5 Historic Spots to Say ‘I Do’ in Florida

    By Jodi Mailander Farrell

    For those of you who want to celebrate your wedding with a big bash, here are five luxurious destination wedding sites around the state with pasts and settings worthy of your historic event.

    The Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables

    Historic host to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby, this Jazz Age icon is an elegant 1926 Mediterranean hotel with hand-painted frescos on barrel-vaulted ceilings, travertine floors, marble columns, leaded glass fixtures, carved mahogany furnishings and lavish gardens. A testimony to lasting beauty, it’s a designated National Historic Landmark.

    Hemingway Home and Museum, 907 Whitehead St., Key West

    The tropical garden of the historic home, where Hemingway lived from 1931 to 1939, is the perfect setting for a storybook wedding. After all, Ernest Hemingway enjoyed romance so much that he was married four times. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author did some of his best work here, including “To Have and Have Not.”

    The Breakers, One South County Rd., Palm Beach

    Whether you pick the beach or a ballroom, you can’t go wrong at this legendary 140-acre oceanfront resort where Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors have vacationed alongside U.S. presidents and European nobility. Now in its second century, the hotel has survived fires and reconstruction to reach its current grand state modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome, with 200-foot lobby ceilings painted by 75 artisans from Italy.

    The Don CeSa
    3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach

    Opened in 1928, the 277-room Pink Lady was once the stomping grounds of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, baseball star Lou Gehrig and infamous mobster Al Capone. In addition to its prime Gulf Coast beach location, the Don also boasts three restaurants, a pool with an underwater sound system, shops and a spa. Most nuptials take place in the sand or on the iconic courtyard staircase, while receptions occur in indoor-outdoor ballrooms or covered beachside pavilions.

    The Ringling
    , 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota  

    Think Gatsby. The 1920s-era estate of circus barons John and Mable Ringling is rich in architecture and history, with its stunning Museum of Art. Large groups have ample space to celebrate in its courtyard, graced with replicas of ancient Greek, Roman and Baroque statues. Other venues include a rose garden, a banyan grove and the mansion’s bay-front Ca’ d’Zan Terrace, where Ringling himself threw countless parties.

    Places to Remember