winter estates reflect a mutual passion for Ft. Myers’ laid-back atmosphere and balmy temps.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a 20-acre national landmark that features Edison’s and Ford’s historic homes (“Seminole Lodge” and “The Mangoes,” respectively), in addition to botanical gardens, a research laboratory, and a 15,000-square-foot museum filled with artifacts and inventions. Couples can pick from five unique ceremony locations, each perfectly tailored for a relaxed, Old Florida-inspired celebration. And here’s a fun bonus: In commemoration of their wedding day, couples can plant a tree on the estate’s grounds. A special tree plaque will bear their names and event date.
Christ of the Abyss
Photo by Adam Opris Photography
Instead of a walk down the aisle, get hitched underwater. Amy Slate, who owns Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo (and who was recently inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame), conducts underwater weddings at the Christ of the Abyss and other popular scuba sites around the Florida Keys. (The photo above shows the “Christ of the Abyss” sculpture but is not representative of an underwater wedding with Amy Slate.)
The Florida Aquarium
Photo courtesy of the Florida Aquarium
Rest easy, water babies. We’ve found your “something blue”—the Coral Reef Gallery at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium. Teeming with hundreds of reef fish, turtles, sharks, and other marine life, this jaw-dropping, 500,000-gallon tank is a visually stunning spot for exchanging precious vows. Guests will receive a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, plus, you’ll save big-time on décor.
Photo by Starfish Studios
Reminiscent of the luxe tranquility of the Spanish countryside, Estancia Culinaria is a feast for the senses. A 30-minute drive from downtown Miami, this family-owned estate features a vintage-themed 19th-century farmhouse with an outdoor terrace overlooking the lush, organic avocado fields beyond.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to the coral rock chapel to meet your groom—an utterly romantic way to kick off a pastoral wedding.
St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
Photo by Papered Heart Photography
Once a popular game reserved for Florida retirees, shuffleboard is now courting favor with retro-loving couples who are weaving the vintage pastime into their weddings. The world’s largest shuffleboard facility, the 91-year-old St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, serves up 73 courts, and the Art Deco and Mediterranean-style clubhouse is well-served for intimate celebrations.
After dinner and dancing, hit the courts for some competitive, post-reception play with your wedding party and guests.