For a Florida destination wedding fit for the supremely sophisticated bride and groom, go to the edge – of the water.
Downtown Naples provides an idyllic coastal setting for you debonair travelers out there – you know who you are.
The downtown Fifth Avenue South promenade, lined with upscale boutiques and fine dining options, is charming. Think of gentlemen in printed silk Tommy Bahama shirts and tailored pants, the ladies carrying designer handbags and donning oversized Jackie O sunglasses. It's not stuffy, but neither is it a college spring break destination. The vibe in downtown Naples is refined, but unhurried.
You'll notice the vintage facades and the mini parks scattered throughout downtown, with ample bench seating to encourage relaxing and lingering. People are smiling, laughing and enjoying spending time with family and friends in the year-round perfect weather. The lushly landscaped main street leads from Tamiami Trail all the way to the beach – and what a gorgeous beach it is.
Plan Ahead and Pick a Date
Make sure you plan ahead and book your wedding date as soon as you can.
"The busy season for weddings in Naples is January through April," according to Tom Trovato, Floral Designer for Grace Lakes Florists, a local business that has been around for more than 60 years. "We've even been busy as early as October."
Tom and his team are responsible for designing flower arrangements for some of the most lavish weddings in town. The florist recently received an order for $50,000 worth of design and floral work, but he said they work with brides with a wide range of budgets.
Book Your Venue
Lucky for you, the luxury wedding venues in Naples are the crème de la crème:
- The Ritz-Carlton Naples (two resorts: one on the golf course and one on the beach)
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
La Playa Beach & Golf Resort
The Naples Yacht Club
Port Royal Club
- And more...
Each has its own unique amenities and sophisticated wedding planning services, but if you want to stay within walking distance to downtown, one luxury hotel property stands out.
The Inn on Fifth is an elegant boutique hotel just a short jaunt to the many downtown shops, restaurants, art galleries and events. Promising to book only one wedding at a time, the property fully commits its event planning staff and resources to each couple, giving brides and grooms their undivided personal attention. In addition to its charm and enviable downtown setting, this is a popular venue for couples in search of an exclusive wedding day experience.
Justin and Carmela Owens tied the knot in March 2012 with a beachfront ceremony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a reception at the Inn on Fifth.
"Our reception was beautiful and the space at the hotel provided the perfect intimate setting for our 68 guests," said the bride.
A great choice for small- to medium-size weddings, The Inn on Fifth offers nearly 8,000 square feet of outdoor and indoor space for a ceremony and can accommodate up to 200 guests for a tropical Florida-style reception. The staff can arrange everything from lighted trees and chic chair covers to white, open-air tents, ice sculptures and romantic candlelit tables.
The Inn on Fifth offers a variety of wedding packages that can be tailored to any couple's needs. With both buffet and plated options, event menus are customizable by the hotel's culinary team, featuring favorites such as Shrimp Mousse on English Cucumbers, Baked Mahi-Mahi with Asian Glaze and Petite Filet with Forest Mushroom Demi Glaze.
Find Local Vendors
After booking the right venue, it's important to look for local vendors that provide all the intricate details: flowers, photography, a wedding cake, transportation and any other needs you may have. Carmella highly recommended Kakes by Karen and raved about New Ground Photography, two local businesses specializing in weddings.
"Our photographs were fantastic. Their style stood out and their ability to capture each detail exceeded our expectations," said Carmela.
To create a whimsical experience for their guests, the couple arranged for a trolley to transport them to and from the beachside ceremony on 8th Avenue.
"The trolley was not only a great accessory to our vintage-romantic vibe, but it also was convenient for our out-of-town guests," said Carmela.
Carmela had this advice for brides-to-be planning destination weddings: "Don't settle! Make sure it is exactly what you want and enjoy the moment. It goes by so quick."
While you dream about your destination wedding in Florida, dream also of that easy stroll down Fifth Avenue, just a few short blocks from the white-sand beaches of the emerald Gulf. It's picture perfect.
Wedding Planning Services
- Capture every moment of your big day with New Ground Photography. Call 800-204-4070 or go to newgroundphotography.com.
- Reserve trolley transportation through Premier Trolleys. Call 239-961-1882 or go to premiertrolleys.com.
- Enjoy gorgeous floral arrangements by Grace Lakes Florist. Call 800-368-1163 or go to gracelakesflorist.com.
- Design a wedding cake you'll always remember with Kakes by Karen. Call 239-514-2567 or go to kakesbykaren.net.
- Apply for your marriage license at the Naples Clerk of Circuit Courts located at 3301 Tamiami Trial East. The office is on the second floor of the courthouse. Make sure you bring your picture ID. There is no waiting period and there is a fee of $93.50 (cash or check only). Call 239-252-7241 for more info.
If You Go
- What: Inn on Fifth
- Where: 699 5th Avenue, Naples
- Phone: 888-403-8778
- Cost: Room prices start at $375 per night ($700 for Club Level)
- Reservations: For reservations and information on planning a wedding, call The Inn on Fifth toll-free at 888-403-8778 or visit them online at innonfifth.com.
- Pop into one of my favorite boutiques – Pucci & Catana – which offers luxe couture for pampered pets. facebook.com/pucciandcatana
- Visit Gallery O and check out the eco-friendly Belizean hardwood art and furniture. thegalleryo.com
- Eat lunch at Café Luna. It's a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. cafelunanaples.com