If you’ve been dreaming of a hot and tropical destination wedding with a twist of sexy city hustle consider Miami, Florida. A Miami wedding on the beach offers a stunning backdrop of white sand, turquoise water and exotic palm trees, but can be more affordable and travel-accessible than the same type of celebration in the Caribbean. No matter what your ideal setting is for your nuptials, Miami has a venue for you; whether outdoors on a beach or indoors at one of the city’s haute hotels.
The best time to go: To avoid Florida’s rain and hurricane season, we recommend booking your destination wedding between the months of January and April. The not-too-hot, not-too-cool temperatures during this period make it the most comfortable time of year for an outdoor celebration. However, be mindful of Spring Break, which tends to fall 10 to 15 days before or after the Easter weekend.
The flight: American Airlines, West Jet and Air Canada all offer daily non-stop flights to Miami International Airport from Toronto. The flight time is roughly three hours. Most east coast airports offer air service to Miami. If you’re flying from the west coast, a connection in Toronto is the best travel bet.
The legal paperwork: To get married in Florida, simply visit the nearest clerk of the circuit court to obtain a marriage licence, which costs USD $93.50. You will need to show your passport (or your naturalization or immigration number). If this is not your first marriage, you must also provide the date of divorce, annulment or your former spouse’s death certificate. Once you have obtained your licence, you’re ready to tie the knot!
The local customs: The culture of Miami is heavily influenced by its large Cuban community, meaning you’ll still get a taste of the Caribbean without even going off-shore. Add some Latin flavour to your wedding with the bright colours, delicious food, and rhythmic music and dancing that Cuba is known for. Don’t forget to offer guests a selection of classic rum-based cocktails like daiquiris, mojitos, and Cuba Libres (rum and cola with lime). If you’ll be saying your I dos during the month of March, you can spice things up with a festival theme to complement Miami’s Carnaval on The Mile and Calle Ocho celebrations.
The budget: Depending on the scope and size of wedding you choose, and the venue, your budget can run the gamut from a $10,000 to $100,000+! If you are planning a celebration at one of Miami’s swish hotels expect to pay more for their total wedding packages, which typically include everything from the flowers, to the photographer, catering and entertainment.
The venue: For a gorgeous wedding in a beautiful art-deco space we recommend the Eden Roc Miami Beach. Built in 1956, this iconic hotel built by renowned architect Morris Lapidus boasts a stunning oceanfront location and an iconic history. A favourite destination of Hollywood’s old-world elite like Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball and Ann Margret, Eden Roc is a stunning location for a destination wedding offering the best of both worlds with amazing indoor and outdoor spaces. Weddings can be done outside on the beach with over 25,000 square feet of space available for ceremony and reception set up. There are also four indoor ballrooms to choose from with the two most legendary being the Mona Lisa and Pompeii, which can accommodate up to 275 and 650 guests respectively.
Post-nuptials, Eden Roc is a chic honeymoon oasis where you can enjoy sun, sand, amazing food and luxury spa pampering. Indulge yourself by booking a breezy oceanfront corner suite in the Ocean Tower, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and million-dollar beach views. While away your newlywed days in a beach cabana or poolside at one of Eden Roc’s four pools. Food is a particular focus at the hotel with two amazing restos to enjoy, the more casual Cabana Beach Club (located beachfront) or the renown 15 Steps were you can enjoy farm-to-table fare created by chef Jeremy Ford and his team (the menu changes seasonally). Cocktails in the hotel’s iconic Art Deco Lobby Bar are also a must—the architecture and décor seem straight out of Mad Men (Jared Harris who played Lane Pryce on the show actually had his wedding reception at Eden Roc this past December). Another don’t miss at Eden Roc: the incredible ELLE Spa. At 22,000 square feet, this sprawling wellness oasis is the first spa of it’s kind created by ELLE magazine. The spa menu is vast and varied offering every type of massage, facial and body treatment imaginable. There’s a body scrub bar where you can make your own custom formula, steam, sauna, hot and cold plunge pools as well as a rooftop deck with VIP cabanas you can enjoy for the day.