“We’re getting married”
The three special words, always toast worthy, and sure to excite a room full of friends and family.
“We’re getting married…in Miami!”
Five even more special words, sure to pull already raised eyebrows all the way up to the ceiling, and already agape jaws down to the floor.
Perhaps it’s the alliteration that makes the phrase roll off the tongue, or maybe the pastel colored images of sunshine and swaying palm trees immediately brought to mind, but there is undeniable appeal to tying the knot in one of the US’s youngest (only Anchorage and Las Vegas are newer!), and hottest major cities. But before you go ordering baby blue tuxedos and merengue dancing your way across the McArthur Causeway (please don’t do that)… this is a local’s guide to getting married in the Magic City.
Feel the Heat… but not too much
Maybe you’ve never been there at all, and if you vacation during the summers like most people, maybe you even fancy yourself accustomed to hot weather. But trust me; you do not want to submit your most cherished friends and family to the ungodly heat in South Florida between May, and mid-October. I can tell you as a local that anyone who can find the excuse, or simply has the funds to vacate for the summer does so, and May actually marks the end of tourist season for that exact reason. So, much more attractive hotel rates, sure… but it’s sooo hot (literally, not figuratively). Best month then: November, January, February, April, and early May (December is crowded with Art Basel and early holiday tourism. All of March is essentially a massive rave, and the end of May is already scorching hot.)
A Relaxed Theme
Easily one of the most fun parts about this wedding location. Miami gives you the leeway to be creative and fun with your wedding theme, not just because of the tropical climate either. A wonderfully liberal, and colorful city, your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and bouquets will look right at home in a wide array of pinks, salmons, celeste, lavender, or perhaps a little aqua green in homage of the Miami Dolphins (haha… maybe when they win the Super Bowl). Sure to be a hit with your breezy bridesmaids, your groomsmen can also add to the color palette in sharp, but modern medium or sharkskin gray tuxedos/suits, with pastel bowties and pocket silks. For the truly adventurous planning a beach ceremony, don’t be afraid to drop the jackets for a 2-piece vest and pants (that’s trousers to you) style, which looks great in tan (linen or tropical weight wool).
Hotels, Photos, and Venue
There is no shortage of big name luxury hotels on South Beach, W, Ritz-Carlton, Delano, Mondrian, Fountainebleau, Eden Roc, etc. etc., but as mentioned before, this is not the tourist’s guide to a Miami wedding. Most tourists never realize that Miami, Miami Beach, and South Beach are three separate entities (even Lebron James, when he famously announced he was “taking his talents to South Beach” back in 2010, a face palm at the time for locals). As a result, many never make it to breathtaking Coral Gables, increasingly elegant Brickell, and artsy Midtown/Design District. While the beach is the obvious place to take photos and make hotel reservations, you should consider a few things before centering your wedding between 5th and 44th streets on the beach (effectively South beach).
- The streets and beaches are lined with loud music, clubs and club patrons, and generally people who wake up at 4pm and don’t go to sleep until 12 noon. While this may sound fun for a week long vacation, it’s probably not the best for your wedding.
- South Beach is famous for many things, including being an adult playground. So also keep that in mind for your most senior and youngest family members.
- If you really want to stay on the beach with your family and friends, consider north of 44th street, featuring too many reputable hotels and resorts to name here. It’s completely different scene, and very tranquil.
Here are my recommended locations for your wedding photos, hotel, and venue.
- Villa Viscaya (Coconut Grove) – Now a museum, this historic early 20th century estate features Italian revival architecture, vast gardens, and an out of this century stone port and breakwater…perfect for taking timeless pictures. I mean it, my mother, sister, cousins, and every ex-girlfriend I’ve ever had have quinceniera (latin sweet-sixteen) and wedding pictures at Viscaya.
- The Biltmore Hotel & Country Club (Coral Gables) – Built in 1926, and deemed a historic landmark in 1996, the Biltmore was once a World War II hospital, the campus for University of Miami medicine, and the favorite spot of Al Capone, Babe Ruth, and many other historic figures throughout the decades…it’s also a wedding machine. Seriously, they have a stellar service record for hosting and catering the largest, most elegant weddings in all of Miami…sometimes three at a time.
- Deauville Beach Resort (Miami Beach) – Nestled a safe 23 blocks from the screaming subwoofers and rented Lamborghini’s of South Beach (but close enough to them as well), this also historic beach resort, and several others like it offer breathtaking aquatic views, and rejuvenating guest amenities, and high ceilinged ball rooms for your ceremony, at fantastic group rates.
So there you have it my tropical lovebirds, those are my insider tips on how to have a true Miami wedding. I’d also tell you where to get the best Cuban pastries and whole roasted pig…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Que lo pases bien!
Omar is a young independent thinker, writer and entrepreneur. With his life split evenly between sunny laidback Miami, and cold professional Washington, DC, he is just as comfortable spinning on a dancefloor without spilling his mojito, as he is quietly reading a plaque at the Smithsonian.