All you need is love. Florida supplies the rest—sunshine and sea breezes, bouquets of tropical flowers and resorts that excel in celebrations.
Here is a look at Florida’s diverse and dazzling choices for heavenly honeymoons, wondrous weddings and leisure for the modern family: straight, gay, blended or other. Look for perks such as a complimentary suite on the big night and entertaining features from swimming with manatees to bonfires with Champagne and s’mores.
THE ATLANTIC COAST
The sophisticated Lago Mar Resort and Club is part of Fort Lauderdale’s Luxe Collection. Traditional and secluded, Lago Mar excels at white-glove service and ceremonies on the beach or in the ballroom.
At the southern end of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the exciting Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a tropical beach party with posh interiors and fabulous photo ops on a spectacular glass terrace with a panorama of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Hollywood Beach Marriott also has a spectacular oceanfront, but traditional interiors with mahogany panelling and brilliant chandeliers. The Vow to Get Away promotion, when available, offers triple Marriott Rewards points.
The classic queen of Hollywood Beach, The Diplomat Resort & Spa is one of Florida’s largest resorts, with two pools, a sublime spa, a kids’ club—and weddings to remember.
The rainbow spirit is strong in Fort Lauderdale, the No. 1 LGBT resort destination in the US, with nearly 20 gay hotels and hundreds of LGBT-owned businesses. The Grand Resort & Spa is a haven for gay men who love its terrific spa and clothing-optional pool. Several mainstream hotels also are strong on same-sex unions, including the B Ocean Fort Lauderdale, which has a private swatch of sand, and the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, popular for its penthouse ballroom and oceanfront terrace.
The cool town of Delray Beach is more intimate. The deluxe Seagate Hotel & Spa is a
gorgeous getaway with wedding options, such as the Wine Room in the Atlantic Grille, the Country Club and the truly distinctive Beach Club, a beautifully restored 1920s oceanfront colonial pavilion.
Sundy House in Delray Beach has charm, history and fine cuisine. The ambrosial botanical area called the Taru Garden encompasses a gazebo, tropical foliage, a flowing waterfall and pretty ponds.
The high-society landmark of Palm Beach, The Breakers is a matchless destination for prestige and pomp. The Breakers’ wedding blog dishes on food, drinks, fashion and the best parties, so you are sure to have a creative celebration and an indulgent honeymoon.
The all-suite Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort offers variety with bonfires on the beach and cocktail soirées on the veranda.
THE GULF COAST
Spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico create unparalleled romantic occasions.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has it all, starting with a beachfront ballroom, plus a spectacular new golf course redesigned from scratch in 2016 by Jack Nicklaus, a stunning spa, waterfront dining, tennis and a kids’ club.
The moderate price range at theknot.com includes the fully-equipped condos at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa on Sanibel Island.
The tranquil paradise of Captiva Island, in the glorious Gulf near Sanibel and Fort Myers, is a world apart, with pristine beaches and sunsets rated the most romantic in the US by Travelocity. The South Seas Island Resort hosts weddings to remember, from barefoot on the beach to black-tie in the ballroom. Nearby, ’Tween Waters Inn, Island Resort & Spa, has vintage cottages and modern studios, plus a spa, wedding-worthy sunset cruises and tiki torches along garden paths.
For the ultimate bachelor party and a sporty twist on romance, Major League Baseball can be the home run hit of your wedding or honeymoon. The posh Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach is near the spring-training sites for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort & Spa, on an 85-acre waterfront paradise in Fort Myers, is the ideal home base for fans of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins.
Another treasure is the eco-conscious Plantation on Crystal River, about an hour’s drive north of Tampa on inland waterways near the Gulf of Mexico. Here you can swim with manatees, play golf, fish or have a spa day, so the family will be entertained before and after the celebrations, in the heart of a conservation area.
ORLANDO & NORTH
The vast Hyatt Regency Orlando has 1,639 rooms, a direct connection to the Orange County Convention Center, a full spa, ballrooms, an exceptional pool system and outdoor party venues blooming with orchids and tropical landscaping.
Heading to the Atlantic coast east of Jacksonville, One Ocean Resort & Spa is a luxurious destination that has earned four stars from Forbes Travel Guide. Bridal parties and honeymooners can enjoy oceanfront dining, private concierges (called docents here) and The Spa. If you bring the family, kids adore the Sea Turtles Club.
Just north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a picturesque and pure home to historical sites, thrilling sailing excursions and splendid resorts. The posh Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, on a pristine barrier reef, combines southern graciousness with the excitement of opulent ballrooms, oceanfront receptions and award-winning cuisine. The lush Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort has a waterfront setting and an organic garden, which is an enchanting venue.
NO BALLROOMS HERE
Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery, in Homestead between Miami and The Keys, blends agritourism with party places surrounded by waterfalls and vineyards. For distinctive dinners and bachelorette/bachelor events, you can make wine and beer tastings part of the celebrations.
In Miami, the splendid Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a historic estate with waterfront terraces overlooking Biscayne Bay and Italian- and French-inspired gardens of flora, fountains and statues.
Mixon’s in The Grove, a working citrus farm in Bradenton near Sarasota on the Gulf coast, offers luxuriant settings such as a koi pond. The Orange Blossom Tram tootles through the groves and Mixon’s adds a high-tech element by live-streaming your celebration to friends and family who could not attend.
An hour south of Orlando, the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo is a comfortable rustic spread of cabins, camping and cowboy life, with new luxe teepees in Native American décor. Say “Howdy” instead of “I Do” and whoop it up at the rodeo.
TOP: A matrimonial oceanfront setting at The Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach. ABOVE: A chickee hut at the luxe Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo near Orlando.
OPPOSITE TOP: The splendid Vizcaya Museum & Gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: The private beach club at the deluxe Seagate Hotel & Spa in Delray Beach. ABOVE: A post-wedding moment at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club on the Gulf of Mexico.