Romance is blooming all around Southwest Florida. In fact, the metro area of North Port – Sarasota – Bradenton was just named the No. 1 Best Affordable Honeymoon Spot in the United States by Liability. Well, first comes love, and then comes marriage, and we have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best destinations to say “I do” in Sarasota, Bradenton, and beyond. Join in the conversation in our comments at the end to add your favorite local venue.
Choose from multiple locations throughout the grounds at The Ringling, featuring breathtaking architecture, beautiful tropical grounds, and stunning views of Sarasota Bay. Your wedding photographer will love all the picture-perfect settings from the Museum of Art Courtyard and Loggia to the Terrace at Ca’ d’Zan, Mable’s Rose Garden, and many more inspiring areas. The Ringling website is very helpful to review options for day and evening weddings, price, details, and for approved and frequent vendors.
Powel Crosley Estate
Reminiscent of a bygone era, the Powel Crosley Estate is located between Bradenton and Sarasota and features a historic 1920’s mansion on Sarasota Bay. Guests will enjoy the setting of magnificent rooms that include a great room, terrace, and Bayside pavillion. Learn more at BradentonGulfIslands.com.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Located on Sarasota Bay in downtown Sarasota, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens offers myriad of venues for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. The north side of the garden features the Christy Payne Mansion and Mansion Lawn, Michael’s on the Bay indoor venue, and the Bay Lawn with unparalleled waterfront views. The south side of the garden features the Schimmel Wedding Lawn and Pavilion, Children’s Rain Forest, and unique Banyan Reception Area. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be a botanically-beautiful day! With a wealth of hotels nearby, guests will appreciate the convenience of experiencing “in-town SRQ.” Visit Selby.org.
Weddings looking for a true one-of-kind experience will benefit from the purple-inspired architecture of the Van Wezel on Sarasota Bay. The Grand Foyer is 6,000 square feet and can comfortably seat up to 350. The outdoor terrace and Bayfront lawn can accommodate an additional 1,500 people and is sure to make your day a dramatic success! There’s plenty of parking and hotels within walking distance (The Hyatt Regency, Hotel Indigo, Sarasota Modern) for those who are traveling to share in the day. For more information, visit VanWezel.org or call 941-363-2058.
Scenic Sights and Architecture
South Florida Museum
The South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium, and Parker Manatee Aquarium offer unique locations for beautiful weddings and memorable receptions. The Spanish Plaza Courtyard seats 225 guests and features a lovely fountain, covered Colonnade, classic lighting, and use of the facility’s catering kitchen. A $15 million renovation upgrading the museum will include a new Mozaic Backyard Universe opening in July 2019, presenting even more options for brides. Learn more at SouthFloridaMuseum.org.
Phillippi Estate Park
Located on the shores of Phillippi Creek, the historic Edson Keith Mansion built in 1916 is poised on a 60-acre park. Ceremonies can take place inside the mansion or outside on the lawn. Beautiful creek and park views are the perfect backdrops for the day’s activities. The Edson Keith Mansion can accommodate up to 150 guests for a sit-down dinner with a total maximum capacity of standing guests at 236. Smaller weddings are right at home on the gazebo, while additional areas including a rose garden provide more options. Learn more, including prices, caterers, floor plans, and what’s included by reading the rental information at the Phillippi Estate Park page on SCGov.net.
Historic Spanish Point brings history to life and is home to a 30-acre outdoor museum, lush Florida foliage, breathtaking bayfront views, and over 5,000 years of history. Choose from a wealth of locations to suit your nuptial needs from a romantic pioneer-era chapel to the White Cottage Lawn and Sunken Garden (which seats 150), and even a rustic packing house. Discover Old-Florida charm at this romantic waterfront destination. Visit HistoricSpanishPoint.org to learn more.
Gulf Coast Beaches
One can’t forget the beauty of the beach and this natural backdrop is idyllic for friends, family, and photos. Plan an intimate ceremony or a big bash at sunset. For public beaches, you may save money for not having to rent a venue but don’t forget permits are required if you want any type of wedding ceremony decorations or chairs and there are a wealth of local vendors who can help pull together your special day.
The Gasparilla Inn and Club
Located in Boca Grande, The Gasparilla Inn brings with it a storied history and Old-Florida ambiance. Guests will appreciate gracious accommodations while brides will love the private, picturesque weddings. Open seasonally, the Inn hosts weddings from early October to early July, excluding the month of March. From black tie affairs to beachfront nuptials, you’ll adore professional, full-service catering and an events department to coordinate your dream destination wedding. Learn more at The-Gasparilla-Inn.com.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
A pillar of luxury, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota brings brides a range of elegant options. Choose an intimate outdoor space to exchange your vows in front of the Gulf of Mexico, host a grand evening in the ballroom, or imagine a beautiful Bayfront reception on the hotel lawn. Guests will enjoy their stay on-site as they experience coastal luxury while the bride and groom receive a complimentary room for the wedding night. Their website is very helpful with details on the different venues, advice, and general information: RitzCarlton.com.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club
The Resort at Longboat Key Club customizes your wedding down to the smallest details. Choose from elegant indoor venues, ceremonies on the sand, or pick a unique setting such as The Tennis Gardens, golf course, or marina. A dedicated wedding specialist helps to keep your experience as stress-free as possible. Guests staying at the resort will love the wide range of amenities. Visit their website to learn more and submit an RFP: longboatkeyclub.com/weddings-on-longboat-key
Charming Country Clubs
Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club
Your wedding will be flawless thanks to the stunning settings and professional staff of Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. Imagine a gorgeous ceremony on the lush lawn overlooking verdant fairways and a serene lake with a dramatic fountain. Enjoy cocktails on the terrace before bringing the night home with an elaborate reception in the ballroom. Learn more – and check out this Instagram gallery – at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club website.
Plantation Golf & Country Club
Located in Venice, The Plantation Golf and Country Club blends a commitment to service with beautiful views and amenities. Including a touch of old Florida charm with lush golf courses and elegant spaces, the club’s catering director will deal with all the details so you can savor the moment every step of the way. Visit their website or contact them directly to schedule a tour.
Rustic Elegance in Manatee County
Located in Parrish, Bakers Ranch is a picturesque, classic, and stress-free venue ideal for saying your vows. A family business, you are sure to be well taken care of by the owners who have been in the wedding industry for over fourteen years. From the Ancient Oaks canopy to the enchanted garden chapel, pergola and ranch house, you are sure to capture the spirit of this love-filled day. Find out all the details for yourself and schedule a tour at BakersRanch.com.
Experience vintage charm with a southern twist at Mixon Farms in Bradenton where garden walkways and a sprawling orange grove create a rustic backdrop for elegance. Share a memorable first kiss as husband and wife in the Amish-built, wooden-spindled gazebo surrounded by a large Koi pond. Meanwhile, the pavilion is pure magic for your first dance with sparkling lights and views of natural splendor. Get all the fabulous farm details on their website: thepavilionatmixonfarms.com.
Enchanting Charlotte County
The Wyvern Hotel
Overlooking the water in Punta Gorda, The Wyvern Hotel hosts more intimate weddings on the rooftop deck at Perch 360 as well as downstairs in 88 Keys Florida or in the River Room. Visit their website at thewyvernhotel.com or contact the hotel directly for more information.
TT’s Tiki Bar
You’ll love the Tiki ambiance as you sink your toes in the sand at TT’s Tiki Bar in Punta Gorda on Charlotte Harbour. A popular place for events and weddings. You’ll appreciate the indoor banquet space, Dockside Restaurant, and of course, the Tiki Bar. Packages can include food, beverages, entertainment, and guest rooms at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside. Learn more on their website.
As you can see, there are many places to tie the knot on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Brides will be able to choose the ambiance and personality of a place that best suits their own tastes. If you have any additional venues you want to add to the list, then feel free to post in our comments below!